The more sleep, the happier

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Holly BIll

This view of Holly Bill's alarm clock is what she wakes up to every morning.

The past few nights, I’ve been getting less sleep than normal. I recently returned from the journalism conference in San Francisco with the Newsstreak staff, and my sleep schedule has been pretty wonky ever since I returned. Between the time change and late nights catching up on assignments, I haven’t gotten as much sleep as I most often do. This has taken a noticeable emotional toll on me.

I got a decent amount of sleep in San Francisco, especially on the plane where I was four for four for sleeping during flights. It may not have been deep sleep, but nonetheless, I still logged a couple hours each flight. However, the second I walked in the door of my house after the trip, the sleep deprivation hit me. All I wanted to do was pass out on the couch. It was an exhausting trip, and I was not prepared to readjust to my normal, fixed sleep schedule I’ve kept for years. The San Francisco trip was the first time I had to abandon my normal sleep schedule completely for a long period of time.

Returning to Virginia during Sunday’s early hours and having to go straight back into the school week was a struggle for me. I’ve been back in Harrisonburg for a few days now, and I’m still in the adjustment period. I have slept little at night and on and off during the day. These past few days, I have barely been able to pay attention in class or do my homework, both due to the lack of sleep and the fact that I have definitely left a few of my brain cells on the West Coast. All I can think about is sleep, for I haven’t had the energy to be my ordinarily lively self. I just haven’t been normal.

What I can conclude from all of this is that sleep is the obvious key to my happiness. I’m a different person with sleep than I am without. While many teenagers are on that “no sleep grind”, I find it hard for me to maintain an optimistic personality without a reasonable amount of sleep. Not only am I a better person emotionally when I’ve had a good night’s sleep, but sleep deprivation studies have proven that an optimal amount of sleep also keeps your immune system healthy. Sleep really does make you a happier, healthier person.

While I definitely do not get the recommended nine hours of sleep, I sleep the bare minimum in order to stay happy and focused at school, which is normally between seven and eight hours a night. If I do not get this satisfactory amount of sleep, you will seldom catch me with a smile on my face. Personally, a decent amount of shut-eye is the number one factor to my happiness.  

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