What time did you wake up this morning? Was it at around 6am so you could put on your gym kit and head out the door to go on a casual 8.5km run before your sleeping flatmates arose from their slumber? Or perhaps it was 30 minutes after your pre-set alarm, because you’d spent the past 30 minutes snoozing, clinging on to those last moments of sleep before you had to face the commute to work?
Whatever your morning routine, for some time now the internet has been filled with articles upon articles informing us that sleeping in, going to bed late and not getting enough sleep is bad. BAD in big bold capital letters. More recently, a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that according to researchers if you are diabetic and like to go to bed late, and therefore sleep in late in the morning this could increase your risk of developing depression. Obviously this is a scientific study that merits a scientific outcome, but why the rush to make late risers feel bad about their sleeping habits?
The study isn’t the first sleep study warning us about the risks of our sleep, and it won’t be the last. One I remember so vividly is that people who sleep late are probably ‘smarter and more creative,’ than those who chose to wake up early. As an early riser, myself, I remember reading it and feeling somewhat concerned that the reason I didn’t feel ‘clever’ enough was because I wake up super early. Obviously, this is all BS, along with the tens of thousands of articles telling us why waking up early is SO much better for us.
Upon Googling ‘early mornings better for you,’ I discovered there are 348, 000, 000 results informing us about the ‘top 7 benefits of waking up early,’ and ‘healthy reasons to be up early.’ Articles about how to become a morning person because by God if you wake up past 7am you’re not worthy. Firstly, the amount of conflicting studies available on the internet is just plain confusing – if I sleep in does this mean I’m not healthy? Am I more susceptible to depression? But wait, if I wake up at sun rise I’m not intelligent? Give a girl a break. Sleep shaming is very real, and it’s happening on a laptop near you.
It’s plain to see that we’re all obsessed with sleep, we like to talk about how much we got done before that 9am meeting, about that workout we did at 6.45 before our commute. We also like to talk about how late we stayed up last night, how we didn’t even go to sleep because we don’t need to sleep to function. Yet, Isn’t the whole point of sleep meant to be personal? It’s a time that should be cherished for you, and not thrown around so obsessively.
While I personally wake up early most days, even after a late night it’s like my internal alarm clock goes off at around 6.45am most days because oh hi hey hello I’m awake and I’m ready to go. But take a look at me come night time and I’m yawning enough for three people – and that’s ok. Just as is waking up with five minutes to get ready before you need to rush out of the house to get to work on time – because what’s the right amount of sleep for one person might not be what’s right for another.
Work, life, relationships and all the rest, is stressful enough without adding in the extra stress of what kind of sleep we should be getting. We obviously, all know the more sleep we get the more rested we are. It’s not rocket science and I’m sure those who do stay up watching Netflix till 4am (we’ve all done that, no judgement) are aware that the next day they might be groggy – but also very knowledgeable about 13 Reasons Why (cough me cough).
So can we stop calling out people on how little, or how much sleep we’re all getting? You do you, and sleep as little or as much as you want. Goodnight.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.