Last night, I went to bed at 9:45 p.m. My fiancé and friends were still on the couch binge-watching How to Get Away with Murder (all hail Viola Davis), but I was D-O-N-E, done. We hadn’t had a particularly exhausting day or anything. On the contrary, we simply ate brunch, watched football at a neighborhood bar, then stopped by the brewery where we hope to hold our rehearsal dinner. Lots of chill. Like usual, however, I found myself to be the first person to hit the wall that makes staying awake feel just as difficult as still showing interest two hours into a Tinder date.
Over the years, and particularly in the last few weeks, I started wondering if my need for sleep means that I am severely ill. I had not been to a doctor since high school and slowly became convinced that my insides were dying, therefore imploring my body to rest. This was the only obvious explanation.
Particularly in the months since meeting my very energetic fiancé, I tried to soak in every moment, because my time on earth was clearly coming to an end. I fell asleep during Harry Potter. I wanted to eat—it’s hard to say outloud—Taco Bell. *shudder* I didn’t want any wine after dinner. Something was VERY wrong. Why, God, why??
Well, three weeks ago, a giant wooden pallet fell on my ankle because #life. I avoided the doctor for four days because a $50 copay is much better spent on stamps for my Save the Dates, but when the swelling wasn’t going down and walking felt like stepping on a sword of fire, my stepmom convinced me I should visit Doc in the Box. It didn’t help that meanwhile, I’d developed a severe pain in my abdomen that made me double over in pain every few hours. Body shutting down. This explained the fatigue. The time had come for the world to know of my fatal condition.
I told the very nice doctor that I was probably dying, and he told me he didn’t think so but would do blood work anyway, then quickly ran out of the room to go tell the nurse about the world’s biggest hypochondriac in Room 1. After X-rays of my ankle, the nurse drew blood, and we waited to hear the horrible news. (“We” being my stepmom, Jean, and me, because I’m still 12 and need my parents to take me to the doctor.) Doc came back in and said, “Well I can tell you that you’re not pregnant.” Jean immediately texted Aaron the good news (who handled that text as awkwardly as possible, might I add.) The doctor then said there was more good news—my blood work was normal! I probably had a stomach bug. And also my ankle wasn’t broken, but maybe there’s a fracture we can’t see…good luck! Thanks, Doc. A well spent $50.
Tbh, I wasn’t convinced that I’m not dying. Sorry, but I have never heard of a “stomach bug” that doesn’t make you sick, but instead makes you feel like someone is stealing your kidney without first chloroforming you in the bathtub. Also, since when do blood work results take only ten minutes? But I paid $50 and refuse to go back, so that’s what we’re sticking with. Also, I still can’t stand on my ankle sometimes, but you know, life is good.
Even though the doctor wasn’t convincing, I decided that he probably knows at least a little more than I do about terminal illnesses, so I needed a new theory for my koala-like nature. Right when I started brainstorming new theories, such as “I am a lethargic cow,” a crazy thing happened. My fiancé got sick.
All of a sudden, he wanted to go to bed at 10 p.m., too. With a 6 a.m. wake up call for work, he noted that “all of this rest” was helping him recover quickly. For some reason, I decided then, and only then, to count the hours between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. to see how long his poor, sick body needed to rest. Eight hours. EIGHT. It then hit me that I had been going to bed around 11:30 p.m. most nights due to pushing myself to seem “normal,” getting only 6.5 hours of sleep. I’m not dying!! There are one million articles in Cosmopolitan saying we need 8-9 hours of sleep a night. I’m not crazy. Everyone else is!!
Listen, I’m not sure why I didn’t link being tired to a lack of sleep before now, but I just figured that since I couldn’t keep up with the
Kardashians rest of society, I must be abnormal. Upon more thought about my history of too-little sleep, I realized that I wasn’t very sleepy during daylight hours this past winter, which is when I was very, very single/sad and had nothing but chips and guac to keep me up past 10 p.m. At the time, I thought the daytime energy was a glimmer of improvement for my failing body, only to sorrowfully watch it regress in the following months when I upped my social involvement. Now I realize the energy came from all of that time spent dreaming of Chipotle and Chris Pine. (I should mention that my roommates hated me last spring because they had to keep Game of Thrones on low volume. Being antisocial is a big pain to those around you.)
Because of my new, albeit unoriginal, revelation, I’ve recently started allowing myself to go to bed at 9:30 or 10:00 p.m, even if that means leaving the group early. Yes, I’ve always kind of done this—hence the name Shanny the Granny—but that usually meant leaving the bar at midnight instead of 4:00 a.m. This new conclusion is more of a school night kind of deal, without needing the depressing excuse of “wanting to be alone” mentioned in the wintertime, annoyed roommate situation above. If young whippersnappers want to give me a hard time, I will point at the bags beneath their eyes and say “Have fun with that, you fools!” Sure, some vampire-types seem to function normally on six hours, but they’re the real weirdos in this situation.
Since I started sleeping for eight hours these last five nights, I have A) gone to the gym, B) ordered a salad, and C) missed out on nothing. So I urge you, young people of America, go to bed. You’ll feel so much better. For those of you in bed by 9 p.m. most nights, I salute you for not succumbing to peer pressure for the amount of time I did. May you stay healthy and continue to go to the doctor less often than those who have no self control and stay up late to rebel against their teenage years full of enforced bed times.