Insomnia: Avoiding the few, harming the masses

Insomnia is not a joke. It is not a sort-of disorder. Insomnia is real, and it affects many people on and off campus, including myself. 

I’ve never been a “normal” sleeper. Most nights, I end up on the opposite side of where I laid down, usually upside down without sleeping on any pillows. Strange, right?

My insomnia began in high school, when I was preoccupied with school, sports, a part-time job and other in-school activities. Most of my days began around 7 a.m., like most high schoolers.

However, I usually wouldn’t return back to my home until around 9:30 p.m., finally able to eat dinner, talk to my parents, shower and finally start my homework. 

There were too many long nights of studying that turned into the early hours of the morning, sometimes 2 or 3 a.m. But, after the long nights, I’d force myself to fall asleep and repeat the process. 

I couldn’t begin to count how much Zzzquil I took trying to turn my brain off for the night. But this usually backfired, as it was extremely hard to wake up in the morning. 

This was my life for four years, and I now realize how harmful the effects are. 

Since coming to college, my sleeping patterns have not changed. It’s extremely hard for me to fall asleep at night, as well as waking up in the morning. 

I’m not the only one struggling with this problem, however. Abby Judge, a freshman undecided major, has also experienced a large number of sleep problems since coming to South Dakota State. 

“It’s not something that began at college,” she said. “I’ve always had sleeping problems, and it’s something that I wish I could fix with one simple step, but it’s not that easy.” 

Judge said it’s beginning to affect her education.

“Because I don’t get the sleep I need, I’m not alert in any of my classes,” she said. 

She said that if she were getting enough sleep, she would be more willing to put 100 percent effort into her classes. 

“When you’re tired all the time, it’s hard to want to do anything productive,” Judge said. 

Lilly Johnson, a freshman pre-physical therapy major, said that sleep is the most important part of her day. She said it is essential for her to get enough sleep to perform at her highest potential everyday. 

“You have to take care of yourself, especially when we’re in such a big transition with our lives,” Johnson said. “We can’t expect our bodies to run on empty.” 

Animal science major and Young Hall Community Assistant Hailey Waagmeester spoke on the importance of sleep when first starting college. 

“I would say [sleep] is most important to freshmen,” she said. “You’re going through such an emotional rollercoaster, being away and paying tuition and learning life on your own.”

Waagmeester also said one thing that helps her sleep better at night is planning out her day ahead of time, giving her a sigh of relief before she goes to bed. 

Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors: we all need to hit the hay a little more than we realize. Sleep is, and always will be, an important part of our lives. Contrary to popular belief, sleep is not for the weak.