I’ve been having three or four coffees a day. If you think that’s a lot of caffeine, I probably shouldn’t mention the two to three mugs of tea I’ve been having on top of that. My stomach, and head, hurt. What’s worse than the amount of caffeine-heavy hot beverages I’ve been consuming, is the lack of decent food to go with it, and the lack of actual sleep I’ve been craving caffeine to replace. I say it’s because I haven’t had the time; I’m so busy, up the walls, can’t sit down for food, I don’t have time to eat, I’ll just grab something quick, an apple or protein bar will do, I can eat that while I walk to this lecture or that meeting or while I type…
It isn’t ok, though. The only things in life you absolutely have to do are breathe, sleep, drink water, and eat. Not having enough time is no excuse. There exists no valid excuse for not eating. You have to make time to feed and nourish yourself. The essay can wait fifteen minutes, you can send the email after, you can make that call after, you can push that meeting back a bit, to make time to eat. And to eat well. An apple for breakfast and a coffee for lunch is not enough, of course it isn’t enough, and we know it. I don’t need to go in to the many far better alternatives that there are, because we know them.
Sleep is one of the few things in life that you can’t replace. It’s psychological fact that once you’ve lost out on sleep, it’s impossible to ‘catch up’ on; if you get 4 hours one night, getting 12 hours the next will not equate to an average of 8 hours a night. Sleep doesn’t work like that. We underestimate the vitality of sleep, but I won’t go in to that either because we know at least the basics of the importance of sleep, and that should be enough for us to make sure that we get it.
One little thing I’ve been doing to help me switch off from the craziness of the days, the back-to-back jampacked schedule and the constantly-in-contact communication through the hundred and one group chats and emails: disconnecting my phone. After a certain time in the day, when I feel I’ve done all I’ve needed to do, sent all the emails I needed to send and contacted all the people I needed to contact to discuss all the things I needed to discuss, I put my phone on aeroplane mode and set it aside until the morning. We have this fear of missing out if we don’t have our phones constantly switched on and connected to Wi-Fi or 3G/4G ready to buzz the instant a notification comes through, but do you know what I’ve found? I’ve been missing nothing. Nothing of urgent import, anyway.
It isn’t going to kill you to turn off your phone an hour or two before bed (at a reasonable hour) in order to switch off from the world and allow your head some space to wind down and ease its way into a far superior, undisturbed sleep. Losing out on sleep and not nourishing yourself by eating well and enough may not outright kill you, but it certainly doesn’t contribute to your life’s longevity.