This is for you. Whether you are grinding a problem set at Bass until close, stumbling home from Woads, or lying in bed scrolling through Instagram, this is for you. It’s time to go to bed. Working, going out, or simply being conscious are severely overrated—what you really need is a good eight hours.
Frankly, I’m tired. What I’m most tired of is total disregard for sleepyheads encoded in Yale’s culture. When I first arrived at Yale, I was ashamed of my lethargic tendencies. I was just like you: I stayed up late, resisting sleep with Red Bulls and loud alarms. I survived day to day with only five or six hours a night. But I’m done denying who I am. This semester I have not only decided to embrace my identity as a sleepy little guy but also use it for change. Until a week ago, the extent of my sleep advocacy had been limited to my own bed—but that wasn’t enough. I needed to bring my slumber out of the privacy of my bedroom and into the public eye. I needed to confront the spaces on Yale’s campus that discourage sleep. Most importantly, my demonstration couldn’t be a run-of-the-mill impromptu library nap, but the real deal.
I loaded my backpack with all the necessary accoutrement: a tie-dye pillow, a weighted blanket, and my stuffed elephant, Emmet. The short hike from my 2 p.m. Metaphysics class to the Yale Bookstore was a grueling slog, weighed down with 20 pounds of bedding. When I finally arrived, I was one thing: exhausted. The innocuous pop music trickling through the overhead sound system was rocking me to sleep. Certain of success, I made my bed in the quiet “Art” section. Immediately, I realized that I hadn’t brought a sleeping pad and that the floor was both hard and dirty. I roughed it out for 10 minutes before an employee stopped by to ask if I was okay. I told her that I was just sleepy, and she promptly asked me to leave.
Nowhere could solace be found. Curled atop a carrell desktop in the Stacks, I discovered that there was no space for me to extend my legs. I tried Commons, but it was far too loud and its tables far too sticky to even attempt sleep. When I went down for a nap in an empty HQ classroom, I was soon chased out by a vicious gang of grad students. Perhaps most disappointing was discovering that sleeping in the bushes outside of Franklin was not nearly as comfortable during the day as it was after a night out. After our romp in the wild, Emmet was festooned with twigs and leaves. Not ready to admit defeat, I tidied him up and we headed to the CEID. I found unlikely allies in the night owls who frequent that hopeless place. I fluffed my pillow, tucked myself in, and held Emmet close. Even in this place, my mind wandered towards my own bed. In the CEID, I still had neither my mattress nor my fan. Emmet was lonely without his friends, Olly the Octopus and Ernie the Sheep. It took only a half hour before I departed for home.
The insurmountable obstacles of the outside world and the limitless consolations of my bed had given me only one option: to return back to my dorm. To resist my bed would have only violated my own principles as a sleepyhead. My demonstrations neither gathered national media attention nor inspired actions by Yale’s administration—such as the installation of emergency nap mat vending machines in all campus buildings. For that, I apologize to you, the drowsy, the sleepy, the tired. I want to defend you, but something else is calling my name.
The sky is dark. There is the hiss of cars slipping across wet pavement. Voices in the hall are reduced to whispers through the wall. The door is closed and my fan rumbles and whirs as if already snoring. It’s time for me to go to bed.