Saturday, April 20, 2013

Vacation sleeping insights

It's amazing how different MIT students approach their long vacations. A lot of my friends spend most of their vacation sleeping. We travelled all the way to Florida, to see sights and enjoy the warm weather. But most of the day was spent sleeping in. To my amusement, there was great anger at my attempts to have an early start so that we could see more of south Florida. I'm really not exaggerating: Waking up at 2pm and going to sleep at 10pm, sometimes with naps in between.

Why do these kids do this? What reasonable explanation could there be for sleeping away a vacation?

The desire to sleep on vacation is great since most of the school year is spent sleep deprived.

During the school week, most students are sleep deprived not just because of course work, but also by choice. Their logic is that with 24 hours a day, there's however long school work takes and 5 hours of fun. The time that's left over is for sleep. Often a 16 hour work day with 5 fun-hours leaves 4 hours for sleep.

Just 4 hours for sleep.

You might think that I'm exaggerating, but there really most students self report 4-6 hours of sleep a day.

You might be catching the logical paradox that I saw.

If their priority is staying awake for fun, why do these kids spend their vacation sleeping?

To me this makes a lot of sense with a slightly closer look. Your body needs 6-9 hours of sleep, whether you try to convince yourself otherwise or not. The body is crying out for sleep.

For long vacations, there's no work hours. It's just 24 hours of "fun". And sleeping is amazingly fun when your body is crying out for it. So amazing, that a disproportionate time is spent sleeping, trying to catch up on all the hours missed during the semester. An impossible task.

The moral: Work sleep into your schedule. 8-9 hours are the ideal for the college age group. If you don't you may spend your Florida vacation napping.