Why You Should Sleep

I just discovered why I’ve been falling sick repeatedly for the past year, spent hundreds of thousands in hospital bills and eye care, almost overdosed on sleeping pills, lost my sight a few times, and nearly went insane.

So, in 2020, I got an offer to work in one of the top five Nigerian banks.

I worked for just one day, and then I left.

Now, I had a major reason for turning down that job offer (which I’ll share with you guys someday).

But one of the reasons why I said no was because I felt working at the bank would hamper my personal development.

During my NYSC in 2018/19, I had developed a routine that helped me read for at least 2 hours every day while writing a bit on the side.

I read over 60 books within 9 months or thereabouts as reading was what I used to fill up the day.

I moved to Lagos after NYSC to teach Spanish and I pretty much kept the same routine.

It was easy for me because I was teaching Spanish for just 2 or 3 hours a day, 2 or 3x a week.

I just needed to wake up early in the morning, exercise, eat, and then read before going to my classes.

And then the bank job came around October.

It was an offer to work for one of their branches in Victoria Island.

It was HUGE as I’d gone through rounds and rounds of interviews and performance-based tests for months.

This was the finish line.

But a part of me felt somehow.

I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about the job anymore, and I had no idea why.

After everything, banking school training and all that, the onboarding session was supposed to last for a week.

On my way home after day 1, I called my mother to tell her I wasn’t doing it anymore.

I lived around Mile 2 at the time & working in Victoria Island meant I had to leave home by at least 5 every morning or get stuck in traffic.

Bank closing time was 5 pm, but then we still had to service customers who were still inside and this could take up to 2 or 3 hours depending on the size of the crowd.

Then we’ll have to wait for the cashiers to balance their accounts and then the vault locked up.

Then I would get into Lagos traffic, and start making my way home.

Give or take I got home between 11 pm and 12 am.

Then I would have to wake up by 3 am to be able to read, exercise, eat, and then leave home by 5. Every day.

It was a perpetual treadmill.

One I had to run on for the next couple of years.

I tried to look at my life for the next two years ahead and it didn’t look like I’d be getting anywhere fast.

I’d just moved to Lagos, and I wasn’t making a lot of money yet so getting a house on the Island wasn’t possible.

So, I quit.

Fast forward to 2020, I got a job offer that was more suited to my skills, flexible, better work environment, and with a higher ceiling.

Since I was coming from the Mainland and traffic is terrible, part of the offer was coming in for 2 or 3 days a week and working from home on the others.

But less than a month later, I fell out with the friends I was squatting with and had to move out.

Moved to a place on the Island about 20 minutes drive from work.

But then moving to the Island meant I started working every day and I loved it.

I was waking up at 3 am to pray, read for 2 hours, write for an hour, exercise, eat, nap for a bit and still get to work before 9 am.

Close at 5 p.m. & still get home before 8 no matter how bad traffic was.

I was growing like crazy.

But then COVID struck!

It meant I could still do my routine without any problems.

But the downside was I had too much free time since we were all indoors.

To fill up this free time, I turned to books & sales copies.

But there’s only so much we can do in total isolation and over time I started filling my free time with sleep.

Sleeping during the day meant I wasn’t falling asleep easily at night.

So, even if my body was tired and screaming for me to sleep, I couldn’t sleep for long because I’d been primed to waking up by 3 every day.

I started having headaches regularly.

I chalked it up to the blue light from my laptop and got antiglare glasses to protect my eyes.

One night, I was working when I stopped seeing anything for almost 2 minutes.

And that’s how my monthly journeys to the hospital started.

I couldn’t sleep.

I was a walking zombie.

Went to an eye clinic for a checkup and was recommended glasses.

Stopped working heavily.

Stopped reading for long too.

But my sleeping problems didn’t stop.

I kept getting admitted into the hospital, and drugs and supplements kept draining holes in my pocket.

I even got prescribed sleeping pills and nothing worked.

Not being able to read and do research as I used to meant I fell off so badly at work.

I had to skip work, I missed project deadlines, lost much of my creativity and practically went from flying at 100 to zero.

It affected my writing output too.

I had to stop exercising too because my body couldn’t keep up.

My eyes would be aching, my teeth chattering, and I’d feel so weak.

Then I would get some relief and then it would start all over again.

This has been my story for the last year.

I just moved to a new place closer to work late last month.

And then this week, my eyes start hurting again.

In my head, I say “here we go again”😁😁😁

But then I decided to try something new for the last two days.

I decided to start sleeping latest 10 PM.

And brethren, I just discovered the reason I’ve been feeling this way was that my sleep pattern had been disrupted for over a year.

The result was I started getting up at exactly 3 or 4 am, pray, read, exercise, do a little bit of work at home before getting to the office.

The only downside is I feel a little sleepy during the day.

But I’ve been doing some of my best work this last week. I can’t even lie.

Dan Go put out a tweet once saying a tiny majority of people can get by with less than four hours of sleep, but most people need at least 6 hours of sleep to function properly.

I think I’m most people 😁

So, the goal now is to shift my bedtime to 8/9 pm and waking hours at 3/4 am.

Waking up at that time when the rest of the world is still asleep means I get to start my day in turbo mode.

That’s when I function best.

So, unless I’m out partying, hanging out with friends, on an online webinar or having sex, I have no reason to be awake past 9 pm.

That’s the reason why I’m putting out this tweet by this time.

I’m about to sleep 😁

See you all in the morning.

Uche Okoro

Writer. Sales & Marketing. Business & Investing Afficionado.

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