Drowsy days

By Rachel Nussbaum

Graphic by Elena Toumyan.
Graphic by Elena Toumyan.

The other day, I spent a good five to 10 minutes giggling over a pun I put into an English presentation. In class, no one laughed.

Yes, times are tough in the life of this junior, and it turns out, eleventh grade isn’t conducive to sleep. I know, who would’ve guessed?

Well, it seems like a lot of people. Last year I didn’t realize that the most sleep I would get in a night is six hours. Despite this, I’m still expected to act like a fully functioning person, handling tests, quizzes and contact lenses with ease.

The entire situation is crazy, just like my eyes now make me look. I’m avoiding the child development classroom for the children’s sake.

The recommended number of hours of sleep per night is eight and a half, according to the Center for Disease Control’s website. Like I said before, I usually get five to six, depending on how spiteful my teachers are feeling that day. While researching, I learned that insufficient sleep could lead to obesity, diabetes and depression.

To use some street slang, no duh. From all the late nights I’ve pulled, which aren’t nearly as cool as they sound right there, I’ve learned a thing or two.

One, sugar is definitely useful. Nothing gets that physics lab finished like Cookie Crisps cereal and Swiss Miss straight from the packet.

Sure, some may say that this will lead to obesity and a diabetes-caused untimely demise. But see, this brings me to my second piece of wisdom.

Here’s a hint. It’s a-parta-me (I know that’s pretty lame, but please, see the first paragraph. Puns are all that get me by.)

That’s right: aspartame! The little lifesaver that keeps my jean size from increasing with my hours spent awake.

Aspartame is basically a sugar substitute-the difference between the regular and Diet Coke that I chug before 9 a.m. Without it, I’d probably turn to “5 Hour Energy” for my caffeine fix, a pepper-upper that carries an insanely low calorie count and extreme jitters, followed by a crash that makes Evil Knievel’s Vegas stunt look like child’s play.

But anyways, aspartame looked like a great solution to the sleep deficiency problem that seems to plague half the student body. Then, out of morbid curiosity, I googled the side effects of the sugar-replacement. Hmm. As I was browsing the extensive list, a few like nausea, hives and personality changes popped out at me.

And then, irony of all ironies, trouble with contact lenses.

Now I see where the depression comes from.