I Went To Bed At 9pm Every Night For A Week

Sleep is one of my favourite commodities. If I could be find a way to be paid to sleep, I’d have the same amount of wealth as Paris Hilton circa 2007, employing Kim Kardashian to personally assist my fabulous life, and looking down my nose at plebs from The O.C. “That’s hot,” I’d say, as Kim and I fill my shopping basket with 1500 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, which would see a plump ROI, because I love to sleep that much.

Despite this, I do my best sleeping of a morning. While I love a good sleep in, I’m no different to a demonic toddler when it comes to bedtime. As I am older than a toddler and share a room with no one but my own thoughts, however, I am unable to summon an audience on which to project these tantrums. As such, I pour my energy into hanging with mates over a wine or indulging every curiosity I harbour with a little help from my friend Google into the wee hours of the morning.

There was a brief period last year when a good chunk of my life evolved around catching Zs. I’d finally found my calling — I was a goddamn pro at sleeping. Like grandmothers before me, I was wrapped up in a doona cocoon by 9pm, reading until I nodded off, meaning I’d wake up naturally around 7 each morning feeling fresher than the Prince of Bel-Air. My zest for life knew no bounds. I looked forward to my morning stroll around Centennial Park. I actually spoke to the barista at my local café pre-coffee. My skin was, dare I say, passable.

Now, not so much. My body clock is in a seemingly irreversible state of shook after months of agreeing to any late night social activity that was tossed my way, following a big breakup. Spontaneous 11pm wine? Sure. Casual two hours of karaoke on a Tuesday night? Yas. On any given night, you could cash me outside in the smoking area of your favourite bar. That phase of my life is (thankfully) the fuck over, but my body clock has not forgotten. Once I’ve made it to my bed (11pm most nights), every fibre of my being comes together in a beautiful display of unity to resist going to sleep. My fingers automatically hit up that Ctrl+T combo. I fervently scroll through Netflix. I go deep on strangers’ Instagrams.

To give you an idea of how much I procrastinate going to bed, I pitched this idea in an editorial meeting back in February, and am only just writing it now. Sorry, Carlie! Sorry, body! As is my philosophy when it comes to sleep, it’s better late than never, hey? For a WHOLE week, I threw it all the way back to the snoozy days of yesteryear and made sure I was wrapped up in bed by 9pm. Talk about putting your body on the line for journalism.

I originally intended to give you a daily breakdown of how it felt being so well-rested, but let’s all be a bit honest with ourselves — that would be so boring, it would probably put you in a coma. Instead, I’ll share with you some of the notable benefits of my week of research sleep bender. Maybe it will inspire you to skip the Netflix binge, or turn down the fourth consecutive social offer this week. Yeah, we’ll see about that…

  • My Skin

    Every derm I’ve ever visited has told me my skin is dehydrated. I’m no expert myself, but I’m almost certain this is because it is very exhausted, always. A quick search with my friend Google confirms this: While you’re sleeping, the body’s hydration rebalances, hence skin is able to recover moisture. A lack of sleep results in poor water balance, which gives you the dryness and wrinkles. Fun fact: A lack of sleep worsens existing skin conditions, like skin sensitivity and redness. I guess what I’m trying to say is, beauty sleep is not a myth.

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    My Mood

    Turns out sleep also makes you a much more palatable human to be around. The last two nights of my research were conducted on a working vacay to Byron Bay, so this was especially helpful, since everyone here is never not in a great mood. While I usually pride myself on my cynical disposition, that kind of shit just doesn’t fly in the land of crystals, downward dogs, and turmeric lattes. I’m quite certain emotions like anger are actually illegal here. Thankfully, with a median average of eight hours of sleep behind me, I was ready to tolerate strangers’ acid-fuelled tales from the 70s as I waited in line to buy my organic pears at $3 a piece (this actually happened). By the end of the week, I felt way less stressed than I have been of late, especially earlier this year following my post-breakup ~social~ bender.

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    My Will To Exercise

    When your bed curfew is that of a tween, it’s only natural for you to be lulled out of sleep by the first sign of daylight. This didn’t hold true for the first couple of days because my body was so deprived of Zs. I slept for 10.5 hours each night. I also found it a lot easier to get up, even before my alarm. Shock! This is so obvious, it almost hurts typing it, but it was a huge revelation for me. I kind of just assumed my body was a special type of candle that could withstand being burned at both ends. Although, I normally pick an extra half hour of sleep over getting up to go to the gym with my sister (who I live with), with the shaky logic that if I got up to exercise, I’d be tired throughout the day. Bull dust.

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    My Diet

    I think I made a bit of a vague plan to rehaul my diet when I pitched the article back in February, but in a classic tale of chicken or egg, it’s hard to pinpoint whether or not sleeping so much, which leads to exercising so much, made me want to be healthier. It’s a real domino effect. Greens, beans, and quins (quinoa) typified my week. Throw a bit of yoga into the mix and you will fart sunshine.

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    My Productivity

    My productivity is thru the roof. Honestly, just wait for the ensuing articles from yours truly this week. They’ll knock your socks off. A lack of sleep messes with your cognition, making it harder for your brain to perform basic tasks. You know, small stuff like concentrating and remembering. It has also been found that a lack of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep can thwart creative thinking skills. Whelp!

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    Sleeping is quite clearly the best. Give your body clock an inch and it will run a mile (or you will). Also, being in bed early gives you less time to do nasty things to your body, like drinking, smoking, eating rubbish, and comparing your life to others during a 4-hour Instagram binge. One less positive finding, though, was that going to sleep that early every single night can be quite dull. It kind of felt like that episode of The Simpsons where Lisa and Bart were adopted by the Flanders and forced to go to bed at ridiculous o’clock while every other kid in Springfield frolicked outside in the sun. Still, that’s a hard yes from me.

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    Words, Madeleine Woon.

  • Betsy Greaves

    “quins (quinoa)”