You Snooze You Lose

Welcome to The Shield‘s annual satire section.  Writers use satire to improve a problem in society. Sometimes readers misunderstand the satire as they do not recognize the hyperbole, irony, rhetorical questions, sarcasm, and understatements. Readers may mistake the satirical solution for the actual solution that the writer proposes. The ideas in these satire stories do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Shield or Westmont. If one is confused about satire, please contact a friendly neighborhood English teacher.

By Daniel Chen

Dear students of AP Psychology,

I write to inform you all of an erroneous myth perpetrated by your education here in this class. I’m sure you’ve heard the story. You’re going over your Module 16 RCQ’s when Ms. Picard suddenly spouts a lecture on the vitality of sleep—of the destruction caused by interrupted REM sleep and the importance of at least eight hours of sleep a night. On the importance of intentional sleep, she is utterly correct. But in every other way her assertions only beget sedentary, lazy teens. Sleep is important–but not in the way Picard preaches. You need to be careful about your sleep, because just as much as screens, sleep hinders your success as a young adult. 

I know it sounds crazy. Everything Picard has taught you about sleep emphasizes how important it is to get a full night’s rest. But if you consider the facts—the whole truth—you’ll find that sleep only gets in your way.

Teens are constantly on their screens, wasting their lives away into the wee hours of the morning. And when they finally get off their TikToks and their Instagrams, what do they do? They sleep. 

I’ll admit, sleep feels good. But when people tell you to prioritize sleep, they’re in fact encouraging a selfish vice. Is sleep going to get your homework done? No. Will it get you into a college? Get you a job? Again, no. 

There’s time to sleep when you retire. The people who brag about the “full eight hours of sleep” they get, those people only sabotage themselves. With a sleep-oriented mindset, they’ll never have the chance to retire. They’ll waste away into the twilight years of their life—old and healthy, but money-less, fame-less, and with nothing but a final night’s rest awaiting them.

So, don’t listen to the people who tell you to sleep. Picard and the rest of them, they’ll harp on about the importance of sleep to your health. How rest provides your brain the ingredients to perform optimally. How sleep sways mood and emotion. How lethargy drives reckless, irrational behavior. These claims seem plausible. But looking at the hard facts illuminates just how faulty their logic is on a deeper level.

Getting more sleep might increase your productivity. I won’t deny the research that has proven that. It might make you more efficient. But that’s not the whole picture. Even if two hours extra sleep increases your productivity by 20% (and that’s a rather optimistic estimate), you by extension LOSE two hours of productive time. If teens are already wasting their days away on media—grinding out Valo, throwing money at Genshin, or snapping BeReal’s in the middle of class—they barely DO two hours of work each day. If they sleep an extra two hours, they reduce their productive work time to almost nothing. It’s simple mathematics.

So don’t lie to yourself. Don’t take the easy way out. It’s tall too easy to listen to the adults who tell you to “set media limits” or “establish healthy bedtime routines.” Who tell you to sleep instead of grind. But sleep won’t get you a job. It won’t get you a comfortable retirement. Would you rather sleep well, live a few years longer, but have done nothing fulfilling your entire life? Or would you like to follow the footsteps of the great. The Elon Musks of the world who sleep an hour or two on the cold hard floor of their startups, who work all day and all night to make a change, who drive this world forward to the modern age. 

All I’m saying is sleep won’t change the world. You need to.