How I won the battle over sleep

Growing up, I was a hardcore sleeper. I was the type that sleep-talk ;-). Wake me in the middle of the night to go and pee, and I’ll head straight to the kitchen or somewhere odd and start doing some silly things unconsciously.

Sooner, I had to give up that lifestyle; not willingly. By force. Or inspiration.

Sleep lost it’s battle on me during my last year in Secondary school.

We just launched another family business. Like every small business, we didn’t have enough money to pay more staff to do a lot of stuffs. So, my dad came up with a plan.

We’ll produce and package our products in the night, do some deliveries early morning (where possible) before continuing the major routine (school, work etc) for the day.

So, typically, we’ll start working in the factory once we got back from school. Eat. Rest a bit, and move straight to the factory.

On a good day, we stop working at 1 AM. Some days stretch way beyond that. It all depends on the demand. Every night, we’ll set a goal based on the units that needed to be sold the next day. No one goes to sleep until we hit it. Sometimes, we get rewards for hitting the target, or at least the first person to finish. Yet, we had to go to school early the next day. My parents had to go to work as well.

It became more difficult on days when we had to do intercity deliveries early in the morning. It meant sleeping at 2 AM, and waking up at 5AM to load the truck and head to one or two neighboring cities. To put things in perspective, our factory is in Sagamu and we do deliveries to cities like Iperu, Ishara, Ikenne and the likes, in case you’re familiar with that axis.

By 7 am, we we’re back to base. Daddy heads to work and we head to school. All with 3-4 hours of sleep.

Of course, it was difficult. It wasn’t a punishment. Don’t preach to me about child labour. Our parents sold us the idea of a wealthy future and we bought it joyfully. We had no choice. That riches is locked up in getting your hands dirty.

That continued for like a year or two. Since then, I’ve not looked back. To this I owe myself – that sleep will not deprive me the fortitude to do what must be done. I have trained my mind and my body has followed. I took that mantra to the University. I knew the only way I could pursue my passion (tech) and still be a student (of economics) was to cheat on sleep. Student in the day, coder at night. 4 years of glory.

That was how sleep lost the battle. Today, I don’t need coffee coffee to stay awake. No stimulant. Nothing. I just decide I need to be awake to get shit done, and my eyes and mind stays sharp.

How come people are willing to stay awake all through the night watching series? How come people don’t sleep on New Year eve? How come people ‘lose’ sleep listening to pastors overnight during camps. How come people stay awake to make love and romance?It’s all in the mind.

But, when it comes to work, they suddenly remember all the bullshit about how important sleep is. Well, sleep is as important as you make it and as less important  as you make it. Sometimes, circumstances force or inspire you to make it less important.

Technopreneur. Chief Hustler at 1Plify. PhD scholar [Technology entrepreneurship]

1 comments On How I won the battle over sleep

  • I quite agree with some points. We will go to a place of rest after our short stay here, so there’s no need to make sleep a big deal. More so, there’s no evidence that sleep has a significant impact on success as such.
    People will always moralize and rationalize acts of laziness using scientific evidence especially.
    Even the Bible have words for the sluggard.
    Sleep when you need to and work when you need to; that’s my mantra

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