You told yourself that tonight you'd be asleep at a decent hour, but as the hands on the clock tick on and on, you can't seem to put down the most recent page-turner that's been keeping you up night after night. There's that reasonable voice in the back of your mind telling you it's time to turn in, because you have to be up for work in the morning and you promised your roommate you'd go to spin class with her beforehand. But there's a second voice (probably the same voice who tells you tequila shots at 1:30 a.m. are a good idea — your tequila voice happens to be very well-read) that's begging you to keep reading.
Book lovers everywhere will tell you that staying up too late with a novel or some amazing nonfiction is one of the many signs you are addicted to reading. Along with lugging a book everywhere you go and getting sad when your favorite characters die, having a nightly inner conflict that pits sleep against reading comes along with the book-loving territory. No matter how good your intentions might be, no matter how much you try to read on your commute so you can curb your habit at night, the same battle of shuteye versus page-turning rages on. Here are the nine official (in my head, at least) stages of deciding whether to go to sleep or keep reading:
You tell yourself "right after this part."
You're a little sleepy, but who stops reading mid-page? You're just going to read until the end of this section. It's mostly dialogue, so it will only be a couple of minutes. Then you'll call it a night, you swear.
But then you realize how close you are to finishing the chapter and decide to power through.
It's only a few pages, after all. It will be easier to pick up where you left off tomorrow if you just get to the end of the chapter. It isn't that late and it shouldn't take you that long. You'll still get some solid sleeping in tonight.
You've reached the end of the chapter, but it's quarter to the next hour, so you might as well read until then.
What's another fifteen minutes anyways? They say reading is a great way to relax and calm down before bed, so it's almost like you're sleeping, right? It's not like you're out at the bar or something. Reading is healthy, no need to feel guilty for a few more minutes.
You know you have to get some sleep, so you finally put the book down.
Okay, time for some shut eye, so you reluctantly tear your eyes from the pages. You will probably want to read in the morning, so instead of bookmarking your place, you'll just leave this book on your nightstand, open to where your left off. Goodnight book, sweet dreams!
Tossing and turning, you can't stop thinking about the book.
You try and keep your eyes squeezed shut, but your mind is racing with questions and theories. Will the family reconcile? Will your favorite couple reconnect? When will you find out the truth? Is there some incredible Gillian Flynn Gone Girl -caliber twist that you were just about to get to??? Back turned to the nightstand, you could almost swear the book was calling your name. Then, finally...
Restlessness wins, and you give in.
No matter how many times you've tossed and turned, you can't fall asleep. If you're going to be awake anyways, you might as well read, right? Maybe after a couple minutes, you'll finally get sleepy. Until an hour later when you look at the clock and ask yourself...
HOW DID I GET HERE?
You realize how soon your alarm is going to go off, and you wondered how you ended up wide awake at such an ungodly hour. You could have sworn tonight was the night you'd get a full eight hours of sleep in, but then you turn back to the book in your hands and it all becomes clear. Reading has won again. There's nothing left now but to embrace it.
You resign yourself to another sleepless night.
Sleep is overrated anyways, right? You can squeeze in a quick nap on the subway, and besides, your first meeting isn't until 10:30 the next morning, which gives you plenty of time to caffinate before hand. At this point, there's no reason not to finish this book.
You finally finish the book, and the debate starts all over again.
You close the book after devouring every last word. By now, morning is right around the corner, so you really should try and get some shut eye. You return your book to it's rightful place on the bookshelf, and another title from your To Be Read Pile catches your eye. You pick it up instinctively and head back to bed. I mean, it's already so late, what's the point in denying yourself now?
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