Sleep Deprivation Is Not Your Friend (A Speech)

A little while back, I unveiled my true identity on this blog. I mentioned that it was partly because it would allow me to offer you other content, content that would be impossible to hide behind the two dimensional cartoon-face drawing that represented the pseudonym of Phil. Here is one such bit.

The premise of the speech is simply to entertain with a serious undertone. So, without further ado, I give you a link to my After Dinner Speech. (It begins at 55:37 into the OSAA’s video and is about seven minutes long.) You can find the hilarious, amusing, entertaining, poignant*, funny speech here.

*It’s not actually poignant. You should know me well enough by now to have figured that out.

4 Ways to Stay Awake in Class

(as always, click to zoom)

(as always, click to zoom)

“Similarly to the amplitude of sinusoidal wave, the obtuse transmutation of the radius/diameter ration is…” And, boom. You’re asleep.

It’s a common occurrence. Depending on the teacher, anywhere from 1 to 90 students may fall asleep in any one class. (No, classes don’t have more than 30 or so students in them, but, depending on the teacher, they may accidentally put entire adjacent classes to sleep as well).

Falling asleep in class is obviously caused by the fact that you don’t get enough sleep. But getting enough sleep is an unrealistic expectation; nobody does that nowadays, not even the Pope—he retired to try to get more sleep. Heck, if we all got enough sleep, we probably would have invented a vaccine for Bieber fever by now.

So, since you’re not likely to get any more sleep, you’ve got to work on staying awake in class. When you fall asleep in class, you usually miss out on vital information that you’ll never need to know to get a job in the future, such as the cosine of a metaphor. Thus, in an effort to help you stay awake, I’ve compiled a few tips that I’ve personally tested*.

*Just not necessarily outside of my imagination.

Shout Embarrassing Things

Adrenaline is great. It keeps us alert when we are facing a terrible situation, such as the possibility that our phone just died. It keeps us from relaxing the night before a big test on the social history of the 9000s, B.C.E. It even gives us a friendly ol’ heart attack when we can’t find our English homework in our binder immediately.

So, why not harness the power of adrenaline to stay awake in class? Train yourself to shout embarrassing things, like “I haven’t brushed my teeth in three months!” or “Does anyone else remember the time I peed myself in fourth grade?” Then, as soon your brain realizes what you just said in your tiredness-induced state, the sheer adrenaline should shake you awake.


Another way to get your adrenaline pumping is to exercise. After all, if you’re like me, you don’t usually fall asleep while playing sports. Heck, the only people who do are usually curling athletes, and when that happens—although I didn’t think it was possible—the sport becomes even more hilarious.

As soon as you feel those eyes droop, start exercising. Mind you, you’re probably sitting in a desk, so you’re going to have to get creative. Pick up your textbooks and do some bicep curls. Lift up your legs and start frantically waving them. Take your hand and jog laps around your desktop with your fingers. Sure, people might begin to think you’re crazy, but hey, nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like a straitjacket.

Use a Water Bottle

Water bottles are terrific when it comes to staying awake in class, and you can use them many ways. If it’s the last class of the day, you can just drench yourself in water and you should be uncomfortable enough that you can’t fall asleep. As a bonus, this can make it look like you wet your pants, which is embarrassing enough to kick in some adrenaline* as well.

If it is the beginning of the day, you can just sip some water—but don’t swallow it. Instead, keep it in your cheeks for as long as possible. This causes you to focus on the water in your mouth, which in turn keeps you awake.

Of course, you may look and feel like a beached whale, and you can’t talk for the rest of class, but at least you are awake. Once you get good at this, though, you may find that you still fall asleep—since you have to focus on it less—so at that point it’s a good idea to invest in a live goldfish or two to make things more interesting.

Finally, if you get a sports water bottle with the nozzle top where you must squeeze/suck the bottle to get water out, you can strategically position it on your desk so that when your head falls forward asleep, you land on the bottle and it squirts you in the neck, splashing you awake. The only risk is that if you’re incredibly tired, you might somehow drown, but that’s pretty rare.

*I am not an actual doctor or biologist. I have no idea if adrenaline is the right term to keep using. As far as I know, adrenaline is what causes puberty, adrenaline is what leaks out of your veins when you get a paper cut, and cancer of the adrenaline is the #1 leading cause of death in teens ages 20-29.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Even though our elementary school teachers really emphasized this technique, I’ve never had to stop, drop, and roll after catching on fire. Thankfully, I’ve never actually caught on fire. Of course, I’ve also never had to write in cursive, nor go to Sally’s house and ask to borrow eight cookies, leaving her with three cookies left, so go figure.

The point is, nobody has any idea if stop, drop, and roll actually works. Have you ever actually seen someone use this technique effectively? In all honesty, it sounds like the sort of thing I would come up with on this blog. For all we know, stopping, dropping, and rolling only makes sure you’re evenly roasted like some sort of grotesque hot-dog. I mean, if you’re trying to put a fire out, it’s probably harder to aim the hose at the frantic person rolling around spastically on the lawn than it is to spray a person standing still.

But since nobody knows if stop, drop, and roll actually works, you can pretend you’re on fire in class. By the time you’ve stopped rolling around, the “fire” will be put out, so your teacher can’t definitively say whether or not you had been on fire in the first place. And, in dropping and rolling, you’ve probably gotten enough exercise/adrenaline/painful injuries that you can stay awake for the rest of class.

This technique works especially well in classes that actually deal with fire, such as chemistry class, cooking class, or study hall.


Hopefully, you’ll find success with at least one of these techniques. And, hopefully, you won’t be expelled for being schizophrenic or mentally unstable, either. After all, you know what they say: sleep is the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Yes, that means that humans didn’t actually need to sleep until after we invented sliced bread. It’s some odd medical relationship that has to do with the adrenaline of slicing bread, I think).

Yes, I haven’t posted in over a week. Sorry about that, but it’s hard to be funny on less sleep than you have fingers on one hand. Nonetheless, you can always just pretend that it’s 2012 and go read last April’s posts. Of course, if you need something to take up your time, you could work on suing your school to pay for college, as detailed in School Desks: 3 Lawsuits Waiting to Happen (Or, How to Pay for College), published this time last year.

As a heads up, there may be a few changes (one minor, and one semi-major) coming up in the next few months, so stay tuned.

How To Painlessly Transition Back into School Mode

A picture of someone rolling dice. Summer’s almost over. Or, depending on where you are, it is over. In that case, think of it this way: summer hasn’t started yet.

That means a number of things, such as the fact that you will have to go back to school, the stores near you will start trying to entice you to buy $567.99 mechanical pencils (that’s for a pack of 2, by the way, not 1, so it’s actually a great deal) by marking them down 15%, and your life will slowly get bleaker until your vision becomes black and white.

Since I have no control over the last two of those things, I’m going to deal with the first one. I have no control over that, either, of course, but this is supposed to be a clever, reasonable transition, and not some random tangent about how I have absolutely no control over your life.

(I also have no direct control over some of my vital organs, like my heart, liver, or intestine, which sort of scares me, although I guess that means I don’t have to worry about them revolting against me or anything like that.)

Anyways, let’s talk about the first thing in that list: going back to school.

For the past three months, you’ve been sleeping in, been eating whenever you feel like it, been going to the bathroom whenever you want, and been enjoying the freedom to eat while falling asleep in the bathroom. That’s all about to change, drastically.

School is about to run your life. Your mental condition, your physical condition, and your schedule will all be centered on this school thing. Thankfully, school is also unable to control your liver, intestine, or heart. They will remain independent democracies, autocracies, or organocracies (government by the organs, for the organs).

The Sleep Schedule

You’re about to go from more than enough sleep to so little sleep you’ll find that blinking twice right before you get to school will double your sleep time.

Obviously, you can’t just jump into a schedule like this cold turkey. I don’t even think turkeys can jump, especially if they are cold.

No, you need to prepare yourself. However, you can’t just decrease your sleep amount. That’s because you’d still be getting quality, relaxing, uninterrupted sleep.

What you need to do is to wake up a number of times each night, pretending to be totally freaked out about something school-related.

So, for your first day of transitioning-training, you could wake up at 4:00 AM and pretend to worry about your poetry analysis for English class. Increase the number of times and importance of the things you wake up worrying about until, for the few days right before school starts, you end up with a schedule like this (obviously, of course, your projects/worries will still be fictional, as school won’t have started yet. They should, however, be realistic, to best prepare yourself):

1:00 AM: Go to sleep.

1:05 AM: Wake up wondering if you remembered to email your group your video about the life cycle of a bean plant.

1:06 AM: Worry that your bean plant container might have fallen over in a gust of wind during the night.

1:07 AM: Worry about the SAT as a general, hazy horror. Eventually fall back to sleep.

1:11 AM: Awaken worrying specifically about the vocabulary section of the SAT.

1:12 AM: Stress over the fact that your bean plant assignment is due tomorrow.

1:14 AM: Wonder if you remembered to email your bean plant video to your group members.

1:15 AM: Fall back to sleep.

1:32 AM: Wake up worrying that some obscure part of the bean plant’s biology will be a word on the vocabulary section of the SAT.

1:33 AM: Wonder if you remembered to email your group members your video about the SAT vocabulary section.

1:34 AM: Stress out because you realize you are so tired and overworked that you were worrying about emailing your group a video about the SAT instead of a video about bean plants.

1:35 AM: Did you email the bean plant video? What if your group members were already asleep?

1:37 AM: Or, what if your SAT vocabulary score is a negative number?

1:38 AM: Worry that colleges will find out about your probably-failed bean plant project and probably-achieved negative SAT score and never accept you, at any college.

1:40 AM: Fall back to sleep.

2:01 AM: Wake up after hearing a noise in the night. Oh god, what if it was your bean plant container blowing over? Or colleges dropping preemptive rejection letters on your doorstep through an air-drop? Or your angry group members trying to break in and punish you for forgetting to email that video?

2:03 AM: Fall asleep, hiding under the sheets.

(Repeat until about 6:00 AM).

The Food Schedule

This is slightly easier to transition into, because schools know that while you can survive up to nine months with minimal breaks on blinks, you can’t make it nine months without food.

Therefore, you really just need to get used to only eating at lunchtime. This sounds easy, but it is still a challenge. After all, you must cut out your after breakfast snack, your early morning snack, your mid-morning snack, your dessert for your mid-morning snack, your late morning snack, your last snack before you really eat lunch, and the bites you nibble while making lunch.

Easy ways to avoid constant snacking include occupying yourself with other things, such as your hunger; keeping your mind off food, by doing something like reading a recipe book; and drinking lots of water to fill your stomach. However, you probably shouldn’t drink too much water, because of something called:

The Bathroom Schedule

Bathrooms are also one of those things schools figure that you really need to make it until next summer. However, they limit the time you can go to the bathroom, which is vastly different from your summer schedule.

Over the summer, since you can use the bathroom whenever you want, you might use it once or twice a month*. During school, though, because you are only allowed to use it at certain times, you feel a slight need to use it at least every other break, just in case, leading to 4,558 trips to the bathroom a day.

*This is a gross exaggeration; do not try to only use the bathroom once or twice a month. However, it is not a gross gross exaggeration. That would be something like “you only go to the bathroom once or twice a month for 6 hours at a time, nonstop, as everything leaves your body faster than a skydiver leaving a plane with a bad song playing on it’s stereo.”

To adequately prepare yourself, you should roll a die twice right after you wake up in the morning (at 6:00 AM, after a terrible night’s sleep). You’ll have time to do it when you’d normally be eating your early morning snack. Then, take the two numbers and place them next to each other.

So, if you rolled a 3 and a 5, this means you must limit yourself to using the bathroom during times of :35, like 9:35. If you roll one 6, make it the second number. If you roll two sixes, that’s just too bad. Looks like your bathrooms are fictionally out of order for the entire day.

Looking back at these things, you might want to laugh. Waking up and pretending to worry? Not eating your 6 vital morning snacks? Rolling dice to see when you can use the bathroom?

You can laugh, but there’s really no reason to. After all, school starts soon. And these actions are as small as your brain when compared the large changes that school will bring. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go negotiate with my heart and intestine for another eight months of mutual cooperation.

Last year at this time we covered the terror known as athletic clearance with “Are You Athletically Cleared?” If you are alive, and are not bleeding, throwing up, or getting married right now, I strongly suggest you read it.

Also, I’ve got a few questions for you guys as we head back into the school year (feel free to reply in the comments or by emailing us):

1) Would you rather see a long post 1-2 times a week, or a shorter post 2-3 times a week? If shorter, how short?

2) Can you see the pictures that accompany the posts? I received a note from one reader that they were having trouble doing so, and I’d hate it for you to be missing out. If you are having troubles, email me and we can try to work it out. (There’s no need for this if you can see the pictures, just if you’re having a problem).

It’s Summer; Sleep In Until Bedtime

A 'math' equation about sleepNow, if you think about it, sleep is pretty awesome. For one thing, you can’t do homework (not good) while asleep. You can’t do chores (also not a good thing to do) while asleep. If you’re asleep, you’re not dead (another thing it’s generally terrible to be), unless, of course, you are using the word sleep as euphemism*.

*And that’s just not right. Are you sure you’re a teen? How do you even know that word?

But some people aren’t so gung-ho about sleep. You probably don’t even do those people the justice of calling them human; you probably call them parents.

Now it’s not as if all parents are against sleep. No, they want us to get sleep. However, they want us to get sleep when they say so. This, dear readers, is a problem.

When to Be Awake

Ideally, you’d be awake from the hours of 7:00 PM through to 6:00 AM. We all know that those are the best hours. First of all, the fact that it is summer means the sun is out a lot. If you are outside during the day, you might get sunburnt. Worse, there is a 100% chance that you’ll maybe probably get skin cancer. That’s awful.

But if you’re out and about from 7:00 PM-6:00 AM, it is unlikely you’ll get skin cancer. The sun will be setting and rising, not directly above you.

There are other benefits to these hours as well. For example, food. Breakfast is by far the best meal of the day; it is the meal where you can basically eat just dessert. You can choose from sugary cereals, pancakes and syrup, waffles and syrup, oatmeal and brown sugar, orange juice that was ‘naturally’ sweetened, toast and cinnamon-sugar, fresh fruit and syrup, syrup and sugar, and, best of all, sugary cereal and syrup with a light dash of sugar.

So, let’s say you get up at the nice ripe time of 7:00 PM. You should have breakfast, because you just woke up. Then, you might have a snack, which, by definition, should be junk food or leftover breakfast. By 12:00 AM you’re ready for lunch, and, oh, would you look at that, it’s the AM again, so you should have breakfast food. Then, at 5:00 AM, you should eat a dinner, but who eats steak or pasta at 5:00 AM? That’s just weird. So, you should have breakfast foods again.

Why There is No Problem Here

I’m positive that, as a teen, you agree with ninety percent of what I just said, and didn’t understand the other ten percent. However, your parents are a different story; they may be convinced that the above reasoning is lunacy.*

*Like euphemism, you should not know what this word means. Move along.

So, I’ll explain the arguments to you, so you can thus explain it to your parents.

To start, you are still getting plenty of sleep. Do the math, and you’ll see that you’re getting a good strong 13 hours of sleep. It’s not the most possible sleep, but it is hopefully enough to survive. Putting that into perspective for your parents, it is known that the Koala bear sleeps around 22 hours every day. And here you are asking for only 13. Totally reasonable.

Furthermore, who says that your parents are right? Why are humans supposed to be awake during the day, and asleep during the night? Now that we have electricity, anything’s possible. Putting aside that convincing skin cancer argument, just look at what your parents are supporting.

In the last hundred years of sleeping at night and getting up early, we’ve been through 2 World Wars, created global warming, come close to all-out nuclear war, have had numerous years of bad economies, and have watched Justin Bieber rise to fame. What if the cause of all these awful things is the fact that people have been awake when they were really supposed to be asleep, making them less rational, alert, and content? Prove it wasn’t.

Finally, sleeping in as often and as late as you want is good for security reasons. If you’re up during the night, then you’ll be more likely to warn of or fend off a surprise night attack by the Russian Mafia, Italian Mob, or Door-to-Door Landscaping Service Salesmen.

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” may still be true. But we’re teens. We don’t care about our health, wealth, or wisdom. We care abou-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Last year at this time, we brought you a couple of vacation topic-centered posts, including “How to Get to the Airport on Time,” “What can You Learn from Hotel Amenities?“, and, highlighting a popular vacation destination, “The Big Apple: Is There a Worse Name?