The Generation That Never Sleeps, and Why
The early bird gets the worm. Work the longest hours and the hardest and you're bound to succeed. We've all heard these things from the generations preceding us, or at least seen posts about "grinding 25/8" on social media platforms.
While navigating the toxicity of hustle culture, pressures of late capitalism and the global shortcomings of implementing a true meritocracy, Gen Z just can't seem to sleep.
Averaging less than 7.5 hours of sleep, Gen Z is expected to perform at the highest levels with the least amount of energy. Millennials and Gen Z are just depressed, hypersensitive slobs who don't know the true meaning of hard work and waste their youth on their devices. Right?
Gen Z is perhaps the most affected by perfectionism and the pressures of productivity. Students are constantly struggling to push themselves into this idealised version of a "perfect teenager"; 8 hours at school, 8 hours for sleep and 8 hours of free time.
I, personally, go to an English medium school. Pre-pandemic, my day started at 6 AM for school, until 3:30 PM. Two hours of tuition, an hour of homework with an hour in frustrating Dhaka traffic. That's almost 14 hours of pure academics. Inadequacies of the education system dip into our free time.
Free time is an obsolete concept. For Gen Z, there is only time used and time wasted. They structure their lives around work, the only priority. Their youth is sacrificed for this notion of "a better future" that never seems to come. These stresses eat away at their meal and sleep. Worries of not doing enough, upcoming deadlines, the opportunity cost of resting is a constant source of stress and anxiety.
Our devices are an extension of our physical selves especially in a pandemic they're often our only connection to the outside world. The infinite scroll and hours on our Facebook feed take a toll on us. We consume so much more media on a daily basis. Compared to older generations, who had newspapers and TV for information, we have live minute-to-minute news. Logging off and digital detoxes are practically impossible. Global catastrophes, sexual violence, murder allegations are just things we consume every hour online. Even if it seems normal, on a subliminal level these stresses and worries seep into our minds. Blue light confuses the body with natural light and hampers the natural production of melatonin.
Some of us aren't built to wake up at 7 AM and work throughout the day, we'd much rather prefer putting in work at a later time in the day. People seem to assume early risers are higher achievers. We hear about CEOs waking up at 4 AM and internalise that as our only definition of success. Correlation isn't causation. Waking up early won't make you more successful and Gen Z is begging other generations to listen to them.
Aryah Jamil is mediocre at everything except laughing at her own jokes Tell her to stop talking at email@example.com