03/10/2014 10:46 am ET Updated Mar 10, 2014

The Ivy League's Insomnia Problem: When Lack Of Sleep Is A Competition

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As I write this, I’m deep in the throes of a bout of insomnia. They’re cyclical for me: two or three weeks of light, relatively normal sleep — followed by a week of not being able to fall or stay asleep at all. It’s a less-than-fun existence, and everyone with whom I’ve ever shared a room, from babyhood on, can testify to my seemingly never-ending quest for a good night’s sleep. Until college, I never thought of it as something to brag about.

Sleep, it seemed, was discouraged the moment I moved into the dorms at Princeton. My very first week, a group of Red Bull marketers left a four-pack of the energy drink at the door of the suite I shared with three other girls. With it was a preprinted note exhorting us to make the most of our time at Princeton — by using Red Bull to stay awake for all four years, presumably.

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