Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Get On A Better Sleep Schedule

We all know that how well you sleep at night can affect how you feel and perform the next day. It's a well known fact that we should be getting at least 7-8 hours or sleep at night, and have a regular bedtime. Some of you may be very good with this, and you have a very good sleep schedule in place. Others, myself included, do not have a very healthy sleep schedule in place. My sleep schedule is absolutely horrific, and I certainly feel it's effects during the day. Not only is my bedtime way into the latest hours of the night, or should I say, earliest hours of the morning, but it's also very inconsistent. I'll go to bed anywhere between 12:00 am- 1:30 am or later, on a school night. I find myself feeling really drowsy throughout the day, to the point where picking up a pencil seems physically demanding, and I'll often come home and take a long nap. My naps can sometimes even exceed the hours of sleep I get at night. 

I've heard somewhere that not getting enough sleep can take a toll on how well you do in school. I'm not sure if my terrible sleep schedule has affected my grades or not because I am still getting high test scores and I get all A's and B's on my report cards, although I sometimes find it hard to focus in class. But I have noticed it's toll on my mood and how I feel. I'll often feel really grumpy, and sometimes just not want to talk to anyone or do anything. Sometimes I'll even feel physically sick, with a headache or slight belly ache, mostly in the first hour or so after I wake up. I know that my terrible sleeping habits have a lot to do with why I'm not always feeling my best, and I really need to work on setting a better sleep schedule. 

The first step in getting on a better sleep schedule is to set a bedtime. It's best to pick a bedtime that would allow you to get the full 7-8 hours of sleep, but I know that I would never be able to stick to this myself. Try to at least set your bedtime before midnight, and don't set it much later than 11:00 p.m. Once you have figured out your bedtime, stick to it and go to bed at that time. Don't make excuses to stay up, even for just a couple more minutes. Save that YouTube video for tomorrow, tell the friends you're texting or instant messaging goodnight, put your book down, and turn off the light. It's best to shut off your cellphone so you're not tempted to start texting again or play games, but I know that many of you probably use your phone as your alarm. If this is the case, you might want to consider charging your phone on the other side of the room where to can't easily reach it at night. This also forces you to have to get out of bed in the morning to shut it off.

One of my biggest issues with my bedtime is waiting for my friends to go to bed before I go to bed. I have many friends that are 2 to 3 hours behind me in their time zone. When it's 12 in the morning for me it's only 9 or 10 for them. This is also why I couldn't commit myself to going to bed at 9 or 10, because I  won't get as much time to talk to them then. If you have friends in other time zones, you can surely stay up a little bit longer to chat with them. But when your bedtime gets near it's time to say goodnight and log off.

I also often run into not being really tired when I go to bed at night, or being unable to sleep for whatever reason. Most likely because I take a long nap after school, so I'm not as tired as I would be if I had skipped or shortened that nap. Not only am I unable to sleep at night because of my 3-5 hour nap, but I also don't get much done during the day. If you're really tired, try taking a 15-30 minute nap, but no longer. This will help to give you an extra push to go to bed earlier as well. If you have a hard time staying awake, try doing something to keep your mind going. Write a blog post, read a book, chat with a friend, or even watch some YouTube videos. Whatever keeps you awake. :)

You may be surprised at how much better you feel if you get on a better and more regular sleep schedule. I am  certainly going to make an effort to try getting on a better sleep schedule. Would you say you have a good sleep schedule, or is that something you need to work on?

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