On the first day of this semester, my math teacher asked our class for our New Year’s resolutions. Many of my classmates responded they wanted a better sleep schedule. As I heard their responses, I found myself nodding my head in ferocious agreement.
My sleep schedule, like many IMSA students, was awful during finals last semester. One day I’d go to sleep at 5 am and the next, I’d wake up at 5 am. Not only did the lack of sleep make it more difficult to focus in class, but it also contributed to a pounding headache and burning eyes. This discomfort was my sacrifice for the sake of finals, but in truth, if I planned it, I could have slept routinely and done well in finals. So, this semester, I decided to plan.
Why should you stay motivated to fix your sleep schedule?
You’ve clicked on this article, so odds are you already want to improve your sleep schedule and don’t need my convincing. However, knowing and then visualizing the benefits of better sleep can help you stick to your goals. When a person makes simple, small changes to acquire better sleep, they also benefit from an increased sense of productivity, more time to exercise and less energy for excuses, and quiet time, a wonderful piece of the day that often makes a person feel emotionally grounded. Imagine having time in for yourself, first thing in the day, instead of being bombarded with Zoom as soon as you open your eyes. Seems lovely, right?
So, how does one fix their sleep schedule?
Fixing your sleep schedule is personal, factors like genetics and responsibilities will affect a person’s progress. However, no matter your situation, practicing patience by transitioning into your new schedule slowly and remaining determined towards your sleep goal by sharing your progress with others will lead you to see results. On top of keeping patience and determination in mind, there are a few changes you can make to gear yourself. For starters, remember your reason. Are you sleeping earlier and waking up later to exercise, meditate or learn something? Whichever it be, keep your vision strong, perhaps by journaling or discussing it with others. Second, get out of your room, or even better, get out of your house. Putting yourself in a new environment, away from your bed, will wake you up. If you can, also put your curtains up before sleeping because watching the sunset and rise allows your circadian rhythms, our internal clocks, to align properly. Not only will an aligned circadian rhythm help your sleep schedule, but it also leads to better eating and health.
IMSA & Sleep
Not sleeping often is normalized in high school, but when you feel healthy, IMSA often becomes far less stressful because your focus is enhanced. By no means do you need to pin yourself to a perfect, non-malleable plan, there will be times when sleeping might not be the best move, but respecting your sleep schedule most of the time could give you a bit more clarity.