Sleep Schedule

11 Dec

brandi with symphony-better qualityOver Thanksgiving, with all the travel and none of the school or work I managed to mess up my sleep schedule.  And so it reminded me how imperative a sleep schedule is, and how I shouldn’t take mine for granted.  Ever since I messed mine up, I’ve been kind of a wreck, with low energy, lower motivation–not to mention spacey during the day.  Part of this is due to mental fatigue and just having finished two important exams, two papers, a power-point, a presentation  and a final project, while sort of working–but it IMG_20121124_210444has a lot to do with sleep too.  It’s a frustrating scene, but one that helps prove my below points–a tight sleep-schedule is absolutely critical and it’s a simple thing to do.  My problem?  I can’t commit to times right now.  I’m not sure if I want to wake up at 4 AM in order to rock the work day (which means going to sleep at 7 PM), or go to bed at 8:30 PM on school and off-days (and being tired or sleeping in until the 5’s).  Maybe I’ll split the difference.  Or maybe I’ll rest now, then get back to the 4 AM grind when spring semester kicks off.  Either way, my scene needs fixing.  Here’s the long version of why:

A Tightly-Controlled Sleep Schedule is imperative:

-Sleep has everything to do with productivity.  When you’re rested, you maximize energy levels, and output.  Rest and proper sleep makes:  Students learn better, gives motivation to clean the house, allows you to feel energized enough to exercise, let’s adults function at a higher level, the list goes on. . .

-Sleep makes you have a better attitude.  This one is especially true for me.  If I’m tired, I’m a bear-cat no one wants to deal with!  I think patience and rest are tied together.  It makes sense.

-Sleep is healthy.  You can tell people that are chronically tired, or always worn down, because compared to people that sleep well, they are not only tired, but get sick more often.  True story.  Immune systems need time to repair.

-Sleeping = stability.  Having a routine is a stabilizing force and comforting to our psyche.  Ask any dog or infant, and they’ll agree.

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How to maintain it:

-In the planning phase, evaluate how much sleep you need.  Not how much you want, but how much your mind and body requires to be at its best.  There’s a difference.  I WISH I was one of those people who could get by with 6.5 hours or less, but my body says 9 hours is perfect, and 8.5 will do.

-The first step?  You need to commit.  This is the main thing at the start of this sleep endeavor   Pick a wake and a sleep time, then stick to both–no matter what.  On weekends, if you feel tired at one end or the other, etc. . .

-Key Point:  Keep getting up at your wake up time–even if you’re super-tired.  This “sets” your body’s alarm.

-Speaking of alarms–snooze is the enemy in this process.  Press it, and it messes up the process of setting your internal alarm and waking point.  Also, why bother, because a ten minute snooze is not restful and doesn’t allow for actual sleep.  Put your alarm across the room.  You need to get out of bed and stay out in the morning.

-Point 2 regarding the wake and sleep set-points:  Lie in bed at night even if you cannot actually sleep.  Putting your sleep time earlier is sometimes confusing to the body and it argues it’s not tired yet. Optimally, you will lie in the dark, doing relaxation exercises, and eventually sleeping.  But at the very least lie there and read.

-You WILL be super tired for the first week of change.  Get through week 1 and you’re home-free.  Once the body is past this week, it will start to sleep and wake at these times on its own accord.  I swear, I never use an alarm clock (though I set one, just to ease my worry).  I never actually sleep until it goes off, because my internal alarm is trained so well.

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