If there’s one thing I’ve regularly neglected throughout my adult life, it’s a consistent sleep schedule. In undergrad it was because I was working and going to classes, not to mention my piles of homework. In grad school, it was because I was working, interning, and going to classes. And once I graduated, I was so used to getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night that “a regular sleep schedule” was a foreign phrase to me.
Now, on a normal work week, I go to bed between midnight at 2 am and wake up between 7 and 7:30 am. On the weekend, I could be up until 3 am and not get out of bed until 11 am, which I hate. I feel unproductive and tired and like I’ve wasted the whole day. I remember that when I was growing up, my schedule might not have always been consistent, but it was better, and I definitely got more sleep overall. Bed time might range between 9 and 11, but I’d be up by 8, with few exceptions.
I can’t even begin to explain how many ways college messed up my lifestyle. From sleep to nutrition, I let a lot of self-care slide. I gained 30 pounds in college. I ate Poptarts for breakfast daily and huge burritos for lunch. I went to classes, worked, did homework, and then hung out with friends. They say when you’re in college you can choose two of three things: sleep, studying, and friends. I chose studying and friends.
So the focus of day 2 of my 30 day self-care and meditation challenge is sleep. Consistent sleep, to be more exact. The last two days I have made myself go to bed by midnight with the intention of eventually moving it back to 11 pm. During the week, my alarm is now set for 6:30 am, instead of 7:20 am. And on the weekend, like today, it’s set for 7:30 am.
I started wondering why I don’t do this normally; I really don’t like sleeping too late. Don’t get me wrong, I love sleep, and I want a lot. But I don’t like getting up late. I’ve always been both a morning person and a night owl, and as my body struggles to keep up, I realize it’s just not feasible anymore.
Some of the side effects of lack of sleep include:
- Weakened immunity
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
- And more!
And more sleep has these benefits:
- Improves memory
- Lowers stress levels
- Is linked to healthier weight
- And more!
Now, even though my test results for thyroid came back negative yesterday (YAY!), it doesn’t change the fact that I’m dealing with other signs of poor health. I still have low B12 levels, which affects my energy levels (and some people say is linked to poor nutrition). I’m taking supplements, but I can’t afford to add poor sleep to my already low energy levels.
Plus, so many influential and successful people get up early and keep to a routine. Who am I to argue with President Obama?
It also allows me to meditate, journal, plan my day, and even read without feeling like I’ve lost the morning. In fact, it’s 2:30 pm, and I’ve already done the above-mentioned things, taken a short walk, done laundry, read for a couple hours, and had a healthy breakfast and lunch. I feel energetic and focused. In fact, I’m about to go make some refrigerator pickles…
What about you? Are you a night owl or a morning person? Or, are you like me and tend to stay up late and wake up early? And how consistent is your sleep schedule?