A Month for Me…Sleep (Day 2)

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
  • Irritability
  • 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?

Meditating today left me feeling calmer, less irritable, and more aware of my surroundings.


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