Wait…Sleep is a Thing?

Ever since I was in middle school, I have had a terrible sleep schedule. In middle school, I went from getting the standard eight hours of sleep to getting about six hours of sleep per night. I would go to sleep at around midnight and I would wake up at six in the morning to get ready for school.

Although the standard of six hours per night seemed to work for me then, the hours I got to sleep per night decreased even more when I moved onto high school. In high school, I went from getting six hours of sleep per night to alternating between four to five hours per night. I was stilling getting up at six in the morning; however, I was finding it harder to go to sleep at midnight due to assignments I would stay up doing. The tactic of going to sleep and finishing the assignment the next day when I woke up did not work for me, as the anxiety I had over not completing the assignments I needed to would keep me up anyway.

This trend has only seemed to increase and worsen as I have started my college career. I have messed up my sleeping schedule so badly that the most sleep I am getting is four hours per night, and the least amount I have been able to run on is about one and a half hours per night. This lack of sleep is mostly due to the amount of essays and assignments I receive as an English Education major. Even when I may not have many assignments due on a specific night, I still will not be able to go to sleep earlier as I have now conditioned myself to staying up into the early hours of the morning.

Sleeping anywhere from one and a half hours to four hours per night is clearly not a healthy habit that I have. I believe that most of the memory problems I find myself having can be largely attributed to my lack of sleep, as I am not allowing enough time for things to be stored in my long-term memory in my sleep cycle. I believe my lack of sleep is also affecting my ability to focus in my classes, as I find myself struggling to pay attention to my professors on the days I only have one and a half hours of sleep; this is clearly an issue that I should attempt to fix quickly, before it majorly begins to affect my academic performance.

Realistically, I believe that as a college student, a realistic goal for sleep per night is five to six hours. Although eight hours would seem ideal, I do not believe that juggling my job, school work, and my social life would allow me to get that many hours. In order to improve my sleeping habits and attempt to get those five to six hours of sleep every night, I need to make more of a conscious effort to not procrastinate and refrain from using technology and doing other distracting tasks at least a half an hour before I plan to go to bed. I think it would also be beneficial if I set more of a standard time to go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning, rather than going to sleep and waking up at different times every day.

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2 thoughts on “Wait…Sleep is a Thing?”

  1. This post is interesting. I think starting from middle school this really exemplifies how everyone works differently with amounts of sleep. It is insane for me to imagine someone working on an hour and a half of sleep. That is literally one sleep cycle. I find it really interesting the connection to memory consolidation you made because you do not get a lot of sleep. This reminds me of Dr. McFarland’s lecture about micro naps because of the lack of sleep. Perhaps the lack of focus could be due to micro napping. I understand the anxiety of not falling asleep because of the class assignments. Procrastination is very difficult. I also do agree that balancing a job, school work, and a social life is extremely difficult. I think that your plan to set a standard time to wake up and go to bed is a great start. Good luck and sweet dreams.

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  2. Wow, getting only four hours of sleep is definitely not a lot. I personally would not be able to function! Everyone is different, however, and therefore not everyone needs the same amount of sleep in order to feel refreshed. Our circadian rhythm is approximately ninety minutes long so try to aim for sleeping at least 6, 7.5, or 9 hours. Getting six hours of sleep will make sure you are not being yanked out of stage 4 sleep, the deepest sleep in the sleep cycle, so you feel more awake in the morning and not as groggy. I know that nine hours may seem a little unrealistic for your sleep schedule, but try to get at least six. I know my first year of college took some getting used to; learning not to procrastinate is something I am still working on as well. It is hard not to procrastinate, but you can always start by doing little things like planning at the beginning of the week what you need to get done each day in order to make more time in your schedule for a good night’s rest.

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