Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back To School: Get your sleep schedule back

We all know that a good nights sleep is important, year round, and especially for school (or work!). But during the summer our sleeping hours tend to make a big shift from the school year. And getting our sleep schedule back can be one of the hardest things about going back to school. It's most certainly not easy to go from going to bed at 4 in the morning, or even later then that (I know that it can be very easy to pull an all nighter in the summer, LOL!), to going to bed at your usual bedtime. Nor is it easy to go from waking up around noon, to waking up at your usual wake-up time for school. With a few weeks of summer left, about 2 and a half for me at the time of writing this (some people may have a few extra weeks, or even less), it's time to start adjusting back into school mode.

I tend to have a really hard time sleeping on the night before the first day, and it's worsened by a messed up sleep schedule. Remember that excitement and anxiety over the first day of school can keep you from falling asleep. Though I don't have trouble waking up on the first day, and my excitement keeps me going and feeling energized throughout the day, I tend to pay for the lack of sleep the second or third day, up until the week is over. And of course while the tiredness later in the week usually gets my to sleep much quicker, I shouldn't use this kick in the behind to adjust my sleep schedule. There's really no reason that anyone should have to feel tired and groggy during the first week of school, or even the first day.

While you still have some flexibility with your time, it wouldn't be a bad idea to start at least trying to go to bed earlier and waking up earlier. Try to start going to bed 30 minutes to an hour earlier every night, or every couple nights. This will help your body slowly get used to the change. You don't have to get all the way down to your bedtime (but or course it would never hurt to do so), but try to get within an hour of it. Pick a time (ex. 4:00 am) and gradually get earlier from there (2 o 3 nights earlier: 3:30, a couples nights later: 3:00, and so on...) Try to get off the computer at least half an hour before this time, and get try to do something relaxing, not involving technology. Read a book, take a warm shower, listen to music that relaxes you (avoid pump-up songs, and dance songs if they really get you going), or anything that relaxes you. Just try to keep off the internet and avoid texting. It's very easy to get ignore your bedtime when you're doing these things.
      -if you can, it wouldn't be a bad idea to charge your cellphone away from your bed so you aren't as tempted to stay up texting or playing games. And if you use your phone as your alarm, you'll then have to get up to turn off the alarm. I'll be doing another post on getting a good nights sleep in the future. 

I know that just about everyone strongly dislikes waking up early, especially for school. Of course excitement usually makes it easy on the first day or 2, but eventually the lack of sleep will want to take over if no adjustments are made. Just like with the sleep schedule, you should try waking up a bit earlier every day or couple days. And you don't have to get down to your wake up time for school until the time comes. But get with at least an hour or two of it. Set an alarm (maybe keep it out of reach from your bed so you cant just turn it off, but you actually have to get up) and get up at that time, and set it a little earlier every day. And TRY NOT TO FALL BACK ASLEEP, get out of bed! If you wish, you can run through your school morning routine a couple times to get back into the swing of it, or to figure out what time you'll need to get up if your routine changed. This also accounts for the fact that you're tired. 
      -If you wake up a lot earlier then usual during the summer, this can also help to kind of jump start you back into your sleep schedule if you feel tireder at the end of the day. Just try not to take a huge nap in the middle of the day, LOL. If you really need it 15- 30 minutes is good enough.

Some little tips:
♥ Try your very hardest to fall asleep, don't give up if you can't fall asleep right away. Your body needs to adjust. And it's best to try to make slower adjustments. 

♥ If you have a really hard time sleeping, you may want to start off even earlier, and even get down to your actual bedtime.

♥ On the night before the first day, go to bed a little earlier then usual, as your excitement may keep you from falling asleep as fast. 

♥ Try to aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep. I'm guilty of not doing this at all, but I really should try this. 

1 comment:

  1. I really love this post! I always have such a hard time getting back into my sleep schedule, and this gave me some really good ideas! Thanks! (: