The Beauty In An Early Alarm

A deleterious sleeping pattern plagued me amid my freshman year of high school. Long gone were the golden nights of 8 hour slumbers. I said goodbye to bagless under eyes and a youthful energized glow. High school has more academic work than middle school, that’s a given. My 15 year old self struggled to balance my new study habits into my after school ritual. Studying took priority and everything else took the back seat; that included sleep! 

The worst part about running on 5 (and sometimes less ) hours of sleep each day for 5 days of the week isn’t the continuous feeling of deliriousness. It isn’t walking through the week day trying desperately to keep my eyes open. The worst part was waking up on the weekends past 12 p.m. There were days I found myself opening my eyes to start the day at 2 p.m. On the days that I had a break from school; where I could enjoy my day of leisure and fun… I was passed out in bed as the sun burned outside my window, covered by a drawn shade. 

I’d wake up and look at the time that had gone by as I was sleeping into oblivion. This wave of shame flooded over me. That is how I woke up during weekends, holiday breaks, and summer vacation. Full of shame. I’d think about all I could have done if I had just gone to bed earlier, and thus woken up at a humane hour. 

These unhealthy sleeping patterns were, without a doubt, the main contributor to my high school mental health problems. Any stress I was suffering with, any insecurities I held, all stemmed from the fact that I was a walking, sleep-deprived zombie. 

I love the idea of mornings. Potential awaits when the sun rises. The air is fresher, the streets are quieter. Everyone is enjoying a cup of coffee, not chugging it down their throats hoping to get a burst of energy. There is time to be productive. Time to enjoy the day! Most importantly, time to yourself.

College started, and something inside of me changed. I suppose I had an internal revelation and decided I could no longer survive without sleeping. If I thought high school was tough, I was in for a rude awakening come my college academics. I let myself fall asleep early, and found myself opening my eyes at 8, sometimes even 7 a.m., excited to wake up and enjoy the morning. 

Now I get out of bed and open my shades, allowing in the fresh sunlight. I make my coffee, and don’t get infuriated by how long my Keurig takes to brew a cup, as I’m not running late for anything. I’ve just started living in the city of Boston; there is something to explore on every corner. My favorite way to start a morning is by taking a stroll around the city. Whether I’m alone and listening to music, or accompanied by a friend and chatting in the early hours, the beginning to my day is relaxing and enjoyable. 

I know waking up early in the teenage mind seems like the last of solutions to internal anxieties. I cannot stress, however, how good about myself I feel if I get an early start. Suddenly, I have so much control over the course of the day. I’m no longer running around frantically to compete with the constraints of time. I’m relishing the hours that pass and finding myself with extra time on my hands. I’m able to go to bed knowing I was as productive as possible, and find myself excited to wake up and do it all over again.