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How I Fixed My Awful Sleep Schedule in One Week

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PSU chapter.

From last spring semester to about two weeks ago, I was stuck with a terrible sleep schedule that I felt absolutely hopeless about changing. I couldn’t seem to fall asleep until it was after 3 a.m., which led to so many nights where I’d lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, tossing and turning, just trying to fall asleep.

I tried Melatonin, no screens for hours before bed, watching ASMR, listening to sleep music, listening to white noise, the Calm app and literally everything I could think of. Nothing seemed to help me fall asleep and stay asleep before 3 a.m. My mind would race all night and I started developing horrible anxiety around sleep.

I have to get up at 5:30 a.m. for work on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so my 3 to 5:30 a.m. sleep schedule was horrendous for my health. I would lie down at 11 p.m. and as I lay there throughout the night, I’d tell myself “only five more hours to sleep, only four more hours to sleep, only three more hours to sleep” etc., completely stressing myself out.

Sleep became so elusive that I started dreading going to bed. I was exhausted throughout my days and completely reliant on caffeine. My sleep schedule that I accidentally got myself stuck on was ruining my fall semester. I was tired and sick all the time.

Over winter break, I decided that I was determined to fix my sleep schedule, so I started by being in bed with no screens by 10 p.m. every night. I was hoping that being back in my big comfy bed without the sounds of traffic out my window would allow me to fall asleep earlier, but this plan was unsuccessful. All I did was lay there until my regular 3 a.m. sleep time. So, I knew I would have to get creative.

I started to keep a sleep log using things I did throughout my day and information from my Fitbit. I wrote down what time I fell asleep and how long I slept based on my Fitbit data, then kept a log of my caffeine intake throughout the day, my level of physical activity, what I listened to/watched before bed, if I napped at all throughout the day and more.

Then, I decided to try a set wake-up time, regardless of what I was doing the next day.

I have a bad habit of setting my alarm based on my daily schedule, rather than keeping a consistent wake-up time range. So, in the mornings that I get up early for work, I’m up by 5:30 a.m., but on days that I don’t have class until 11 a.m., I often asleep until 9 a.m. This inconsistency was supporting my terrible sleep schedule. 

Because I was home for winter break with my family, I told my brother and sister to wake me up before they left for school, so by 7:15 a.m. every day. I decided that regardless of how late I was up the night before, I would get out of bed and start my day at that time.

The first night, I didn’t fall asleep until 4:28 a.m. But, just like I told him to, my brother woke me up at 7:15 a.m. and I went through my day with no caffeine, no naps and running on less than three whole hours of sleep. I can’t lie, that day was miserable.

But, I made it through, and that night, I crashed by 11 p.m. for the first time in months. I was woken up by my sister at 7:15 a.m. the next day as well, but this time with a full night of sleep.

That day, I decided that I’d get something else to try to help me sleep. I went to Sheetz and bought CBD gummies that contained melatonin. I had never tried them before, and that night when I took them around 9:45 p.m., I was asleep by 10:45 p.m. With the CBD gummies, I was able to fall asleep and stay asleep until my alarm went off, which was such a relief. The next day, I got up at 7:15 a.m. again and stuck with the cycle for the rest of the week. 

Throughout one week of taking CBD gummies and waking up at the same time no matter what, I was able to get my sleep schedule back on track. Now that I’m back at school, I fall asleep naturally between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., which is so much better than before. Nights before I have to wake up early for work, I take two CBD gummies around 9:30 and sleep through the night.

If you’re someone struggling with a sleep schedule that you feel trapped in, try a consistent wake-up time and CBD gummies. As long as you are over eighteen, you can purchase them over-the-counter at your local Sheetz or on Amazon.

Getting a full eight hours of sleep a night is so important for our bodies, mental health, physical health and general happiness. I feel so much better now that I have found a way to make my sleep schedule work for me, rather than scheduling classes and shifts around it. 

Emma is a third-year Elementary and Early Childhood Education major at Penn State University. When she's not writing, you can usually find her singing, reading, painting, going on walks, hanging out with friends/her incredible boyfriend, and drinking iced chai lattes. Outside of Her Campus, Emma is the President of the Penn State Singing Lions, a Students United Against Poverty Ambassador, a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honors fraternity, and works at an after-school program.