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Why (& How) You Should Ditch Your College Sleep Schedule

College students are notorious for staying up late and sleeping in even later. Although a 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. sleep schedule might be fun in the short term, it doesn’t set you up for long term success. Waking up earlier and getting to bed sooner is a simple way you can enhance your productivity every day.

Woman Sitting on Chair While Leaning on Laptop
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I’m constantly talking to other students about how we are “so busy” and “don’t have enough time” for this commitment or that class, but how are we managing our time? By prioritizing sleep, schoolwork and other important activities above watching Netflix with the roommates until 2 a.m., you can change the amount of usable time in your day. We all get 24 hours, and if you wake up by 8 or 9 a.m., you’ll get to take advantage of more of them. Consider what positive effects could come from adding a few more hours to your day. Maybe you could begin journaling, be less rushed in the morning, or have time to pick out an outfit (instead of throwing something on as you run out the door to class). Intentionally getting adequate sleep will reduce stress in your life. You’ll be able to see that you do have time for all your responsibilities — you just needed to adjust your priorities.

Furthermore, whenever I don’t prioritize my daily activities wisely, I end up neglecting my health. Whether that’s sacrificing sleep or trading a healthy homemade meal for Huey Magoo’s, the impact of poor time management is never good. Every time I tell myself I’ll get up early to work out but end up staying up too late watching a movie or doing homework, I wake up and ignore my workout plans. I’ve realized that if I want to reach my goals of exercising regularly, eating well, keeping a strong GPA and growing personally, I’ll have to be disciplined in how I use my most limited resource: time. Beginning to adjust your sleep schedule takes thought, planning and effort, but it pays off greatly when you’ve stewarded your time well.

Woman exercising indoors on yoga mat
Photo by Johnathan Borba from Unsplash

Even if you desire to enjoy all the benefits of managing your time wisely, making the necessary sacrifices of leisure time, phone time and/or friend time is difficult. One way I’ve forced myself to get on a consistent sleep schedule is by choosing work shifts and classes that start in the morning. That way, I’m forced to get up, and there’s no option for me to sleep in when I don’t want to get up. Soon enough, you’ll know that you need to get up early most days of the week, so you’ll also decide to go to sleep earlier. As you begin to feel well-rested and are able to sit in class without your eyes closing with exhaustion, you’ll find it easier to say no to that 1 a.m. IHOP run. Social time is definitely important though, so make an effort to invest in friends throughout your week.

white long sleeve shirt sitting on grass
Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

Making healthy choices isn’t easy, especially when FOMO runs rampant on college campuses. However, your mental and physical wellbeing will improve drastically if you start making choices based on what’s best for your present and future, rather than on what feels most comfortable in the moment. Reaching any kind of goal requires planning and intentional steps, so start setting yourself up for lifelong success with some discipline in your sleep schedule.

Kristina is a senior majoring in Finance with a minor in Psychology. When she's not at a coffee shop or going for a run, you can catch her suffering at the library questioning her life choices. She loves watching college football and writing for HerCampus!
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