I Tried Following a Sleep Schedule for a Month and This Is What Happened

I always had trouble sleeping growing up. I would wake up multiple times throughout the night, stay up until ungodly hours even when I was tired and take naps throughout the day even if I had slept for 12 hours the night before. A lot of this I attributed to my school situation because throughout middle school I had to be up by 5:30 am so I could catch my bus. In high school I just chalked it up to a normal teenager’s poor sleeping habits, but it was when I got to college and got diagnosed with narcolepsy that I realized my sleeping habits were deeper rooted than just bad habits.

For about a month I followed a somewhat strict sleeping schedule to help me determine what could be affecting my sleep and if my depression or anxiety was playing a larger part in the problem than I realized. I was given weekly logs to fill in with the times I went to bed, woke up, took naps, if I ate within four hours of sleeping, my rumination before and after sleeping, if I woke up and if I used any specific methods to go back to sleep.

This was hard for me simply because my memory is so bad, and I would forget to fill it out for a few days so it would be hard for me to really remember what happened every night. This is why I love my FitBit because it gave me a backup to look at to see my sleeping habits every night, even if they weren’t completely accurate.The thing I found most helpful was to keep my log close to my bed or my backpack so that when I got up or ran out the door for class I would remember that I had to fill it out, and I would try to write down the things I knew I’d forget.

After a month of doing this I started to see a few patterns in my sleeping habits. I have trouble waking up, so I will get up early and take small naps for about two hours until I am able to stay awake. I struggle with insomnia when I go through periods of extreme stress, and this causes me to sleep more during the day. I only need about one short nap most days, but if I’m sitting or in a quiet and non-stimulating environment I will fall asleep regardless of how hard I try not to.

While it wasn’t a quick process and it was hard to keep up with due to my forgetfulness, I do think it was worth it. It’s a good way to see what could be affecting your sleep, whether it’s food, stress or just the normal teenage urge to stay up until the wee hours of the morning. If you’re having trouble with not sleeping or sleeping too much— maybe you should try it too.

Give yourself an hour every night where you’ll try to get in bed and go to sleep and try to wake up around the same time every day. See what happens, who knows, maybe you’ll learn something new about yourself.

Image Sources:

Rep / All images from Giphy.com