How to Get Enough Sleep During The School Year
Sleep is something I’ve struggled with for a while.
For the past 4 years or so I haven’t been able to sleep very well-- getting up to pee in the middle of the night, difficulty falling asleep, and difficulty staying asleep.
A positive byproduct of that struggle is that I’ve learned how to truly prioritize sleep and make time for it so that if I am able to sleep, I have the time.
A negative byproduct is that I think I care about my sleep a little too much-- I’m working on it, though :)
School is pretty much made for me. I enjoy learning, being around people, and being on a schedule.
However, the schedule can sometimes backfire when I have trouble falling asleep, but I have limited time to sleep.
So, how do you manage the limited time that you have during the school year to sleep, especially on top of homework, sports, and all that stuff?
If you’ve read my blog post on 10 tips for a balanced school year, you know that I don’t accept the “I don’t have time” excuse because it’s just that-- an excuse.
Realize You have More Time Than You Think
You have more time than you think you do.
Odds are, a lot of that time gets sucked up by scrolling and other unnecessary things.
Often, we think we don’t have enough time for things, but in reality we just aren’t using our time optimally.
I’d consider myself to be a pretty “busy” person. I have school, school volleyball, club volleyball, work, and a blog.
However, I don’t wish I didn’t have any of those things. I enjoy them, even though they take up time. I try not to stress about the time that they take up because I know that I’ll be able to handle it.
Look for pockets of time you never realized were there. Look for places where you are wasting time or not using it optimally. Go over your average day and find the time that you need to sleep.
You have enough time to get enough sleep, but another important part of this is prioritizing it.
Prioritize it-- for real
Prioritizing it means figuring out what it’s more important than.
For me, sleep is more important than straight A’s.
While some people would easily be able to say that, I’ve been working though that for the past two years.
To some extent, grades come before sleep, but sleep also comes before grades.
There’s a certain amount I’m willing to sacrifice on both ends.
The question is: Is it really a priority for you? What are you willing to sacrifice to get enough sleep?
Not everything is less important than sleep, but you have to figure out what is and what isn't.
Create Solid ROutines
Creating solid routines helps you to trigger your sleep.
Okay, to give you an idea of what I mean, take my routine.
At roughly 9:15, I know I need to stop, drop, and go to bed. But before I go to bed, I want to journal, pray, sometimes stretch (depending on what phase of life I’m in), get my food and supplements ready for the next day, brush my teeth, and do other basic things.
In order to get all of those things done before 10:00 (which is ideally the time I get to sleep), I have to make sure that I’m done doing homework and other stuff by about 9:15.
And then for morning routines, I wake up at 6:00 on school days, pray, do a five minute ab workout, oil pull, eat breakfast, maybe do some homework or blog work, and then try to get out the door by 7:20.
I know that in order to do all that, I have to wake up at 6:00. Getting those solid routines in the morning and at night is super important, but it helps me stay on top of the bedtime and wake-up time because it gives me a way to wind down and to wake up.
The routines also help me wind down and really get my internal clock adjusted to my schedule.
Sometimes you’re going to have to settle for less than perfect in order to get enough sleep.
I know it’s hard. Believe me, my internal perfectionistic, people-pleasing tendencies want me to get straight A’s. But sometimes I have to put the pencil down, shut my computer, and get to bed-- before my homework is all done or before I’ve over-studied for that test.
Sometimes, prioritizing sleep means truly prioritizing it over things like homework.
And if you’re not ready for that, don’t be surprised if you’re tired because you’re not getting enough sleep-- it goes back to prioritizing what’s truly important.
I know it seems impossible as a student, but what if I told you that you can live a low-stress, high-sleep life and still get good grades?
It’s totally possible.
Visualize it. See it. And nowwwwww…… do it.
It all starts with your habits.
First of all, lack of sleep causes stress and stress causes lack of sleep. So the more you work on one, the more you’re working on the other.
Figure out what helps you manage stress. This could be:
I have a whole blog post on 10 ways to manage stress if you’re interested in going deeper into this topic.
Get onto a Regular Schedule
Scheduling out your bedtime and wake-up time will help you to stay consistent. If you don’t know what time you need to be in bed, you’re probably not going to get in bed on time!
Not only are regular schedules easier to be successful with (because you can get into a daily routine), I have found that in my experience it improves my sleep quality when I wake up at the same time each day.
Plan out your nighttime routine and bedtime, as well as your wake-up time and morning routine, around specific times so that you can stay consistent.
Finding balance during the school year can be difficult (check out my video and blog post on this if you’re interested), but it can be done!
Learning how to prioritize and make time for things that are important is critical.
For me, knowing that sleep is essential for my physical well-being is motivation to get plenty of sleep each night, besides the fact that I just feel SOOOOOO much better when I’m well-rested.