Every time I come across sleep hygiene tips – whether it be in books, magazines, on the internet, or in my classes back when I was in school – I am always intrigued. I always enjoy reading lifestyle tips that give me advice on things I don’t know how to do or how to do things better.
Sleep hygiene has always been something that I’ve struggled with, probably dating back to middle school, when I first started having to stay up late to finish my assignments. I distinctly remember the first time I had to stay up late to finish an assignment for my 8th grade Spanish class – it was 2 AM and I was on the verge of frustrated tears because everyone had gone to bed and I just couldn’t believe that I was still awake doing my project. As time went on, that became the new normal. 2 AM became 3 AM, which became 4 AM.
It became the new normal for me to come home from class at 6PM, stop by Starbucks, and get my second triple espresso of the day, knowing that I’d need it to stay up and study for my upcoming exam. It became the new normal to sit in bed pouring over my laptop and books until 3 or 4 AM, sometimes falling asleep while sitting with the lights on and my books open on my lap. I became so used to sleeping 2 hours a night that I functioned just fine the next day.
Now that I’ve graduated college and my school days are behind me, I’m finding that I’m struggling to kick some of those norms that I had developed during school…or rather, I should say all those norms. I find that I still stay up until 2 in the morning, for no reason at all. I still drink coffee/other caffeinated beverages in the evening hours because I’ve never told myself that I couldn’t before. My bed is still the place where I sit with my laptop until the early morning hours.
I find that the combination of all these habits makes it so my mind is still stimulated and racing when I lie down at night. I estimate that it takes me at least an hour, if not more, to fall asleep at night, which is quite frustrating. Realistically, I don’t think I can kick all my habits in one fell swoop. So I’ve made a resolution to tackle them one small step at a time.
The first habit, which I’ve actively been trying to kick the past couple weeks, is using my laptop in my bed. My goal is to try and associate my bed with sleep, and not with bright screens, online shopping, and YouTube videos. Let’s hope I can stay committed to this resolution. Stay tuned to see what my next resolution will be!