Catching Z’s: Keeping Your Sleep Routines
Whether you have a set bedtime or just go to bed “whenever”, sleep is certainly an important part of your life. Getting rest is crucial for both your physical and mental well-being and helps you recharge for the morning ahead. Staying up late might be fun, but sometimes it’s not worth it to wake up groggy and miserable after watching too many movies into the wee hours of the morning.
Have you ever considered how important it is to keep a regular sleep schedule? Your body runs on an internal 24-hour clock, called a circadian rhythm, which means it naturally gets used to doing things like sleeping according to the time of day (or the amount of light or darkness outside). If you’ve ever experienced jet lag, you’ll know how off-kilter you feel when your rhythm is thrown off: it’s totally unpleasant to be exhausted at noon and wide awake at midnight, just because you’re suddenly in another time zone.
That means it’s important to keep your sleep rhythm regulated according to your own day, which includes going to bed around the same time every night, and waking up around the same time every morning. Chances are you already do something similar when you’re following your regular school schedule (and you just stay up later on Fridays and sleep in on weekend mornings). If you keep your sleep schedule on track, you won’t have any trouble feeling awake when you need it the most.
Sleep is important at all stages of your life, especially during your time in elementary school. However, the stakes will be much greater when you’re cramming for high school exams, or writing big university papers, or trying to get up bright and early for your first job. To achieve all that you want to do in the coming years, you’re not only going to need a lot of energy, but you’re going to need it in regular and dependable bursts. In that way, cultivating your sleep patterns today can definitely help you out in the future—you’ll already be used to keeping yourself well rested and ready to go.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your rest, be proactive about your sleep habits. Set a 30-minute window for yourself in the morning and evening, and try to wake up and go to sleep within that time frame each night. You can even keep track of how many days you do this, and see if you feel better after some time on a regular sleep schedule. (In order to stick to your plan, it helps if you plan all your morning and evening activities around that window; e.g. you could brush your teeth around 10 minutes before lights out.)
Finally, of course you can have a couple of late nights—sleepovers aren’t very fun when everyone has to be in bed by 9. Just make sure that waking up at noon doesn’t become a bad habit, and you’ll be good to go.