I’m coming to the realization that one of the cornerstones of making sure I stay healthy and balanced as a grad student is making sure I get enough sleep on a regular basis. Sure there might be times when deadlines are tight that I have to stay up late working, but I need to start working on getting to bed earlier than I have been. And being smarter about preparing for bed. A lot of sleep folk talk about staying away from bright screens before bed, and not getting in the habit if reading or doing other things in bed before trying to sleep. Every time I read something along those lines, I shrug and think briefly about changing my reading and bedtime habits and then I don’t.
The challenge this week is three-fold:
- Lights out by 11 pm. No exceptions.
- If I’m reading before bed, I do it downstairs on the futon and not actually in bed like I normally do.
- No iPhone next to the bed. It’s too easy when I can’t sleep to check Facebook or Twitter and turn on that relatively bright screen which then probably tricks my brain into not being sleepy and so I can’t sleep when I turn the iPhone off and then get restless so turn it back on to read or whatnot.
If I’m not tired, I can get up early enough to workout at the beginning of my day, which means that I start off the day with getting myself moving and feeling good about myself, and that can translate into a better day in general and more focus during the day. So it’s not just about getting enough sleep, it’s about sleep as a foundation for a lot of other things, including my writing, my schoolwork and my general outlook on life.