By Ayesha Shozib, September 6 2023—
Recently, we have all seen a rise in the “self-improvement” movement, a cause that has blown up on social media and encourages young adults to better themselves by changing their daily practices — the majority of these practices revolve around our sleeping habits. However, the problem lies in how unachievable these changes are.
A large percentage of young adults consuming this genre of media are students, and we all know that the schedule of a student leaves little wiggle room for a lot of sleep. That being said, there are some ways we can implement a lifestyle that does not involve waking up at ungodly hours of the day and we here at the Gauntlet are here to share our findings.
- Smaller changes for a larger impact
Instead of making drastic changes suddenly, slowly adjust your sleep schedule by going to bed as well as waking up 15 to 30 minutes earlier each day until you eventually are able to obtain your desired sleep time. This will allow your body to adapt to the changes more naturally and effectively.
- Alarms at 5 a.m. work for no one
For most of us, when we find waking up early difficult, our immediate reaction is to set an alarm for 5 a.m. and hope we wake up. However, it would be more effective to wake up at a more reasonable time like 7 a.m. or 8 a.m.. This, especially if done on the weekends, allows you to utilize your day while also getting an ample amount of sleep. If you are more of a night owl, consider gradually shifting your bedtime and wake-up time later until you reach a schedule that aligns better with your natural tendencies.
- Biphasic sleep
In order to feel more rested most students and young adults will attempt to sleep for longer amounts of time each night. Instead of this, it has been proven that splitting your sleep into two is a healthier way to better your sleeping habits. For example, sleeping for a stretch of six to seven hours at night and then taking a short nap during the day. Find out what nap length works for you by experimenting — if longer naps don’t work out for you, try out shorter power naps for 20 to 30 minutes a day.
- Flexible sleep windows
We often assume that having a fixed time to go to bed is the best way to achieve the most sleep every night, however, it is extremely important to remain flexible as well. We will often have schedules that interrupt those fixed timings, so rather than having a specific time to go to bed try incorporating a fixed number of hours of sleep instead.
- Experimentation and consistency
Everyone’s needs and patterns when it comes to sleep are different and it is important to give ourselves grace when it comes to bettering our habits. Experimenting with different methods is the best way to figure out what the best way is for you specifically and consistency is how we are able to really see results. Being patient and allowing your body a few days to respond is essential as well.
Keep in mind, the ultimate key to betting your sleep schedule is finding a routine that aligns with your schedule and lifestyle in particular which is sustainable and effective. It will take some time and some trial and error, but once you find out what works for you, the improvement will not only make you sleep better but will have a positive effect on your overall well-being as well.