Discipline of sleep

It is said through research that most people function with at least 8 hours of sleep.

The other day, I had a conversation with a group of people, I believe the majority of us got less than 5 with one complaining of only getting a little over 7 hours of sleep.

As a college student, I could practically run on about 4 hours of sleep. In fact, the one time I crashed due to a lack of sleep was going 48 hours straight of no sleep. Call me crazy as a college student, but that was my life. Why, you may ask. I believe part of it has to do with an inability to manage my time or the discipline to see my priorities in life.

I had many priorities as a college student. From recreational sports, part time job, internship, student clubs, finding who I was and my faith, trips with others, and on top of that a full load of courses, one can say that things got way out of hand really fast. I went to a university that operated on a quarter system. Having gone to a semester school, one noticeable thing is this — quarter starts, you better start with it. Any break leads to falling behind.

It’s no wonder, now that my life is a bit the same — working (full time), part time schooling, doing recreation as physical activity, volunteering time in church, spending time with family, do I take scheduling my time and priorities to be that — a priority. I definitely am not young any more. Although I literally slept 4.5 hours the night before this conversation, the fact of the matter is that my body doesn’t function as it has before. Those 4.5 hour sleep nights is not good for me, not because I can’t handle it (let’s face it…it gets harder when you’re older), but that it’s also not good for studying or health either. Research shows that most people need 8-9 hours of sleep. That’s a fact.

While mentally, I’m telling myself the excuse — less sleep equates to prepping for school. Which may or may not be true. I don’t know. However, I do know that after about 4 days of less than 6 hours of sleep, my body does crash. Like literally. Friday to Saturday requires at least 8-9 hours of sleep, and even then sometimes my body isn’t fully “rested.” My coffee intake has increased 2 fold at times. My desire to snack when I don’t snack at all has also increased to not only stay awake, but to handle stress.

An aquaintance I know is a first year medical student, and we all know, this in itself is a transition. Yet, I find her to be a role model when it comes to managing life, because she is a full time student, and manages to cook all her meals one day a week, and sleeps at 11:30PM. Awesome aquaintance, and seemingly a person who is doing ok despite the stress of school and life (Let’s face it, we all have our own personal dramas).

I realized this — sleeping on time to get enough sleep is a discipline. It’s the same discipline one must learn as a child when they have to brush their teeth, do their homework for school, and as adults, discipline of paying one’s bills.

I’m horrible at this discipline. Almost as bad as my beauty disciplines (ie wearing make up to work 5 days a week; it’s a goal, I’ll admit it, call me a simple girl who wears more skincare than I do make up at times…). With a final coming up, it’s even more impotant that I study as a priority, maintain life, do good quality work, and still get enough sleep.

I would have to say, by learning how to build up time management and self discipline on these key areas, I’d be more prepared for school, than simply just doing well. Although, let’s face it, I WANT to do well. These refresher courses are more than just for me to do well. It’s for preparation for what’s to come, so it’ll be good if I took these things seriously. However, so is the discipline of sleep. So, for all you night owls who love your netflix, hulu, youtube, or studying….perhaps we can work around our schedule to get enough sleep. You may be surprised.


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