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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Our journey of building better sleep habits

Isabelle Wang
A girl working on her homework at sunrise as opposed to during midnight hours.

Oftentimes, we procrastinate and push our workload back. Our schedules become a vicious cycle of sleeping late and being extremely tired during the day. To counteract this, we’ve been working on both sleeping and waking up at earlier times. Here are our conclusions:

Victoria’s experience: I quit — sleeping earlier only works when you do it on a daily basis

If you were a fly on a wall watching me on a typical Sunday afternoon, you would see someone who is lethargic and is a total couch potato — no, a bed potato wrapped up in my blankets with the curtains pulled down.

On one particular Sunday, struggling to keep my eyes open,  I willed myself to shut off my phone and roll out of bed, needing to finish all my homework due the next day. 

I turned my computer on, and my fingers automatically took me to the YouTube website out of habit. As they say, old habits die hard. Unable to resist the childhood cartoon videos on my homepage, I clicked a single video, and I was a goner. By the time I looked up, it was already 10 p.m.

There were only two options at this point: Keep trudging through the homework or sleep now and wake up early to finish the assignments. I decided to go with the latter, which ended with me sleeping before midnight for the first time in months, whereas I would usually turn in for bed around 12:30 a.m. 

Though, I woke up completely drained and felt like a zombie throughout the day (like any other day). It definitely is a lot easier for me to sleep early because I generally wake up earlier as well. Additionally, forcing an earlier deadline for sleeping has led to me starting my homework earlier at 7 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. 

On the rare occasions where I continuously sleep early, it boosts my motivation because I wake up earlier and more energized. However, it is hard to break my old habit of sleeping late:Working into the night feels like having an infinite deadline, whereas working early hours makes me feel the pressure of the imminent due one hour away. 

I have concluded sleeping early only really helps if it is a consistent schedule. My plan for the future? Work toward sleeping early by shutting off my phone right before sleeping. The reality? This hasn’t happened yet. 

Nicole’s 2 cents: Waking up early is rewarding

After getting used to the mundane and disappointing routine of being unproductive, I have recently implemented a new practice to stay refreshed throughout the day: Waking up at 5 to 6 a.m. every morning, a chore I had previously never believed I would sign myself up for. 

The idea of waking up early had always rested at the back of my mind, but I constantly dismissed it as something only the most responsible are capable of maintaining.

To begin, I have found that by putting my phone on the other side of my room and setting my alarm to an irritating beep (similar to that of a fire alarm), I force myself to wake up faster in the mornings so as to not annoy my family. You see, I play tricks on my own mind with my brilliant idea. 

The jarring alarm helps turn my brain on, as it then believes I am in a life-or-death situation and need to be able to think properly. Having to walk over to the other side of my room makes it much easier to transition to walking over to my desk.  

From there, I can get started on my work. To ensure I have enough time to finish it, I always try to wake up half an hour earlier than I think I need to. 

Before you clap at my brilliance, I haven’t always been able to follow through with my plans of waking up early. Thus, setting my alarm earlier gives me the option to snooze, a luxury I never had as a result of the hustle to get ready quickly so I’m not late for school.

Planning my wakeup time the day before also allows me to be more productive with my extra time.

If I were to wake up at 7:45 as I usually did to get ready for school, I would grudgingly crawl out of bed while trudging to get ready. After showering, it would be 8:15 and I would be forced to leave without drying my hair (hence, I went to school with wet hair for a few days at the beginning of February).

If I have been working on homework the entire morning and my mind is still awake, however, I am able to get ready almost two times faster, often finishing at around 8:05. 

Waking up early also has its other rewards. Before school starts, I treat myself to an enjoyable visit to Saratoga Bagels to get something yummy to eat — my favorite is the bagel dog. 

While waking up early in the mornings did seem intimidating at first, the difficulty of getting my body out of bed is heavily outweighed by the fulfillment of getting so many chores done in the morning.

Final take: Changing a sleeping habit can seem difficult at first, but we have found that altering our regular routines brings us more variability in life and keeps us on our toes,both mentally and physically. We are both trying to develop better habits into our lives; sleeping earlier is one of the best ways to improve the quality of life.

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