Chatting with Chapman: the great college sleep debate

Chapman W.

Something I’ve noticed lately is that college seems to be a big contest of who can sleep the least.

Many mornings, while I’m groggily enjoying my English breakfast tea, one of my breakfast buddies will inevitably begin to talk about how tired they are. They will explain that they’re so tired because they stayed up until 4 a.m. for one reason or another and are now gulping down cups and cups of coffee to put on their best face for the day. Personally, something just doesn’t seem healthy about that.

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I understand that there are uncontrollable things that could lead to a lack of sleep. For example, insomnia is a very legitimate problem that’s not so easy to solve. What I’m addressing here is not anything similar to that, but instead the conscious decision to stay up late and have a generally unhappy sleep schedule.

For a long while after graduating high school, I wasn’t sleeping well. Although I’d try to be in my bed a decent amount, I never woke up feeling rested, and it left me feeling groggy and grumpy most of the time. When I started college, it didn’t take too long to become known as the kid who was perpetually tired, and — although I still had friends — I could tell that people weren’t a huge fan of my constant exhaustion. So, last semester, I decided to make a change.

Now, I’m not here to tell you the steps to take in order to sleep better. Wikihow has a pretty good article, and I followed a lot of the ideas it suggested. For me, the biggest choices that helped were light filters on my phone and computer, using a sleep tracking app and investing in a night guard to stop grinding my teeth. However, the biggest factor the helped to improve my relationship with my bed was making the decision every day to sleep.

The hardest part for me was prioritizing sleep over other things. I started scheduling my day so that I could be in bed by 10 p.m. to wake up by 5:30 in the morning and go to the gym. I would actually get homework done during the day just so I could get my precious eight hours at night. I would give myself a time limit on Netflix so that I would be lying in bed long enough with no distractions to fall asleep. I started being constantly aware of how much rest I was getting, and it changed my life.

I promise you that the prospect of waking up before the sun three days a week just to go work out would have been terrifying to me before this semester. Now, my body is up and ready to go right at 5:30 a.m. I’m not saying that I’m not tired, or that it doesn’t take all of my energy to get out of bed and put on pants. I’m just saying that if I can turn my life around enough that a lack of sleep isn’t the thing I’m known for, then most people can do it.

For me, it all comes down to following three simple rules: drink water, get sleep and don’t text back potential lovers who don’t have your best interests in mind

Collegian Reporter and Columnist Chapman W. Croskell can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com and on Twitter @Nescwick.