Many of us are all too familiar with the annual shift in our sleep schedule that the summertime brings: staying awake late into the night enjoying all the free time we were deprived of during school, and sleeping in past noon because the dreaded 8:30 a.m. mandatory tutorials are no longer calling at us. But, when August comes to a close and Welcome Week brings a new wave of late night partying, your sleep schedule could not be more far off from where it needs to be to start the year on a successful note (i.e. not the sound of your snooze button!).
So, how do we convert our summer sleep schedule to be more school friendly?
Take it a few days at a time. Start shifting your bedtime and wake-up time a half hour earlier every 3 days. Adjusting a habit takes time. It’s best to start easing into the transition as early as possible, so you can be alert for your morning classes!
Choose an alarm clock that’s right for you. An entire industry dedicates its products to helping us students get out of bed, so there is bound to be one that fits your morning-type! Perhaps you might be able to make your mornings more enjoyable by creating your own “Wake Up!” playlist. Whatever your trick will be, commit yourself to your alarm: the time you set is the time you wake up!
Exercise in the morning or afternoon. Exercising in the morning or the afternoon is a great way to help you feel ready for a good night’s sleep. However, be sure to not exercise immediately before heading to bed because your heart rate and body temperature need some time to decrease to prepare for sleep.
Eat supper earlier rather than later. Having a large meal before bed will make it hard for you to feel asleep on time. If you normally eat supper at 7 or 8 p.m., try eating an hour or two earlier.
Avoid using screens (e.g., laptops, phones, tablets and TVs) an hour before bed. Watching a TV show or browsing the web before bed excites your brain, making it difficult to indicate that it is time to sleep. Instead, read a book or chat with your roommate to hep prepare your brain for sleep.