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Please Read Before Your Bedtime


After browsing through the blog options for this assignment, my interest was peaked when I read through the posts on The Happiness Project site. I stumbled upon the post, “A Secret to More Happiness and Energy? Give Yourself A Bedtime,” in which the writer, The Happiness Projectbook author Gretchen Rubin, discusses the importance of adults getting a good night sleep, that being seven to eight hours every night, and how it is the key to having more energy and overall a happier life. So, how do you actually get a good night’s rest? Well, that’s easy. Take a tip from your childhood and give yourself a bedtime! By setting a specific time to be in bed, putting down your phone, computer, kindle, Ipad and Ipod, you let your brain relax, and begin to fall asleep at the actual point that your body is tired. After reading her blog, I began to think about my own sleeping patterns and how college students in general differ in their sleeping habits.

So I try my best to be in bed, on most weeknights, by 11 or 11:30 PM. I know that I am the type of person who is more efficient when I have a good night’s rest under my belt and I am definitely more energized for my day’s activities. When reading other people’s comments about Rubin’s post, I decided to dig a little deeper about ways to strengthen one’s sleeping pattern in order to ensure a better night’s sleep and more energy. So, of course, I turned to my favorite medical site, WebMD. I used this site all the time when I was abroad for I was too afraid to go to a Czech doctor and decided I would use its symptoms checker to self diagnose myself (which I did successfully twice with bronchitis). So, in addition to Rubin’s suggestion of setting a bedtime, I found in the article, What’s Zapping Your Energy, that regularizing your sleep-wake patterns, meaning getting up and going to bed at the same time everyday, ritualizing your cues for good sleep, only using your bed for sleep, and resisting temptations such as caffeine and alcohol, can all contribute to overall better sleeping patterns. “Sleep busters” such as stress or anxiety, noise, caffeine, or an overcommitted schedule can all attribute to poor sleeping patterns, which can be remedied by the aforementioned suggestions.

Now, I am a realist, and most college students do not necessarily get a perfect seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Take for instance finals week, students pull all nighters for exams or research papers and are ready to go the next morning with just a cup of coffee. So, they might be running on adrenaline, but I know of people who only get four or five hours of sleep a night and still have the energy of a busy bee the next day. I have never pulled an all nighter, and if I did, I would be in bed the whole next day trying to catch up on all the sleep I had missed.

I think, overall, I do a good job at getting a significant amount of sleep each night and have enough energy to make it through the day. The question is… do you? How many hours of sleep do you get each night? What types of things help you fall asleep? Have any suggestions for those who are still counting sheep?

Also… check out my friend’s mom’s Bedtime Network’s site! Explore the site and see what they have to say about the secrets to a good night’s sleep!

 

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About Dana Silverstein

I am a Senior Management and History major at Bucknell University. I currently live in Westchester, New York and am hoping to start a career in advertising upon graduation.

Discussion

13 thoughts on “Please Read Before Your Bedtime

  1. Dana, I often find myself taking extensive naps (3-5 hours) during the day and then waking up later in the evening. I then gets some work done and go back to sleep early in the morning for another 4-5 hours. I have always wondered whether this is somehow damaging… I guess you’re still getting the sleep but just not in one “sleeping.” Is there any research that talks about this pattern?

    Posted by JOEY MARTIN | February 6, 2012, 10:39 pm
    • So I thought about your question and decided to consult WebMD for some answers. I first must ask if you feel tired or fatigued everyday following this type of sleeping pattern. Because the amount of sleep a person needs truly depends on the individual and their habits and age. Infants need 16 hours of sleep a day; teens usually need about nine and adults between seven and eight. At the same time, it is not healthy to continually interrupt sleep because you cannot cycle through the two stages of sleep successful, REM and NREM. There are four stages of NREM sleep, the third and fourth being the deepest, until one enters into REM sleep, which is where most dreams occur, and then the cycle repeats itself. According to WebMD, if these cycles are interrupted, then an individual may feel tired, have trouble concentrating and are often at greater risks of having a car accident. I am not a sleep expert but because you are only getting small amounts of sleep, you may be interrupting these cycles. WebMD has a slew of information on their site and also provide symptom checkers and diagnostic tests that you can fill out and get more information about your particular sleeping pattern!

      Posted by Dana Silverstein | February 7, 2012, 12:15 am
  2. I really liked your post especially because (and I’m not ashamed to admit it) I LOVE to sleep! I generally like to get 8 to 9 (sometimes 10 on weekends) hours of sleep on a regular basis. I know this probably sounds like a lot in comparison to most college students; however when I do not get this amount, I am definatley aware of it the next morning and throughout the entire next day. I feel tired and pretty much in a daze. I’m not as alert and focused as I normally am and I have less motivation to work-out and be productive. Like you mentiontioned in your post, I don’t think I could ever pull an all-nighter and I simply can’t comprehend how people do. At that point, I think that sleep would become more important to me than turning an assignment in on time. I simply couldn’t do that to myself. Having said that, I have, in the past, only slept 4 or 5 hours in a single night and it took me about a week to recover!

    Posted by Lauren McGuiggan | February 7, 2012, 12:04 pm
  3. I really liked your post on sleeping because that is my favorite activity. I also find it interesting seeing how regular sleep patterns can help. I definitely agree with this because I know that when I was working this summer I had more energy during the day than I do during the school year. This is partially because I went to bed super early every night so that I would still get at least ten hours of sleep. I think it would be interesting to look into studies that examine the sleep patterns of a variety of people and why some people need way more sleep than others.

    Posted by Catherine Gibbons | February 7, 2012, 4:39 pm
  4. Yea, like everyone who’s commenting, I love to sleep. I find, though, that I always have an ambitious goal of getting to sleep by 11 or 12 on a weekday and that inevitably never happens. Whether its my friends keeping me up, my work that needs to be finished, or some late night eating habits, I can’t remember the last time I fell asleep before 1230. This is obviously going to have to change when I graduate, because I won’t have the luxury of having classes exclusively in the PM. I’m going to bookmark the article you wrote about and keep those sleeping tips in mind for when I need to buckle down…and get to work on time next year.

    Posted by Ben K. | February 7, 2012, 4:54 pm
  5. While I do think that I get a decent amount of sleep each night, I’ve always wondered if my sleep pattern is problematic. In college, I’ve gotten into the habit of going to bed past 2 or 3 in the morning and waking up in the late morning. Even though I’m getting the right number of hours, it doesn’t conform to the sleeping habits of most of society. When I found out that I had to wake up at 5 in the morning for my internship this past summer, I decided that I was going to have to abide by Dana’s recommendation of setting a bed time. While I was pretty good about doing this, I went the whole summer struggling to actually fall asleep before midnight. I wonder what it’s going to take to break my dysfunctional sleep patterns once I enter the “real” world – hopefully some of the articles/blogs you linked to can help me out!

    Posted by Beth O'Brien | February 7, 2012, 8:01 pm
  6. Sleeping has always been a fascinating subject to me. I am one of those lucky individuals who has always been able to fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, but relatives of mine are labeled as insomniacs. What makes me so capable of falling asleep at my discretion? Well, after reading your post and relevant articles, I have recognized that I innately utilize two of your “sleep-hacks.” I always try to turn my electronics off about half an hour before I go to bed, simply because I have heard that the light emitted from the screen messes with our internal clock. Turning the electronics off and focusing in on a book allows my thoughts to drift off until I am ready to turn the lights out. Furthermore, my internal clock (circadian rhythm) is naturally consistent for me. I am unable to sleep past 9am, so I try to make sure that I am able to get to bed before 1am. I have found that having a consistent wake up time allows me to have great energy throughout the day, even when I get much less than 8 hours of sleep. I am not looking forward to finding out what happens when I change this cycle up next year.

    Posted by Derek | February 7, 2012, 9:50 pm
  7. Interesting post. I definitely think that getting a good amount of sleep is important (although I usually have trouble getting to bed early). I was wondering if anyone knew if there was a reason for feeling tired after sleeping for too long? It has happened to me before and it seems strange to feel tired after such a long sleep.

    Posted by ChrisB | February 8, 2012, 6:55 pm
    • Yeah, me too. Once someone told me we sleep in 90 minute, so 7.5 hours is great. 6 is good. 6.5 might wake you in the middle of a deeper cycle and make you feel more tired than 6. So, maybe 8 or more is off that cycle. Never got around to checking if true though.

      Posted by Jordi | February 8, 2012, 7:23 pm
  8. If I am reading a book I like, I might stay awake till 2 or 3! So, reading not such a good idea. I got around 5-6 the last two nights which I know is not enough, but finding what to cut from my schedule is hard…

    Posted by Jordi | February 8, 2012, 7:25 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Blog Council Update: Week 1 « business government society 2 - February 11, 2012

  2. Pingback: Anxiety Tip #5: Sleep « Pathfinder: MotherWifeStudentWorker - February 15, 2012

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