When I was in middle and high school, I did not prioritize sleep. I was tired all day and due to my afterschool schedule, I could not start my homework until nighttime. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was getting 6 hours of sleep per night if I was lucky and usually was getting closer to 4 or 5 hours. On nights before big tests or presentations, it could get down to 3 hours. It was truly miserable.
My parents would tell me to put my English book down and just go to sleep or call it quits on my studying for the night and prioritize getting enough sleep instead. I refused to listen and would even fall asleep as my mom quizzed me before exams, clearly needing the extra sleep over the extra review.
Lack of sleep negatively affected my sleep cycle and sleep habits, and not to mention, my immune system, but what it most affected was my mood. Unfortunately, these habits became engrained in me, and when I got to college I was in the same routine. I was productive at night and struggled to do work during the day. But believe it or not, I get tired a lot earlier now. Now, as a senior in college, I wish that I had practiced better sleep habits in high school.
Beyond needing sleep so that I can be a functioning human being, I've realized how important sleep is to just be happy! I can predict the exact meltdown I will have at the end of a week when I do not get enough sleep. It makes it hard to enjoy my classes and spend time with friends when I can barely keep my eyes open and all I want to do is get some sleep. As someone who would tell myself “sleep is for the weak” so that I could study for one more hour or get one more assignment done or even waste time on my phone to relax after a long night of working, my advice is go to sleep! It is so important, and I never believed that I needed it because I thought I was fine without it. Looking back, I realize how prioritizing my sleep would have helped me and I see why it was so important to build healthy sleep habits earlier on!
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