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To Sleep, To Wake, To Rise

January 26, 2011

Apologies for the lateness of this post, which was indicative of my inability to log onto my WordPress blog account. The situation has been rectified now, but the time frame of this post will be a little off. New posts to follow shortly!

I’ve just today had my first day of second semester classes at Millikin. It’s been a fantastic day, really– I had all four of my classes in a row from 9:00 through 1:00, had lunch, and was done. Going to the mail room with my friend, I found that not only did I have a letter from the university informing me about the status of my financial aid, but a card from my grandma! Thanks grandma… for the Halloween card (oops. Should be checking that mailbox more often). On the way back to my dorm, though, someone had left a box with an older Panasonic camera and charger with a sign pointing down and saying “Free”. If you’re anything like me, I know you would have picked the camera up to either use yourself or give to a friend. So today has been fruitful, and so far not too bad in terms of my wallet (though the lack of the MAP Grant may kill me. Get it together, Illinois!).

To prepare for this day, I forced a new sleep schedule on myself, starting about a week ago. This new sleep schedule has allowed me to sleep only until 7:00 a.m. each morning, while being able to get up and function during the day, which is a huge bonus, and I wish I’d been able to do it last semester; it’s useful now, but would have been even more obviously useful when I actually had an 8:00 a.m. class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

This is all in contrast to my sleep habits during the unbelievably long winter break we all had from MU. Five and half weeks away from school may sound like a dream to anyone still in high school with their friends living in the same town, but I can personally vouch that it’s a completely different story when you begin college. Because my break was so long, I spent the last week or so effectively alone in my town, lonely and bored. Although, that did give me plenty of free time, which eventually culminated in this blog. Ah well.

Before that week of boredom and free time, though, I was spending little to no time at my home. I would be adventuring during the day, sleeping at a different house most nights, and slowly working myself into a near-nocturnal sleep cycle. I kid you not, there were an easy dozen days in which I woke up around 5:00 p.m., without sleeping until7:00 or 8:00 a.m.

It was bad. I’m a little embarrassed that I allowed myself to get to such an extreme.

Keeping this in mind, it doesn’t seem so inconsequential that I’d want to try to get my sleep schedule straightened out at least a little before I went back to school.

The problem in that area was that I’d attempted to do such straightening out (though without such necessity) two or three times in the past, with limited success. Either I would have my desired sleep schedule for only a few days before fatigue overwhelmed me, or I would only be able to shift my sleep schedule forward or backward a few hours. I needed a new approach.

In this case, the universe responded to my needs by directing me to a masterful body of work. Through a friend, I was reintroduced to the website The title of this website is “Personal Development for Smart People” and I’d come upon it once before (I believe I actually Stumble’d upon it, which is due to how great that web crawling website is. I have a great fondness for Stumble, and have spent a great amount of time making use of its features). This time, though, I took more time to actively read the site’s articles and see how I could apply them to my own life, rather than viewing the site as an interesting sort of working biography for Mr. Pavlina’s experiences.

The fourth entry on the left column of PDSP under “Best of” was entitled “How to Become an Early Riser”. At this point, I’d already read a number of Steve’s articles, which are fascinating and insightful. Because of these articles, I was therefore convinced of Steve’s reliability as he made conscious changes to his life, all of which were dutifully reported.

I finally took a tiny chance, made a decision that could affect my own life rather than be an observation of another’s; I followed Steve Pavlina’s advice, his method in changing his sleep cycle, and applied the two concepts to my life.

Surprise of surprises, it worked, the first try.

Admittedly, the first day I woke up at seven o’clock after “going to bed when you’re tired”, I was not particularly pleased. At that point, going to bed when I was tired consisted largely of three or four hours after midnight.

I was tired.

However, that did serve to help me. Though I was a little tired, I was up, and I was doing things. I ate breakfast, saw my mom off to school, talked to my sister about the day, and read more of Steve Pavlina’s website 🙂 . Although I was a bit fatigued, I was still awake and able to function. That night, then, I was able to quickly get to sleep and stay asleep starting somewhere more around eleven o’clock.

Like clockwork, I got up at seven o’clock in the morning for the next day, and the next day, and the next, until you can fast forward to today. My sleep schedule is exactly where I would want it to be. I’m definitely getting the right amount of sleep, because I’m adhering to my body’s demands, not to a rigid schedule. On the other hand, I’m telling my body the same thing each day in terms of getting up, and that’s to wake up at seven a.m. It promptly does so.

I hope this little story is interesting, and even helpful to someone else with a sleeping issue. I know that since I’ve gotten over my old schedule and become an early riser, I’ve felt better and honestly been more productive each day.

The other hope I have is that anyone reading this post will give a lookover. PDSP is an amazing website, and you’re sure to find articles that won’t be featured anywhere else.

So that’s the post! Hopefully the next one won’t take me three days to put out =/ but I’ll need you all rooting for me. Leave your questions, comments, and thoughts below. Have a great day!

One Comment leave one →
  1. chris permalink
    January 26, 2011 4:38 pm

    Ahhhhh, christmas break, those were the days, happy you got your sleep cycle back on track, ever since philmont two years ago, my sleep cycle has been pretty consistant, stay awake until i fall asleep, wake up somewhere between 6 and 8, no exceptions. Enjoy your time at Millicin!

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