And Before I Knew It the Clock Said 10:00 PM

Kind of a strange title, am I right?

Lately though, time has been something that I have been really paying attention to, especially the time that I go to bed. During my first semester of college in the Fall it was very common for me to wake up at 6:30 every morning and go to bed around 12:00 every night. At first I was ecstatic because I have never been one to stay up late and I felt like I was really getting into the “college experience” (even though I was staying up reading blogs and watching Hulu, NOT doing the normal college thing of drinking or partying).


I didn’t even seem to feel the effects of it during the day either. Sure, I was a little tired, but who wouldn’t be in an unfamiliar place with a whole new set of things to learn?

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago how unhealthy this pattern was for me. I thought I was performing at my best, but boy was I wrong. Did you know that those who think they thrive on small amounts of sleep are actually justΒ extremelyΒ sleep deprived? Yep, that’s right. When one goes a few nights without restful sleeps they become adjusted and may even feel the same. But their performance still suffers.

And do you want to know what the scariest part is? They don’t even realize it. To a sleep-deprived person, they feel just the same as before and think that they are performing at the exact same level as before.

Ever since listening to a podcast from Chris Kresser a little while ago I have been making an effort to get in more sleep, and my body can seriously tell the difference. Now I go to bed at 9:30 to 11:00 and wake up from 6:30 to 7:00. On a good night I get in about 9 hours of sleep, and on a bad night I get 7 1/2 hours. That difference from before is phenomenal. Overall I just feel better.

Going to bed earlier is certainly harder though. Here are a few things that I have found to help me.


1. Keep electronics out of arms reach of your bed. Whenever I allow myself to take my cellphone or laptop to bed I waste a lot of time just mindlessly texting or browsing the internet. Our minds need time to rest before they can fall asleep so put the electronics away!


2. Turn off all of the lights. As someone who has slept with a lamp or nightlight on since she was a baby, this was incredibly difficult to do. I tend to fall asleep better with a light on, but there have been numerous studies that connect sleeping with lights on to not getting as restful a night and maybe even causing cancer! Again, it took me a while to adjust but now I fall asleep just as quickly with my lights OFF.


3. Keep a notepad by your bed to right down thoughts. Have you ever had those moments where you want to go to sleep but you just can’t because there are a million thoughts swirling around inside your head? That happens to me literally every night. A tip that I discovered years ago that really works is to write down everything that you are thinking about and everything that you need to do for tomorrow. That way when you wake up you can pick up where you left off, and you can fall asleep rest assured that you won’t forget anything important.


4. Don’t eat before you go to bed. I still struggle with this one because if I don’t eat before I go to bed then I wake up in the morning with severe hunger pains. On the other hand, when I do eat before I go to bed I get incredibly strange and stressful dreams which cause me to wake up multiple times a night. I’m getting better, but I have yet to find a balance with this. Usually my goal is to eat at the latest 7:00 or 8:00.


5. Try to fall asleep on your back. This is the healthiest position as determined by most doctors and chiropractors for digestion. Especially as someone like me who has problems with bloating and stomach pain, it can be much more comfortable to sleep on my stomach or side. However, when I wake up in the morning after laying on my back, my stomach is always less bloated than the night before and it doesn’t hurt quite so much. Sleeping on my stomach or side usually aggravates my symptoms.


There are many interesting infographs on Pinterest about sleep that are very informative, so check them out!

Here is one that I found about the best sleep positions (spot on with #5 above!):


Now. If you’ll excuse me, it’s my bedtime πŸ™‚



Questions to think about:

Do you ever struggle with getting a good night’s sleep? How many hours do you strive for?

Would you consider yourself a “night owl?”

What are some of your tips for getting a better night’s sleep?

45 thoughts on “And Before I Knew It the Clock Said 10:00 PM

  1. I used to be just like you! First year of uni, I was up until the weeeeee hours of the morning and up at 7am. Then.. things went downhill from there. During 2nd (up until now, hello 5th year) I go to bed no later than 10 and am up at 6! I feel a lot better though, and its so much healthier! hahahah and that ecard is absolutely hilarious!

    • I just don’t know how some people can stay up so late without getting affected. I’m with you on the 10 o’ clock bedtime! That’s ideal for me.

      And I just had to share the e-card with my dad although he doesn’t find Pinterest all that entertaining. He laughed, so you know it’s a good one πŸ™‚

  2. This is a great post, thanks so much – even if I do sleep in the worst position apparently :s. I really try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night as it makes such a difference to how I feel. Nine would be a dream!

    • I agree- nine really would be a dream, but I think for me at least as a college student some nights 7 is all I can fit in. Any shorter than that though… watch out because I will be sleep-walking all day! πŸ˜‰

      I used to sleep on my stomach all the time. It’s just so much more comfortable. But ya, I don’t think it’s very good for back alignment and digestion. Sorry 😦

  3. I am definitely not a night owl haha. I’m an early bird but getting to bed at a decent time for that has become harder recently since joe is definitely a night owl and i like to spend time with him after word. The notepad by the bed is my fav thing to do to help fall asleep since i have trouble turning my mind off, too! I try to limit electronic time after 8:30, as well, which helps a lot πŸ™‚

    • I understand where you are coming from as my dad and I are early birds while my mom is a night owl and sleeping-in type person. My brother falls somewhere in between. However, I’m lucky that midnight is about the latest anyone goes for bedtime and nine is the latest any of us will wake up. I’m sure you and Joe will get into a good rythmn with everything!

      It’s like our minds get a second wind once we lay in bed and try to fall asleep! πŸ™‚

  4. Oh I love that owl notebook! It’s a good idea, one that I should try! I don’t struggle to sleep at all as medication that I take for headaches makes me drowsy, but if I don’t sleep early enough then I get ‘hangovers’ in the morning from it so I make special effort to get to bed at a reasonable hour!

  5. I am not a night owl at ALL; I usually try to go to bed by 10:30 each night, and wake up around 6. Since I go to a community college, I still live at home, so I suppose that makes it easier for me to fall asleep at whatever time I choose to. I never go to parties or social events in the evenings, so that also helps–yes, I have no social life outside of school and ballet:) But even though I try not to stay up late, I have found that studying right before I go to bed helps a lot with memorizing facts, data, vocabulary, etc…I know there have been studies indicating that you will remember things better if you go over them before falling asleep.

    • Can I just say how jealous I am that you still live at home? πŸ™‚ Seriously, I know that there are pros and cons to both, but just last night the guys in the room above me were bouncing a basketball. A BASKETBALL! Anyways, they were bouncing it constantly at like 11:00 PM or something. I just wanted to grab a broom like a little old lady and run (or hobble I guess…) up there screaming at them to quiet down because someone needs to sleep. Haha.

      That’s interesting about studying before you sleep. I do that too, along with studying right when I wake up and both seem to work for me so far.

  6. I am very sporadic, I either get a great night sleep or a horrible one. During my first year of college I was not getting enough sleep due to late nights (just like you reading/hulu :)) and a roommate who insisted on turning on all the lights when she woke up at 6….ughh. I moved home and did so much better in school! I like the idea of keeping a journal next to the bed though! I will have to try it out!

    • Ugh. I would hate that back and forth between being well rested and bleary-eyed.

      Your roommate turned the lights on when she got up at 6? I get up around 6:30 everyday and I leave the lights off the entire time I’m getting ready, eating breakfast, etc. My roommate normally gets up at 8:30-10:30 so I think it’s just rude to turn the lights on when she is trying to sleep. Glad that you moved home and it’s working better for you.

      Let me know how the journal goes! I just use a post-it most nights but it seriously helps SO MUCH.

  7. I have always struggled with sleep, which is unfair. Sleep should be so easy for everyone! I’m one of those who neeeeeeeds all 8 hours too, at least most nights of the week. I find a cool room and complete darkness help.

    • I know. Sleep is something that all of us need. I wonder why it’s more difficult for some. It sounds like you’ve found something that works for you though with the cool room and darkness! πŸ™‚

  8. I used to be such a night owl. Then I started my first real full-time job, and I can’t sleep in much past seven anymore. It sucks for when I deliberately want to stay up late because I can’t sleep in and then I get really cranky. Oh well! I’m okay with being like that.

    • I totally blame my dad for my habit of waking up early, but I know that it really is a good thing to do. This summer I’ll be working the hours of a full-time job so it will interesting to see how my sleeping patterns differ from when I am in college. A lot less time in the mornings that’s for sure!

    • Glad you liked the e-card πŸ™‚

      I’ve heard white noise is awesome. My old alarm clock had a lot of sound buttons that would play noises from the ocean, rainforest, etc. My favorite was the thunderstorm setting. It was great for helping me to fall asleep!

  9. This post is exactly what I needed. The sleep deprivation part is freaking me out because I’m pretty sure that’s the situation I’m. I’ve been getting around 5-6.5 hours of sleep every night and I thought I was functioning fine like that. Then I got sick and was doing a lot more sleeping and realized that 5-6 hours is not cutting it. Now I’m trying to aim for at least 7 hours, but it’s hard in college when you have class all day then a million assignments to work on at night! It’s definitely a work in progress but I’m trying to get better about it!

    • Oo. I don’t know what I would do with only 5-6.5 hours of sleep. I think 7 sounds like a great goal for you, but I totally understand how it’s hard in college. Sorry to freak you out, but definitely keep me updated on how everything is going for you!

    • I’m hoping that by getting into good habits now I’ll be prepared for when I have a full-time job! Some people think I’m crazy for getting up at 6:30 when I don’t have class until 9:30 or 10:30, but keeping the time I go to bed in consideration it isn’t all that wacky. And just like you said- So much more power when I get enough sleep!

  10. Love these tips, I’ve been trying to get more sleep too. Although I totally have to eat before bed or else I can’t fall asleep. I’ve tried really hard to, but it just doesn’t do it for my body.

    • It’s so hard not to eat before bed, but I really really try. I know some people like you though that have to eat before. I don’t see any reason to stop unless it’s actually causing you problems like it does for me. I’m no doctor though, so what do I know? πŸ˜‰

    • Same here with the acid reflux. I think it in part is caused because our digestion actually slows down at night in preparation for sleep (at least- that’s how I’ve understood it). Good luck with working on that. I know it’s tough.

  11. Well this is awkward haha. I definitely do not get enough asleep. And I also sleep in the wrong position. I hate sleeping though, so I tend to not do it much. Hope your sleep patterns improve though! x

    • haha. Not awkward at all! I dislike sleeping in the sense that I feel like when I sleep I’m missing out on the world. But also from experience not getting enough sleep can make you “miss out” on things of the world too. Ya know?

  12. Great post! For the most part I have no problem going to bed(8:30-9:30),but then there are other nights when I swear my mind is racing for hours. I’ll try everything I know to fall asleep; no electronics,count 100 sheeps, sing lullabies to myself,etc…and no luck. Those nights just suck!!

    • That counting sheep thing just doesn’t work for me. Does it even work for anybody? I don’t know, but that was the first thing that people told me when I was younger and had difficulty falling asleep. It was 8:00 at night– Why did my parents expect me to be tired? Lol. I usually ended up reading for awhile before I actually felt my eyes drifting shut.

  13. Oh my gosh, those sweet little kittens. I love them.
    Ok, onto to sleep. It’s so super important and can absolutely make a huge difference in your day. I try to get 8 hours every night and even more on weekends. I think when pele say, “you can sleep when you’re dead” are nuts because you do feel so much better with a good night of sleep under your belt. My mind is always racing especially when work is super busy (and it has been) so I’m going to try this notebook tip. Great idea and thanks for sharing!! Hope you are having a great weekend!!

    • I’ve never had anyone tell me “you can sleep when you’re dead” but I do know that a lot follow that principle. If I ever hear one of my friends or family members tell me that I’ll do a palm to their face! (Okay, not really, but I’ll do my most devastating eye roll and give them a very long speech about it.).

      How did the notebook tip help? Hope you had a great weekend!

  14. I am most certainly an early riser. No matter what, I am set to wake up ~7:00am. It can get pretty annoying though, especially on the weekends!

    • It is so annoying to have that internal alarm wake you up, especially on weekends. Sometimes I make a great effort to go back to sleep, but then other’s I’m like “whatever” and then mosey on downstairs in the dark to make myself something to eat πŸ™‚ Food is first priority in the mornings. Always!

  15. I am terrible about getting myself to bed on time. I typically want to be asleep by 10-11 but I don’t feel like this ever happens. It leaves me dreading my 5-6AM wake up call and leaves me sleepy and grumpy all day. I agree that I need to start cutting out technology and light and maybe I would see a difference…

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