Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule is tricky as hell. I know it, I’ve been struggling with it since, like, middle school.
It used to either be two or sixteen hours of sleep for me, always, never in-between. Obviously even now, when I try to pay a lot of attention to my sleep schedule, it is sometimes impossible to maintain it, but I’ve gotten better – I never sleep less than five hours, for instance, which is already a huge win in my book.
But honestly, why do people care so much about their sleep schedules? Isn’t it just about feeling rested? Well, here’s the thing… It’s not just that, really, even though it largely is about that. But what else comes into play? Well, let’s see – and I’ll try to illustrate that with my own experience.
Honestly, sleep schedule is responsible for so many things, and your general feelings are one of them.
The healthier your sleep, the better you’ll feel throughout the day – sleep deprivation, even if you’re unaware of it, makes you more…
jittery: jumping at everything, clumsily dropping things, having your hands shake and a lot of other unpleasant, inconvenient stuff that, frankly, ruins your day at the very best by being annoying as hell, and at the worst by making you spill coffee all over yourself;
panicky: panic is annoying, because it can really mess up all of your plans. In addition, someone with an unhealthy sleep schedule might be tempted to use a short fix – caffeine – which only enhances anxiety and panic;
yeah, caffeine dependent, by the way;
frustrated: most of us might have noticed it by ourselves, but the less we sleep – the more we get angry, the more we lash out. Yes, it is difficult to function on little sleep, but how are the people around you to blame? Exactly, they aren’t, and they aren’t supposed to account for your bad schedule;
dizzy: chronic exhaustion leads to blood pressure issues, lightheadedness and other symptoms that make existing insufferable. And it’s not that hard to get properly exhausted, my guy;
and a lot of other things that you really don’t want to deal with, and really don’t want to make others deal with, frankly.
The less you sleep, the more food you crave. The foods you’ll crave especially are carbs.
See, there’s nothing bad about carbs per se – they’re the main food for your brain. Carbs are necessary, and there’s no point to completely exclude them from your diet unless you have medical reasons to try.
However, just like with everything else, they’re good in moderation. Excess carbs lead to weight gain and, even, diabetes. Well, they heighten the risk of thereof, which is meh. Diabetes is really not fun – trust me, a diabetic.
In addition, if you’re trying to do something with your weight – be it gain or lose weight, healthily – fixing your sleep schedule is one of the most important milestones for proper digestion and nutrition distribution. It’s a natural way to control your appetite – where it needs to be controlled, that is.
It’s quite an ominous heading, but an appropriate one nonetheless. Oversleeping and undersleeping chronically can often be one of the big causes of having a stroke. And nobody wants a stroke. That’s really it. Don’t sleep for the ungodly sixteen hours when you can avoid it – you’ll thank yourself in the future.
Other brain stuff
Seemingly just as ominous after a heading above, this one is actually going into a slightly different direction – but an important one nonetheless.
An unhealthy sleep schedule, whether constantly undersleeping, oversleeping, or jumping in-between, are all some of the big causes of a) crappy memory, b) anxiety and social cues misrepresentation, c) depression.
Not only do all of those things sabotage your creativity, productivity, workflow and relationships separately, it all ends up combining and making you feel… really bad, in the end.
Prevent crappy feelings when you can.
The obvious ‘being-on-time’ business
The better you train your inner clock, the better it will respond to all kinds of deadlines and points in time.
It will become easier to plan your time efficiently, it will make it easier to rest properly, it will make it easier to accomplish more of what you wish to accomplish – be it homework, classes, jobs, walking around, doing sports – really whatever.
In addition, as sad as it is to admit, this world is adjusted mostly for larks – people who go to bed and wake up earlier naturally. Yes, it’s unfair, and re-adjusting your inner clock by forcing yourself into a different sleep schedule sucks, but that is, currently, and very regrettably, the easiest option.
Yes, that’s right – your immune system genuinely does work better when it gets its proper seven to eight hours of sleep. The less regularly you sleep properly, the more prone you are to various diseases – yes, even the common goddamn cold.
Yes, somehow that’s a real thing. Apparently, according to actual legitimate research, the less you sleep – the less attractive you seem to others. It might be the general pre-disposition (aka people being angry, jittery and overall unpleasant), but it also might be the looks – your skin suffers in multiple senses, from being more dull, to getting more prone to breaking out, to getting undereye circles.
While snoring is not always tiredness-induced, it often is.
Exhaustion and sleep-deprivation, according to research, seems to induce snoring. It’s not really that much of a tragedy if you sleep alone; however, if you share your bed with anybody else, be it your romantic partner(s) or your kid(s), it’s a little… unfair to them, don’t you think?
Overall, sleep influences and is influenced by a number of factors. If you find yourself incapable of sleeping properly at all despite best, earnest attempts, you might be suffering from insomnia, some other sleep disorder, or some anxiety-related disorder. Regardless of what it is, seeing a professional might be the best bet, instead of hoping for it to pass.