Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Alternative Sleep Schedule Experiment


It's second semester senior year, and contrary to the heavy case of senioritis I had expected, I'm finding that I'm even more focused and meticulous than ever. I think managing to achieve straight A's first semester was a huge part of it (even though it only raised my GPA a measly 0.02 points). I don't know why, but I'm taking seven classes as a senior, including AP Biology and Journalism. Speech and debate is also picking up again, and there is so much end of the year senior miscellaneous crap to deal with.

I've decided not to do swimming this year because with seven classes and other extracurriculars it's just all too much. I need to focus on my health again, especially sleep. I've only ever pulled one all-nighter, and I'd like to never have to do that again. However, some nights I'd only get about three hours of sleep (rarely, but it happens). As I thought about it, a lot of time was wasted on nothingness.
Homework should only take about three hours per night, at a conservative estimate. With speech and journalism, it's more like five hours a night, but I try to do as much work as possible at school too. For the sake of simplicity, I decided to base my planning on three hours of homework per night and 7.5 hours of sleep (5 sleep cycles). My counselor recommended getting nine hours, but I don't think that will be really necessary. I'm pretty much done growing.

The point is, I've been trying to rearrange my sleep schedule so I am more alert and well-rested when it matters (at school and doing homework) and spending time on productive resting (naps) instead of procrastination. I came up with this plan:
I was originally going to try it out for a week, but from the beginning, it didn't work too well. I couldn't nap for two sleep cycles and woke up automatically after one. Showering and dinner took time in homework (ideally I'd eat dinner at 6pm and shower in the morning, but with the other people in the family, that's not possible). I ended up working until 1:30am and was not able to wake up at 4:30 in the morning. Also, there is the issue of special events and sometimes having a social life. This schedule is too rigid and demands perfect adherence or else it doesn't work.

I then modified it slightly to only have one sleep cycle nap in the afternoons, but I didn't like the imbalance of the sleep cycles with 4:1. Logically, this one probably works best, so I might try it in the future, but I don't think I'd be able to keep up with it now.
At the same time, I'm determined not to go back to the first sleep schedule, so it looks like a more structured version of it is going to come into play. There will be a twenty minute nap right after I get home from school, which hopefully will give me the rest I need to stay focused on homework later so I can have go to bed and wake up earlier and be fully awake when I go to school.

Hopefully this one will work out, and sometime in the future I'll do an update on results. ◊

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