How a Strict Daily Routine Changed My Life

Danny Whalen, Student Writer

Some people wake up and go to practice, work, school, or simply stay home and do nothing. No matter what your schedule is throughout the day, having a strict routine to base your day off of can help you tremendously. I spent the last week following a very strict routine based on my sleep schedule. I hope by sharing my experience with how it changed my life I can help someone out there who could use a positive change in their life.

I used to get about five hours of sleep a night when I would go to bed a little after midnight and wake up at 5:30 a.m. for school. This became my new normal and I never realized how much more productive I could be just by simply getting a little extra sleep. One week ago, I decided to change up my sleep schedule. I would keep things very simple. Screens off at 10 p.m. every night and my alarm was set for 6 a.m. every morning. In the beginning, this didn’t seem like something that would have much of an effect on my life or how productive I was, but for the sake of the experiment, I stuck to it. Day one went just about how you would expect. The night before “Day 1” I went to bed at 10 p.m. on the dot. I turned my phone off and set it aside to keep me from being distracted. I just laid there for a little while because I wasn’t really tired at all. Since I had been sticking with the same routine for a while it wasn’t easy for my body to get used to the new schedule. As the days went on it got easier to stick to the new times and I could feel my productivity improving every day. I would get more homework done, get through my practices feeling stronger, and when it would come time to go to sleep, I would be tired, and it wouldn’t take me too long to go to sleep.

Having a consistent sleep schedule can help you in many more areas than just feeling more rested throughout the day. Some of these benefits include getting sick less often, staying at a healthier weight, lower risk for serious health conditions, reducing stress and improving your mood, and many other great benefits. Sticking to a consistent schedule will help you achieve all of these but only if you are strict about it. Even on the weekends. Weekends tend to be what ruins the clock you have inside your body because everyone sleeps in. You should try to keep the change of time on the weekends within one hour of the time that you have set for yourself now. This will keep you from setting yourself back for the upcoming week. As a part of the sleep study committee for my high school, I understand the importance of sleep and consistency every night.

In an interview with a close friend that’s also on the swim team, he mentioned that the hours that we have as high school students is almost unfair. As someone who works as a lifeguard at the school, I have days where I wake up at 4:30 a.m. for practice and I don’t get done lifeguarding until around 9 p.m. That’s a 17-hour day and by the time I get home, I still have homework to work on.  During this week of learning to change my sleep schedule, I had a few times where I couldn’t stick to it perfectly because of the times of my practices, but for the most part, I did. I can absolutely say with certainty that sticking to sleep my new schedule helped me with my productivity and helped me stay in a better mood. If you’re considering switching up your schedule, stop considering and do it. You will never go back to having a bad sleep schedule again.