As you return to school, we’d like to take a moment to share some wisdom we’ve gained over our varying years on the planet. While not all of us are parents, we were all kids at one point and we do know what it’s like to be going back to school to start/return to/finish college or high/middle/elementary school.
There’s a lot of advice we could give you but we know how busy you are making it through your first test, researching your first big paper or figuring out how to get to your next class before the bell rings. Therefore, we’re going to keep it to the one pointer we’ve discovered over our academic years that means the difference between a healthy, happy, low stress school year and thinking summer can’t get here soon enough after just the first few weeks. And it’s totally free. No money down, no automatic payments to set and forget, no balance due. Ready?
There. Simple. Sleep. And not that copping a few zzzz’s in class when no one’s looking kind of slumber. No. That’s about as helpful to you as pulling all-nighters and drinking a large, caffeine ladened latte with an extra shot while popping chocolate covered espresso beans at midnight. Lay down on a bed, turn off all media, close your eyes and let your circadian rhythm take you away so you can ace the all important three R’s of school: REST, RECHARGE, REALIZE.
Yes, we know pulling an all-nighter has been as much a part of college life since the creation of higher education. It’s seen as a necessary evil to get your studying done, papers written, projects completed — you get the drift. Colleges and universities are now offering 24-hour access to libraries on campus to support the rather irregular hours kids keep while in school. This is to help you study whenever you need, darling Students. And while this certainly sounds awfully nice, experts say —
Okay, before we move on we want you to know this letter is from the heart, Students, and while we don’t want to bog you down with stats, the belief that those “always open” edifices are hurting rather than helping have been mentioned by people whose job it is to know such things. And, yes, more and more school children — as in, kids who haven’t reached double digits — are getting less and less sleep. And, of course, there are tons of discussions and initiatives being had and proposed to change school start times to later so kids can sleep longer. Oh, and about that later start time idea? Some worry that will only encourage later bedtimes so the point is moot.
Where were we, Students? Oh, yes. While 24-hour Bookness sounds absolutely life-saving, those all-nighters are being pulled by kids as young as elementary school age and it’s just not healthy FOR ANY OF YOU. This would usually be where we’d write something about how 16 hours straight without sleep makes it hard for your brain to work (I believe the word “decline” was used), and 20 hours straight? Well, don’t get behind the wheel of a car is all I’ll say. If you’re pulled over, you’ll read as legally drunk.
Students, we want you to succeed, be happy, and reap the benefits of all of the hard work you do this and every year you’re in school. Sleep really does help — we’re not making any of this up. And as we wrote at the beginning, not just any “grab a nap” will do. Try these four things:
1. Go to bed at the same time EVERY NIGHT
This means no matter whether it’s during the week or the weekend. It gets that circadian rhythm synched up at the right times. Train your body and brain on good habits. They will thank you.
2. Create a cozy space and environment
Yes, Students, we understand some of you are in dorms where this may not be as easy as you remember when you were at home but it really is quite simple. You don’t need a bunch of big stuff, just some little touches here and there — it could be photos, scents, a comfy pillow, whatever — that make you feel relaxed.
3. Don’t drink caffeine or workout too close to bedtime
Probably a no brainer but we want to remind you anyway, Students. Relaxation is the key here so meditating, hot decaffeinated herbal tea, nature sounds — whatever trips your calming/soothing/peace trigger, go for it.
4. Get ready, get set, GO… and turn off ALL MEDIA
Before you run screaming from the article, listen — try it. Turn off the TV, the computer, place your phone face down (we know you won’t turn it off — neither do we), make your room as dark as possible, and just let go. All of your digital things are kicking your mental ass. Shut down completely for the night so you can REST, RECHARGE, REALIZE.
By the way, we mean all that REALIZE has to offer — “to achieve”, “to understand and know,” "to manifest..." Deep.
Give it a shot
And so, dear Students, we end this open letter by telling you we’ve all been there. We truly know how packed your days are and that staying up until all hours of the night is often the only way you get your work done for school the next day. Honest, we do. And because of that we also know that sleep is your friend. Good sleep. Restful sleep so you can Recharge and Realize your goals and dreams.
Because you deserve it.