The Early Bird Beats the Owl

Aubreanna Miller, News Editor

This morning I sat up at 6:45 a.m., 10 minutes before my alarm went off. I registered for classes, took my vitamins then headed off for a walk in the rec center with one of my friends. My morning continued with a breakfast of cinnamon apple overnight oats, dancing in the shower and getting ready for the day before heading off to class at 11 a.m. Sometimes, I work in the morning or do homework, so these extra tasks do not always fit into my schedule, but I do them whenever I can. Doing all of this in the morning makes me feel a lot better, but it wasn’t always that way.

If your day doesn’t start out like mine, you might relate more to my morning routine in high school. I lived 20 minutes away from school but that did not stop me from rolling out of bed five to 10 minutes before having to leave. I would brush my teeth and throw on a sweatshirt, only remembering to grab my bookbag half of the time. Every night, I would stay up well past prime sleeping hours, doing homework or, more frequently, watching Netflix. I did not realize until years later that this lifestyle contributed greatly to my mental health issues that I experienced during that time. By putting mindless and arguably meaningless entertainment at the forefront of my daily life, I missed out on the necessary sleep that could have changed my life. All of the other tasks that I have added to my routine, such as journaling or walking in the mornings, have been added bonuses, but sleeping enough has positively transformed my life.

You might believe that you could never relate to the early bird over the owl, but I am a prime example that you can make that transition. If you find yourself at the receiving end of consequences from all night TikTok binges, like missing classes or forgetting assignments, reconfiguring your sleeping schedule might be a viable option.

Now, let’s talk about the downsides to being an early bird. College prioritizes the night life. Events take place in the evening; friends want to hang out after supper and sometimes assignments pile up and cannot wait until the next day. To be completely honest, I feel pretty sluggish past 7 p.m., now more than ever, especially because daylight savings has stolen my sunlight in the evenings. I miss out on a lot of things because I am not in the energized mood to participate or leave my room after supper. Usually, I get ready for bed and start reading at about 10-10:30 p.m., falling asleep by 11 p.m. every night. I love sleeping that early, but I do have a few regrets from turning down friends because I am tired in the evenings.

Another downside comes from having a conflicting sleeping schedule than a roommate. I am very lucky that my roommate has relatively the same schedule as me, but that is not the case for everyone. She stays up and sleeps in a little later than me, but we both keep quiet and respectful during those overlapping times. The rarity of this harmony is not lost on me. Sometimes a person might want to update their morning and night routines to better fit their new lifestyle, but a dominant roommate will implement roadblocks that makes this impossible. Since I have not experienced this, I really do not have helpful tips except to remember that you should prioritize your own life. Also, communication goes a long way, and most people will attempt to fix solutions if a healthy and actionable conversation takes place.

The millions of benefits of good sleep should entice people to prioritize it, opting to skip out on an hour of socializing for an hour of snoozing. Everyone who focuses on their health by eating right, exercising, and becoming mindful of their mental health, but does not sleep seven to nine hours every night cannot claim to care about their health. People like Tony Schwartz for the Harvard Business Review claims that sleep is more important than food. Amnesty International, an organization that campaigns for human rights across the globe, categorizes sleep deprivation as a form of torture. I feel almost certain that no college student keeps themselves awake to that extent, but the losses from lack of sleep truly add up to an enormous and consequential sum.

I know that I am never going to change the night life vibe of college and I really do not want to. I would just like to encourage my peers to attempt to set up a routine in their lives. It does not have to involve waking up with the sun but falling into that pattern has completely changed my life. I have felt exponentially happier and more productive than ever before in my life. Give it a try. You will never know the benefits of a great night of sleep unless you make it your reality.