A few weeks ago, in class, we talked about our sleep habits and how they can really make a difference in our lives as future clinicians and the lives of clients. My professor emphasized the importance of checking in with ourselves and our future clients about sleep habits. We completed a questionnaire about our personal sleep habits and any effects we noticed of it on our daily functioning, mood, ability to do work, etc. Doing the questionnaire and listening to each other’s responses really helped me realized how much of a difference adequate sleep and a regular sleep routine can make for all of us.
When I first entered graduate school, I wanted to stick to somewhat of a regular sleep routine because it is easy for me to neglect sleeping because I have so much work to do. So far, I have been good at sticking to routine that works for me. Even though there are days when I could definitely use more sleep, for the most part I am awake and in a good mood. The only issue is when my sleep routine is disrupted it really takes a toll on my mood. In the beginning of April, I caught a cold and the discomfort caused me to have a hard time sleeping for about a week. I could not meditate properly. I could not sleep in my regular position. I kept getting out of bed to blow my nose and drink water. By the time my alarm went off in the morning, I was disorientated and grumpy. Minor things irritated me throughout the days and it was hard to focus on my work because I was so exhausted and felt drained. I felt unmotivated and horrible. My face looked pale and dry. When my cold finally went away, I was able to sleep regularly, and it felt so good. My mood, concentration, and skin improved greatly within a few nights of good sleep. I felt like myself again.
There are a few nights when I am working on a paper and I try to stay up later than I normally do to finish it. The minute the clock strikes 10pm, my body and mind check out. While working on the paper at 8pm or earlier in the day, I was focused and motivated. Trying to work on a paper at 10pm is basically a waste of my time. For some reason, trying to create cohesive sentences, arguments, transitions, etc. seems like the hardest thing to do. I start to feel really sad and/or angry. My eyes lids start to close, and I cannot sit up properly at my work place. Sometimes I get a tension headache or some other type of body pain within minutes. At this point, I usually give up working on the paper for the night and start to get ready for bed. As soon as I begin to get ready for bed, I start to feel better. While I was in college, I used to be light sleeper. I would have a hard time falling and staying asleep. The only time I could sleep was when I was extremely sleep deprived. Since practicing a sleep routine and being able to get rid of the disruptive distractions that kept me up, I usually fall asleep within 5-10 minutes of laying down and I feel much better throughout the day. In my next post, I will write about my sleep routine.
Time to Focus on You:
What type of effect does adequate sleep have on you? What happens when you don’t get enough sleep?
Photo by Clarke Sanders