I recently bumped my alarm forward from 5 a.m. to 5:15, and that has made a tiny difference. But I still find myself unable to be productive after I finish teaching at 10. I can’t talk myself into grading anything, and end up wasting any time not spent in the classroom. (My ability to teach doesn’t seem to be much affected; it’s my self-regulated activities like planning and marking that suffer.) Therefore, grading is relegated to Wednesdays and weekends, when I can linger in bed until I’m truly ready to get up (usually around 8 or so). My sleeping patterns throughout the week end up being wonky, and I know this is bad for me.
There are a few things I could do. I resist them all.
- I could request a later schedule, so I could begin teaching at 10 instead of 8. The problem is, I’d likely also end up teaching during the dreaded 4-6 p.m. slot. Teaching at the beginning of the day is great: most students are alert, and those who aren’t alert are asleep or absent. Teaching at the end of the day is not great: students are wound up and unable to concentrate, and weaker students with few self-management skills tend to take later classes.
- I could get to sleep earlier. I do try to be in bed by nine, but even when I succeed, I often lie awake. More often, I put off bedtime because I feel like I haven’t had any fun all day, and knitting a few more rows of this sock, or watching Top Chef Masters, is a happy indulgence.
- I could streamline my morning routine and get up a bit later. I know there are people who can roll out of bed, splash water on their faces, grab a granola bar and go. I wish I were one of these people, but if I don’t have at least an hour and a half to ease into myself before leaving the house, I feel resentful for the rest of the day. I even hate getting straight into the shower out of bed, although there’s really no way around it.
- I could learn to nap. I’ve been trying to nap my whole life, and I almost never succeed. There must be tricks I don’t know.
Does anyone have any advice? I’m not battling true insomnia or other sleep disorders; I simply seem unable to regularly get a good, solid night’s sleep when I have to be up early. Do you have a routine that ensures that you get enough rest? I’d love to hear about it.