Question: How to fix sleep schedule? I sleep at 3 am and feel tired the whole day but I feel like I can only concentrate after 12. Sometimes I finish my work early but I just go on my phone till 3 anyways. Please help, thank you!
Rishabh Jain — Head of Product & Head of Chemistry
It’s Always About Mindset
“You will never change anything that you are willing to tolerate.”
If you are willing to tolerate sleeping late, you will not be able to fix your sleep schedule. You need to be extremely uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping late. You need to tell yourself that it is not okay to be sleeping late. Anything less than this, and you’ll continue sleeping at that time.
Tony Robbins: “The most powerful way to win the war is to burn the boats, because it’s amazing what happens when there is no way to turn back.” Give yourself no other option, and you will win your own war of sleeping early.
Change Your Environmental Design to Initiate Behavioural Change
- Track your screen time and turn off notifications for non-urgent messages (you don’t need to know who liked your photo, who just followed you on Instagram or if your friend sent you a streak photo on Snapchat)
- Put your phone on Focus Mode where you can customise which apps to block for Study-Time or Me-Time
- Turn your phone off after dinner and leave it somewhere in the house that is hard to reach, or give it to a sibling/parent to hide somewhere so that you can’t access it — when you increase the friction between you and a task you’re far less likely to do it
“I can only concentrate after 12” — this isn’t true. It’s something you are telling yourself, and something that your body internalises. You can study at any time of the day, I know you can, because I’ve been in the same place. But when you tell yourself that you can only study after 12am, that’s what exactly begins to happen, your brain will not focus at any other time, because you’ve instructed it that you can only concentrate after 12am.
Leticia Liao — Chemistry Tutor
Challenging My Nocturnal Habits for 14 Days
I have felt exactly the same when I was in Year 12, that I was a night-owl and I can only hype myself up after 11pm!
During my 2 week study break before Trials I’ve decided to go on a grind and challenge my nocturnal self by starting the day early:
- 8:30-9:00 AM: Arrive Project, print past papers, set up for the day
- 9:00-12:00 PM: Study Session 1
- 12:00-1:00 PM: Lunch Break
- 1:00-4:00 PM: Study Session 2
- 4:00-4:30 PM: Frisbee/ Run/ Snack
- 4:30-7:30 PM: Study Session 3
By the time I went home and had dinner, almost every day I passed out in bed straight after at 10 pm because I was just so tired, and I almost forgot what it feels like being a night-owl. (Note: this schedule is designed for high-achievers in preparation for Trials. It’s not for everyone and I wouldn’t recommend doing this every day of the year as you will easily burn out! I’ve always prioritised my needs and will cut a session short if I am feeling drained)
Expanding on what Rish says, try getting out of that fixed mindset of “I can’t concentrate before 12am” or “I am a night-owl”. You CAN absolutely change up that schedule if you want it enough. You first need to believe in yourself that you can do it, because your mindset and your identity will determine any actions you take.
My Motivation to Waking Up Early
I was lucky enough to have access to Grasslands and the lovely Project study space, and have friends and tutors who would come in at around the same time and hype me up for being the first one here every day. It wasn’t only the external satisfaction (motivation from peers) that kept me going, it was also the internal satisfaction of knowing that I can “win my morning” by having a solid routine and taking full control of how I spent my time. I have never felt more accomplished than smashing out a major task before lunch!
I know it might be harder to apply this to regular school days when school takes up majority of your time. While I haven’t tried it myself, I know friends who committed to waking up an hour early to do some morning studies before going to school and they raved about it! And in order to achieve that you’ll have to force yourself to sleep early, so have a go at that :)