How to survive a college sleep schedule

Since my first semester of college started, my already inconsistent sleep schedule flew out the window. I can’t even call it a schedule at this point. It’s more of a sleep wheel of fortune, where each day, the hours of sleep I get and when I get them are up to random chance. My life has started to revolve around my lack of sleep, so much so that my go-to accessory lately has been my under-eye bags, and an IV of Monster Energy.

Just to be clear, I’m not endorsing getting little to no sleep. My life improves overall when I get a good night’s sleep, but none of us are perfect, and sometimes we slip up and watch TikToks until 4:30 a.m. when we have an 8:30 a.m. class the next morning. That being said, I do have a few tips for how to survive a no sleep lifestyle, if that’s a way of life you’re interested in.

Your first line of defense against sleep deprivation, besides just getting a good night of sleep, is caffeine. There are many different ways to get caffeine into your system like coffee, tea, energy drinks and more. You can also use caffeine pills for a low calorie and cheaper source of caffeine. It’s all according to what methods your body reacts to best. Once you’ve identified your go-to caffeine plug, make sure you have plenty available. If that means going to Costco to buy Zero Ultra Monster Energy drinks in bulk, then go for it, I won’t judge.

When you aren’t getting sleep, you will have very little energy or motivation to do work, so it’s important you organize everything. If you have a clear idea of what work you need to get done and when, it will help you better delegate the energy you do have. This also helps you map out what times of the day or which days you can take naps. For example, if you have an assignment due at midnight that you haven’t started, then maybe you shouldn’t take a nap that day. The only exception to this is if you are running on so little energy that you can’t get the assignment done. If that is the case, then a cat nap is an option.

I will say, naps are more dangerous than you may think. Coming from someone whose body craves sleep at all times, if I take a nap, it’s uncertain when I’ll wake up. If this applies to you, then make sure you have a safety net in place that will ensure you wake up when you need to. This applies to class as well. I always have multiple procedures put in place for when I need to wake up for class. I’m talking multiple alarms, a friend to call me a couple of times in the morning, and if all else fails, my suitemate will sometimes physically wake me up. Again, I am not saying this is a good way to live; it’s just the place that I’m at right now.

Moving on, even if you’re exhausted, you need to wake up for class. For morning classes, I suggest you sit in a chair or a desk but never on your bed. Your brain associates your bed with sleep, and it’s safe to assume your bed is the most comfortable spot in your room. A comfy location mixed with sleep deprivation and a lecture is a recipe for disaster, leaving you destined to fall asleep during class.

If you want to go a step further, you can make your way to the library to attend class or study. Sometimes a change of scenery will wake up your brain and get you into work mode. Despite this, I still get sleepy at the library, so consider packing your bag with a blanket. I use one jacket as a pillow and another to drape over me. Also, make sure to bring a friend with you, one that’s preferably not sleep deprived too, so they can watch over your stuff while you snooze.

These tips are in no way going to help you get more sleep or feel well-rested. They are just ways I have enabled my unhealthy sleeping habits, and, in a twisted way, I hope they work for you too.