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Bed by 11: Pre-Start

Misheel Batkhuu
Oct. 11, 2021, 1:01 p.m.

Too often, high schoolers find themselves caught up in a vicious cycle of procrastination, time-wasting, speed-running, late to no sleep, and poor results. At this point, we’re well aware of the importance of sleep, but we’ve trained our brains too long into casting it outside. That is why, as we begin a fresh school year, five other brave soldiers and I are challenging ourselves to be in bed by 11, ready to sleep, for six weeks straight. Typically, it’s believed that a habit takes six weeks to break or make. Let’s see if we can make a habit of sleeping by 11, and maybe other ones might be built or shattered in the process.
Here are the pre-start thoughts of our first “Make or Break” series participants, taken September 8, 2021:

Why did you choose to take part in this challenge?

Keren (Grade 10): “I thought it would be a great way to keep a consistent sleep schedule during the beginning of the school year. Coming back from vacation I want to get my jet lag under control as fast as possible. I know that sleeps important and I want to improve mine. I want to be able to wake up early without feeling too tired.”

Alisa Wu (Grade 11): “Over the summer, I've read about the importance of habit building and sleep (Why We Sleep Book by Matthew Walker), and I felt very inspired after reading those books. They helped me stop sleeping at 2-3 am and helped me sleep consistently at 12-1 am. I thought that this challenge was perfect and thought it could further help me achieve an even better sleep time.”

Ayesha Rivera (Grade 11): “I chose to take part in this challenge so that I could use it as an opportunity to start creating better habits and improve time management skills.”

Julianne Ho (Grade 11): “Often I have trouble concentrating and my thoughts feel jumbled when I'm sleep deprived. A problem I usually face is wanting to enjoy the morning by waking up early, but it's difficult for me to sleep earlier and I constantly end up with a lack of sleep. I feel much more productive in the early mornings and would like to make that a habit. Another issue I face is that I'm a heavy sleeper, and sleep deprivation really just exacerbates the situation. Multiple alarms can go off and I would completely miss them (this previously included a carbon monoxide alarm), or if I do catch them I'd turn off the alarms and "sleep for another 5 minutes". I believe having a solid reason to get to bed earlier rather than "just because I want to" will make me more determined to see this challenge to the end.”

Misheel Batkhuu (Grade 11): “I've tried committing to improving my sleep habits many times before, and only one time, did I come close to sleeping at a good time (before 11)... for about three nights before I fell back into my regular routine. The thing is, no matter how busy or unbusy my schedule is, I always fail to prioritize my sleep, which I really should. I feel as if participating in a publicly updated and open challenge like this will force me into this habit, especially if I'm keeping it up for six weeks. It's a measurable goal, at least in my opinion.”

Anonymous (Grade 12): “I know a lot of my lack of sleep comes from procrastination because I know I can always stay up late to complete work. I usually set a hard limit to go to sleep around 2 or 3 am anyway so if I can just make that earlier, I'm hoping to improve my sleep schedule and work ethic.”

What do you hope to gain from these six weeks? (goals, desires, dreams)

Keren (Grade 10): “A good sleep schedule, and a way to create new habits.”

Alisa Wu (Grade 11): “I hope that after these 6 weeks, I can go to school without dozing off in class (which happened a lot last year) and I can have more effective retention of class material.”

Ayesha Rivera (Grade 11): “I hope that I'll be able to gain better sleep and I hope to be able to create a sustainable work schedule by learning to section off time properly with the goal of getting in bed and sleeping by 11.”

Julianne Ho (Grade 11): “I'm hoping that developing this habit will result in other lifestyle changes as well, such as efficient time management, being able to trust my self-discipline, and being more focused in my everyday work. Even if I don't succeed, I'm still interested in seeing if this motivates other people to work on self-improvement!”

Misheel Batkhuu (Grade 11): “I hope to build the habit of consistently sleeping at a good time. I want to get used to dropping whatever I'm doing and sleeping without worrying because I'll just wake up the next morning refreshed and ready to continue. I hope to develop a consistent clear mind so I perform better in all aspects of my life, including school and family responsibilities (maybe I'll stop being so irritable). I want to get better at managing my time, and hopefully, as I'm forced to realize what's most important, I can also drop other bad habits of mine like wasting time procrastinating or scrolling pointlessly through social media, Webtoons, etc. Beyond myself, though, I hope that this challenge can help motivate other people to also develop healthier and more consistent sleep routines:)”

Anonymous (Grade 12): “Getting more sleep, less procrastination, better focus”

What challenges can you see yourself facing?

Keren (Grade 10): “Having homework, and not having time to finish it. Since I have extracurricular activities, and usually only get home by 9, that doesn’t give me a lot of time to do homework. [I also fear] just not being tired before 11 in general, having a hard time falling asleep”

Alisa Wu (Grade 11): “The first week would be difficult since I would have to solely rely on willpower rather than habits.”

Ayesha Rivera (Grade 11): “Challenges I can see myself facing is workload, procrastination, and getting over previous sleep habits, specifically the times I was used to sleeping at.”

Julianne Ho (Grade 11): “Some challenges I can definitely see happening result from wasting time during the day and pushing all my work to be done in the night time. I see myself spending time watching random YouTube videos, checking messages, having too many "breaks" in the daytime, then rushing my work starting at 10 pm. Often I also want to help others but never save enough time to work on my own projects unfortunately. This might lead to pulling all-nighters just to meet deadlines.”

Misheel Batkhuu (Grade 11): “Struggling to let go of my obsession with games, and then struggling to finish an assignment. Having trouble sleeping at night because I couldn't finish the assignment and I'm stressed the time I set out in the morning won't be enough.”

Anonymous (Grade 12): “Too much work/due dates piling up, not being able to sleep at an earlier time even if I get in bed because of current sleep schedule.”

Are you making plans to help you overcome challenges? If so, please specify.

Keren (Grade 10): “Homework challenge: Being efficient and managing the time that I have, waking up early instead of staying up late to finish it.”

Alisa Wu (Grade 11): “I'll set an alarm to remind me to start getting ready to go to sleep.”

Ayesha Rivera (Grade 11): “To overcome potential challenges I'm aiming to start any work given right away/finish it as early as possible and create a general schedule that I can follow to help me stay on track.”

Julianne Ho (Grade 11): “I'm going to stick to using site blockers for social media platforms and stop using electronics right before sleeping. I will also use a to-do list but will try not to spend too much time organizing it as to stay time efficient. Doing activities that make me feel determined and productive such as exercising or doing tough activities earlier will hopefully stop me from laying around and waiting to start them too late in the day.”

Misheel Batkhuu (Grade 11): “I'm mentally preparing myself for one, letting go of and living without the things I don't need, and two, for the prospect of dropping my pencil and then figuring out a steady time to wake up. If I have to sleep at 10:30 and wake up at 12:30 to keep up with this challenge, then so be it. Once my timetable gets stabilized and I figure out what each class looks like, I'll organize a rough schedule/map of my day and each course study slots.”

Anonymous (Grade 12): “Not drinking caffeine drinks after 8 pm, planning to work on projects early.”

How do you feel right now about starting school with this goal in mind?

Keren (Grade 10): “I feel a little more prepared for something that I didn’t really think about (sleep schedule) before starting this challenge”

Alisa Wu (Grade 11): “Motivated.”

Ayesha Rivera (Grade 11): “Starting school with this goal in mind makes me feel somewhat less nervous as it gives me a bit more structure to follow for the beginning of the year.”

Julianne Ho (Grade 11): “Honestly, I'm feeling more pressure because this has been a habit I've wanted to include since middle school and haven't been too successful with. Heading into Grade 11, I would like to focus more on responsibilities rather than kicking bad habits for the entire year. Getting started earlier on pushing these bad habits out are higher on my priority for the first few weeks of school, so I'm excited to get started!”

Misheel Batkhuu (Grade 11): “Super excited. I got this.”

Anonymous (Grade 12): “Good but might not be able to meet this goal throughout the six weeks depending on my workload. Also might affect my ability to stay up late when I actually need to.”

Which best describes you right now?


Keren (Grade 10): Option 4 (happy, blushing)

Alisa Wu (Grade 11): Option 4 (happy, blushing)

Ayesha Rivera (Grade 11): Option 3 (cry)

Julianne Ho (Grade 11): Option 2 (dizzy)

Misheel Batkhuu (Grade 11): Option 6 (geeky)

Anonymous (Grade 12): Option 4 (happy, blushing)

If you would like to make any suggestions for our next "Make or Break" series, we would love to hear your suggestions! Send them in through here: https://forms.gle/9XwhusCA63ueVxCm9


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