The early bird catches the worm

Many of us will be graduating in the next few months, reaching the finish line of one of the busiest times in our lives. We have lost more sleep than it feels like we will ever catch up on. Work scheduled on weekends and during spring break make the rest that we hope to get become muddled with the stress of actually having to complete assignments, to help other people check items off of their lists and to appease professors and schoolmates. A chronic sense of exhaustion is not uncommon.

Since so many of us end up staying into the early hours of the morning to finish assignments just in time to wake up at 7:45 a.m. and roll out of bed to make it to class, it can seem impossible to do anything when you first wake up. Maybe if we are feeling extra desperate, we’ll grabbing a cup of coffee off the Keurig and a Clif bar.

This being said, the benefits of having some sort of morning routine prove to be an excellent way to balance out the your hectic schedule during the day. Some people choose to do early morning yoga. Others pray and others journal — anything that gives you a second to breathe when you first wake up and allows you to have some sort of introspection or time set aside to be truly present — the benefits could surprise you. For those who don’t have extremely early classes, this is an excellent option.

For those who are less fortunate and only have time to change into somewhat socially acceptable clothes, your exhaustion and frustration do not go unheard. This is probably going to be one of the most hectic times of your lives, so no one expects you to lose an extra hour of sleep just so you can drink tea and think about your day.

This being said, there are some things you can do to maximize your sleep, so you can take 10 or 15 minutes extra in the mornings to breathe for a second. If you are one to finish off the night with an episode of one of your favorite shows on Netflix, shutting the laptop before you start the second episode could give you those vital 45 minutes that would give you the liberty to wake up earlier.

In a similar vein, if you like to fall asleep scrolling through Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook, it has been widely proven that the light coming off of your LCD screen proves to be a very inefficient way to actually fall asleep. According to Harvard researchers, LCD screens can change the way the melatonin — or the chemical in your body that influences sleep cycles — reacts to the rising and setting of the sun. Instead of throwing your body clock off with bright LCD lights, read a book in some soft light and it is sure to put you to sleep early.

But when you do actually wake up, what activity is best suited for you? Some of the world’s top performers have a few set basic standards for their best morning habits.

Some of those are exercising, meditating or praying, and keeping a daily journal. But maybe you are someone who doesn’t like to exercise in the morning or doesn’t feel awake enough to actually set aside time to think about the present or the day ahead. Simply making a cup of coffee or tea and sitting on the porch to sip it in silence rather than guzzling a Red Bull can offer the same benefits as some of the other listed items above.

We get it – your days are crazy. It seems silly to sacrifice precious minutes of sleep for something that doesn’t seem productive. But for some of you, having a daily constant like a morning routine may make your college schedule feel a little more balanced.