How quarantine disrupts my sleeping habits

A+cartoon+of+someone+sleeping.

Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons

A cartoon of someone sleeping.

Shalah Russell, Editor-in-chief

There have been officially two months of social distancing based quarantine, and I think it’s time to admit that my sleeping schedule has changed. Without a doubt, the hours in which I’m awake fluctuate. 

About a week with no school I was staying up until 1:00 AM. Two weeks out, I lasted until 4:00 in the morning. Each day after that, I stayed up later and woke up the next day a little later as well. Let’s just say nowadays on average, I go to bed at 7:00 AM and crawl out around 6:00 PM.

Other than the obvious, shifting which parts of the day I’m active, quarantine has also sent me into an endless state of restlessness. The lack of a daily schedule has made me question the purpose of waking up any more. With nothing to do other than e-Learning assignments and getting headaches from looking at my phone/computer screen all day, my motivation to get out of bed is at an all-time low. Ironically though, the more I sleep, the worse I feel.

There is a scientific explanation for this: circadian rhythms, which are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. In other words, our “biological clocks” grow accustomed to our daily routines so straying from them by either sleeping too much or not enough throws us off physically and emotionally. With no school, no work, and frankly no social life at all, maintaining structure in my life is nearly impossible.

In a way, being cooped up in the house has brought out a newfound appreciation within me for school and the sense of normalcy and discipline it brings. Pre-corona, I begged for more sleep in between classes but after weeks of sleeping more than 12 hours each day, I’m sick and tired of being tired. I used to find thrill and a little sense of rebellion staying up past midnight. Now, being the only one awake in my house as the sun rises outside and as I click on another random Youtube video, I just get bummed out.

Not to mention, the days seem to all be rolling into one. I can barely keep track of important dates and I now simply refer to the days as yesterday, today, and tomorrow, instead of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.  

There is a term to perfectly describe the “blah” state I’ve been in lately. Cabin fever, defined by verywellmind.com, is a term for a relatively common reaction to being isolated or confined for an extended period of time. Similar to sick building syndrome, it is not a specific diagnosis, but rather a constellation of symptoms that can occur under these circumstances. Usually, this reaction is common to see from people during the winter, when they don’t go outside due to bad weather. However our unique circumstances, thanks to COVID-19, bring that reaction out of more of us and intensifies it in a way. 

At this point, I think I’ll literally have to create my own daily schedule with a designated wake up time and bedtime in order to introduce some organization to my life once again. No, I won’t be waking up at six in the morning like I did when we were in school, but I do think choosing a time not too late into the day and sticking to it will help both my mental and physical wellbeing. They say it takes 66 days to make something a habit so here goes day one.