Crawling into bed well past midnight for the third night in a row and already dreading my early alarm, I thought to myself, "this isn't working.The following day, I embarked on a radical week-long experiment: giving myself an actual bedtime. I settled on calling it quits at 10:30 PM every night for an entire school week, a far cry from my usual routine (or lack thereof). These are my findings:

1. I Was More Productive

I am a criminal procrastinator. I do two hours worth of work in two days and two days worth in two hours. Usually, I pull this off by refusing to sleep until I've accomplished what needs to be done. The problem with this pseudo-strategy is that, knowing I have all night to get my work done, I put it off all day.

When I gave myself a bedtime, there was a cap on my working hours. Forcing myself to work towards a self-imposed deadline made me more efficient and ultimately cut back on procrastination. 

2. I Became a Morning Person, Sort Of

I've never been much of a morning person. I wouldn't even consider myself fully awake until at least 10 AM. When my alarm goes off, half the time I get out of bed by sheer force of will. A small part of me believes that it's just a myth that there are actually people who regularly get up at 5 AM to run 15 miles.

My difficulty waking up is no doubt due to my inconsistent bedtime. Once I started going to sleep at 10:30 every night, I was actually well-rested, and my body wanted to get up and start the day. I found myself naturally waking up before my alarm, giving me extra time to get ready for class and taking the stress out of the morning. While I didn't start excitedly jumping out of bed, I did grow to appreciate being up earlier than usual.

3. I Felt Energized

Not only did I find it easier to wake up, but I also experienced sustained energy throughout the day. Usually I crash in the afternoon, and have to turn to caffeine or take a nap to recover. By the end of my week-long experiment, however, I wasn't hitting the wall quite so hard, and I found that I had more stamina at the gym.

4. I Made Healthier Choices

I had heard before that there is a scientific correlation between sleep deprivation and poor nutrition, but I didn't apply it to my own life until I gave myself a legitimate bedtime. I noticed that I craved sugar less, and wasn't as tempted to choose foods based on convenience instead of nutrition.

5. I Felt More Positive

Quality of sleep and mood are proven to be closely related. When we're tired, we tend to be more irritable, impatient, and prone to stress than usual. Waking up feeling refreshed influenced my whole outlook on the day. I approached it from a more centered place, and small stressors didn't have as much of an effect on me.

No one's on their best game when they're tired. Going to bed early wasn't easy for me, but it definitely had a positive impact on my health. While I can't guarantee I'll stick to my bedtime, I do have a greater appreciation for the important role sleep plays in maintaining a balanced lifestyle.