Musician by Night, Potato by Day
– Written by Kyle Estabrook
Some of us have a pretty routine life. Wake up between the hours of 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM. Open the curtains to greet the day. Stretching out your arms to get the blood flowing. Brew up a cup of joe. Perform the “Three S’s” of the morning. Get dressed, then head to whatever obligation you have to occupy your time. Most people are on their feet and ready to go by the time it’s 11:00 AM; In fact, most people are ready for lunch by then. Me on the other hand, I tend to have quite a difficult time trying to stay awake. Usually between the hours of (for the sake of dramatic effect) 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, which is when I typically get out of classes.
That’s right, I was the guy that would fall asleep in class because he decided to stay up all night squeezing out as much productivity as possible before heading to bed, which 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM is pretty standard for a guy like me.
Now I know that most of you understand what it’s like to function on a 3 to 6-hour sleeping schedule, but here are some of the reasons why I have stayed up so late and some of the solutions I’ve come up with to help alleviate the situation, making the rest of the day a little more tolerable.
So as the title may suggest, I consider myself to be somewhat of an artist. I’ve been playing guitar for 12 years, singing for 10, and producing music for 2. The times in which I find myself being the most creative are between the hours of 8:00 PM and 2:00 AM, 2:00 AM being the time where all cognitive functions cease and what’s left of my brain resembles a starchy plant used to make delicious side dishes. During this time frame, I like to create music, edit film in adobe, work on homework assignments that involve writing, create photoshop images, organize things; basically anything that my OCD of a brain would like to accomplish.
If you identify with any of the things I’ve mentioned above, then congratulations, you’re a night owl!
Here are 5 things I have learned over the past 4 years of college that might just help you with getting your life together:
1. DON’T schedule classes that start at 8:00 AM, or DO schedule classes that start at 8:00 AM: This may seem contradictory, but just hear me out. When I was a sophomore, I thought that forcing myself to take 8:00 AM classes every day would change my whole sleeping schedule, and allow my brain to be active during the day. It didn’t, but for others, it may work. Sleeping late at night could be the result of a bad habit. Forcing your body to adapt to this change may be the push you need to get out of being a night owl. For me, creativity is most prominent during the later hours, so my suggestion would be to schedule your day based on your sleeping pattern. My classes start from 12:30 PM each day, which gives me plenty of time to wake my brain up, feel relaxed, and start the day. I would plan on going to bed before 2:00 AM (12:00AM-2:00AM), wake up between 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM, and feel relaxed and mentally prepared for the rest of the day.
2. Don’t drink caffeine past 7:00 PM: This one’s super simple. Every single one of us, and don’t you dare tell me otherwise, have drank or ate some form of caffeine. If you haven’t, then you are not human, and you are now classified as a meat-popsicle. I need caffeine from time to time because I would accidently choose to have all-nighters, which is a direct result of having terrible friends who peer pressure me into having a social life. Obviously, drinking caffeine over the weekend when you don’t have any future obligations is perfectly acceptable, however, if you do need to wake up before 10:00 AM, I don’t suggest drinking coffee after 7:00 PM. The half-life of caffeine is anywhere from 4-6 hours, which half-life apparently means the time required for any specified substance to decrease by half. I had to google that.
3. Trick your brain into being active: If you find yourself having a little bit of extra time during the day, but don’t feel very creative or active, try tricking your brain! Do something that would stimulate your brain to have similar reactions to when it would be active at night. For me, cleaning tends to do the trick. When I clean my house, I become very vigilant about all the things that need to be taken care of. When my house is completely clean, it feels like I’m starting off with a fresh new space to work in. Less clutter = less worry = so much room for activities. #stepbrothers
4. Prep for less stress: This one may take some time to get used to, but it works! The biggest problem I have when waking up is preparing for the day and not feeling stressed about the amount of time I have to get prepared. If I feel rushed and I head to school feeling this way, I’m not going to be a very happy camper. If I feel relaxed and ready, then the rest of the day is smooth sailing, or at least tolerable if you do run into a few hiccups. Simple things like preparing a set of clothes for the next day, meal prepping, and organizing all the things needed for school/work, would decrease the amount of time spent to prepare, and would allow you to spend more of it mentally preparing for the amount of time it’ll take for you to find a decent parking spot on campus.
5. Do what feels good: The last piece of advice that I have for you is to listen to your body. Nobody knows how you feel better than yourself, so know your limitations and understand what you are capable of. If it means that you can spend just a little more time working on music, then do it. If you know that you have an exam the next day and you need more sleep, then figure out a way that will help you sleep. My tip is to drink a heavy dose of tequi…. I mean… leave all of your technology out of reach when you try to sleep. Bright white screens tend to keep people up longer.
Much like how writing this blog post is doing to me.
Author – Kyle Estabrook