Changing Your Sleeping Patterns Isn't Impossible

09/07/2010 04:56 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

My sleep patterns used to reflect those of many other college students. No matter the day of the week, I would drearily walk to bed around 2 a.m. or whenever my homework was finished and pass out on top of the covers. I wouldn't bother to change into pajamas.

Mornings were completely awful. If I could hear my alarm, I would press snooze while I mentally calculated how much time I needed to shower, get dressed and make it to class. If I didn't hear my alarm, I would wake up in a state of panic and rush to the first meeting, class or appointment I had that day.

But this summer, all that changed. I started working at a bookstore on campus and had failed to inform my manager that I wasn't a morning person. I started working the 7:45 a.m. shift and almost automatically, my sleeping patterns changed.

I started going to bed around 10:30 or 11 every night of the week. At first, I was a little ashamed of my new sleeping habits. I jokingly referred to myself as a grandmother to my friends.

As the weeks went by, however, I started to really enjoy my new sleep patterns. I could actually wake up in the morning without hitting snooze and eventually I was able to wake up without an alarm clock.

There is another major difference contributing to my sleep patterns, though. This is the first year I haven't worked at our school newspaper, The Oklahoma Daily. My sleep patterns would definitely be different if I were still killing myself to be an overachiever.

But I'd like to encourage even the overachievers to start going to bed at a decent hour. Unfortunately, most of us know how a lack of sleep makes us feel. And you won't be able to enjoy all your achievements if you're sick or tired all the time.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother, in an attempt to get me to bed earlier, would tell me the hours of sleep you get before midnight count the most. Now I can finally say I believe in the eight hours a night strategy, and my grandmother's advice.