You’ll need more than catnaps to function during the school year. Image courtesy of Flickr user bundu. Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0I love sleep more than just about anything. So, during the last school year, I slept as late as I could–8:30, on the weekdays. However, I started to notice something funny: on the days that I had to get up at an ungodly hour (or 7:30) to proctor exams for my boss, I felt refreshed. Bouncy, even. It turns out that for whatever reason, I function best on about seven and a half hours of sleep. I would never have known that had I not been forced to get up earlier.

I’ve begun to experiment with my sleep schedule as a side project during a summer spent in summer school, and it turns out that there’s a sweet spot for waking up energized and refreshed. Because this is actually less sleep that I would have thought I needed, it’s left me with an extra 45 minutes in the morning to do work or mess with Twitter.

If you’re attracted to the idea of having more energy in the morning during the school year in order to knock out more of your work early in the day, now’s the time to start experimenting with your sleep schedule. Start going to bed at whatever hour you usually hit the hay during school, and start setting a timer–begin at 8 hours, and work you way back each night in 15 minute increments. You’ll find the time that works bet for you within a week or two.

If you find that the time you’re waking up is later than you need to be for classes, figure out a new bedtime before the school year starts, and adjust your sleep schedule accordingly. It may seem kind of silly to have a set time to go to bed as a college student, but it ensures that you won’t be a zombie once school starts–which means that you’ll have an easier time getting your work done early in the day, in order to have more time for enjoyable things in the evening.

By starting your sleep schedule readjustment now, you’ll avoid having to deal with it once you’re actually expected to be functional during school. This will give you a leg up on your classmates, and will make talking about daily schedules with your roommate easier, if you have one.

Do you have any other preemptive lifehacks that you’ll be looking into this summer? Let us know in the comments!

[Sleep scheduling tip adapted from Lifehacker]