The eight-hour necessity Q&As: Chad Scholten

Name: Chad Scholten

When do you normally go to bed and wake up?

“I personally try to get about eight hours of sleep. I find that that’s when I work best. In the school year, I will try to get up at 5:00 a.m. So, that means I’m trying to be in bed around 10 o’clock, ideally. My bedtime [is at] about 10 o’clock or before that.”

Would you say that you have a consistent sleep schedule?

“I do. If you look up health recommendations, it’s always like, ‘Go to bed [at] the same time or wake up at the same time.’ So even if you’re not necessarily sleeping a full eight hours, six to seven maybe, but you’re always trying to keep in that same . The worst thing to do is like stay up really late, sleep in really long, and then try to change it in two days, like what we always do on weekends. Sleep schedules on Saturday and Sundays [are] much different than Monday through Friday.”

What do you do when you can’t fall asleep?

“I don’t have much problem falling asleep. I find that I don’t take naps. I think naps [are] a tough thing, because that disrupts the sleep schedule, too. So you take a nap and you can’t fall asleep at night and then the next day you might feel more tired, feel like another nap, and you kind of fall in that cycle. So I try not to take naps because then that helps me to fall asleep better at night. But I also feel like exercise is a good way to [help me fall asleep at night]. If I’m exercising during the day, I’m able to sleep at night. I find times like if I don’t exercise and don’t do something to work out, I might just have extra energy. So that helps me sleep at night too.”

Can you compare how you feel after a good night’s sleep versus a bad one?

“I’m not very happy, a little groggy, more irritable. Certain things kind of set me off more when I’m tired. Compared to having a restful night of sleep, I’m more alert. I feel like there are little things that don’t get you bothered as much as if you do when you’re kind of tired and don’t have a full night’s sleep.”

Why do you think sleep habits are so bad in high school?

“I think it’s probably because [of] just feeling socially connected. You just feel like there’s always something to do; maybe it’s a job you’re doing, maybe it’s a sport, or you do a job and a sport, then you have to do your homework after that. So it seems like there’s always more stuff to do than there is time to do it. But obviously, that doesn’t change when you get to college. Sometimes it’s worse in college, right? Sometimes people become third shifters in college because they just want to spend the whole night doing their studying, and then they sleep until noon, and then they spend their afternoon doing their classes. If we were all solitary individuals, we [would] probably have no problem sleeping at any time. But because there’s always other people doing something, always someone to hang out with or to connect with, that’s probably what makes it hard for us to fall asleep.”

Why do you think sleep is important?

“From your health point of view, your body needs to repair and heal and it does that when you’re sleeping. Not just from your shoulders down, but also your brain itself has to process everything you’ve done through the day and it needs time to be able to do that. If you don’t sleep, then that’s probably that grogginess, that irritability; you’re just not mentally as focused because your brain hasn’t had a chance for it to repair and rest.”

Have you ever had any weird dreams you can remember?

“I like to be active and I like to run. So I feel like my worst dreams are the ones where you’re being chased and you can’t run. And I feel like I’m trying to rationalize it to myself. Like, ‘I know you’re fast and I know you can run, so why in this dream are these people catching you and you can’t run away from them?’ And so, you know, like I tried to rationalize it and say, ‘Well, it’s because my feet are under a sheet and I can’t move my legs.’ And that’s probably why in the dream that I can’t run. But that’s always the worst part about any reoccurring dream where I’m not fast, I can’t run. And it’s very frustrating.”

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