A self-described night owl turned early bird, Julia Medina is a staff news writer at Sleepopolis.
Medina recently moved to Raleigh, North Carolina after completing her degree at Wake Forest University. Since switching from being a full-time student to a full-time employee she’s learning to balance a sleep schedule in a completely new environment.
She chronicled her daily routine on a day where she went from work to watching her college football team. Go Demon Deacons!
Here is Medina’s sleep diary written by her.
Morning Routine: 6:30 a.m.
This is my least favorite part of the day. I am not a morning person, and I have never been one. In college I rarely scheduled a class before 9:30 a.m. to avoid having to wake up too early, but now having a job and being an ‘adult’ I am trying to learn to embrace the morning.
Alarms on my phone aren’t the best for me because I just snooze them continuously or the sound of the alarm just becomes a part of my dream which really doesn’t help me to wake up. I am a deep sleeper and can normally sleep through pretty much anything.
During my junior year of college I found this Phillips sunrise alarm clock and it has been a game changer for me. The alarm clock wakes you up with light that mimics a sunrise. I always set mine to the highest setting and the light gradually gets brighter until the time you wake up. I set mine for 6:30 a.m. because I know I need to give myself some time to wake up and I don’t like feeling rushed.
Waking up with just the light from the alarm clock has made me way less cranky. Instead of being annoyed with the alarm sounds from my phone, I welcome the bright light as a morning welcome. Aaaah.
This morning I lay in bed until 7:30 a.m. scrolling aimlessly on my phone trying to find something that will keep me awake. Since it’s Thursday morning I’m watching the Wednesday night episode I missed last night from Big Brother and The Challenge USA, since I was at weekly trivia last night with my roommate.
As I finally force myself out of bed I keep watching the shows to give me some background noise as I get ready. I know getting on your phone right after you wake up isn’t the best, but I can’t help it.
After physically getting out of bed, I make my bed for the day. (But I’ll be honest I don’t make my bed everyday, but today I know if I don’t I’ll just crawl into bed later.)
I’m not a coffee drinker. I started to wean myself off coffee about a year ago because I would get the worst caffeine headaches if I didn’t drink a cup every morning. I miss it, especially the smell, and mornings like today when I’m really tired I miss it even more. I now start my day with a big glass of water and a Trader Joe’s strawberry breakfast bar.
I’m not a big breakfast eater so getting myself to even eat my bar is a win. I fill up my hydroflask for the day and that’s how I know I’m ready for work.
I work from home, and today I look to see if there’s any trending sleep news stories. I have a saved ‘Sleep Stories’ folder on TikTok, that I’m also looking at for ideas. After knowing what stories I need to tackle today I begin researching and writing.
Having a job that revolves around sleep has really helped me to learn how important it is. I have significantly changed my habits since learning more through interviewing experts and covering sleep news. If you asked any of my friends who has the worst or weirdest sleep schedule they would tell you it was me. I’m a big night owl, so the fact that I’m waking up and out of bed by 8 a.m. is a huge accomplishment.
Lunch time is a break I look forward to. Today I made chicken fried rice, which is my go to lunch meal. I heat up the frozen chicken fried rice from Trader Joe’s and add avocado with crushed red pepper for some spice. This is an easy meal I always have in my freezer.
While eating, I watch part of a show, currently it’s MasterChef. I’ve gotten into food content lately. I think it’s because this is the first time I’m making all my meals. I no longer have a meal plan like I did in college and I’ve found it fun to experiment in the kitchen. I’m currently trying to perfect making focaccia bread.
After lunch I get back to work, trying to finish up the story from this morning and hopping on some meetings. Once I make it through my morning, I feel more awake and ready to finish out this day. It definitely helps that I have the football game to look forward to as extra motivation to get my work done.
I have found setting a timer to remind myself to take breaks helps. Today I set three different timers ranging from five to ten minute breaks. This helps me to get out of my chair to do some stretches or today I packed my things getting ready for tonight’s football game.
I’m officially done with my work day! I drive to Winston-Salem for Wake Forest University’s first football game of the season. I am a huge sports fan, and now that football season is in full swing I couldn’t be happier. I have season tickets for Wake’s season and high hopes we can make it back to the ACC Championship game, winning it this year. Winston is about an hour and half from Raleigh without traffic. Since it’s a Thursday night game the drive was a bit longer because of traffic.
I met up with some of my college friends and got there just in time for the 7:30 p.m kickoff. It was a great season opener with Wake, winning the game 44-10.
It’s past my normal bedtime of 11 p.m. but what I’ve learned through trying to create better sleeping habits is that it’s okay to have a couple off days. I remind myself it was worth it to stay up a bit later because I got to watch my favorite football team and spend some time with friends. I wasn’t driving back home tonight, instead I drove to my best friend Hannah’s apartment to spend the night.
Unwinding and getting ready for bed at someone else’s place is a bit daunting. I’m a person that thrives off of routine and familiarity. But I have already visited my friend at this place before, so I knew what to expect. I got ready for bed and borrowed one of her many pillows.
The biggest thing that helps me fall asleep is some type of noise. It stops my mind from wandering and allows my thoughts to quiet down. At home, I normally set a sleep timer on my TV and fall asleep watching some show. Tonight I laid my phone next to me with a random episode of Big Brother and fell asleep.
I’m really lucky because I have always been able to sleep pretty much anywhere and I attribute that to being the youngest child and growing up with family members who snore. All I need to sleep is a pillow and blanket and I’m good to go.