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October 18, 2021 by

Getting enough sleep is a struggle in and of itself for the average college student. But there’s a big difference between sleeping enough and being truly rested. 


I have a proposition for you: why not rest through your alarms rather than simply sleeping through them? 


The blasting signal from your iPhone or alarm clock that interrupts your sleep cycle (and likely your roommate’s) is the universally agreed-upon worst part of the morning. With so many of us already disinclined to like mornings, you may be wondering why a sleep-deprived college student would advocate for the importance of embracing well-spent mornings – especially the  early ones. But while sleep is important, resting is just as essential for all aspects of your health: so why don’t we awake on time more often so that we can enjoy a peaceful morning that allows us to rest in the Lord? Instead we do that thing that “busy” people do (i.e. run behind and then play catch up for the rest of the day). 


The only thing worse than waking up to your noisy alarm is… not. Literally – forgetting to set one and missing your 8 a.m. class … better hope you didn’t have a quiz that morning (or an exam!). And you may think that by hearing your alarm buzz and snoozing it to catch some extra zzz’s, you’re doing yourself a favor – when in reality, it is far more detrimental. 


In case you don’t believe me, let’s rewind to the fall semester of my freshman year. I’m taking biology at 8 a.m., a class located a good 10-minute walk from my humble abode in Printy (big shoutout to our beloved freshman dorm on campus). My alarm goes off at maybe 7:30, but I snooze and lay in bed until 7:50, only to lurch from my unstable bed risers into the chaos of my room to throw on some clothes and literally speed-walk (or on some days, run) to lecture. I stumble into the lecture hall with 100+ other freshmen students who don’t seem to mind my unruly appearance as much as they mind my very awkward crawl/jump/leap over their legs, backpacks, and notebooks to reach an empty seat … in the middle of my professor’s prayer to begin the lecture. But hey, it’s not MY fault that the only open seat was in the very middle of the row!


I wish I could say this story was a single experience or that I learned my lesson immediately after … but it took nearly a year for me to learn just how important it is to avoid that classic mistake of allowing mornings to work against you, instead of with you. Hindsight is 20/20 vision, which is why I am sharing my freshman-year misery in contrast with my current favorite “morning” habits. To show you that it’s worth waking up an hour earlier, I am giving you four of my specific routines that I like to pack into as many mornings as I can:


  1. Food FUELS. 

Breakfast is actually a game-changer. While I don’t necessarily make it to Chuck’s for a feast every morning with my friends (we call this “brekkie,” and we still can’t figure out what makes the home-cooked potatoes SO INCREDIBLY GOOD), I need a quick yogurt or granola bar, especially on mornings packed with long lectures or exams. College is NOT a sprint – it requires stamina, and nourishing your body physically is a good place to start.


  • Caffeine FILLS. 

Like a video game character whose energy bar is filled by some things and depleted by others, there are things in life that will fill you up and bring you down. As a student, the battle is figuring out the balance. The goal here is not to deprive yourself of sleep to wake up early, but there are only so many hours in a day. So after a late night, don’t be afraid to swap 10 extra minutes of sleep for a Rinnova run after breakfast. If you like caffeine like I do, you’ll find this a beneficial trade.


  • Community FREES. 

After you’ve had some breakfast and coffee, and made it to your 8 or 9 a.m. class (on time), you get a break at 10 a.m.: CHAPEL! I find this daily rendezvous with friends as we praise the Lord very freeing – and we all love to hear an encouraging message. As you hit the stride of the semester and days get busier, you’ll find yourself sometimes missing community because of a rigorous schedule, which is why we all adore chapel. It’s a scheduled hour in everyone’s day to reconnect with each other, and with the Lord.


  • Jesus FULFILLS. 

Whether as soon as you wake up, right after class, or before your lunch, you can find time in the morning to have a devotion. Dr. White loves to remind us how beneficial it is to spend time with the Lord first thing in the morning with his saying, “No Bible? No breakfast!” But regardless of where it falls in your schedule, rest in the Lord in the morning. You won’t regret the time spent with your heavenly Father.

College can spiral into a vicious cycle of running behind and then trying to catch up. Rather than lounging in bed for longer (like I did as a naïve freshman), perhaps embrace the challenge of making time for breakfast, coffee, chapel/community, and devotions EARLY in the day. Instead of waking up and preparing well for the day, for too long I allowed myself to be at a disadvantage by running back to the dorm AFTER my morning classes and chapel to get ready for my day…after it was already half over. Don’t make the same mistake. While it’s not about being perfect, it is about preparing yourself – physically, mentally, and spiritually – to make the most of your days the Lord has blessed you with.


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