Despite managing to adopt many habits, I've found adopting a consistent sleeping routine to be most difficult. This needs to change.
I've been trying to fix it for several months and have failed. This is because:
- I haven't committed myself completely to it. Everything listed below are valid reasons but still excuses.
- I've been a night owl for several years, so changing the habit has been difficult.
- My body doesn't handle sleep deprivation well, so the transition phase has been challenging.
- Sometimes I feel productive at night and don't want to sleep because of it. Or on the weekend I usually stay up late (especially if I'm hanging out with friends). This destroys my progress.
Why I want to change my sleeping routine
In my experience I've found a consistent routine enables me to be most productive.
Doing the same things at the same time each day means I know what I should be doing at any given time. This provides less room for procrastination and distractions.
This is also true because doing everything at the same time each day forms stronger habits. It's a cue for your brain to perform a certain action at a given time.
I've also found a routine makes me feel more productive, which is satisfying. Even if I stay up late working, I usually feel better getting up early and working through the day.
And although I haven't done the research to confirm this, I suspect sleeping during the natural ciracidan rhythm cycle is healthiest, especially in the long-term. Either way I usually don't feel best when I sleep in late.
Over time I think the benefits from adopting a consistent sleeping routine would be significant. If I can become even 10-20% more productive by adopting it, that would be worth the effort.
My optimal routine
I've designed an optimal routine. It incorporates the things I already do in the most effective order.
- Mantra (the moment I wake up)
- 5 minute journal
- Journalling/visualisation of how I want my life to be (in present tense)
- Reading my goals and soaking in my vision board (photos of what I want my life to be like)
Exercise (I run twice a week and workout 5 times a week)
- Personal care (shower, brush teeth, etc)
- Meditate for 20 mins (I visualise how I want my life to be during meditation)
- Read for 30 mins
Complete most important work task(s)
- Take my dog for a walk
- Chores and/or leisure time
Turn off electronics
Get ready for bed
- Go to bed
- 5 minute journal
- Mantra and read through goals
- Listen to an audiobook or read fiction to fall asleep faster
- It's not rigid. I've designed it to be fixed, but still flexible enough to allow for changes when necessary.
- Some parts of the routine will vary in duration. For instance, my workouts vary in length.
- It'll probably change as I improve it over time.
- The minimum time I spend working during a work day is 6 hours, which is often as productive as 8 hours. This can be extended past 4pm if I need to or feel like it.
- During non-work days the schedule is flexible (besides the beginning/end, which are things I must do every day).
My plan for change
- Gradually wake up 15-30 minutes earlier each day. If I do any longer sleep deprivation gets to me and I'll probably fail, so this is the sweet spot for progress.
- Force myself to go to bed at a set time each day. No excuses for staying up later.
- Ensure I don't use electronics at least an hour before bed (as mentioned in the routine).
There's not really much else to it, my problem was commitment.