I overslept this morning. I Hate it when that happens. Oversleeping for me though doesn’t usually mean waking up at 8:58am and rushing off to working without cleaning my teeth, when that rare treat happens it really freaks me out. In my terminology oversleeping means only having 30 minutes or so thinking/personal time.
I get up every day at 6:45am. This gives me 1.5 hours to do whatever the heck I want – eat breakfast, watch the news, relax, do some research, prepare for the day etc.
This thinking time is invaluable for me, it really gives me a chance to reflect on the day ahead. Also I find it gives me time to fully awaken. How many people just roll into work half asleep? If I miss out on this time I find it has a dramatic impact on my productivity for the rest of the day.
The knock on effect happens at the other end of the day though and I often find myself getting tired around 9:30pm and then becoming more active again at 10:30, something I’ve talked about before here.
Trouble is as I get older I’m finding it more difficult as my normal time for going to bed is around midnight.
I read something the other day though which challenged these preconceptions. Steve Pavlina is a successful blogger who specializes in self development techniques. The difference with Steve is that he doesn’t recommend stuff unless he has thoroughly tested it himself.
Some of Steve’s favourite experiments are around sleep. He’s tried all kinds of things, including the controversial polyphasic sleep where you sleep regularly for only 20 minutes.
In this particular post Steve recommends going to bed when you are tired but always setting an alarm and getting up at the same time every day. This means some days you will get more sleep and some days less but hopefully it should be self regulating. This technique does rely on self motivation though, which means when the alarm goes off you get up straight away. Don’t hit the snooze button!
I tried this technique last Friday night as I knew I had a busy day on Saturday with a lot to fit in. My body said I was tired at 9:30pm, so begrudgingly I went straight to bed. Part of me was thinking I would be missing out on doing some great things by going to bed at this stupidly early time but to counter this I set an alarm for 6am to give me more time before the day really started.
The experiment was a success. I woke up when my alarm rang, leapt straight out of bed and felt immediately refreshed. I then did all those things I felt I was missing out on the night before, but with a fresher perspective. Then I had an incredibly productive day, fitting in much more than I expected.
Obviously a one day trial does not equal a successful experiment but I’m going to continue with a full trial starting tonight. More as it happens.