For the 25 years of my life, I have prided myself on my “night-owlish” capabilities.
I loved the all-nighters, going to bed at 6AM, waking at 2 PM and doing it all over again. I was convinced my daily routine was optimized and scoffed at anyone who’d suggest otherwise.
The next part, I can’t quite explain but I’ll do my best and hope you understand.
A day comes in life when you open your eyes and, all of a sudden, the career, the relationship, the routine, the dream, or whatever it is that you had been so sure was right for you, is either no longer there or no longer good enough.
This is exactly what happened to me. One day I woke up and every fiber in my body said something needed to change, and that change is the way I sleep.
From that very night, I made the resolution to shut down anything I’m doing—work, TV, chatting—at 12:00 AM for bedtime. The only exception is if I’m out with friends, then I’ll spend the night out, but these late nights aren’t a regular occurrence.
Since then, my day looks like this:
- Wake up between 7AM-8AM
- 2-3 hours work
- Afternoon workout (typically a 2 hour break which includes time to freshen up afterward)*
- 3-4 hours work
- More work and/or leisure; usually involves reading, learning a new language, improving my coding skills or 1-2 hours TV time
- Bed at 12 AM
There isn't any scientific reasoning behind my choice to go to bed at 12 AM. In fact, the only reason I have is that, for me, I think it's a good cut-off point as it signifies the end of one day and the beginning of another. I relate this to life's opportunities. Each day is an opportunity, and anything I set out to do in that period should be done during that time. I use the beginning of each new day to reflect, then improve on any inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the previous one.
I never did fancy myself as a morning person and, oddly enough, I still don’t. I’m acutely aware of the paradox, but I'm more than satisfied with the results so far.
By having a consistent routine and by limiting activities to a particular timeframe within a day, rather than allowing my days to spill over into each other, I find it easier to manage tasks, stay on top of my schedule and, most importantly, get a better night’s rest.
Not only do I sleep better, I’m more alert and energized throughout the day. I’m more focused on my tasks and I’ve realized improved performance in my physical training and generally in my health.
If you’re struggling to stay on top of things in your life, the most important step could be as simple as getting better quality sleep. Don’t knock it ’till you try it.
If you do, I encourage you to share your results.
Until next time!