I think it’s pretty fitting that when I started writing this, my sleep debt stood at 16 hours and 41 minutes. That’s the amount of time that I’d need to sleep, non-stop, in order to be fully rested. It’s been a struggle for me for the last 7 years or so, and most attempts to fix the problem have been pretty ineffective.
The situation looks something like this:
We need sleep to function, and getting the proper amount is probably the single most important thing we can do to stay at the top of our game. It affects literally everything: mood, concentration, digestion, the immune system, vision, creativity, motivation… I could go on, but I think you get it.
Despite all the clear benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, it’s still extremely tempting to burn the midnight oil, sometimes even beyond midnight! The short-term gains seem much more tangible than the vague idea of “being in better shape” the next day. To make matters worse, when you stay up later, you still become more tired. If you do the math, when someone who needs 8 hours of sleep goes to bed an hour later, they actually need to sleep an extra half hour to make up for it. It can quickly snowball.
I’m kind of fed up with being tired all the time.
I’ve been able to keep my sleep in check for a week or so, but if I have a lot of energy by 10-11pm on a weeknight, I just keep coding and the cycle repeats itself.
For science, and my own wellbeing, let’s try something new.
Starting Monday, I’m going to post a daily sleep journal on this blog. Nothing fancy, just a few lines a day grouped into one post, but I feel like making a commitment here, on a blog I’m trying to nurture and build up, is going to give me the motivation I need.
I’m going to commit to keeping a very low sleep debt (under 2 hours) for at least 3 weeks. This way I can prove to myself with hard data that being well rested actually makes a big difference in my life. I want to make the long term benefits of sleep seem more tangible.
If any of you want to join me in this brave endeavour, feel free to make your own commitments towards sleep, and try to stick to it for a full 21 days (the time it takes to form a habit.) Be aggressive about it if you have to, and use all the strategies at your disposal to help you succeed.
Lets hope this works, and see you next week!