Posts belonging to Category Sleep

Dreading the Time Change?

Dreading the time change later in the week? Try the incremental approach. Ten minutes a day instead of an hour all at once.

Click here for How to Beat Daylight Savings Time

PP8: 10-3-2-1-0 rule – Countdown to a good night’s sleep

(Part of the series: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles)

8. 10-3-2-1-0 rule – Countdown to a good night’s sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential to working productively the next day. Sleep experts recommend that you go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. But what if you have trouble falling asleep at night? Then it is harder to get up at your set time in the morning, which throws off your morning routine, which can then throw off the rest of your day.

In many ways the most important time of the day is the time you fall asleep. Falling asleep sets your body clock for the morning which sets the pace for your whole day.

This is where the 10-3-2-1-0 rule comes in. This is a great little rule that has helped me to fall asleep regularly at a set time each night. In turn this helps me get up at the set time in the morning, which helps set the pace for the rest of the day. Here is how the rule works:

10: No caffeine ten hours before bed
  3: No food three hours before bed
  2: No work two hours before bed
  1: No screens one hour before bed
  0: No remaining in bed when the alarm goes off in the morning

I go to sleep at 10:00 each night and wake up at 5:00 in the morning. So, I start “getting ready for bed” at 12:00 noon each day. 12:00 noon is ten hours before I go to bed, so I stop drinking any caffeine by noon each day. I don’t eat food after 7:00, I don’t do any work after 8:00, and I don’t watch TV or use the computer, tablet or phone after 9:00. I spend from 9:00-10:00 reading books or talking with my wife.

When I follow this routine, I am under the covers at 10:00 and usually asleep by 10:05. When the alarm goes off at 5:00 in the morning, I complete the countdown by saying, “Zero!” and get out of bed. My body is so used to this routine by now that I often wake up a few minutes before the alarm anyways.

Getting up at the set time is just as important as going to bed at the set time. Going to bed at the set time ensures that you will have had enough sleep when it’s time to get up in the morning. And getting up at the set time ensures that you will fall asleep when it’s time to go to bed at night.

What if I don’t get everything done that I want to get done for the day? I call staying up late to get things done “punting.” Staying up later makes me feel like I am getting more done, but in reality, I am punting sleep to the next day. If I stay up to 11:00 instead of 10:00, then I will need an extra hour of sleep in the morning, so I am just stealing time from tomorrow to add to today. So, I established a rule for myself. No punting! If I really need to work on something, I can always get up and do it in the morning.

The 10-3-2-1-0 is a great way to countdown to a good night’s sleep. If you start getting ready for bed ten hours before you go to sleep, chances are good you will go to sleep at your set time and wake up at your set time. Try it! It works great for me.

Note: I got this tip from Craig Ballantyne at Early to Rise.

Next in series: PP9: Capture notebook and pen – One book to rule them all

How to Beat Daylight Savings Time

This year I finally found a way to beat Daylight Savings time.

I get up at 5am each morning, so moving the clock ahead an hour in the spring makes my body feel like it’s getting up at 4am instead. Last year the time change completely wiped me out, and it took several weeks (months?) before I finally adjusted.

I’ve tried going to bed an hour earlier in the past, but that doesn’t work because I don’t fall asleep right away. My body hasn’t adjusted to going to sleep a whole hour earlier, so I lay in bed for an hour, fall asleep at the regular time and still have to get up an hour earlier the next morning.

So I decided to do something different this year.

I took a multi-day approach starting on the Monday before the time change. Monday night I set my clock ahead ten minutes. I went to bed ten minutes earlier than usual and set my alarm for ten minutes earlier in the morning. The ten-minute adjustment was easy to make, and I got up ten minutes earlier Tuesday no problem. Each night all week I set my clock ahead an additional ten minutes and got out of bed another ten minutes earlier in the morning.

In order to stay in sync with the rest of the world, I only changed the time on the bedroom clock. That way all the other clocks including my smartphone and watch all showed the correct time throughout the week. But when it was time to get ready for bed and go to sleep, I only went by the time on the bedroom clock.

So by the time I got to Saturday, my body was already fifty minutes ahead. Saturday night I set the bedroom clock ahead the final ten minutes, set all the other clocks in the house ahead an hour, and I was now fully ready for Daylight Savings Time.

And it worked! I got up Sunday morning at 5am, and it felt like 5am instead of 4am. No extra adjustment time needed.

I realize this tip is too late to help for this year, but if you have trouble adjusting to Daylight Savings Time, I recommend you try this incremental approach next year. I know I will definitely be doing it again.

Related post: 12 Favorite Productivity Principles