Do you want to achieve more? Sleep better.
For a long time, it was a badge of honor to sleep less—a sign of high-level productivity. I was part of this belief, and I was sure that 5 or 6 hours were enough for me.
But “sleep deprivation” is dangerous and non-productive. And it’s well known today.
Fatigue affects our emotions, skills, and health, leading to burnout, lack of creativity, and bodily injury.
I’ve tried both, and my life radically changed when I started to sleep better. I feel energized and more productive at work and in my personal life.
Going to sleep earlier was one of the most difficult habits to implement but it’s worth it.
1. What was the trigger for me?
I recall one of my inspirations. And as things often do, it comes from a book.
I qualify “good books” not on the quality of the writing (as a non-English native, it’s quite difficult for me to judge), but more on the author’s ability to help me make a change.
And Greg Mckeown with his book “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” did it for me. (And, by the way, it’s also well written.😀)
“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done.”
I was touched by the “Sleep: Protect the Asset” chapter. It has helped me to understand and apply a positive habit change. With few sentences (see below), he succeeded in changing my mind on how I see “sleeping.”
“Protecting the Asset”
The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves, and by that I mean our minds, our bodies, and our spirits, we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution.”
“One of the most common ways people – especially ambitious, successful people – damage this asset is through a lack of sleep.”
2. Make the decision
Everything starts with a decision, and everything is built twice. Once in your head and once in your reality.
After reading Greg Mckeown’s book, I was convinced and I desired to make the change.
So, I started to visualize myself going to bed early, waking up early, doing my morning routines, succeeding in acquiring a new language, reading more.
So first, make the decision and envision the positive results.
3. Organize a routine.
All good books on changing habits advise connecting your “new habit” to an existing routine. I followed this advice.
We try to put the kids to bed at 8H00/8H30.
For me, it’s the preparation of my routine; brush my teeth with them, read a story. From there, I’ll stop any screen time and start preparing myself for my sleep. I usually go to bed between 9 to 10 pm.
Each time that I have an occasion, I also do a 15-minute nap after lunch in the afternoon.
4. Make it attractive
Going to bed early allows me to read more.
I noticed that I’m more excited to go to bed when I’m in the middle of a great book. It becomes a pleasure, I want to know more.
The better my book is, the earlier I go to bed.
On the other side, I love tea. I drink Earl Grey tea only in the morning. Knowing that I can enjoy my preferred tea in the morning helps me get out of bed.
5. Technical set up
With time, I became more and more aware of what is essential for me.
I am a light sleeper, so reducing any potential noise and light helps me.
For example, I hide the alarm clock light. I close all the shutters.
I take care of the room temperature. I don’t like cold, but I sleep better in a cool room, so I ensure that the place is fresh. I have chills at first, but I sleep better.
6. When it does not work.
Sometimes, I have to go to sleep later. My inner voice starts to tell me, “It will be a tough day tomorrow!”
I replace this with a positive affirmation like, “Even though I haven’t slept enough tonight, thanks to all the healthy choices I made, I’m full of energy.”
7. The ripple effects of good sleep habits.
Being well-rested leads me to make better decisions day by day on how I eat, drink, and move. I feel emotionally stronger, which helps me to better manage situations at home and at work.
Waking up early, as a direct consequence of going to bed early, allows me to perform my morning routine, where I learn and focus on topics close to my heart.
My better sleep habit is one of my best productivity tools.