I hate sleep.
I mean, I enjoy sleep itself. It feels good. But I hate the fact that I have to sleep. My life is short and I wish I could just be awake for the whole thing.
For most of my adult life I’ve experimented, with varying levels of seriousness, with different sleeping patterns in an effort to maximize my restfulness and minimize my total hours asleep. For the most part nothing has worked well.
Having a child that also hates sleep has made finding a balance of sleep/awake time even more difficult. Up until about a month ago, there was very little pattern or intentionality to my sleep schedule because her sleep schedule was so random. Now that she is sleeping more regularly, I’m back to trying to figure out how I can sleep less.
Up until about 4 days ago, I had been on a schedule of laying down in bed about 10:00 or 10:30 pm and reading until I could no longer keep my eyes open, usually sometime around 12. My alarm would always be set for 6:40 because around 7 hours of sleep seems like a reasonable amount to me. Sometimes I’d wake up before the alarm (usually within a minute or two) or the alarm would go off, and since I don’t really need to be to work until 8:30 or 9, I’d hit snooze and/or go back to sleep. This would happen over and over again until I could finally muster the willpower to get out of bed, or until I absolutely had to get up in order to make it to work at a reasonable time. This pattern would result in me getting out of bed sometime between 7:50 and 8:15.
A realization about my alarm clock.
A few days ago, while laying in bed in some state of half awakeness between alarm buzzes, I realized that my alarm was probably actually just making me sleep later.
Anytime I woke up before the alarm, I felt like going back to sleep until the alarm went off; like I had allotted that time for sleep so I’d better use it. The worst part was that waking up after each 9 minute iPhone snooze got harder each time (I have a hypothesis on this, but I’ll save it).
I took this realization and decided to try something. Monday I set my alarm to what I think is the absolute latest time I want to get out of bed, 8:00 am. Guess what, I’ve gotten up earlier than normal and felt better than normal.
My New Thought Process.
I now wake up before my alarm naturally, about 6:40. Since I know I if I fall back into a deep sleep I’m not getting up until the alarm goes off at 8, I usually close my eyes and fade in and out of light sleep for about 30 minutes, and then get out of bed a little after 7. It’s really working great.
Another upside of this strategy.
If I am really tired and don’t wake up naturally, I’ll only sleep til 8, but it will be uninterrupted sleep. It seems this is much better from a total rest perspective than getting up every 9 minutes between 6:40 and 8:00.
My next step is to go without an alarm.
My hypothesis is that the more costly I make falling back asleep after I wake up initially, the less likely I will be to fall back asleep. Thus, not setting an alarm at all may get me out of bed immediately after I wake up the first time (hopefully at 6:40). I’m going to try this next week.
What is your wakeup strategy? Please share in the comments.