Sleeping with fiction

Slumbering, snoring, snoozing, synonyms, for this post on sleeping I’d like to share some of my own experiences and findings. So without messing about, here goes:

I currently sleep between 7-8 hours a night. It used to be < 7 but a slightly older and more realistic version of me told me yawning around a 100 times a day is not the healthiest of habits. Common knowledge, I knew that just fine. I just didn’t want to spend too many hours of my day sleeping. I still prefer not to but have finally accepted that I need a few more winks or those extra hours awake won’t account to anything anyway. Besides, I got tired (tee-hee) of dozing off like Chandler here.

I see sleeping as a practical matter, so a couple of years ago I experimented and monitored my sleeping patterns to figure out how many hours I needed, what my sleeping ‘segments’ were and what resulted in me feeling the most fit and chipper the next day. I started by doing some research, which mostly focused on the 90 min cycles and reaching deep sleep, which I took into account. As for my own results, I found that I would usually ‘wake’ after 3.5 hours and again 3.5 hours after that, totaling the 7 hours I felt I needed. Due to an increase in physical activity, age and probably many more factors, I now follow a 2x ~4 hour pattern. At the end of both segments, my body sort of starts up again. Most of the time I don’t notice this at all but sometimes I’m vaguely aware. (Or fully aware, bathroom breaks occur in this ‘waking’ stage)

Now, whatever my pattern is, there’s a lot that influences it and there’s loads of research and science behind all this. Deconstructing sleep just isn’t that simple. There’s plenty to Google (like: howsleepworks.com/types_cycles) if you want to find out more. Also, if you’re keen on finding out your own sleeping patterns, try using a fitness/smart watch or phone app. I find it remarkable how much effect a little extra knowledge and self-awareness can have. Side note: there’s also a lot of research on alternative sleeping cycles, like 20-30 min naps every 4 hours or 2x 4 hours with a 4 (productive) hours in between. Interesting stuff.

In the end, winning is sleeping better. 
– Jodie Foster

Even though I found it intriguing, I stopped using apps after a while because I don’t want to have my phone in or near my bed. In fact I’ve banned all screens in or just before bed. A slight Netflix-launch relapse aside, this has worked well for me. I used a combination of fewer screens, reading (fiction) and meditating (light forms) to decrease my ‘falling asleep’ time from 30-60 mins before to max 5 mins now. Oh and yes, I still use my phone as an alarm, it’s just in another room. On silent except for the alarm tune.

I still use these methods to help me fall asleep when necessary, or whenever I feel like reading. I only read fiction at night, so my mind can just absorb and doesn’t have to activate [and process] too much. On top of that I tried taking a little cocktail “That knocks your right out.”, recommended by Tim Ferriss and Chase Jarvis (see video below). It’s made of Apple Cider Vinegar + honey in hot water. Whether it’s placebo or not, it worked pretty well!

I highlighted the prioritizing sleep bit but the whole video is worth a watch. It’s part of the reason I got into journaling as well, mentioned in There and back again. Tim and Chase are definitely a fascinating high energy duo.

A proper night’s sleep and activities such as journaling and meditating are regarded as a few of the most important parts of the day by a great number of successful and inspiring people. If by studying your own sleeping habits you could increase your productivity, fitness or creative output by as little as 10%, it’d still be worth it, right?  Feeling rested and energetic can change a day for the better, so see what works for you!

 

The active emerge victorious

Be active and you’ll reap the rewards. Exercise in whatever way fits you and be active socially: join a community, meet ups, gatherings to do with your hobby or do voluntary work. All of these help yourself and others, you’ve got nothing to lose! Continue reading