I believe it is good to have one big hard personal improvement effort you are working on at any given time (only one): be it exercise, diet, or another positive habit. That’s what I’ve started doing this spring. Last month was a sleep experiment.
My goal for June 2019 is another sleep experiment: I will be following the Everyman 2 pattern of polyphasic sleep every day for the entire month. It has 4.5 hours of sleep per night with 2 naps spread out during the day. Bedtime stays consistent at 11pm so it does not disrupt family routines. The extra 3.5 hours in the morning are my own for work.
Why another sleep goal?
Sleep goals create more time for personal and professional development. More time is an enabler for achieving other goals. The makes this sleep goal a keystone habit for me. Without even setting specific goals I’ve already started reading more, journaling, and walking/jogging every morning (It’s doing amazing things for managing my blood sugar).
I’m going to give this a go even though I’m not sure I have the stamina for this one. If it doesn’t work out I will revert to the good pattern I established in May since it felt sustainable.
The biggest challenge of waking up early is filling the time constructively. If you don’t have anything to do you will inevitably go back to sleep somewhere (especially if you are trying to read). On the other hand if I’m too strict with my time the morning won’t be a pleasure and I won’t look forward to getting up in the morning.
This morning is my 4th day getting up at 03.30. Here are somethings I use this time for.
- Emptying the dishwasher, straightening up the kitchen while listening to the Mad Money podcast. This is the first thing I do every morning when I get up.
- Reading positive books. I tried this a couple of days. I found myself getting drowsy and I’m not sure how much I was getting out of it (albeit the first couple of days so fatigue is certain) . I didn’t do it this morning and it may become more worthwhile in a month after the adjustment phase.
- Going for a long walk or light jog. As I mentioned above I had no idea how much this would affect my diabetes management. After 45 minutes to 1 hour my blood sugar drops to a healthy base level and that becomes my starting point for the day. It is like hitting a reset button.
- Doing physiotherapy exercises. My physiotherapist gave me some rehabilitation exercises that take about 30 minutes. This time of day is the only time I’ve been doing them.
- Watering our vegetable garden. After I get back from the walk I head to our vegetable garden and make sure the plants are well-hydrated. Previously this could be neglected in our morning routine.
- Emailing people. Not the best use of my morning time, I know. Maybe I shouldn’t. It happened so I’m including it.
- Shopping online. This morning (Saturday) I checked only ads for vintage motorcycles. I found a really cool one, a 1977 Suzuki TS400. It was fun to dream but I just don’t have the bandwidth to take on the project. And why that project over some of the vintage motorcycle projects I could tackle on bikes I already have in my stable?
- Long hot shower/shave and a long hot breakfast. Need I say more?
What I Haven’t Planned For
Notice there is no work on this list. Work may or may not happen during this time. I start my work time at 07.00 every morning. Some adjustment is needed since one of the new nap times interrupts my professional development time.
Also note there is no gym time here. This may happen in the future as well. I don’t have a gym membership right now. And there are no gyms near me that are open before 06.00 – I would have to drive into town. It is getting light out so early at this time of year. It is easy to just go outside for exercise. At any rate weightlifting is a big goal that is best saved for another month.
This post won’t be promoted since I don’t think many people care about my weird sleep experiments.
I’ll post an update on twitter once per week to let you know how the progress is going.