Result: Better Sleep in 2 Weeks

Feb 28, 2021

Recently, I wanted to try going to bed and waking up earlier. I set myself a challenge two weeks ago: go to bed by 00:15 every night for 14 nights. Before this, I was sleeping around 2 am or 3 am so it was a bit of a jump.

Why was it difficult?

Getting to bed on time was a challenge on most nights. The main contributor was this site: the blog.

I'm currently writing / editing blog posts every day and have gotten into the habit of doing that right before bed. On some nights, I'd find myself either rushing to finish by 00:15 or accepting defeat and leisurely finishing the post before sleeping at 2 am. That's a recipe for inconsistent sleep and rushed blog posts. Not great.

How did it go?

I succeeded on 7 of the 14 days. That's a bit disappointing: I was aiming for around 10 out of 14. Despite the 50% success rate, I still feel noticably better. 😃

What does the data show?

I've looked at the data from my sleep tracker and compared two date ranges: 1 to 12 February 2021 (pre-challenge) and 13 to 26 February 2021 (during challenge).

On average, I fell asleep 1 hour and 16 minutes earlier and slept for 26 minutes longer when doing the challenge.

Interestingly, I fell asleep a massive 2 hours and 4 minutes earlier in the 95th percentile. So even though I didn't always make it to bed by 00:15, I fell asleep much earlier overall.

I've made good progress in these past two weeks towards having a more consistent sleep schedule and a good 'sleep opportunity' window.

Will I continue doing it?

Yes, but with some changes. The 'all or nothing' boundary of 00:15 was counter-productive because sometimes I'd deprioritise sleeping earlier if I missed the 00:15 window.

To help with that, I tried to avoid being overly strict with the 00:15 marker. If the intention and outcome were close to 00:15, I'd count it as a success. That helped.

What's next?

For the next two weeks, I'm going to try three boundaries:

  • 00:30 - success
  • 01:00 - acceptable
  • 01:01 or later - unsuccessful

If I don't manage to hit 00:30, it's probably because I'll be writing a blog post or something else has come up so I doubt I'll be in bed soon. That's why I have a full half hour window between the success and acceptable boundaries. Sleeping by 01:00 is much better than falling back into old habits if I fail to hit 00:30.

The goal here is not to set a super early bed time. I'm a night owl. I feel, think, and work better at night. Pretending to be a morning person because of society's norms would be bullshit and thankfully my workplace are flexible so I don't need to.

Instead, my goal is to be consistent and to give myself enough sleep opportunity. Let's see how the next two weeks go!