I've been trying to sleep less, ideally between 4 and 7 hours a night. It's amazing when you get 20 hours in a day - it's almost like two distinctively different days. I feel twice as alive as when sleeping 8, 10, or 12 hours.
I'm still adjusting to it, though. Often I'm slower immediately upon waking up, which is not great, but not terrible. The way I start my day is by stretching and going for a walk or otherwise exercising, then eating some simple food, and having a shower. That first hour or two comes pretty automatically.
But then, I find my energy waxes and wanes more when on lower sleep. I actually feel more alert during my peak moments when sleeping less, but then I hit a low patch of exhaustion for 20 minutes to an hour every so often. During this time, my mind is mostly empty and scrambled.
The danger is that it's easy to get into some mindless clicking around at that point, and get stuck in click-click-click-click online for the next few hours. Normally when my mind is foggy, I like to do really low level admin that doesn't require thought: Reply to routine emails, clean something, things like that. Right now, though, it was a little frustrating, because I have basically no low level tasks to be done. Inbox is pretty much empty, no errands to run, my things are generally clean and orderly. So I was starting to click-click-click mindlessly.
I mixed some instant coffee and went outside. I'm staying on top of Mount Davis on Hong Kong Island, and lightning was striking across the water on the Kowloon Peninsula. So I sat out there watching the lightning strike again and again.
And I think, ah, if we have even a breath of life, then we're incredibly wealthy. Any man can breathe in the air, or look at the sky, or look at the ground, and observe the color. He can smile, or flex and stretch, and sit or stand. This is incredible wealth. Life.
And I remember that it will end sometime, and it's not sad, it's actually rather pleasant. There will be a time when I never seen a lightning strike again. Things are in perspective. Life is precious. Go spend the time I do have doing something the matters.
I nod to the lightning. Time to head inside to plan, build, produce, and serve. We do not have so much time in this life. It is fitting to spend it doing things that matter.
Thanks for this post Sebastian. I know that this post is now over a year old for you and it probably doesn't resonate with you as closely as it once did. Nevertheless, I got a lot from it. TIME IS SO FUCKING SHORT. I'm not sure if it's good to constantly realize this, but you've certainly making me think about it.
Got a good question from a reader about sleep. One of my goals is to sleep less than 8 hours/night
Hello, and thanks for inviting your blog visitors to email you directly. I just came across your site today, and got some good reading out of your "top stories" list. What compelled me to write, though, was a trend I noticed on some of your "goals" posts: sleeping less than 8 hours per night.
It caught my attention, because at first glance it looks counter-intuitive. Yet I understand exactly what you mean.
Cut. Return to monologue later. Get to the askin':
How is it working out for you?
Along with exercise and nutrition, sleep is one of the primary determinants of your happiness and wellbeing. If you don't get good sleep, you will not only be tired, but also pessimistic, unmotivated, lazy or even depressed.
Research has shown that self control is a limited resource that is greatly diminished when you're exhausted. If you don't get good sleep, you are less likely to be productive and stick to your good habits (such as exercise). You are also more likely to do things that you know are bad for you (such as eating sweets).
Good REM sleep plays a critical role in the development of long term memories. If you're trying to learn anything at all, you better make sure you get enough high quality sleep.
Proper sleep is also essential for maintaining a robust immune system. If you want to be happy, healthy, smart and productive, you have must make sure you get good sleep.
Do you think that your physical health and emotional wellbeing can be considered in isolation? Think again. They both come from the same body, and they both require that you sleep well.