Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Early to bed and early to rise

For two days now I have gone to bed at 7pm and I have risen somewhere between 3:00am and 3:30am.  A lot of people will think that is crazy, but there is actually a very logical reason behind it.

I work in the Information Technology field.  There are times when I need to run tests on our products and I need to do those tests while none of our clients are using them.  Therefore I have been running tests from 3:30am to 4:30am (thank goodness all our clients are in the same time zone at the moment).

Even though the testing is now finished, I have discovered that going to bed early (7pm) and waking up early (3:30am) is fitting into my body schedule amazingly well. 

How I manage to go to bed so early:

  • Turn off technology (anything with a screen). 5pm is the last time I see a computer screen.  Occasionally I check my cell phone, but I’m not on it constantly. 
  • Eat foods that make you sleepy. I eat a supper that has a large portion of a food that makes me sleepy (potatoes). There are numerous foods that have this effect, a Google search will turn up some interesting results.
  • Read a book. I hop into bed with a book around 6:45pm.  I read until 7:00pm and by that time I am getting drowsy.
  • Use a candle. A candle is more natural light.  I use a candle instead of a bedside lamp.  The candle light is not only darker than a bedside lamp, but the colours emitted help make a person sleepy (remember we have only been using electric lights a very short time in human history)
  • Block out outside light. I use a silk scarf around my eyes to block out any ambient light coming in through the curtains, and by 7:30pm I am fast asleep!
  • Block out outside sound.  I don’t need to do this, but if you have a lot of noise going on outside, it might be useful to use ear plugs.
  • Turn your phone onto silent. There is only one problem with my method, and that is other people who are on a late night schedule.  The number one thing that takes me out of this sleeping routine are phone calls and text messages.  I now put my phone onto silent the moment my light goes out or else I don’t have good quality sleep and cannot wake up the next day.

In just 2 days I have noticed the benefits of the early to bed and early to rise method.

  • There is no rush.  I have a longer time to properly wake up in the morning.  I am not rushing to get to work on time.  I am able to enjoy my coffee, my shower, breakfast etc.
  • More ready for work.  When I get to work I am ready to focus on work.  Everything else going on in my head has been dealt with.  I am ready for the day ahead and the entire day has already been planned.  In the past I would plan my day in the first 15minutes I was at the office.
  • Nothing to do when I get home.  By the end of the work day I am tired and don’t feel like doing anything on a computer when I get home.  I am mentally and physically exhausted.  This would happen regardless of what time I woke up.  Now, because I was up early and got everything done before I went to work, I can relax in the knowledge that when I get home there is nothing to do (except maybe grocery shopping).  I can take all the time at home in the evenings to spend time with Mark, my puppy (Zoey) and myself.
  • Time to read.  I would always be busy with stuff until I was exhausted, and then flop into bed.  Now I purposefully go to my bedroom earlier to spend time with God and read before bed.  It is calming for me, and I truly believe that I get better quality sleep afterwards.

I do foresee some problems in the future.  Already I am a person who HAS to be in bed by 10pm (even on weekends) and I have lots of friends who are night owls.  The early to bed and early to rise is definitely going to affect my social life!  But all this means is that I now organize midday / afternoon events on Saturday’s and Sunday’s instead of evening events and I am sorted.

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