To see if consistent, sustained, and sufficient sleep would have a disproportionate effect on my mood, focus, and productivity. You can check out the full objectives of this LifeTest here.
I have to be in bed at least 7 hours before my alarm goes off the following morning, and keep this up for no less than seven consecutive nights. If I miss this target for one night, I’ll have to restart the challenge all over again.
Monday, 22 April 2013
The first night of forcing myself to sleep early was a breeze. Since I’d already worked on cheerfulegg for about 4 hours during the day (it was a Sunday), I didn’t feel any need to do any blog-related work at night. When 11.20pm rolled around, I felt the usual urge to log onto Facebook. Usually, I’d browse Facebook for a couple of minutes, something would catch my eye and I’d find myself clicking through pictures or reading articles till 12.30ish. Not good.
Last night though, I remembered my “no social media after 11pm” ban, so I clicked the computer shut. I did allow myself to watch a TED Talk on my phone for 19 minutes in bed though, but it definitely wasn’t as distracting as YouTube.
I got up pretty naturally when my alarm clock rang this morning. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel like smashing my alarm clock into bits. I felt rested, alert, and ready to take on this week. Let’s see what a couple more days of 7-hour sleep can do.
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
Sleeping on time last night was a breeze – I was freakin’ exhausted from the day. I had a huge birthday dinner last night, so maybe that had something to do with it. Anyways, by the time I was getting a lift home from my parents at 10.30pm, I was snoring away in the car. Yeah I know right – what a wuss.
When I got home, I spent a bit of time scrolling through Qoo10 for a new iPhone cover (my current one looks battle-worn even though I’ve only used it for like 2 months). The sheer number of designs on the site took me 20 whole minutes just to scroll through and choose one. Lesson learnt: Online shopping can be way more addictive than social media. I don’t shop online very much, but I think I need to treat it the same way as I do Facebook / YouTube – a complete ban after 11pm.
I woke up today feeling… normal. I didn’t feel a surge of energy like I did yesterday morning. Is my body somehow adjusting to my sleep cycle, which is why I feel a little tired even though I’ve slept more? We’ll need to observe a little more in the coming days.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Something totally unexpected happened yesterday afternoon… I felt sleepy. Yeah, even after sleeping for 7 hours a night for two consecutive nights. Wtheck? I’d slept more than ever on a weekday, yet it wasn’t working. I suspect that it’s probably because I had an MSG-filled lunch – a sketchy-looking chicken cutlet with a dubious-tasting sauce meant to mask the fact that the food was terrible.
Which brings me to the conclusion that maybe sleep isn’t such a pancea after all. Sleeping more is always good, but there are a million and one other things that could affect your performance as well: what you eat, your relationships, your mood for the day, etc. Something that I’ll have to watch out for in the next couple of days.
Last night, I almost didn’t make it for my 7 hour mark. I was in the zone, working on a revamped About page for my blog, and I really, really, really didn’t want to stop. But it was 11.50pm, way past my cutoff time for working, and I had to tear myself away. But that’s what I love about commitments – that it pretty much takes all decision-making out of your hands. Without a “sleep 7 hours a day or you’ll have to restart everything tomorrow” mandate, I’d have felt really guilty for not working. But yesterday, I was committed, I didn’t have a choice, so… heck. I went to sleep. And totally didn’t regret it.
Thursday, 25 April 2013
It’s my birthday, so I’ll keep this short. And also because I have FIVE MINUTES before I break my seven hour-sleep mark.
Today was busy busy busy as hell, so I didn’t have time to feel sleepy. I think this sleep challenge did help me to maintain my focus while I was busy with 10 different projects today, though I can’t be sure.
We’ll see how sleep helps me out on the last weekday of my experiment tomorrow. I have two minutes to jump into bed, so till tomorrow then!
Friday, 26 April 2013
The past couple of days have been close shaves. Jumping into bed with 2 minutes to spare before I hit the 7-hour threshold is not fun, and pretty stressful actually. I’m going to have to find a way to get work done a little more efficiently so that I can ease straight into bed and get a full night’s, complete-REM sleep.
I’m thinking of extending this challenge to just a couple of days more, just to see what I’ll feel like after a full week of 7-hour sleep. (I’m told it takes a body around 1-2 weeks of regular sleep to fully adjust, so hopefully I’ll see the benefits then!)
So far, I haven’t experienced days where I’d felt amazingly refreshed and productive throughout. I do feel a slight uptick in mood, but it may have something to do with my birthday being this week.
Saturday, 27 April 2013
Friday nights are always my sleepiest nights. A week’s worth of fatigue, coupled with a delicious birthday dinner at Kilo Kitchen, zoned me out pretty fast once I hit the lights. I did, however, wake up today feeling more refreshed than I’ve ever felt in the past couple of days. Maybe the quality of sleep matters a whole lot more than the quantity.
It’s something that I’ve suspected for awhile – that my body needs time to zone into complete, all-encompassing sleep in order to take advantage of the full 7 hours of rest. That means I’ve been doing it wrong for the past couple of days: Hitting the sack at pretty close to the 7-hour deadline may technically meet the requirements of my challenge, but it leaves me stressed and frazzled which doesn’t give me a great night’s sleep.
I’m gonna have to build in cut-off times not just for time-wasting social media, but for cheerfulegg-related work as well. Because of this, I’m voluntarily extending the challenge for another 3 days, just to see what effect it’ll have.
Sunday, 28 April 2013
Oof. Super woozy and slow-moving today. Had a late night which ended at 2.45am. I slept the required 7 hours, but woke up at 9.45am still feeling as tired as ever. Late nights / changes in sleep schedules are probably detrimental for energy management, regardless of how many hours you sleep. Zomg this is a crappy feeling. Definitely gonna have to extend the challenge to another 3 days.
Monday, 29 April 2013
The body has come down with a cold! Was sniffling and sneezing the whole of yesterday, which pretty much sucked. Sleep or no sleep, it’s pretty hard to disentangle feeling refreshed from the choked, viscous feeling of a stuffed nose. Dang it. I might have to repeat this experiment again when I get back from Spain.
Last night, I stayed up till 1130 ish watching Little Britain with the girlfriend. We would have ended the night earlier, but we were waiting for my parents to get back with the car so I could drive her home. I’m starting to realize that it’s pretty damn difficult for a young person to sleep before 11.30pm in general. Our lifestyles at this point just don’t allow us to follow that sort of sleep schedule on a regular basis. The question is, how can we work around our night owl lifestyles and still get the sleep we need to function awesomely in the day?
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Feeling a lot better today, which really helped in the quality of sleep last night. Last night was interesting – I usually approach every night with a long list of things to accomplish: blog, research, invest, clear email, etc, but last night I told myself that I would simply… chill. I did a little bit of investing and researching (old habits are hard to break), and while I was busy, I didn’t feel the usual pressure to check everything off my to-do list, which was nice.
That gave me a couple of hours to simply relax, chill, and ease into sleep. It was great – I had the best quality sleep for this experiment and woke up feeling really refreshed. This supports my hypothesis that the body needs time to ease into sleep – which also brings another dilemma: how do we do projects on the side, AND get good quality sleep as well?
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Slept like a baby for 8 hours last night because today’s a public holiday. Woot! Again, I allowed myself a good half hour before I crawled into bed, which really helped me to ease into an awesome sleep. Woke up this morning refreshed enough to go for a sexy sweaty run too.
So that’s it – the end of the Sleep 7 Hours for
7 10 Days challenge. The outcome wasn’t entire what I’d expected, but I did get some pretty good perspectives on the role of sleep in building personal capital.
In short: sleep is necessary, but not sufficient for productivity. Sleep will prevent you from wanting to kill yourself when you wake up in the mornings, but it won’t automatically turn you into a productive, efficient, jet-engine.
I blogged 4 lessons I’ve managed to pick up during this LifeTest, which you can check out in the link below.
Image credit: epsos