Changing sleep habits—an experiment in productivity

A couple of days ago I decided to try to figure out what was going on in my life at the time of some of my most productive writing streaks—what types of schedules or timed sessions or just overall attitude I had—so I can try a few things to help me make the rest of this year as productive as I need it to be.

This time, I was looking at both my daily log, my entries in my journal, and my calendar entries.

And something came to my attention.

Back in 2016 during the time I can clearly see where my productivity dipped and I fell into a funk that lasted far too long, my sleep habits also changed dramatically.

I have a tendency to track my sleep in my calendar. I put in the times I want to sleep and then adjust the entry the next day to keep a record of the times I actually slept.

Until the middle of 2016, I’d been getting up at 6:30 most days, and even though some days I definitely didn’t get enough sleep, as a general rule I tried to go to sleep by 10:30. Meaning I got enough sleep most of the time, in the earlier part of the night. I’ve always though I slept better in the early part of the night, and fight to sleep once the sun is shining outside, so this stood out for me.

I haven’t ever really considered that my sleep patterns themselves might have led to a lot of my problems during the last few years. And now I’m considering it.

So I started an experiment night before last, wherein I get into bed and go to sleep hours earlier than I’ve been doing, and I make it a priority to get a full night’s sleep.

Yesterday I felt great, all day, all the way up until I went to bed. I never had a dip in energy and I didn’t feel that afternoon dragging feeling I’ve been dealing with a lot lately. I wrote 1,817 words yesterday, pretty effortlessly.

So I went to bed early again last night, and although I don’t know how today is going to work out yet, I feel good. So we shall see if this turns out to be the thing that changed and sent me into a downward spiral of a lack of motivation and energy that has persisted far too long. (Even though it is better now than it was.) :D

I plan to run this experiment for a week at minimum, meaning I can’t let myself slip up and stay up late during that time. I’m hopeful it will show me something useful. :)

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