I love everything about sleeping. I love putting my phone down for the night, tuning into my ASMR, and finally, drifting off. I really love those moments when you’re between sleep and awake, conscious but reality is subjective, and you take your next steps into what promises to be some grand adventure. My dreams are often epic that necessitate keeping a pen and paper beside the bed so I can capture the adventure before it fades with the morning.
Plus, I love prioritizing rest and sleep is a sound rejection of hustle culture. I’ve never had any desire to work myself to death. Life is short, and while I recognize some form of work is necessary to a free and equitable society, I’m more about filling my life with as much fun and adventure as I can jam into it.
So when Paul Rudd said that the key to his personal fountain of youth was ensuring he got eight hours of sleep per night, I decided to follow suit. Not only did I start ensuring that I would go down for eight hours per night, I started revolving my entire life around getting a good night’s sleep. The benefits have been enormous. Lists have become fallbacks instead of necessities. I have more time and energy throughout the day. And my wife spends far less time reminding me to do things.
I’ve been on this track for a little less than a month. It required taking a hard look at some of my habits and making some uncomfortable changes, but they have been worth it. These are my biggest takeaways, from dedicating my life to rest.
1). Taking Control Of My Anxiety
I actually say it out loud, when I make sure the stove is off and the heat is turned down. This would put my anxiety at ease; when it would creep up, I have a vocal reminder that I did indeed do all of those before-bed necessities. That little voice immediately pops up when the intrusive thoughts start showing up, usually right before I nod off. As a neurodivergent, routine is key; I will walk around my house every day and audibly check off my chores before putting my head down. The routine puts my mind at ease, the brief walk gives me something to come down off of, and I don’t have very many intrusive thoughts anymore when I go to bed. It makes going to sleep a lot easier.
2). Putting the Gaht-Damn Phone Down
I didn’t grow up with internet. While it’s a vital part of my day (and a damn temptation at night) I’ve learned how to put it away so I can slow my ever-running mind down. I’m not perfect in this at all; some nights I go to put the phone down moments before I nod off. When I feel nights like this coming, I’ll leave my phone in the other bedroom or something. Every mind works differently, and mine never slows down on it’s own. Social media and the news in general winds me up and hinders the sleep process, so I can’t be near it when I’m trying to sleep. Sometimes, in that sweet spot between sleep and awake, I’ll pull out the notepad and scribble down all the ideas (and postpone going to sleep for a moment) but mostly, putting the phone down means a better night’s sleep. Social media will still be there in the morning.
3). Making The Most Of A Day
I can’t overstress this; I wake up rested and refreshed now. I get up anywhere between six and seven, Monday through Friday, barring a bout with insomnia (and even then, I still get eight hours because I will have crashed earlier the night before). When I wake up, I’m ready to go. I can put in a full day on writing, client work, and exercise and not be dead at the end of the day. I rarely have moments of brain fog or lethargy because I’m actually rested.
My life now revolves around ensuring a get a solid eight hours of sleep and it is a better place for it. No more working till I drop, no more four-hour nights interrupted by a bout of anxiety that will slow me down all day, and very little insomnia. I’m going to publish this, and then take five. Thanks for reading.