How to get to bed at a reasonable hour
My friend @naxuu has problems getting to sleep at a reasonable hour because he is tempted to spend more time on the internet late at night. I know he does this because I’ve seen his 3am Weird Twitter musings, and also because when we told him about this blog, he said:
if anyone wants to tackle ‘how to go to bed at a reasonable hour’ that is something i need to learn abt
Okay, pal, we’ve got you covered. Note that this advice is not really for people with insomnia or trouble sleeping, but more for anyone who has discipline issues with enforcing their own bedtimes. Self-discipline is a grown-up skill that we can teach.
Step 1. Figure out your reasonable bed-time. Some people need 8 hours of sleep to fully function in the morning. Other people feel like crap if they sleep a full 8 hours and find that 6-7 is better for their productivity. Trial and error and keeping a sleep log for a few weeks can help you find your sweet spot. Once you know how long you need to sleep, count backwards from your normal wake-up time to figure out Optimal Bedtime. For example, I’m ridiculous and sleep best when I have 7 hours of sleep, but know that it can take me up to an hour to fall asleep, so my Optimal Bedtime is (6:15am wakeup - 8 hours =) 10:15pm. You will almost never find me out and about and out of bed past 10:15pm on any night I need to wake up for work the next morning.
Step 2. Set three daily alarms on your smartphone or computer or whatever. Set one for your regular wake-up time (or a bit earlier, if you are a snooze addict like me). Set one for your bedtime. Set one for one hour before your bedtime.
Step 3. When your one-hour warning alarm goes off, get off the internet. Set your smartphone aside and turn off your notifications or set it to Do Not Disturb or whatever your preferred “leave me alone” tactic is. The idea here is that you don’t want to even know that people are still talking to you on Twitter or sending you emails. If you’re in the middle of an internet k-hole, just leave your browser open so you can fall back into it tomorrow if you want to. You don’t need to wrap up your internet loose ends before going back to sleep, because the whole internet will still be there for you in the morning.
Step 4. Chill out and relax. The last hour before bedtime is all yours to do your relaxing thing. If you’re feeling a little jumpy and know you’ll have trouble sleeping, use the last hour for meditation/relaxation/progressive muscle relaxation. My personal routine is to lock all my apartment doors and turn out lights in any other rooms, wash my face, brush my teeth, moisturize, change into sleep clothes or a robe, brush my hair, drink a bunch of water and put a water glass next to my bed, and get into bed with a boring book. Sometimes I’ll practice yoga breathing or something to relax me if I feel like I need it, but most of the time, being in a comfortable bed with clean sheets and all my bedtime stuff set to go is enough to knock me out pretty quickly. If it’s not…
Step 5. When the bedtime alarm goes off, go to sleep. Turn out your lights, put down your book. If Step 4 worked, you’ll already be sleepy. If not, do whatever you need to do to get to sleep now so you don’t feel like crap tomorrow. Possible options here include but are not limited to: masturbating, sedatives, breathing and meditation exercises, progressive relaxation techniques, etc. We don’t need to know.