Most of us dream about being able to sleep less. Wouldn't it just be wonderful to have time to do all does stuff you dream about?
Actually, time is the only thing we all have the same amount of... I mean, people can have advantages in money, skills, resources, etc. but when it comes to time - we all have the same.
However, what we really want is to have more time being awake. So I guess the only way to fix that is to cut down on our sleep. If you sleep 8 hours per night now, then perhaps your ultimate goal is to reach 5 hours per night. Or maybe you just want to go from 7 to 6 hours. Anyhow, it's all about the same methods that need to be applied.
But wait a minute! Actually, it's not just about getting more time. It's about having more high-quality time! That's it! We want to maximize the amount of hours per day that we can live with high-energy and perform great.
Let’s see if we can do it :-)
But first, let's start in the right end. Ask yourself why you actually want to sleep less.
I always go back to basic questions such as these before going into a new challenge. It's just a great way to make sure my reasons are in order and that they will push me forward as I go along.
Even though I don't sleep extremely short, I have seen a bunch of benefits with changing my sleeping habits so I can sleep shorter and rise earlier:
Be aware though, that there is a risk to sleeping less as well. It's called sleep deprivation. To illustrate:
One night without sleep leaves you performing like you were legally drunk at a blood alcohol content of 0.08 BAC (blood alcohol content).
Especially during the transition phase to sleeping less you will suffer from lack of sleep. The way to get past this is to
By forming a habit, your body will slowly get used to sleeping less. The problem is that you won't get as much REM sleep (the deep sleep that really makes you recover) as you're used to. But that's ok. Either your body will "speed up" each sleep cycle or you will be fine without it after enough practice.
The second part is to gather more energy so you don't need to sleep as much.
In essence, we don't just want to sleep less, but we want to continue to live with the same (or even higher) level of energy, right?
This is the key right here. According to my experience, learning how to sleep less is 90% about learning how to have more energy - to live energetic even though you sleep a few hours less.
So let's jump straight into my favorite methods for how you can get more energy.
You've probably heard it before, but the benefits of drinking a lot of water are undeniable - a healthy heart, healthy skin, less headaches, etc. But the most important one is of course that you'll get more energy. Any lack of water in your system can very easily cause fatigue and tiredness.
I was actually quite surprised when I learned about the great natural effect that sunshine has on my energy level through a great book I read. For all natural plants out there, water and sunlight are the two natural ingredients to a healthy life. For us humans, water is something that we crave as well, but the importance of sunlight has been slightly forgotten. I have seen clear affects when striving to increase my direct sun intake.
In fact, the reason why so many of us are more tired during the winter months are because the lack of natural sunshine. This syndrome is normally called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). To avoid it, get more light!
A nap or short meditation mid-day can give wondrous results to your energy level. During my time working in Beijing I noted that almost all of my Chinese colleagues took a nap after straight after lunch. I had never seen this before. But after learning more it totally makes sense.
First, the body's temperature cycle has a natural dip at around 1pm causing us decrease in energy level. Second, a short power-nap or micro-nap can really make sure that you're able to regain energy and get a fresh mind for the afternoon.
If you like these three tips, then check out my much more complete list of tips for how to sleep less and live with more energy. I have gathered these tips as I've progressed as an early riser, but don't feel pressured to use all of them. Just find a core of methods that works for you after you've tried some of them out.
The tricky thing with every new habit that we want to form is how to actually start. Is there perhaps a general best way for how to start sleeping less? I don't know about that, but I have my own way that I teach people that want to sleep less. Let's say you want to go from 7 hours to 5 hours. Then it would go something like this:
At the end of week 3, after 21 days, you will have cut down 2 hours of your sleep :-) And you will hopefully have incorporated 3 new habits that will provide you with more energy in your life. Take is step by step and be prepared for some drowsiness and sleepiness during this transition phase, it's all normal ;-)
Besides the methods that I have presented here for how to sleep less - based on having more energy - there are also other alternative methods to accomplish the same. One interesting example is polyphasic sleep which about only sleeping through shorter naps - a real challenge =) But if you're new to trying to decrease the time you sleep, then I absolutely recommend you to start with applying the methods listed here.
Good luck and live with energy!
Early Riser > Sleep Less
Thanks for reading! By Matthew M. McEwan
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