Sleep: how it's going

Posted on: 7 February 2023

I set a goal for 2023 to improve my sleep. Suitably vague, but one of the steps I implemented in January was simply to track my bedtime. My Garmin watch approximates this but I’ve been annoyed by how inaccurate this often is if I have a lower paced evening. So, I now simply jot that time down to the nearest 5 minutes in my journal.

My system

In addition to the time, I use a colour-coded tag system in Notion to see at a glance how “good” my bedtime was. The descriptors are generally based on how I’ll feel the next day if I sleep at that time (not an exact science).

Time Rating
10:30 - 10:45pm Green: excellent
11pm Yellow: good
11:15 - 11:30pm Orange: OK
11:45 - midnight Red: bad
12:15 - 12:30 Brown: danger zone

My progress in January

Rating Days
Excellent 0
Good 0
OK 20
Bad 10
Danger zone 1

In summary, not awful, but a long way from where I want to be. A good baseline to improve upon. 11pm is my target, any earlier is a bonus. A little after 11 is not disastrous, but beyond 11:45 is bad and approaching the danger zone. The danger zone is a period I've identified as "will definitely feel it tomorrow".

My hangup

For me it’s always been the way that I have high energy at night and low energy in the morning. I realise this habit is somewhat self-fulfilling and circular though.

Not just energy, my mood is generally better at night than the morning. As a result, my productivity is better. I get most of my creative thinking and side project work done during the evening.

I’m not sure if I can change my nature and reverse this, or whether this would be good for me, but I do know I want to feel better in the mornings. Not productive, not bursting with energy, just better. Less groggy and more attentive. And if that means sacrificing a bit of my “productive” time late at night, so be it.

My plan

Switch off technology at 10.30pm. A notable exception to this is logging diary entries, which tends to be one of the last things I do before bed. After 10:30pm: read, journal, clean or sleep.

I know from experience this will be hard, but having a hard deadline should make it easier to follow through with it. I know this is not going to be an instant thing, but I’m hoping to trend towards 11pm as the months progress.

The key is doing things I know make me happy and improve my wellbeing, like reading and getting an early night, rather than allowing myself to go into auto-pilot and hitting the doom-scroll, hour-swallowing machine.

I may check in again at the end February, or might leave it until a quarter of the way through the year.

Tags: sleep notion