I had a couple posts about sleep pop up in my feeds this week. Any time I find multiple (unrelated) people discussing a similar topic I take notice. I feel like there is something in the message that I need to hear when it’s coming from several different sources.
When you think about the causes of clutter, sleep isn’t high on the list (if it’s even on the list at all.) Rebecca Mezzino of Clear Space Organising Services shared a post on Facebook. Since Facebook posts don’t share well outside of Facebook, I’ll include the contents of the post here. (here’s a link to her Facebook page, she shares some good tidbits gained in her work as a professional organizer.)
I’m not sure what the actual stats are, but a large proportion of my high-clutter clients have atypical sleeping patterns. They are usually night owls and sleep late in the mornings (or are forced to get up because of jobs and struggle to do so, rushing and stressing).
I think that sleeping late really has an impact on how you carry out your day, and I find people who do sleep late are always “behind”. They never seem to be in control or “caught up”.
If I said you could have an extra 3hrs a week to plan and get on top of your projects, you’d take it in a second. You can – just get up half an hour earlier.
People who sleep late often justify it by saying they get stuff done late at night that they wouldn’t if they’d gone to bed. That’s okay if you actually do. Most late-night activities are unproductive, though – watchingTV or surfing the web are the usual suspects. Be honest with yourself.
I know this sounds preachy but now let me tell you this – I’m the same. I hate the mornings and would love to sleep as late as I can. However, when I force myself to get up earlier than “latest possible”, I consistently have a much better day than when I don’t. I’m more alert, I’m more active, I’m more organised, I’m in a better mood, I eat better, and I get more of the important stuff done.
It’s tough to begin with, but it does get easier as the habit takes hold. After a while, you go to bed earlier too, which is good for your natural rhythm.
A mindset change will help you get your head around it too.
A lot of the time our “get up time” is the time we calculate we have to get up in order to get out of the house in time. We factor in showering, dressing and eating. Then we sleep right up to that point (and then some).
What if you decided on a get-up time that was independent of that stuff? That wasn’t tied to what time you “had” to be ready? That went beyond just the necessities?
Give it a shot!
I like the idea of setting a get up time that is the same every day, regardless of what’s going on that day. Rebecca mentions that you’ll eventually start going to bed earlier too, but I consider that an important first step to make the getting up earlier work.
Brook McAlary, of Slow Your Home, shared the second post on sleep that prompted me to take notice of the topic. She is experimenting with sleep in an attempt to get 8 hours of sleep per night. When she started the experiment, she added the extra sleep by sleeping longer in the morning. She saw that as a problem, and is now trying to got to bed earlier instead. Read more about her experiment here: 8 Hours Sleep – The Slow Home Experiment.
I’d like to add my thoughts here as well. I grew up as a night owl, staying up late, getting up early for school, and sleeping well into late morning on the weekends. This continued through my college years and into my first several jobs. With my current job, they allow flexible start times. This means I can start an hour earlier in the morning and get off an our earlier at the end of my shift. I took advantage of this shortly after being hired, as it meant more time with my family in the afternoon.
In order to get up earlier, I started going to bed earlier – at the same time as my daughter, 8:30pm. This 8:30 bedtime, the same that Brook mentioned in her article, allows time for me to fall asleep, get my 8 hours of sleep, and wake up feeling refreshed. When I stick to this bedtime, I wake up most days just before the alarm goes off.
I find that I am much more productive in the morning hours, especially after a good night of sleep. My night owl hours were never as productive, even though I would tell myself they were. In reality, it was like Rebecca mentioned, I would spend most of those night owl hours vegging out, watching TV, surfing the net, and generally trying to avoid going to sleep.
After realizing how important sleep was in my day to day life, I wrote a book about learning how to fall asleep quickly. After all, what good is going to bed early, if you lay awake for hours. If you have trouble falling asleep, this book can help. You can buy it on Amazon – Set Your Sleep on Autopilot – or you can get a copy by making a donation to Annie Brewer’s GoFundMe page – https://www.gofundme.com/anniebrewer.
Have you experimented with sleep? Anyone out there try getting up earlier, or setting a bedtime? Share your experiences in the comments section below.