One of my big goals has been to try to get my sleep down to 5 hours of sleep per night.
A few years ago I was able to hit a zen mode for about 1 month where I was only sleeping 5 hours per night.
I’ve since been trying to duplicate that.
The theory is that if I can REM more efficiently, and I’m not disturbed during my sleep, then I can compact my sleep into a smaller time range.
The impact on my life could immense with a significant amount of time added to my life per day/week/month/year.
Adding 1-2 hours a night is like is like 2-4 weeks of extra waking hours per year!
So inspired by this post at the Quantified Self Boston meetup, I’ve decided to go heads down on another iteration of sleep optimization.
One of the things I’m struggling with is that due to my athletic training, sleep is required for repair of muscle tissue.
It’s hard to argue for shaving an hour off as my body just flat out needs the sleep (vs someone with a sedentary lifestyle).
I still think that I can shave some time off though.
Step 1, no interruptions
One of the major optimizations that I’m trying to make is reducing the number of trips to the bathroom at night by reducing water intake after 7pm.
So far I haven’t had much luck. I think I need at least 3-4 hours of no water intake before I go to sleep to allow me to sleep through the night without any interruptions.
The iPhone is now off for all alerts. The only thing that can interrupt me is work with a special reserved emergency phone number.
The cats are also downstairs in their room (which is now really nice and comfortable so I don’t feel guilty about keeping them there).
Step 2, NO light in the bedroom.
I made this change last night by blocking out all the light from my misc devices.
I also taped black trash bags to the windows to block out all light.
Long term (after a week) I plan on replacing the blinds with ones that block out all light if this turns out to be a major optimization.
This was my first night running with these changes.
So far the results have been really interesting.
My dreams last night were VERY vivid. I had a long dream about traveling to China, and losing my wallet. I also remember my dreams which is rare for me.
In my dream I took a flight to Singapore but they purchased my ticket wrong and somehow I ended up on a circular flight BACK to Singapore which took 34 hours. In my dream I slept the whole flight (I N C E P T I O N) and then woke at the remote end BACK in Singapore really pissed off and demanded a refund! (ha).
I also had a dream that I was fighting a war with monsters that had invaded earth. Some other alien civilization came and was providing us weapons to fight them. Yeah, I’m a scifi nerd.
Right after waking up I felt , ok… Felt very rested. It’s 1pm and I feel a bit lethargic though. I slept 8 hours so this might be an overtraining as I need to take my day off from training soon. I might listen to my body and just take a nap anyway.
Step 3, No blue light before I sleep
I’ve understood that this has been a problem with my body for some time. If I expose myself to too much light my body produces less melatonin and I have trouble falling asleep.
Apparently, there’s a hack which was discovered circa 2001 which is to just block out blue light.
I’ve already bought these glasses and will be running an experiment tonight to see what happens.