Sleep faster | My routine for a productive 5 hour sleep
In the ultimate quest for productivity and balance sleep plays an important role. There are two components of sleep regarding productivity and time-management.
Productivity and Sleep
If you sleep well and are well rested then you have the foundation for a productive day.
If your sleep sucks, there is nothing you can do to fix it in the middle of the day, except taking a nap, which isn’t always possible.
Time management and Sleep
From a time management perspective, sleep can take anywhere between 5 to 9 hours of your day. The ultimate sleep schedule will let us save some of these hours while still feeling rested.
Everyone has a range of sleeping quota, for me it’s between 5 to 7, that’s when I feel the best. My quest is to get as close to 5 hours as possible while still feeling rested in the morning.
Over the years I’ve picked few things from Wim Hof, Tim Ferris, Hindu and Yoga traditions and have compiled an evening routine that helps me reduce my sleep to 5-ish hours, wake up without an alarm and get a leg up on the day.
6pm – Last meal of the day
Have a light dinner no later than 6pm (or 4 hours before going to bed). It should be small so you go to bed with an empty stomach.
You don’t want your body to be busy digesting food when it should be resting.
9pm – Drink the magic potion
The magic potion is one teaspoon of raw honey and one teaspoon apple cider vinegar.
Mixed them in warm water, just a bit above room temperature, so the honey gets dissolved without losing its nutrients. If you heat up honey to more than 40 degrees Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit then it’s as good as sugar, all nutrients are gone.
9:30pm – Turn off all screens and start slowing down
I was going to put 1 hour here but I know that’s impossible for most of us. At least 30 minutes before bed stop using your phone, laptop or TV. Some folks like to read books during this time on their Kindle paper white or real paper books.
I’m all for education and reading. Especially if you’re learning something new it does make sense to read about it before going to bed and let you brain sort things out while you sleep. Sleeping is a powerful learning tool this way.
But I am strongly against reading just for the sake of it. So what do you do when you can’t look at any screens and don’t feel like reading?
I’m using this time to slow down my mind and clear my thoughts. Your mind follows your body, have you noticed how you suddenly have more confidence when you stand up straight? (that’s for another article)
In order to slow down the mind I slow down my breathing and my movements. Literally everything I do, I do it slower than normal. I do some stretching, brush my teeth, do some sun salutations, even if I’m reading I’m doing it slower. This forces my mind to slow down and focus on these simple things I’m doing.
9:45pm – Take a cold shower (Optional)
It’s still summer here and even the nights can be hot so I take cold showers before bed almost every night. No need for soap or shampoo or anything, I just let the water flow. Do you know that yogis (people doing yoga all day) take 6 to 7 showers per day, just to clear their body from the impressions of the world. And their goal is to clear their minds completely, so it makes sense to do this when we’re trying to clear our minds at night.
Ok the water doesn’t have to be cold, but keep it on the cooler side.
10:00pm – Go to bed
This is the ideal scenario for me but I rarely manage to get it. Most days I get to bed between 10pm and 11pm and I wake up around 4am to 4:30am max, without an alarm. The sleeping interval is significant here. It is proven that in the first third of the night we get the deepest part of our sleep, our slow wave sleep. So it makes sense to sleep more in the first third of the night. Also reducing our stress before going to sleep increases the duration of this slow wave sleep. Hence the previous steps of the routine.
4:30 am – Wake up and do sun salutation
This one is a bonus and part of my yoga routine. Sun salutation is the simplest yoga practice you can do and it is supposed to be done on sunrise and on sunset to basically salute the Sun. In Hindu tradition they say that after a while of doing these your body comes in sync with the sun and it naturally wants to wake up on sunrise. Here is a short video on how to do it.
You should be sleeping in a pitch black room. Close all curtains and turn off all lights.
The temperature should be cool, in the summer time you might have to open a window slightly. But if it’s too noisy outside, especially in 10-11pm, this could be a problem. Try it both ways and do what works for you.
You already know these but for completeness I must say the obvious:
- Alcohol – Even one drink will hinder your sleep. Stop making the excuse that one glass of wine is healthy to drink at night. There is only one study that supports this wine thing every night because some french tribe was observed with long lifetime span and they were drinking wine every day. Let me tell you for sure that they weren’t trying to optimize their sleeping schedule.
- Caffeine – At least 6 hours before bed you shouldn’t be drinking coffee or cacao, which includes chocolate too.
- Screens – Use a blue light blocker. Flux works on all platforms. On Mac there is also night shift which does the same thing. On newer phones there is reading mode which also blocks blue light, keep that on all the time you won’t notice any difference, but your eyes will.
- Eating sugar – If you’re following the routine you won’t be eating anything for the last 4 hours of your day. But on the days when you aren’t, make sure not to eat simple sugars at night. They mess up your whole circadian rhythm.
My general advice stays the same: Don’t believe anything I say blindly. Try it for yourself. Keep the things that work, discard the ones that don’t, add what is uniquely your own.
Until next time.
Stay productive and keep crushing your goals.