On Sleeping Earlier
When I was in my 20’s, when I just moved into an apartment by myself in the woods, I used to stay up pretty late.
There was something about my apartment, maybe its dark and dingy quality, that made the night seem pretty similar to the day time.
I’d go to bed somewhere between midnight and 2am every night, even if it was a work night. This left me feeling tired and cranky all the time, but since I had lived this way since about the age of 15, I thought it was just normal life.
When I became a teacher, I had to start sleeping earlier. It was a necessity. Then again, the start of my teaching career coincided with turning 28, and a lot of people I know in their early 30’s or late 20’s find themselves going to bed much earlier than they had a few years ago.
Then, after I left my teaching job, I kept my sleeping habits – but by that time, my body had settled into the habits and I couldn’t stay awake past 11pm even if I wanted to. I’d end up falling asleep in my chair or on the couch.
It’s no secret that sleeping earlier is better for your health than going to bed super late. It’s also been shown that having a consistent bedtime is better than an erratic one. But the biggest benefit I got from going to sleep earlier is that it helped me stop procrastinating.
Back in my 20’s, when I used to stay up late, I would delay getting creative projects done. When I got home from work at 6pm, I’d relax and hang out, and I’d figure that I’d working on my creative projects later that night.
Except, then the night would come and I’d be up watching YouTube videos. When I started sleeping earlier, I was forced to think about my day with more intention. And my time further became constricted when I had a child, so I was forced to stick to a schedule.
These two practices have completely transformed my daily life. When I go to bed, I can put a nice bow on the day. It’s over, without question, and I can go to sleep without a million nagging thoughts.