I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Written by Paul on July 30th, 2008

I wake up at 6am every day. Seriously.

So, a typical day for me starts at 6am and ends around 11-1130pm. Spare me your excuses, people; you don’t get ahead in life by laying in bed all day.

The Secret

It’s no surprise that you’re probably most productive during non-interrupted work periods. I know I am.

I picked the 6am wake-up time because nearly everyone I know is still in bed. I can crank through emails, blog posts or even next week’s presentation without getting interrupted even once. The best part is that by 8am, when I stop to take a shower and get ready for the day, I’ve accomplished more than most people will all day.

Look at the numbers for yourself

Countless research shows that establishing a sleep routine is good for your body, yet so many of us want to “sleep in” whenever we get the chance and end up wasting our entire day.

Forget the whole 8 hours of sleep stuff – in a recent article, studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 and 7.5 hours each day live the longest:

…people who sleep 8 hr. or more…they don’t live quite as long. There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short. The big surprise is that long sleep seems to start at 8 hr. Sleeping 8.5 hr. might really be a little worse than sleeping 5 hr.

The bottom line

Find out what works for you. Whether it’s waking up early or going to bed super-late, the point is to use your best hours to actually get ahead in life. Force yourself to try a new schedule for 30 days. You can thank me later.

Image credit: julie.rivard

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6 Responses to “I'll Sleep When I'm Dead”

  • Samir

    I totally agree with you on this. I am pretty much the same way except I get up around 6:30am. My body is used to naturally waking up at this time, thus I often wake up before the alarm even goes off. By waking up earlier it seems I can get a lot more done throughout the day, which is what you mentioned. Plus it seems as a better way to actually make use of your time.

    I used to sleep in on weekends and wake up around noon, but by the time you are actually ready to do anything half your day has already passed by, thus you are cutting down the time you have to take care of essential tasks and you are now rushing to complete these tasks.

    — 07/30/08 at 10:15 am

  • My husband and I are opposites, I get a lot of work done in the mornings and he is a night owl. 6am-8am is a great time to batch a lot of work.

    — 07/30/08 at 10:22 am

  • I agree with you as well, just one addition/clarification. What time you wake up, and it’s consistency is more important than what time you go to sleep.

    I wake up at 6am every day, whether I go to sleep at 10, or 3am.

    I always wake up and start my day at the same exact time, it’s hard to explain why, but I’ve found that it’s easier for me to control what time I wake up, not when I go to sleep.

    — 07/30/08 at 8:10 pm

  • Agreed on the “getting work done when no one else is working front” – like getting fewer emails. But for me this is at night, not morning. Since I’m on pacific time, even if it’s 6am here it’s 9am east coast and east coast folks might be emailing. When it’s 11pm here, most west coasters are asleep and ALL east coast / midwest are asleep too.

    — 07/30/08 at 10:41 pm

  • I think a problem that many night owls (like myself) face is that being constrained to the normal office schedule is hard because we must sleep during our hours of peek efficiency. I can stay up past 4am every night and be relatively productive, but because I have to be up by 7:30am to make it to work, I cannot afford to stay up.

    Weekends are great (and terrible) because they give me the freedom of staying up during my peak hours, but also disrupt the sleep cycle.

    — 07/31/08 at 12:38 pm

  • ed

    i think consistency is the name of the game. the problem most ‘night owls’ face, (and many fail to realize) is that they are trading their productivity the next day for their productivity in the moment–and it can get them in trouble.

    this is like a runner that feels good and keeps running, which can cause him/her to peak sooner.

    i am sympathetic, as it’s really hard to go to sleep having great ideas, especially when ideas start pouring out because you can finally relax (btw, this was circumstance archimedes had the eureka moment).

    instead of dealing with the tradeoff, many just bolster they’re a night owl, like people that say they’re “hands on learners.” don’t limit yourself! the only real constraint of the day are the interruptions.

    in any case, i think gtd helps with both interruptions and getting to sleep.

    — 08/02/08 at 4:36 am

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