It’s been 32 days since I’ve set an alarm to wake up, and I might never set one again. That is to say, the sleep when I’m tired experiment has been a smashing success. Gone are the days when I’d slog through an afternoon, yearning for sleep. Sleeping until my body wants to wake up has provided me with energy I haven’t felt in years, making the decision to stick with it even easier.
Since someone left a lengthy comment on the original post, I thought I’d update with some things I’ve learned since starting the experiment. I hope others can take this information and tweak it to work with their own needs.
On no day did I record the time I went to bed and the time I woke up. That might be the biggest flaw in this experiment, since it means there’s little data to examine. All I have to go on is what I’ve felt. Which, in terms of the experiment’s goals, is just fine.
Again, the energy I’ve felt has been remarkable. I write this at nearly 6:30 p.m. Eastern, when previously I’d be completely burnt out from the day. If I wasn’t already sunk into my couch, I’d be grumbling about working so late — mainly because I was so tired, not because I minded working the hours.
Bed time varies from night to night. Some nights I’ll be in bed reading at 10:00 and asleep by 10:45. Other nights, like last night, I’ll be up until around midnight. That doesn’t seem to change my wake-up time, however, which has consistently been in the 7:30 to 7:45 range. That only changes on weekends, when I might stay up to 1 p.m. or beyond. Thankfully, my body lets me sleep until 9 or so on those days.
While I did achieve my goal of increasing my energy levels, I have noticed a few downsides to the experiment. They’re not that big, though, and I’m sure in time I’ll iron them out.
- Snoozing. When I set an alarm, I never really hit snooze. If I needed more sleep, I’d set my alarm for another 20 minutes, half hour, hour. Now I find myself often waking at 7:20, only to have my head hit the pillow again for another 20 to 25 minutes. I’d like to get up the first time I wake up in the future.
- Napless. Since the experiment was called “sleep when I’m tired,” at the start I tried to work in naps during afternoons when I wasn’t feeling 100 percent. One of two things happened. Either I wouldn’t fall asleep at all, which is just frustrating, or I’d have trouble falling asleep later that night. That led to a few days of sleeping until 8:30, which just doesn’t work. Naps have been cut out completely.
- Falling back asleep. Most Saturdays Emma sets an alarm for 8 a.m. Since I’m usually up Friday nights, I like to sleep in just a little. Yet when her alarm goes off, I cannot fall back asleep — I guess, because I’m used to being up around that time.
Considering that I’ve achieved my ultimate goal with the experiment, the downsides amount to nothing but annoyances. Thankfully, I can work on them in the next few months and see if this can go even smoother.