I’m not good at resting.
I’ve just finished a school year where I was up every night until after 11, read from my iPad every night until midnight-ish, and woke up five days a week at 5.30.
I was teaching 8 am classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays; the traffic on I-35 is hellish, so I wanted to leave the apartment before 6.15; I was going to Starbucks and working from there until traffic cleared up on the days that I wasn’t teaching; etc.
These are all horrible habits. Staying up too late, being glued to my screen (with its sleep-disrupting blue light frequencies) until I passed out, getting less than 5 hours of quality sleep most nights, crashing on weekends. I was planning my life around being sleep-deprived.
I found that I could be active on 5 hours of sleep a night, but I couldn’t be creative. I could be productive, but not in any quality way. To be productive and maintain quality, I really need to be creative. I really need to be plugged in to tasks and conversations, and to have more of my mind engaged with what’s at hand.
(It’s also impossible for me to write consistently when I’m sleep-deprived.)
I just went through an entire school year where I saw and responded to everything through a fog, a low-level sleep hangover, because my brain wasn’t getting the time to recover that it needed.
It was like living and working with my brain wrapped in gauze.
With sleep, I can be consistently closer to full capacity. And I think that, if I can be closer to full capacity (80%?) for seven or nine hours per day, I’ll get more accomplished, and do it better, than if I’m at 50% for ten or eleven hours per day.
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (Gen 2.2)
I need sabbath, and I need rest. I can’t do the things I think God has given me to do when I’m hungover from a lack of sleep.
- I’m turning off the TV earlier. (Late night stuff is all Trump and Clinton, which in and of itself is enough to “murder sleep.”)
- I’m stopping work earlier. I’m a chronic “I’ve got my laptop I’ll write lectures and emails late into the evening” person. Working into the evening makes it harder to wind down.
- (Just last night, I stayed up until 11 working on an email; it was harder to get to sleep, and I woke up at 5 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I NEED routine.)
- I’m putting away the iPhone and iPad, and not reading from them in bed.
- (Yes, I appreciate the new “Night Shift” feature, that filters the blue frequencies out of the displays at set times. But having a smartphone or tablet in bed disrupts sleep in other ways, due to impulsive use: check your email! see if X responded to your witty comment on Facebook! etc.)
- I’m reading real books–paper and ink!–every night, and only using the iPhone for listening to relaxing music while winding down to sleep. (Use the timer to shut off the music after 30 – 45 minutes.)
- I’m going to bed at the same time (10 pm) every night.
- I’m not teaching any 8 am classes next year, so I won’t be setting the alarm before 7 am very often.