Because I’m a freelance writer, I make my own schedule. I usually prefer to go to bed late, around midnight or 12:30 a.m. and wake up seven to seven and a half hours later, but recently I found myself working later or getting distracted, and the time I spent asleep became shorter and shorter. An hour would pass and then another one, and I’d end up making dinner around 10 or 10:30 in the evenings, and going to bed well past that. Then the next morning I’d wake up feeling even more sluggish.
I realized my nighttime routine needed improvement. Not only was this late-night dinner habit bad for my digestion, but it also made me stay up later than I’d like, too stimulated to power down and get into bed.
So, I chose to do a little experiment. For a week, I’d try to eat dinner earlier, but most importantly, I’d force myself to skip the distractions — usually in the form of one last episode of a Netflix show or one last song (I love an impromptu dance party) — and go to bed at least 20 minutes earlier than even my usual bedtime. With any luck, I’d also fall asleep faster — no longer stressed about how late it was getting — and inch closer to eight heavenly hours of sleep. While seven hours is the minimum recommended by experts, I was curious if I’d feel more rested with a full hour.
Spoiler: I did. Getting closer to eight hours of sleep made a huge difference in my energy levels. After one week, I’m definitely sticking to this new routine, no matter what — here’s why.