I love sleep and don’t function well when deprived of it. As an intern, I once fell asleep during a meeting sitting three feet away from my boss. I had stayed up the entire previous night finishing my presentation for that meeting and was incapable of keeping my eyes open. The only thing that woke me up was the other intern kicking me under the table (several times, as I fell asleep again a couple minutes later).
Goal 27: Wake Up Before 4:30 AM For A Month
This goal was inspired by Jocko Willink, a former Navy SEAL who wakes up at 4:30 am every morning. I know he wakes up at 4:30 am because he posts a picture of his watch on Instagram along with some terrifying inspirational message like, “THE ENEMY NEVER SLEEPS”.
This was the last goal added to my list. I thought it would be a pointless month of sleep deprivation, but a 29 Before I turn 30 List just wasn’t going to cut it.
The Status Quo
For the past three years I’ve been self-employed, working from home, and waking up without an alarm. If you think that sounds glorious, you’re right. I’ve become very particular about getting 9+ hours of sleep a night which has resulted in receiving the nickname ‘Princess’ from my wife. “Do princesses do ultra endurance events?”, I ask her. “No, but they do wear sleep masks”, she says.
The first couple days were rough. A very accurate description would be jet lag, as a four hour shift in my schedule is exactly what happened. An afternoon nap was quickly implemented. The rules of the nap were that it could be no greater than one hour in length and had to begin at least eight hours after waking. I utilized that nap every day.
On Day 9, I woke up before my alarm. My body was appreciating the regular sleep schedule compared to the haphazard one it had dealt with previously.
On Day 11, I started to enjoy waking up early and found an increased sense of motivation for my daily tasks.
The entire month, I always fell asleep instantly. When I shut off the lights and lay my head down, I was asleep in a couple of minutes.
I thought this would be a stupid goal, but I was surprised to find that I felt motivated the entire month. I accomplished five of my thirty goals in addition to posting two Lethal Engineering videos, publishing three blog posts, and completing a record number of ‘units’ of work.
It could just be a placebo, but I felt like I was ‘ahead’ of the day all month. It’s only 7 am and I already accomplished X, Y, and Z. I’m usually not even awake by 7!
The purpose of these month long goals is to experiment with a habit and see how it affects my life. Waking up early was something I assumed would be pointless but ended up enjoying. Three weeks into the next month and I’ve already relapsed into my old sleep habits. I’ve found that high sense of motivation has evaporated as well.
Starting today, I’m going to re-implement a consistent wake up time of 4:30 am. I’ll modify the habit to ensure a full 8+ hours of sleep every day by increasing the length of the nap if I”m out late the previous night.