It’s been a month since I’ve listened to a BBC interview discussing the importance of sleep, and studies pointing to health damaging effects of insufficient amounts of it. It made me realise that while I’ve been putting considerable focus on other aspects of reaching longevity, I’ve been completely ignoring this particular elephant in the room with my on average less than 6h of shuteye per night. The result of all my efforts will only be as successful as the worse maintained aspect of my health, so I had to do something.
I gave up one hour of late night hacking, learning, fiddling to bring my average hours on par with the recommended 7.5 to 9 hours. Well, gradually. For now I’m just aiming for 7 hours.
I also learnt from the report, that it only takes 4 nights to adjust to too little sleep, while it requires 3 weeks to return to normal. I used to believe that I was completely fine with 5.5 hours of sleep. Nothing wrong with me. This is all I need!
Now that I’ve been catching more Z’s for several weeks, I have to disagree with younger me. I didn’t expect such noticeable results, but they are there. The most obvious, and most welcome change, is in my ability to focus. I don’t mean focus in the sense of paying attention, but rather to focus on what I’m doing, what I want to achieve, what I am supposed to be doing. Previously, I simply did whatever came to mind, jumping from one project to the next, and if came up empty, within a second I’d start consuming info, news, podcasts, youtube, whatever. Now, I’m ok with a minute of silence to recollect my thoughts, can put new ideas aside and focus on finishing the last highest priority task on my mental list. It feels almost ridiculous to be so excited about this, but it is a transformative change in my life. As I’ve recently explained to a developer friend, it’s as if I now have a consolidated state object saved to memory every night and loaded up during boot each morning rather than starting fresh (and clueless).
Long story short, please remember sleep!