Day 82: Drinking, Sleeping, and Socializing

DRINKING

The chart shows that I have had 20 standard drinks over a period of 21 days, that’s an average of less than one standard drink per day, which is much less than the recommended maximum average of two per day. There is also no day on which I had more than three standard drinks, whereas the recommended maximum is four in any given day. I think that I have been drinking more alcohol this month than over the past three months because: (1) it’s the holiday period, (2) I have been socializing more (one of my new metrics; see below), and (3) it’s Cindy’s birthday month.

That said, I’m discovering some interesting things about the relationship between me and alcohol. Drinking alcohol seems to make my Peak Brain Score go down, even while I’m not inebriated. It seems to prevent my brain from functioning at its full potential, and it seems to stop me from learning. I have also found that if I have more than two standard drinks in an evening, I have a headache and feel crappy the next morning.

SLEEPING

It’s clear from the chart that I have been very inconsistent with my sleep and wake times. Generally, I have been prioritizing sleeping enough each night, and I’ve been discovering that I need to sleep around eight hours per night; I tend to naturally wake up about eight hours after falling asleep, if I don’t set an alarm. I might need more sleep because of drinking more alcohol than usual (see above). Alcohol is a depressant, and we need to sleep more when depressed. In any case, I’m going to change my bed-time goal to “before 10 pm” on next month’s challenge.

SOCIALIZING

I added a social row to the chart this month because there is so much research that shows the importance of social connection for physiological and psychological health and wellbeing. My personality style is also Enneagram Type Three, which means that I’m a “heart type,” and relationships are really important to me, even though, paradoxically, Type Three tends to de-prioritize relationships in order to “get things done,” in order to be “valuable” so that people will love me and want to spend time with me. With this in mind, and by tracking social time, I am able to hack my personality to directly get more of what I really want and need: social time.

I’m learning so much from this part of the challenge. I am relishing spending time with existing friends, and enjoying making and deepening newer friendships. It has been extremely satisfying and fulfilling for me. I believe that this is one area in which I have been feeling chronically deprived for all of my life.

Duncan Riach, Ph.D.

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An engineer-psychologist focused on machine intelligence. I write from my own experience to support others in living more fulfilling lives | duncanriach.com