Evening routines

It was one of Seneca’s observations—that nearly everything in life is circular: there’s an opening and a close, a start and a finish. Life, he says, is a collection of large circles enclosing smaller ones. Birth to death. Childhood. A year. A month. “And the smallest circle of all,” he writes, “is the day; even a day has its beginning and its ending, its sunrise and its sunset.”

~ Ryan Holiday from, https://ryanholiday.net/night-time-routine/

In there, among several other great points, is, “going to bed at a set time.” Which it turns out is just about now.

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A synthesis of sleep

I’ve written a lot about sleep. But when I found this “article” about sleep from 2016— well, at 361 pages, it’s definitely not an “article.” Now that I found this article, I feel comfortable that in recent years I’ve not been writing about sleep. This topic is already well-covered.

And you really should go look at the PDF. Eight-hours a day? —wrong. Same time to-bed/to-rise each day? Wrong. Single-phase, biphase, … it’s all so complicated!

I hope that this article compiles all the basic ingredients of knowledge that are helpful in accomplishing refreshing sleep. As for the sacrifice, it is important to begin with the understanding that one cannot eat one’s cake and have it too. Healthy sleep may be incompatible with some modern habits, some cravings, or some lifestyle choices. At worst, refreshing sleep may be incompatible with one’s job or even long-term goals.

~ Dr Piotr Wozniak, May 2012 from, https://www.supermemo.com/en/archives1990-2015/articles/sleep

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Reality

[…] enter the real world as soon as you can. […] I mean for you to get off of social media, to get out of the big cities, and to re-connect with what’s real: Nature, your soul, your inner child. Respect yourself. Most of the world is asleep today, playing a small role in a gigantic illusion. You don’t have to be. You can choose a different life. It’s all within. You will know the answer when you take the time to find yourself and trust yourself.

~ Jérôme Jarre

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Sleep

Sleep. Diet, exercise, and work ethic don’t hold a candle to how sleep can revolutionize the way you live, love, parent, and lead.

~ Brené Brown

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Chaos and disorder

During my recent road trip my finely-tuned pattern of sleep was annihilated. It’s one thing to have simplicity forced upon you; That has some benefits. But once my sleep was off the rails, everything fell apart. It wasn’t quite Escape-from-New-York-level chaos. It was close though. On one day, I wasted an hour, driving all the way to an entirely wrong address because, the night before I didn’t feel I had 2 minutes to spare to doublecheck.

I’m often viciously critical of myself if I’m still up even a few minutes beyond my desired go-to-bed time, or if I’m still in bed after my get-up time. None the less, for the 10 days of my trip, my sleep times were all over the map. On the one hand, I didn’t die and things got done. On the other hand, it was reminiscent of the old days before I got my sleep sorted out.

Sleep, (when, quantity, and quality,) and daily planning, (what am I doing, when and where,) are related. Back in the day, I cut the Gordian knot by setting a consistent sleep schedule. In a return to Primary School days, I gave myself clear and unchanging go-to-bed and get-up times. Then, arranged around those times I can schedule a specific “plan the day” session. (I’ve tried both “plan for tomorrow” just before bed, and “plan for today” fairly soon after getting up.) With improved sleep and some basic daily planning—which can be literally to simply sit on the beach all day—my life took a serious turn for the better.

But after my recent experience I’ve given this another prolonged bout of thinking and I’ve had a new [to me only, I’m sure] idea: Sleep and planning are not just related, they are circularly dependent on each other.

Here’s a sample pass around the circle: Today’s been busy, and I’ve some things I’d like to finish before sleeping. What time should I go to sleep? What time do I stand up and excuse myself from the current goings on? I need to know how much sleep I’d get if did that at different times. So what time do I have to get up tomorrow? I don’t know. What am I doing tomorrow? I need to spend some time planning for tomorrow, but that’s best done as part of my “alone time” as I’m winding down to sleep… And I cannot simply leave it to luck tomorrow morning. If I have to drive an hour, be some where at a certain time, a shower would be smart too…

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Forced simplicity

I’ve talked previously about simplicity. In particular, the idea that imformed simplicity, following from a beginner’s mind which has moved through understanding the complexity of a topic, is the hallmark of mastery practice. But forced simplicity is an entirely different animal.

Occassionally, I really need to stretch out and tear into some hard work. This week I did 8, long-form recordings in 5 days. Driving, sometimes eating, more driving, arrive, set up, record, drive, sleep, and on and on. At night I’m trying to quickly come up with a plan for the next day; I have to be where, when? …drive time? …traffic? And before I can be comfortable I have the next day under control, I need to get to sleep. Small bits of online work need to be done here and there—

I’m literally sitting by a campfire. My Mac is wifi’d to my iPhone’s cell service. I’m uploading a 90mb audio file to Movers Mindset’s project management system, as I type this blog post.

—then it’s time to sleep. Then jump up and leap into the next day. Organize the van. Is there time to shower today? (This is a real decision, and the answer was not always, ‘yes.’) Can I do my journaling? …not this week? My usual reading? …not this week. Everything I did for 6+ days was laser focused on what happens between when I press “record” and “stop.” Arrive at the location and bring my A-game. Under- or over-caffeinated, sleepy, prepared or not, … game. on.

Forced simplicity can be brutal. But, I got the good tape.

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It’s about sleep

The general sentiment here is that everyone else is sleeping so you’re not missing out on something important and you can spend time taking care of yourself, which generally leads to a positive impact on your productivity throughout the day.

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/2014/01/what-the-most-successful-people-do-before-breakfast/

The reason successful people are found doing their important work in the morning—working out, reading, writing, … whatever it is that is important to them—is because it’s right after when they have rested.

I’ll repeat: Sleep is the most important thing. Good sleep. Learn about sleep. Your life is already arranged around sleep, although you may wrongly think you’re consciously in control—you’re not… your body is in control. Fix your sleep.

Then use the time just after resting—that’s probably “morning”—to do what you want to actually get done. All the things that you think interrupt you from doing your real work? …you’re enabling that, and you can change that too.

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How to die sooner and get Alzheimer’s

Sleep is primarily seen as a neurological phenomenon, and yet when deprived creatures die, they have a puzzlingly diverse set of failures in the body outside the nervous system. Insufficient sleep in humans and lab animals, if chronic, sets up health problems that surface over time, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. But those conditions are not what slays creatures that are 100% sleep deprived within days or weeks.

~ Corey Brickley from, https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-sleep-deprivation-kills-20200604/

I’ve said it many times here, and I will keep saying it: Sleep is the single most important thing. In your life. Literally. If you are not sleeping well, and long—like, 8 hours per night, long—you have a serious health issue; not sleeping well, and sufficiently is a serious health issue.

Listen to this podcast, Matthew Walker, Ph.D., on sleep – Part I of III: Dangers of poor sleep, Alzheimer’s risk, mental health, memory consolidation, and more.

Yes, insufficient sleep—not, “I don’t feel sleepy,” but not getting sufficient sleep—if you don’t feel sleepy… if you are not sleeping 8 hours… you have other problems which are affecting your sleep. Insufficient sleep has direct causal relation to Alzheimer’s. Scared enough to fix your sleep yet?

Listen to the podcast, then buy the book, Sleep Smarter. It’s an easy introduction to how to fix your sleep. Or, don’t sleep well, die sooner and get Alzheimer’s; it’s your choice.

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Sleep

There are exceptions, such as when I travel, where I end up unconscious on some other horizontal surface, but it’s as sure a rule as any that no matter what kinds of wild or unpredictable events happen during the day, the conclusion is quite predictable: me, horizontal and comatose.

~ David Cain from, http://www.raptitude.com/2012/03/were-quite-different-but-we-cant-help-but-sleep-together/

Elsewhere, I’ve written specifically about sleeping. Sleep itself is fascinating, and a critical component to—well, everything; Life, quality thereof, the ability to think, and so on.

But until I read David’s piece, I’ve never had the vertiginous perspective of millions of people laying out horizontally and slipping unconscious. A rolling wave of countless people passing into unconsciousness as the world rotates. It’s eery, a third of all people are unconscious right at this moment. Also this moment. And in a relatively few more moments, I will be unconscious again.

I’m not certain, but I think my perspective upon first awakening may have shifted a little towards the, “oh! This is interesting,” end of things.

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A doorway from hell into your bedroom

If the devil were to create a doorway from hell straight into your bedroom, it would look a lot like an email app. While email is a valuable tool, it’s also a giant funnel into my consciousness. The single biggest change that helped me resist insomnia was to ignore work email when I get home.

~ Gabe Weatherhead from, http://www.macdrifter.com/2018/12/fighting-the-insomnia-machine.html

I banished the phone (and everything else) from the bedroom about a decade ago. If you have a television, your phone, your computer or anything else in the space where you sleep, I believe you are making a grave error.

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