Steve Pavlina's article “How to Become a Lark”

Original author: Steve Pavlina
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It is good to get up before dawn, because such a habit promotes health, wealth and wisdom.
- Aristotle.

Are they born early birds or become? In my case, definitely the second one. When I was 20 years old, I rarely went to bed until midnight, and almost always liked to sleep longer. Usually my daily affairs did not begin in the morning, but closer to noon.

But after some time, I noticed and could no longer ignore the strong connection between success and early recovery, even in my own life. In those rare cases when I still got up early, I noticed that my productivity was almost always higher, not only in the morning, but throughout the day. In addition, I felt much more cheerful. Therefore, being active in achieving my goals, I decided to definitely become a lark. I quickly set the alarm at 5 o’clock ...

... and the next morning I got up just in the afternoon.

Hmm .......

I tried again and again, many times, but I could not make any significant progress in this matter. I decided that I was probably born without the necessary gene responsible for the early rise. As soon as the alarm went off, my first thought was always to stop this damn noise and return to sleep. I followed this habit for several years, but then in the end I came across an article about the study of sleep, which showed me that I approached the problem from the wrong end. Putting these ideas into practice, I was finally able to become a consistent lark.

It's hard to become a lark using the wrong strategy. But with the right strategy, it is relatively simple.

The most common wrong strategy is this: you assume that if you are planning to get up earlier, you should go to bed early. You figure out how much you sleep on average now, and then just shift the schedule a few hours ago. If now you sleep from midnight to 8 in the morning, then you think that in order to get up at 6, you should go to bed at 10 in the evening. It sounds reasonable, but it usually fails to do this.

There are apparently two patterns of sleep. The first is that you go to bed and get up at the same time every day. This is similar to an alarm clock that rings twice a day, and by its calls you try to sleep at the same hours. For life in modern society, this seems like a logical option. We need a predictable schedule. All we need is to provide the necessary rest.

The second model of sleep is that you must listen to the requirements of your body, that is, go to bed when you feel tired, and get up when you wake up without any alarms. This approach stems from biology. Our bodies know how much rest they need, and we must listen to them.

Through trial and error, I found that both of the above sleep patterns are not optimal. Both of them turn out to be wrong if you care about your productivity and / or effectiveness. And that's why:

If you sleep at fixed hours, then sometimes go to bed when you do not want to sleep at all. If in order to fall asleep daily, you need more than 5 minutes, you are just too vigorous. You waste time lying in bed and awake instead of sleeping. Another problem is the assumption that you need the same time to sleep every day, which is not true. The need for sleep varies from one day to another.

If you sleep, listening to what your body says, then most likely you will oversleep more than necessary - in many cases, significantly more, 10-15 hours a week (equivalent to a full daylight hours). Most people sleeping this way sleep more than 8 hours a day, which is usually too much. In addition, your morning becomes less predictable if you get up at different times. And since our natural biorhythms often do not coincide with the 24-hour cycle, you may find that your sleep time begins to shift.

The optimal solution for me was to combine these two models. This is a very simple solution, and many larks follow it without even thinking, but nonetheless it was a real discovery for me. The solution was that I went to bed when I felt sleepy (and only then), and got up on the alarm clock at a certain time (7 days a week). Thus, I always get up at the same time (in my case at 5 in the morning), but I go to bed differently every day.

I go to bed when I can’t stay awake. My drowsiness test is that if I cannot read one or two pages of a book without disconnecting, then I am ready for sleep. In most cases, going to bed I fall asleep in three minutes or less. I lie down, get comfortable, and immediately disconnect. Sometimes I go to bed at half-past nine, sometimes I sit until midnight. In most cases, this occurs at 10-11 o’clock in the evening. If I can’t sleep, I continue to stay awake until my eyes begin to stick together. It is best to read something at this time, as impending drowsiness becomes apparent.

When my alarm goes off in the morning, I turn it off, stretch for a couple of seconds, and sit down. I do not think about it. I realized that the longer I stretch the lifting process, the more likely that I will fall asleep again. Therefore, I do not allow thoughts to arise in my head about what advantages I will get by sleeping longer. Even if I really want to continue to sleep, I always get up immediately.

A few days after the start of using such a scenario, I discovered that my dream had entered a natural rhythm. If the previous night I didn’t get enough sleep, then I automatically become sleepy earlier and sleep longer that night. If I have a lot of energy and I'm not tired, then I sleep less. My body is used to waking me up, because it knows that I get up at the same time, and that this time is not discussed.

A side effect was that now on average I sleep 90 minutes less each night, but in reality I feel well rested. I sleep almost all the time when I am in bed.

I read that most people with insomnia go to bed when they don't feel like sleeping at all. If you do not feel like sleeping, and you cannot fall asleep quickly, get up and stay awake for some more time. Resist sleep until your body begins to secrete hormones that deprive you of consciousness. If you simply go to bed then when you really want it, and get up at the same time, then you will get rid of insomnia. The first night you will stay up until late, but in the end you will quickly fall asleep. The next day, you may feel tired of getting up too early, having slept only a couple of hours, but having difficulty reaching the evening, you will want to go to bed early. After a few days, you will develop the habit of going to bed at about the same time, and then falling asleep.

So if you want to become a lark (or just organize your sleep pattern), try to do this: go to bed only when you can’t do anything, and get up at the same time every morning.

The translation is taken from the site " Self-development for smart people "

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