How to Automate Your Life
Today I want to talk about sleep. We all know that it's natural and essential. And yet we don't do it. It's wild because humans are the only animals that delays sleep.
Sleep is a superpower. Better sleep will make your more successful, happier, and more fulfilled. Plus all the people in your life will thank you. We've all heard a bunch of studies, research, and information about how sleep is really good for us, so I'll skip past to the practicals.
Here are some action packed ways to get better sleep:
3 Basics (The Ones You've Heard, But Don't Do)
- Avoid blue light, work, and your phone one hour before sleeping.
Download https://justgetflux.com/ to block blue-light from your computer. Stop using your phone and stop working at least one hour before sleeping. Do anything to prevent using your brain. Watch a couple episodes of a tv show that you like (statistically if you're on this email list that's The Office) right before sleeping. Just don't bring your electronics in bed.
2. Don't eat caffeine about 6 hours before bed. Don't eat sugar, chocolate, or any caffeine before bed.
In the evening, substitute coffee with a tasty (non caffeinated tea). Instead of having sugary nighttime desserts...Have your desserts earlier in the day.
3. Fix nutritional deficiencies
Do a blood test, work with your doctor to take supplements (or ideally incorporate the missing vitamins in your food). Magnesium and vitamin D deficiencies seemed to be especially correlated with insomnia.
4 Weird Things
- Do A First-Thing-in-the-Morning Sunlight Dance Party
Open the blinds and let the sun in immediately on walking up. If you wake up when it's dark (or during winter months) you can check out lights that mimic sunlight. Here are some examples. Then play your favorite song and dance. It's a great way to get moving, get sun, and teach your body the difference between waking up and sleeping.
PS: If you sleep in the buff, put some clothes on first unless you want neighbors to get know you a little more intimately.
2. Empty Your Brain Before Sleeping
The best way to stop overthinking at night is to capture everything in your brain before sleeping. You can journal, make a to-do list or (my favorite) schedule what your day is going to look like on your calendar. Planning your next day before you sleep helps prevent worry while you sleep. It makes sure that everything is already written down and saved and you aren't forgetting anything important.
3. Watch Out For Revenge Bedtime Procrastination
I heard about revenge bedtime procrastination in this article. The article describes it as "a trend in which modern-day workers resist sleeping early to seize the freedom of the night hours — even if it brings no obvious benefits." Clearly, revenge bedtime procrastination isn't healthy.
As you're winding down, use journaling to get all your emotions out or use meditation to get in touch with how you're feeling. It's useful to be aware of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination because it tells you what you need to change in your life. If you're preventing sleep because you can't live a good life during your daytime hours then something needs to change.
4. Don't Try
Nick Wignall puts in best his article about the Sleep Effort Paradox. He says that "Great sleepers don’t try to sleep. In fact, they don’t even spend much time thinking about sleep." and while we may think "great sleepers don’t think much about sleep — they’re lucky to be good sleepers, so they don’t need to think about and work on their sleep."
Actually after implementing all the stuff I listed above^, stop paying attention to sleep. If you feel like you are stressing or having negative thoughts about it sleep, welcome those feelings. But don't entertain them. Life is for living, not for worrying about sleep. Before I came across Nick's wonderful article I read an article called How I Finally Learned To Sleep. The ideas in the article crystallized a recurring thought I had been having. The greats in every area of life don't try.
They simply do. They simply are. They see insomnia not as a permanent state of stress, but a temporary path on the road to greatness. To get from bad --> good you have to try hard. And then to get from good --> great you have to stop trying.
After you worked on getting better sleep, stop trying.
Be More Alive
I came across this quote from GK Chesterton the other day.
“Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. Never drink when you are wretched without it, or you will be like the grey-faced gin-drinker in the slum; but drink when you would be happy without it, and you will be like the laughing peasant of Italy. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world.”
I connect with this quote so deeply.
This is who I want to be in the world. I want to minimize the things I need and maximize the things I want.
And then eventually love the things I need so much, that I end up wanting those things anyway.
That's how you successfully automate your life.
I'm slowly changing this newsletter to make it more practical for you. There is a lot of advice online, but 99% of it is horrible.
And even if you find the 1% of good information, it's hard to implement.
I want to tell you what will make your life better and teach you to automate it, so you can spend almost all your time/energy on being the most alive.
Here's to be 1% more alive everyday,
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