Align Undesirable Actions with Your Goals – Reasons to Sleep Earlier

Reading time: 4 min

I really don't like sleeping early. This is something I seriously struggle with. Time before bed is time that I have complete freedom over how to spend, whether I use it to socialize, exercise, catch up with work or study, consume entertainment, or rest.

Work and study are particularly dangerous for me. Whenever I re-establish healthy, early sleeping hours, I eventually push my sleep schedule later and later into the night to finish my studies, assignments, or other commitments.

I found that aligning sleep as a contributor to my other goals and values and regularly reminding myself of this discourages me from pushing too late into the night.

For example:

  • Effective and efficient work and learning is important to me. Earlier sleep produces higher sleep efficiency, making me feel more rested in less time, giving me more time in the day. Sleep also raises work and learning efficiency, raising productivity.
  • I want to achieve a high grade in my courses. Sleep will help with understanding and remembering the high volume of knowledge I must go through in pharmacy courses.
  • I aim to maintain a reasonable degree of health. Sleep is a low-effort, high-result way of reducing risk factors for many chronic diseases that come with age.
  • I'm working out and trying to get the most out of minimal time investment. Getting sufficient sleep (7-8 hours a day) has positive effects on muscle development.
  • I want to be positive around others and be mindful of others. Sleep can help with this by making me feel more positive throughout the day, and this affects how I interact with others, affecting their mood as well.

Sleep then becomes a part of the steps required to reach my goals, or increase the time and energy efficiency at which I reach my goals.


Here is a list of things (early and sufficient quality) sleep can help with. Take these and align them with your goals if you struggle with maintaining a good sleep schedule. I'm certain at least some points will align with the values of anyone who reads this.

Productivity

  • Better sleep quality at proper times following a natural circadian rhythm (i.e., sleeping at reasonable hours) results in higher sleep quality and efficiency, making you feel more refreshed in less time
  • Sufficient quality sleep results in better cognitive function and cognitive speed and accuracy
  • The above helps with memory and learning functions
  • Better decision-making as sleep 'processes' the information you consumed throughout the day, clearing your head for when you wake up
  • The above helps result with improving working memory
  • Sleepiness inherently makes you less motivated to act on anything except rest

Health

  • Lower stress via lower release of cortisol, a stress hormone
  • Inadequate sleep has known or suspected relationships to future degenerative diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, neurodegeneration and dementia, and loneliness
  • Possibly lower risk of cancer (incidence and recurrence), with long-term (night) shift work as a probable carcinogen in humans
  • There's a possible link between inadequate sleep and depression
  • Sufficient sleep has positive effects on muscle growth
  • Linked to a stronger immune system; one mechanism is the lower release of cortisol (which has suppressive effects on the immune system),
  • May help suppress appetite to help maintain a healthy weight

Finance

  • Better health and reduced risk factors for disease has knock-on effects of saving healthcare expenditure later down the line
  • Better health results in less lost days of work or study due to sickness
  • The extra time and productivity gained can be used to earn more money to give you the freedom to spend your time however you like earlier in your life
  • The longer health span and life span you gain (for the reasons under the health section) will allow you more time to do whatever you like in life

Social

  • Better communication and reasoning skills
  • A positive mood has knock-on effects on other people around you
  • Lower tendency to react very negatively in response to mild stressors
  • Insufficient sleep makes us more likely to remember negative memories

I may update this list as I find more reasons to sleep earlier and to get enough sleep.

Related:

Some sources that helped with producing this list:


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