Day 17 of 100: limit your exposure to blue light before bed

Progress today: overslept; wrote a blog post which I’ve scheduled for tomorrow lunchtime; did some crunches.

This week is Sleep Week, in which I use all the sleep-themed tips I can find in A Year of Productivity’s ‘100 time, energy and attention hacks’, in the hope that more sensible sleeping will make for more effective getting up.

The first of such tips was set your thermostat to 65ºF (18.5ºC) overnight. “Think of your bedroom as a cave,” says AYOP, “cool, dark, and quiet.” Thermostat schmermostat. My bedroom temperature is regulated by windows or by blankets. I have been sleeping with my window open this week, but that has rather put paid to the quietness of my cave.

Next: stop drinking caffeine four to six hours before you sleep, and also say no to that nightcap. No tea or wine before bed?

I’m not actually drinking green tea. I’m just hiding behind the box.

And today’s tip is about cutting down blue light at bedtime – that is, the kind of light you get from smartphones, tablets and computers. Time to start putting the internet to sleep a little earlier.


Now, why would I bother trying to get better at sleeping? Apologies to any insomniacs reading this, but I excel at sleeping. I can sleep through anything, anywhere. I’ve slept through minor earthquakes. Yesterday I got in a solid half-hour nap on the bus. That last article I linked to refers to participants in a study reporting changes in ‘the quality of their sleep’ – is there a bad kind of sleep? I’ve never had the wrong kind of sleep, ever. My worst sleep was right on the money.

But one of the many things I’m not good at is getting into a routine. Everything I’ve ever read about writing, and everything I’ve ever read about running, says that the secret to doing either regularly is to fit them into your daily routine. What routine? I usually wake up at home, but at least once a week I’m in a friend’s spare room or on their sofa. I might have to leave the house at 7.30am or 8.15 or noon. I might go straight from work to three back-to-back meetings, or leave the office at 8.30 and come straight home to bed.

It’s never boring, but it’s not necessarily sustainable in every area of my life. So for the rest of the 100 Days, as far as possible, I’m going to follow a night-time routine, as recommended in the Sea Change Wake Early module. Here’s my new routine, step by step – we’ll see if it works/lasts.

1. Decide what time you want to get up. (Sea Change suggests waking up 10 minutes earlier than you usually do. Since I don’t have a ‘usual’, I’m aiming for 7.30am.)

2. Use to work out what time to go to bed (11.45pm in my case)

3. Set an alarm to remind you to start getting ready for bed (I’ve set mine for 11.30.)

4. Switch off all ‘screens’ when the alarm goes off

5. Pack bag for tomorrow and put tomorrow’s clothes/running clothes somewhere obvious

6. Tidy up a bit

7. Clean teeth, get into bed, read for a bit if it’s not 11.45 yet




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