The Happiness Project 1: Sleep


Onto the second part of my first mission – the magical land of nod.


The plan with sleep was lights put by 10:30pm. Simple right?

Starting this while sick was an unbelievably stupid plan. Yes I went to bed early, but I was awake half the night with a stuffy nose and coughing a lung up. So despite all my good efforts was still tired and cranky in the morning. Not increasing happiness in the slightest.

If we ignore the days when I was plague ridden, this still felt like an impossible task. My natural sleep rhythm is to go to sleep at about 1:30am. However I also need 8 hours of sleep to not be a cranky pants the next day. Two facts that are completely irreconcilable with normal working hours.

Hence the trying to get to bed at a reasonable time.

Where did my plan fail I hear you ask. Two points. First is my belief that the point I decide to to go bed is the time I actually to to bed. It took me far too many nights to understand that I need about 20minutes to pack my lunch for the next day, brush my teeth, check twitter – you know, the important things. Without taking this into account I was always late for my bedtime deadline. Once I took this into account things went a little smoother.

Second point of massive crumbling failure was my storytelling brain. I don’t know what your brains do when trying to go to sleep, but mine tells stories. Don’t worry, it is nothing original. My thoughts are consumed with useless blockbuster reimaginings of things that I have read – generally with a simple plot difference. Best example I can give is Harry Potter if Harry et al were smart enough to use cellphones and email to stay in touch and organise the resistance – like Voldemort was ever going to take the time to figure out the T’s&C’s of a cellphone contract.

Interesting avenue of thought, but completely counterproductive when trying to go to sleep. I still haven’t figured out a solution for this. When the lights go out, my imagination switches on.

Even with the brain hiccup, actually getting into bed earlier means that I go to sleep earlier. Which in turn means I am a MUCH nicer person the following day (I.e. less Tube Rage).

Unless I move to a country that operates on my 1:30am schedule, I think this is going to be something that I struggle with my entire life. But I know that it increases my Happiness, so without a doubt it is worth persevering with.

Next up in my Happiness project is technology and creativity – stay tuned.