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Conclusions of my 30 day trial on sleeping 8h per day

Saturday, July 07, 2012

On June 1st, I started a 30 day trial to experiment with sleeping 8h per day.
(Following the inspiration from Kriszta11.)

My conditions were:
- 8h, no matter what
- Preferably during the night, but I can catch up later during the day
- If not 8h on a given day, might add extra the next day to save it back
- Cannot stock sleep for the day ahead
- I do it for 30 days, and then decide what to do afterwards

I made a written contract for myself, and a tracking calendar, that I scotched next to my bed. I found an easy way to track the time spent sleeping during the day - I use a simple casio watch's stopper (15 USD - I got it from a friend as a gift).

I managed to sleep 8h almost every day. There were 3 days off, when I was on a conference, and our program was just too heavily charged. Start at 7.00am, and we were left to go to bed at 2300 in the evening. Of course, with shower, brushing teeth, changing clothes, some down time, etc. - 8h never fits in that.


1. My overall energy level increased tremendously
2. My after work head ache has gone
3. I am more active during the work day in general
4. I am more rested when back home after work, the recovery time is shorter
5. I learned to sleep with earplugs and eyeshades
6. When travelling, train, bus allows some extra sleeping time
7. My optimal time is around 7h20-7h30 minutes.
8. Sleeping exactly 8h can leave me more tired in the end
9. In general, the time lost by sleeping, is gained back by being more alive the other times
10. I eat less during the day - just less appetite
11. The saturday morning farmer's market under my window is not a challenge anymore - I just don't wake up, thanks to the earplugs
12. Earplugs also help me to sleep with the window open all night - fresh air is so much better (before I closed the window to cut out the noise of the square)

1. Fix time to go to bed at the same time of the day
2. Develop a go-to-bed routine, time it
3. I often wake up at night, would be interesting to experiment what influences this, and move towards sleeping the whole night trough
4. Optimise my sleeping cycle, to wake up at "refreshing" phases vs. "leaves me tired" phases
5. I tend to wake up at the same time in the morning, no matter how much sleep I had. To fit in enough sleep, I need to go to bed earlier.
6. One reason to stay up late is watching movies - probably shorter things, like TV series would fit better, to get the benefit of enjoying watching it, but not necessarily for 2+ hours.
7. I already don't drink coffee and coke after 3pm, but I should also limit exercise to max 3h before sleep. A decent evening run can keep me awake easily until 0200am.

If you want to try 8h sleeps, my recommendations:
1. Commit to do it over a periof of 30 days, no matter what
2. Set the start date, probably in a few days
3. Set the end date.
4. Prepare what you need to make it happen:
- earplugs (it took me 10 different brands to find a comfortable one: Macks silicone),
- eyeshades (the 3rd version was finally comfortable: Daydream B-1002),
- window covers,
- tracking calendar (self printed),
- alarm,
- stopwatch,
- new bed,
- calculate when you need to go to bed,
- which days will be hard
And get this done before you start, so when you have started, you have everything in place, and can focus on sleeping. Maybe allocate 30 min to prepare.

My contract

Stopwatch to track - I have about an hour to sleep for today to complete.

The Saturday morning farmer's market in Gleisdorf

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. I have been using ear plugs for years now, and there is no going back for me, I sleep so much better! And I do know that I need 8 hours of sleep to function well during the day, so I really try hard to get them.
Lovely pictures! What a pretty square and market!

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    emoticon Blog !
emoticon for posting !

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CUSH1932 7/26/2012 8:30AM

    great blog and the results are interesting and encouraging. emoticon

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SWAZY33 7/25/2012 9:11AM

    I love that you did this study on yourself :) and that you saw the overall improvement when you got the sleep!
I need 8-10 hours! I don't know how ppl function on less than 8...They would find me curled up under my desk! haha emoticon

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PETITFLOUR 7/15/2012 5:09PM

    Thanks for the insight. Well manged - loads of determination there :)

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    Very interesting blog. I usually wake up 3 or 4 times during the night, and if I am lucky, fall back to sleep. I have nights I don't sleep a wink. However, I just had my grandkids here for 2 weeks, and every night, I slept solidly from about 10:30 PM until 5:00 AM. They kept me busy all day, and I was just totally exhausted when I finally found my bed.
Gleisdorf? Would that be in Germany? Having been born and growing up in Germany, I wonder where it would be. I come from the "Bodensee".
BTW, your before, during and after pictures, are inspiring.

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STRIVERONE 7/7/2012 9:41PM

    That is a program I need to get on too. Being retired, I don't have much of an excuse for not doing it.

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DINGALLSTOO 7/7/2012 12:24PM

    way to go! ! emoticon

I think falling asleep in my easy chair is my problem, need to get in the bed

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ALDEBARANIAN 7/7/2012 10:16AM

    Good blog, and helpful.
I tried doing the sleep challenge, but it didn't work for me. Writing all that stuff just before going to bed amped me up so I couldn't sleep.

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KIM--POSSIBLE 7/7/2012 9:45AM

    Great blog! Interesting to see your reflections on the positive and negative changes you saw with this! Never thought about using earplugs, but with 4 kids upstairs and my bedroom being downstairs and my husband snoring, that might help!

I am going to track sleep for the rest of July and see how it impacts me. Will be good to do before school starts back! Thanks!

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MARCIAC10 7/7/2012 9:01AM

    I use a sleep mask and earplugs. Helps me to sleep better, too!

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BEATLETOT 7/7/2012 8:21AM

    Well-done!!! Bravo! What a cool, great experiment! Loved reading your insights!

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MARYDSAN 7/7/2012 8:19AM

    Thanks for the blog. We are shooting for 7-9 hrs of sleep this week (Zella pointed us to your blog-thanks, too, to her for that).

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KRISZTA11 7/7/2012 7:45AM

    How clever and well-planned experiment!
I'm glad it worked so well for you!
I didn't do it so nicely, just made 8 hours of sleep a priority.
It is often only 7 or 7.5 hours, but that's it.
6 or 5 hours of sleep is absolutely unacceptable for me, I would never do that...
And I lived on 6 or less hours of sleep for years!

Just like you, I found that 7.5 hours of sleep is good for me - but getting that in really really requires going to bed 8 hours before having to wake up.
It means I say no to my family when they want to see another episode of Weeds or Game of Thrones.
It means that if we visit friends, we leave before 11 p.m., or if not possible have an afternoon nap next day, and so on.
If we have guests who stay long, at 11 pm I say goodbye and go to bed.
It may seem rude, but that's better than lacking sleep and being really rude to everyone next day.

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GETSTRONGRRR 7/7/2012 7:44AM

    Great blog and great insights! Sleep is usually the first thing to go for me when I get busy at work....I've gone for weeks on 4-5 hours.

Let me see if I can experiment with this like you did.....nice job!

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KMICHA 7/7/2012 7:04AM

    Way to go! Thanks for the insight! Will you continue to strive for your optimum sleep time each night? This is one area that I most definitely need to work on! emoticon

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ZELLAZM 7/7/2012 4:45AM

    This a great blog post, Oliver. Brings conviction to me. I KNOW I need more sleep but a strategy for sleep is not in place. The new 5% LTGL challenge this week is sleep so your testimonial comes right on time! Time to learn again from "Mr. Strategy" aka HAKAPES! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/7/2012 4:46:02 AM

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My 1361kcal bike ride

Saturday, June 30, 2012

This is just a short check-in. It's very hot these days in Gleisdorf, and I have decided to shift my exercise to the morning.

A friend of mine is doing the exercises in the morning, and she said it energizes her for the day, and makes that "I've done something today already" feeling.

So, as the Saturday market kicked in under my window on Hauptplatz (Main Square), I decided to head out for a 30 min bike run. I like to include some variety to my rides if possible, and this time I took a path on the other side of the river, vs. I usually go.

Then I got further away, so I turned on the map to check where I'm heading, and looked for a circuit type of way back.

Then I arrived to a mountain, which was begging to be climbed.
Then I was in Weiz alrady, (15K approx from start), from where I new the road to home.

Then it became a 2h adventure.

It made me remember my time last year, when I made a similar trip with my bike. That was the time, when I started to do exercise. I mean exercise in general in my life, and I made a trip to Weiz. I was not exhausted that time, but it was the crown jewel exercise I made that week.

Now, a year later, a similar, longer ride, with hills, and some-off road, is just a fun thing to start the day.

How my perception of things can change.

Here's a hous that fulfills almost all my stereotypes of an Austrian house in the mountains. The only thing I miss is some grazing cows in the corner.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KMICHA 6/30/2012 9:27PM

    Isn't that the way it goes sometimes? We think we'll go for 30 minutes or so and then we just keep on moving! Way to go! I love to exercise in the morning! It sets the tone for my whole day.

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KRISZTA11 6/30/2012 11:17AM

    A wonderful ride! : )

It is so hot here in Budapest too...
I always do my exercise in the morning, but tomorrow it should run at dawn if I want enjoy it, instead of torturing myself in the heat.

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MARCIAC10 6/30/2012 8:47AM


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ZELLAZM 6/30/2012 8:20AM

    Wow, you practically burned a whole day's calorie ration! It is nice to look back and to see how our perspective on exercise and "dieting" has changed thanks to SP, isn't it! Pretty summer scene, complete with geraniums in the flower boxes!

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GETSTRONGRRR 6/30/2012 8:19AM

    That looks like a great place to ride! You've inspired me to get my bike out and do the same today....even if it gets over 100 degrees again!

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Pose-method running clinic - GREAT!

Monday, June 18, 2012

So, finally I made it to my Pose-training.

Saturday, full day, in Vienna Südstadt, 9 person and a trainer.

First we had an intro on theory, and then a video for the "before". Then many exercises and drills, and then a short run. In the afternoon again some theory, a new set of exercises, and run again, then a video for the "after". We also watched some top runners, like Usain Bolt - I was surprised that so many uses this technique.
Before the training, it took me 4 "frames" to arrive to the POSE-position, after the training, I was already at 1.5 "frames" (on the trainers video camera).

It feels different running with this technique. Lighter, faster, and natural in a way. Now, I am doing a lot of drills to learn-in the movements properly, so scaled down my distance to 500m only, but many times.

I was hesitating at the beginning, if its worth to do the training, I already watched the videos on youtube. But it turned out, it is helpful to have a trainer to set the right example, and correct the mistakes.

I was landing on forefoot, and leaning forward, which I thought is good in the POSE-technique, but apparently not. I should land on the ball of foot (or the whole of the foot), and keep straight.

The most important is in fact to PULL the leg - the less time it spends on the ground, the faster I get. A common mistake is to land on the heel, to push forward, or to lean forward.

Screenshot from my "after" video, in POSE, and some rain:

My next task is to buy the proper shoes, without cushioning and 0 mm heel-to-toe elevation.

So, all runners out there, all I can is encourage you to get a training in POSE, or one of the derived methods (Chi running, Natural running, Evolution running, Barefoot running, etc.).
It looks like the book, the video, helps, but the in person training really makes the difference. It takes time to learn the proper movement, it's more like learning the basic steps of a new dance choreography - it comes with practice and time.

Training: 160 Euro
Travel: 70 Euro
Shoes: 120 Euro
Speedropes: 40 Euro
Book: 26 Euro
Accomodation: 0 Euro (offered by a friend)
Total: 416 Euro

All in all, if I will run injury free, that's a good investment. Getting faster, is just a bonus.



Anyone using one of these shoes?
Any feedback or recommendation?

Inov8 f-lite 195
New Balance Minimus Road
Mizuno Universe 3
Saucony Typ A5
Nike Free 3.0
Asics Hyperspeed

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALISWALKER 6/26/2012 12:09AM

    Oliver that is so interesting. Hubby and I watched some youtube instructions and I think he will look for training in Vancouver. I hope you are enjoying summer!

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ZELLAZM 6/23/2012 9:53AM

    Nope, I've been wearing Asics the past year or so and am happy with them. But I haven't had an analysis done and would like to before I get my next pair of running shoes. Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on the technology. And thanks for reminding me to blog about exams! I had forgotten to let people know how things went, except for a quick status report. Good weekend!

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ADRIENALINE 6/18/2012 3:39PM

    Thanks for the review. It sounds like you got your money's worth.

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A new lap for running

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Today, I decided to start the day with exercise, and then follow with the rest.

So, after sleeping 8h (6th day in a row!), had a few bites of breakfest, and headed out with my bike. I made a 35 min trip, moderate speed on my city bike (20 km/h), about 450 kcal burned.

I used this ride also to make a new round for running, it will be 12K lap, along forest (but asphalt road) and some villages, both with elevation and flat. It will be a really nice round. Maybe I'll try it in the evening.


Today is warm, so I feel first thirsty, then hungry, I pay attention to drink first, then eat. So far I'm in the budget, but if I want to eat more treats, I need to do more exercise.

Here's a pic from the bike ride:

Otherwise, I enjoy the many fruits of the summer!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIMBERTA99 6/8/2012 12:45AM

    Way to go on the sleep. That does look like a great place to bike and run!!

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KMICHA 6/7/2012 10:33PM

    I've been riding my bike more recently also. It's a nice change of pace for me. With the days approaching the longest ones of the year, it is getting light very early. I can get in a 10 - 20 mile ride before 0600 when it is still cool and just a slight breeze. It's always good to mix it up! Keep eating those yummy fresh fruits and veggies!!!

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ZELLAZM 6/7/2012 12:19PM

    You'll probably appreciate that shady path on the hotter days ahead (at least I hope we have some hotter days soon!)

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MINDY502 6/7/2012 10:55AM

    looks like a beautiful place to take in some exercise and scenery

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It's Monday. It rains. (Gleisdorf, Austria)

Monday, June 04, 2012

I put in the title that now I'm back in Austria, to keep track. Maybe more for me, than for you.

I was always true to my 10 min exercise per day. Once I started last year, in May 2011, I always do it. Sometimes it's like borderline, and I have to re-label some of my activity during the day, when I am super tired, super travelled a lot, or just super low on energy. But it was always in. This gives some kind of strenghts to me, to know, exercise is always part of the day.

Today, I got back from work tired. I've spent all day in front of the screen, very focused, making a poster-presentation for next weeks R&D conference at our company. I have to some up all results from the last 1.5 year in a A2 page. What to put in, what to leave out, make nice graphics, deal with the Smart Chart wizard, and re-color the flat default colour templates installed by the IT department. I got up at 6:30pm from the chair, and I was surprised. I started at 9am. Inbetween, just a quick lunch, and then squeezing the thoughts into those powerpoint slides. How come I didn't even get up during the whole day?!

Back home, I just wanted to eat first. I was hungry already, since I eat regularly at 12:00 at work, I get hungry by the evening. On the way to home, I stopped by at the supermarket, and loaded my stock of fresh fruits.
> 1 kg of apricot (early ones, steel green, missed the sun)
> 1 kg of pear (that's lots of carbs)
> 2 kg of banana (it was so cheap)
> 2 huge cucumbers (low on cal, and high on fiber)
> a few cans of green beans French style (it's summer, but it was on sale)
> a head of lettuce (bio style)
> some bars of dark chocolate, Lindt 85% (this is not fruit, but goes with, I got and addict)

It was soooo good to eat lots of fruits. Somehow, since I'm a convert (it takes a couple of weeks to get the hang of this fruit'n' veg thing), I'm just craving fruits. Looking back, sounds crazy.

And then, I watched an episode of Nikita, then replied some e-mails. It was still raining, and my motivation to get out to do some exercise was hitting the floor. And it was still raining.

And then, I said to myself, ok, 10 min is not the end of the world, I can get wet in 10 minutes.

Then I got out, the music got me energized, and I did my usual short distance, 6K.

Now, I can get to grips to my current habit under development (inspired by Kriszta, thanks!), 8h a day to sleep. I started on 1st June, so far very good.

Here's a pic from my weekend Bike-Run-Bike sandwich near the river Raba.

How was your day?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Sounds like it was a fantastic day !
Good for you !

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ZELLAZM 6/7/2012 12:18PM

    Wow, I remember Nikita. Is that still on?

Anyway, sounds like a very productive day. I can appreciate that feeling of being glued to the desk all day, but it's a good feeling to know that you've done your best and finished your project well.

Seems to me that the weather forecasts have been incorrect most of the time for the past two months! Had to smile at your post title - lots of rain here the past few days, too. And cold for June!

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KIMBERTA99 6/6/2012 12:31AM

    Yup, a little rain never hurt anyone!! Glad you got out and got your run on!! I have actually stated running..well on the treadmill and right now it is 2 minute run 1 minute walk and then the last 4 minutes running straight!! My running speed is 7.0 - 7.5 mph. It's a start!! Eventually I want to start running outdoors, but it is too hot right now.
Love your pics as always and it is always nice to see where you are in your travels, even if you are at home:)

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KRISZTA11 6/5/2012 4:01AM

    There is a strange bliss in sitting at your desk, creating something very complex without even getting up? ; )
However, doing that for many days in a row is too much stress...

Your day made quite a positive turn in the healthy direction when you headed home! : )
I'm glad I inspired you to sleep more! : )

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    Good for you for getting your exercise in....guess I will see it on Endomondo!

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