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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
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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!
    2052 days ago
    emoticon Blog !
    emoticon for posting !
    2054 days ago
  • CUSH1932
    great blog and the results are interesting and encouraging. emoticon
    2065 days ago
  • SWAZY33
    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
    2066 days ago
    Thanks for the insight. Well manged - loads of determination there :)
    2076 days ago
    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.
    2081 days ago
    That is a program I need to get on too. Being retired, I don't have much of an excuse for not doing it.
    2084 days ago
    way to go! ! emoticon

    I think falling asleep in my easy chair is my problem, need to get in the bed
    2084 days ago
    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.
    2084 days ago
    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!
    2084 days ago
    I use a sleep mask and earplugs. Helps me to sleep better, too!
    2084 days ago
    Well-done!!! Bravo! What a cool, great experiment! Loved reading your insights!
    2084 days ago
    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).
    2084 days ago
    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.
    2084 days ago
    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!
    2084 days ago
    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
    2084 days ago
    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
    2084 days ago

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