2012
10.11

Reading this you might think this an odd challenge to set. You might get 8 hours sleep all the time and scoff at the thought of enjoying anything less. Well, I average 6.5 hours sleep per night. I have done for as long as I can remember. And that’s not a regular 6.5 hours sleep either, it’s more like 5 something hours during the week, and much more on the weekends to pay back my sleep debt.

Time in bed per weekday graph

My sleeping patterns are like this for two reasons. a) I’m a night owl with early morning commitments and b) I’m terrible at making time for sleep – there’s always something else to do, some task that I want to finish or chapter that I’ve got to read. No matter how tired I am, I possess a remarkable ability to put off sleep. That’s definitely not something to be proud of however and by all accounts, for the large majority of time, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that I’m sleep deprived.

“Sleep, that deplorable curtailment of the joy of life.” Virginia Woolf

It worth clarifying that I generally don’t have difficulty sleeping in terms of actually falling asleep. Once I make the decision to sleep, I’m usually asleep in reasonable time. My lack of sleep is well and truly my own doing.

This is something I want to change and a commitment to 8 hours sleep per night should be enough to permanently modify my habit loop in order to regularly get more sleep.

Are you sleep deprived? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you read this far, you should follow me on Twitter.

2012
10.09

I’ve just finished 30 days without alcohol. A really interesting challenge and one which, with London’s most enjoyable pub culture, I thought I would find fairly difficult.

Actually though, once the decision was made, it turned out to be easy. I cleared my calendar (or more specifically selected a very socially quiet 30 day period) and set about eschewing any form of alcohol.

Things I noticed during this challenge

  • I didn’t miss alcohol at all.
  • Having not drunk coffee for 9 months prior to this challenge, I oddly & somewhat automatically found myself back in Starbucks every morning.
  • I generally had higher quality sleep and found waking up in the morning predictably easier.
  • My weight didn’t change in any significant way.

“That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.”
Charles Bukowski

What I’ll take away from this challenge

I really enjoyed the freedom that this challenge gave me in term of not feeling like I “had” to drink. I did make it easy on myself by somewhat socially hibernating for 30 days but the experience of not drinking while at the pub or out with friends is something that I’ll probably experiment again with in the future.

I also found that I’ve had one of the most productive 30 day periods of my life. I’ve spent huge chunks of time working on my startup, finished two books and continued my drive to learn new things — all of which has been incredibly fulfilling.

That said though, I can’t wait for a drink!

If you read this far, you should follow me on Twitter.

Bottle of Red Wine and Two Empty Wine Glasses