Like most members of the millennial generation, I’m a bit of a workaholic — I have three separate jobs, and spend most of my free moments — moments not set aside for “family time” — working on projects that are related to my jobs.
Millennials are more likely than other generations to call themselves “work martyrs,” foregoing personal time in favor of getting more work done, according to the Harvard Business Review. I definitely feel this way at times, and find that I dedicate many of my waking moments toward the endeavor of work.
This includes moments when I should be asleep. Millennials are sometimes labeled the “tired” generation, according to gentwenty, and for a long time I felt the same way about myself. I was losing sleep, and while most adults should get around seven hours of sleep per night, sometimes I found myself getting five or even four hours of sleep, instead.
My life took a change for the better with a simple solution: rather than begin my day with the struggle of deciding whether to hit the snooze button again or not, I decided to set a different kind of alarm.
I set a reminder on my phone to go to bed.
Although the proliferation of #flexible work schedules gives the illusion that #millennials have a better #worklifebalance than generations before, this isn’t actually the case. https://t.co/51gnn4KRcy
— Rewire (@Rewire_dot_org) January 12, 2019
I have the goal of waking up around 5:30 a.m. every morning. This allows me to shower, get my son ready for — and off to — school, and have a light breakfast while I start out my work day. But in order to wake up at this time with at least seven hours of sleep, I realized that I had to get to bed around 11:00 p.m. at the latest every night.
According to Sleep.org, most people can get to sleep in about 10 to 20 minutes. For me, I feel like it takes about 30 minutes to accomplish, so I budgeted that time into my desired sleep pattern as well. So, 7.5 hours before 5:30 a.m. is 11:00 p.m. the night before.
Okay, so telling myself to get to sleep at 11 p.m. is one thing. How did I actually accomplish this wonder? I set an alarm on my phone — and on my alarm clock.
The alarm on my phone alerts me to finish up whatever I’m doing — whether I’m watching a show on Netflix or working on my laptop — and to get ready for bed. The alarm on my clock in the bedroom (set at 11:10 p.m.) forces me to actually enter the room where I’m meant to sleep, and to take care of the annoying buzzing sound.
By setting these two alarms, I forced myself to realize that it was time to hit the hay. I can say, without a doubt, that the results have been amazing.
I feel more rested. I’m much more productive during the day. And, perhaps most important of all, I’m in a better mood, more optimistic, and less stressed for the most part.
Others have found that this method works for them, as well. And Lifehacker has an added recommendation to ensure that you’ll stick to the new routine — in addition to your alarm, put a reminder in your phone to coincide with it — one that tells you how much better you’re going to feel if you go to bed earlier.
Give it a try for yourself. I’ve noticed huge improvements in my own life, and I bet you will too — if you make a commitment (and set an alarm) to get to bed sooner.