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Constructing the ideal sleep routine

I'm meticulous about planning my weeks, and one single activity occupies over thirty percent of my week, every week - sleep.

So, naturally, I have looked up what other people that plan their weeks do when it comes to sleep and the advice out there is wide and varied. While Jeff Bezos follows an 8-hour sleep each night followed by a slow ramp up to the morning, some others ranging from Marissa Mayer and Jack Dorsey to Donald Trump claim to sleep between three and six hours a night.

In fact, Donald Trump has stated that he credits his sleep cycle for his success, saying "How does somebody that's sleeping 12 and 14 hours a day compete with someone that's sleeping three or four?" when asked why he sleeps so little.

While how much to sleep draws such high variances, when to sleep is something that most successful people agree on. I couldn't find a single example where someone advocated for sleeping late and waking up late (which is what I tend to do quite often). I won't go into the theories as there are a hundred articles written every day on the 8 benefits of waking up before 8am.

But the best advice I've got, that I follow (try to, at least) is an advice that wasn't about sleep at all. My gym instructor always says to me between sets, "Rest as much as you need, but as little as you can."

The advice, when followed, brings out the best results in the gym for me, because of the two things it addresses. By resting as much as I need, I'm ensuring that I give my body enough time to recover to give a hundred percent in the next set of exercises. At the same time, by ensuring that I only rest as much as I need and no more (as little as I can), I'm maximizing the amount of work I put in in the hour.

I've found that following the same advice for sleep has worked wonders as well. Sleep as much as you need, but as little as you can.

This ensures that I get adequate rest to recover from the previous day and am able to give my hundred percent the next. And by not sleeping for more than that, I ensure I don't cross over to that part of the curve where marginal benefits of additional sleep start to be negative. This means that I sleep about eight hours on the days I've worked out or have played football and just six or seven on days I don't.

As for when to sleep, I have tried following the different advices of waking up at 5, 6, 7, etc and following the prescribed routines, but what has been most productive has been to wake up at a time when I can immediately get to do something productive. In summers, this could be as early as 6am when the sun is already up and in winters, this could be as late as 8:30 or 9, when the sun comes up late as well. Needless to say, I don't like to start my day before sunrise.

Wake up when you can immediately put yourself in a state to do productive work, and get as much sleep as you need, but as little as you can.

That's how I constructed my ideal sleep routine.

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