My journey with sleep, or how a night owl manages her sleep

Long-time readers will know that I’m quite the sleep evangelist.

Alongside that statement I’m also a night owl and I really would rather read or do all my other stuff than sleep.

But I know sleep is important because we need sleep for our metabolism to work properly and so I set a goal to have an average of 7.5 hours sleep in January 2015. I’ve been tracking my sleep patterns on the Fitbit against that goal ever since then.

The sleeping thing for me doesn’t work as well if I’m not intentional.

I check my Fitbit app regularly and if I’m going off track, I’ll make sure to have a few good nights of early bedtimes (10 pm) even if I read for an hour because when I’m actually in bed, I do get more sleep.

Screenshot from my Fitbit for last year’s sleep

The sleep tracker is my favourite function on my Fitbit. When I mention this to others, they often tell me the same thing because it’s so enlightening. We all think we’re getting more sleep than we actually are because we’re not aware of all our restless and awake times.

Bottom line – I can never stop tracking!

Are you a night owl or a lark?

Do you track your sleep?

Do you find it easy to get all the sleep you need?

{Time Management} Are you getting enough sleep?

I have to tell you about this video of Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington talking about Ariana’s new book, Thrive.

The whole video is great if you have an hour to watch it.

(I listened while I tidied and decluttered in my study)

The thing I specifically want to talk about is one thing she’s quite passionate about – getting enough sleep. We’re actually far more productive and creative when we’re functioning from a place of rest instead of fatigue.

As many of you know, I also feel quite strongly that most of us don’t get enough sleep.


Some of my coaching clients reading know that one of the first things we work on is sleep.

This week, I want you to track your sleep.

1. Write down how much sleep you get every night for a whole week, including weekends.

2. Then divide by 7 and see what your average is.

Is it 7 – 8 hours?

If not, try going to bed just 30 minutes earlier and see how you feel after a week of implementing.

Let me know how it goes!

Here’s a blog post I wrote earlier this year on sleep.


Update on the sleep app I use

About six weeks ago, I posted about a sleep app I use.

Since people don’t seem to like to comment, I got emails asking me quite a few questions and this great comment from Rachel so I decided to mush it all up into one post.

How much did my app cost?

$0,99 (Sleep Time) and the one Rachel references in her comment costs the same, which is about R11 for South Africans at current exchange rates.

How does it work?

I keep the iphone on, lay it face down under my pillow and somehow (magic?) it figures everything out by my heartbeat or something similar. I’m not attached to the process but I am results-focussed 🙂 so as long as it works, I’m happy to trust the process.

Do I have a choice as to wake-up times?

Yes, I set the wake-up time as the time I HAVE TO BE UP. And then there’s another setting – basically the alarm can wake me within 20 minutes of that time (time to slowly wake-up and get my mind in gear).

I haven’t checked to see exactly how many minutes it always wakes me before my preferred wake-up time – my schedule is quite erratic based on meetings, gym, church and such.

There is a snooze function which I do use.

How do you stop the alarm?

I believe I have two options; I only figured them out tonight. Somehow I’d set it to the one where I have to hold the big button for 3 seconds to stop it. 3 seconds is long when you’re fast asleep so that wakes me well enough.

What do I find most valuable?

I love stats. LOVE THEM.

Especially stats on me 🙂

So here’s how I’m currently doing.

weekly view – as you can see, I’ve been very naughty, reading very late at night 🙂
and…. my sleep is all over the place

I’m going to be writing up a new training manual over the next two weeks but after that, I want to get my sleep back to some normal bedtimes again.

How have you been sleeping over the last 6 weeks?

Let me know on Facebook.

An app to check your sleep patterns

I promised you yesterday that I’d share about an app I’ve been using.

First off, this is how it came about.

I was very nervous about oversleeping and I vaguely remembered reading somewhere (no idea where) about apps that sound an alarm when you’re between sleep cycles so you don’t feel so groggy when you have to wake up.

That’s me – very groggy (and grumpy) when I have to wake so I thought it was worth a try.

I searched in the app store and found this one, Sleep Time. There is a free version but that only stores your information for the 5 latest days so after I realised that, I paid R8 and got the paid version and I’m giddy with the stats.

As at this snapshot, you can see my average bedtime is 11:36 pm, my average duration was 7 hours 16 minutes and my sleep efficiency is 91%.

My stats don’t look like that anymore…

My average bedtime is now 12.25 am and my average duration is only 6 hours 23 minutes. Efficiency still 90%.

This is great because it’s giving me the information so I can do something about it. I know I function best on at least 7 hours of sleep, so no wonder I haven’t been at my best and the after midnight sleep really needs to stop 🙂

By the way, I do think I wake easier with this app but the real test will come this winter.

Do you wake easily?

Have you tried this or any other sleep app?

Are you getting enough sleep?

I realised on Sunday night as I got into bed at 12:30 am that I’ve been slacking on my bedtime.

Yes, I’m a night owl so my natural tendency is to work late because my brain is most awake then.

However, I work full-time so I don’t have the luxury of living totally in tune with my body clock.

I used to have a rule about my bedtime and, to be honest, it still exists. I’m just not following it all that well.

I like to be sleeping by 12 so I need to be in bed by 11 since I read for an hour every night – bliss!

And here’s my rule – computer off by 10:30.

I found I’d be getting to bed at least 30 minutes later when I didn’t enforce my computer rule because I forgot about tidying the desk, doing my bedtime routine, etc.

So my question to you is this – are you getting enough sleep?

Most adults don’t get enough sleep and we’re all functioning (or not) at below-par levels of productivity and simply, life enjoyment.

I need 7 hours a night. On the weekends I get an extra hour and sometimes even an afternoon nap with the babies, also known as my two-year-old twins.

Do you know how much sleep your body needs?

The other day Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, wrote a post asking about bedtimes.

She said something interesting in that once you set a bedtime (we now know mine is 11 or 12, depending how you look at it), if you ignore your bedtime, you’re then consciously choosing to do what you were doing instead of going to bed.

I love it!

So here’s this week’s coaching challenge:

– What is your wake-up time?
– Work back at least 7 hours. That is the time you have to be asleep by.
– How long do you need before falling asleep? Subtract that time.
– Also subtract time for your bedtime routine – face, teeth, reading, etc.
– For the next week, set an alarm or reminder in your phone or computer that says “go to bed”.
– Keep track of your productivity the following day as you start getting enough sleep and let me know how you feel by posting in the comments.
– If you need help getting control of your time, let me coach you! Email me now.Google

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