The Secret to Getting to Bed on Time

When is the last time that you have been in a power outage without any internet? What did you do?

The power frequently cuts out here in Lebanon, often for only a short period of time, and UPS’s (uninterrupted power supplies) do a great job of making sure that important electronics continue to do their jobs. Every once in a while, all electricity dies, and the UPS’s run out of battery. Without internet, I often find myself at a loss.

It’s probably a good thing, because I almost always end up grabbing a book and sitting underneath an emergency exit sign and start reading instead. By the time 8:00 PM rolls around, I am ready for bed.

This is an interesting contrast to my normal days when I am busy responding to emails, working on coding projects, and reading blogs, and researching things on the web. Fill in the blank here with your internet timesink (Facebook?). The bottom line is that internet is what keeps a lot of us up at super late hours of the night.

sleep is the enemyCreative Commons License hobvias sudoneighm

I did a little experiment, and it turned out to be surpassingly successful. Using Tasker (which I promise I will write about soon), I set up a profile that disables wifi (or alternatively, enables airplane mode) from 21:00 to 05:00 every single day. The effects are remarkable, even a month into the habit.

At first, I would find myself writing an email, only for little error messages about not saving drafts to pop up. I might be browsing a website, when all of a sudden none of the links are loading, or for some reason, no more facebook posts are loading. In every situation, I remembered: “Oh! that’s right, I should be going to bed, so I can wake up at 5:00.”

More recently, it has turned into this frantic rush at 20:30 to try to finish up all of my emails, Dropbox syncs, and other Internet activity before 21:00 rolls around.

The automatic return of WiFi at 05:00 is more persuasive than any alarm clock in getting me out of bed. When I sleep, I leave my phone on the other side of the room charging, so when I start getting tons of notifications at 05:00, even if I wanted to keep sleeping, the overwhelming curiosity gets to me. Additionally, I don’t have to worry about being disturbed while I am asleep by notifications and buzzing. :)

If you’re considering trying this out yourself, I would highly recommend finding a way to make this an automatic process, and having the same time frame every night, weekdays and weekends. It doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to be in bed by a predetermined time, but for sure it does at least two things:

  • Helps your mind disengage and prepare for a better night’s rest regardless of whether you like it or not.
  • Communicates to the world in a way that’s not a jerk that you need to go now. (It’s easier to explain your WiFi will automatically turn off in 5 minutes than to say that you’re going to turn it off yourself. Your friends also respect you a bit more :p).

Making a Tasker Profile to turn off all networks from 21:00 to 05:00 has been the single best thing I have done to improve my sleep habits in my entire life. What are some things that you have done to do the same?