When I was younger, I followed a strict bedtime routine. I stuck to a schedule after school for play and homework and I was in bed promptly at 9:30 PM.

As I grew up, being the night owl became the new norm. Adults often pride themselves in how less sleep they can get by with and still be up bright and early the next day. The ones who go to bed early are often looked down upon as weak and missing out fun. During the week, I stayed up to catch up on work backlog and at weekends it was connecting with friends on whatsapp, Facebook or a movie — in essence, a plain lack of discipline to put the smartphone down.

I felt slightly guilty when I was up until 1:00 or 2:00 AM because I knew I’d be functioning below normal running on 4 hours of sleep. I promised myself that after this project is over, I’ll catch up on sleep. But it never happened. Sadly, I got myself conditioned to surviving on less and less sleep — 4 or 5 hours a night.

In an effort to get back my sleep on track, I tried a 5-day sleeping on time challenge and here’s what I found. I believe everyone’s got to try it for themselves to see the effect.

1. I didn’t have to sit up in bed, half-asleep and tired wishing the alarm clock didn’t ring so soon.
2. I happened to be wake up even before the alarm clock rang.
3. I’m not sleepy during conversations or meetings and it helps me focus better. 
4. I am able to make better decisions. 
5. I feel healthier.

You are the most important asset you’ll ever have. The biggest favour you can do your family is to take care of yourself. Some realise this truth after a dramatic wake up call, but you don’t have to wait until then to make simple changes to your life that will impact you positively.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

For the ones who think you really can’t straighten out their bedtime and stick to a routine… And you can’t be disciplined..Of course you can! We all “magically” acquire discipline when we end up in a hospital.

The smart ones straighten up before they get there. Just do it!

Originally published at medium.com