A Fundamental Secret to Happiness? Get Enough Sleep.

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

I’ve written before about my resolution to Get more sleep, and I’m bringing it up again, because I’m truly convinced that this is one of the first aspects of life to tackle when you start a happiness project.

It’s easy to become accustomed to being sleep-deprived, but it’s not good for you. Many researchers argue that not getting enough sleep has broad health consequences, such as raising your risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and even obesity, but in addition to those, it has a profound effect on your happiness.

One study showed that a bad night’s sleep was one of the top two reasons for being in a bad mood at work (the other? Tight work deadlines). Another study suggested that getting one extra hour of sleep each night would do more for your daily happiness than getting a $60,000 raise.

But here’s another reason why I think sleep matters so much for happiness: exhaustion makes the mornings tougher.

The morning is a hard time for many people.

First, a lot of people try to exercise early in the morning. This is a great idea — you check it off your list and get the mood boost all day long. My weight-training instructor told me, “I’ve noticed that people who exercise first thing are much more likely to stick to an exercise program. If you roll out of bed and exercise, you get it out of the way. If you try to do it later, you come up with excuses for yourself, or other things interfere.”

Second, a lot of people face a gruesome commute. A bad commute is a real happiness challenge, and one to which people don’t adapt. If you’re sleepy, you’re going to be crabby and inattentive, and that’s a bad combination in a driver.

Third, a lot of people have to get their kids off to school. This is why I need a lot of sleep. Every single morning tries my patience to the uttermost. If my big one isn’t complaining, my little one is whining. Remembering to put everything in the backpacks, picking out clothes, finding the right mittens, leaving on time…it’s hard, every day. A lot of my resolutions, such as Sing in the morning and Observe the evening tidy-up, are aimed at improving the morning experience. (Here are some tips for keeping school-day mornings cheery.)

I’ve also resolved to “Get up at 6:00 a.m.,” so I have an hour to get myself organized before the rest of my family wakes up. And what does this mean? It means I have to go to sleep earlier.

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of my friend Erin Doland’s excellent new book, Unclutter Your Life in One Week. It has lots of great information and tips, and I was quite struck by her observation:

“Experience has taught me that to get out of bed just fifteen minutes earlier each morning, most people need to go to bed thirty minutes earlier. To wake up and feel refreshed thirty minutes earlier in the morning requires going to bed a full hour earlier.”

I’d assumed this had just been my idiosyncratic experience, so I was surprised to see that someone else had found the same thing. Alas, I think this is absolutely true.

The fact is, I resent having to go to bed so early, just at the beginning of one of the most enjoyable parts of my day. I finally have an opportunity to read for fun, call my sister in Los Angeles, cruise the internet, or watch TV. Instead, I have to turn out the light.

It’s strange that turning off the light is so hard. You’d think, “What could take less effort than going to sleep?” and yet I find that it sometimes takes a lot of effort to put myself to bed, even when I’m actually feeling sleepy. It’s just so much fun to stay up — or sometimes I feel too tired to take out my contacts.

Getting enough sleep really pays off, though. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or listless, or irritable, try getting more sleep for a week. That might help more than you expect.

What do you think? How much is your happiness affected by the amount of sleep you get?

* On Gimundo, I read about a fascinating study that suggests that being in a clean-smelling environment makes people behave in a more fair and generous way.

* If you’re in a book group and think you might choose The Happiness Project as a reading selection, please let me know. I’ll send you a discussion guide, plus I plan to give away some free advance copies of the book, and I’ll choose addresses from these emails.
–Email me at gretchenrubin1[at]gmail.com (don’t forget the “1”) with the message “book group”
–include your name and address if you’d like to be eligible for a free book
–if you’re willing, I’d love to know a little about your group: how many members, what you read, etc. No particular reason, I’m just curious about book groups!

Other posts you might be interested in . . .

  • http://whynotstartnow.wordpress.com/ Patty @ Why Not Start Now?

    My happiness is supremely affected by sleep. And that’s so interesting about the extra 30 min to get up 15 min earlier. I have certainly experienced this. In fact, to get a really good night’s sleep I have to be in bed longer than the sleep I actually need, like 8 hours in bed even though I can feel rested with 7.5. I also laughed at your comment about too tired to take out your contacts. I have a whole bunch of little things I have to do before bed, and they keep me from actually going to bed! So I’ve started doing them earlier, and that seems to help a bit. I’ve also started listening to mp3 dharma talks as I fall asleep, which is a lovely way to experience that in between space between waking and sleeping. But, having said all this, without a doubt the biggest thing that keeps me from going to bed and not getting enough sleep is the internet.

  • Liz

    I’m pregnant, due Dec 23. I’ve had SO MANY people tell me that sleep is the BEST defense against post-partem depression. The number of times I’ve been told to sleep at any given opportunity those first few months has had a huge impact. Luckily, I’m a great napper!

  • Becky

    I am terrible at most happiness-boosters, like exercise, but I have this one down. I must really prioritize sleep, because I have, without planning it, arranged my life so I can wake up naturally every morning (no alarm clock). I don’t even have a clock in my bedroom, because I found that it stressed me out.

    At night, I’d get stressed if it was late and I hadn’t fallen asleep yet. In the morning, I’d do nutty things like go back to sleep after I woke up, if it wasn’t quite time to get up, then hit the snooze button for an hour out of sheer peevishness.

    If I wake up when the sun awakens me, I can tell pretty much what time it is by the quality of light and where the sun is on the horizon. If I want to check the time, I have to get up and go downstairs to check the nearest clock. Well, then I’m up. I never go back to bed after that.

    I’ve been doing this for a couple of months now, and while I have other sources of crankiness, lack of sleep is not one of them. I love waking up in the middle of the night, having no idea what time it is, and going luxuriously back to sleep, feeling like I have all the time in the world. I sleep much better now that sleeping is something I measure by my body’s and the earth’s signals, not the clock’s. I spend approximately the same hours in bed as I did before, but I get better sleep.

    I transitioned to this habit by setting the alarm on my phone and putting it where I couldn’t see the time. I needed to build up confidence that I would *actually* wake up when I needed to. Once I’d awoken before the alarm reliably for about a month, I stopped worrying about setting it. It was actually making me stay in bed longer, due to the snooze thing.

    I realize this hack would not be possible for a lot of people. I don’t have children, and I was able to work with my employer to start my workday at 9 AM and stay till 6:30, because I am not a morning person.

    Obviously, not everybody can arrange their work to suit their natural rhythms, but it’s something to consider since people can’t really change their biorhythms. And I have heard that if you don’t wake up on time without an alarm, you are actually sleep-deprived.

  • http://www.rbright.net/ Ryan Bright

    As I have inadvertently developed a polyphasic sleeping schedule, the definition of “enough” has become ambiguous to me. My most productive time slots are late and night and early in the morning, as there are fewer distractions present. Therefore, I’ve adjusted my schedule in such a way that I’m able to work during these times, subsequently leading to me getting fewer hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. I’m sure to distribute short naps throughout the day to keep myself fresh, but what is your opinion on this approach in regard to happiness? There may be negative health consequences associated, but I’ve found that being more productive has made me more happy than I was when I had a normal schedule. For me, the tradeoff has been worth the risk.

  • http://www.starfishenvy.typepad.com/ Sarah Fain

    Sleep is HUGE for me… and lately I haven’t been getting enough of it. In general, though, my Life Priorities are as follows: sleep, exercise, eating healthy, work, friends, dogs, blog, everything else.

    Without sleep, I don’t feel like exercising; without exercise, eating healthy is harder and less meaningful; without eating healthy I can’t focus and work efficiently; without feeling like I’ve accomplished enough at work, I can’t relax with my friends; without relaxing with my friends, I can’t do the other things (like taking care of my dogs, and writing my blog) that make me happy and fulfilled.

    It really all begins with sleep…

  • thehealthylibrarian

    My big three to be on top of my game are in this order:

    1. A good night’s sleep

    2. A healthy diet

    3. Exercise

    Nothing beats a good night’s sleep to make me nice, kind, patient, energetic and smart.

    When I can’t get a good night’s sleep–like when I have to be up at 5:00 am for an early opening at work–a make-up nap on a day off really helps.

    The Healthy Librarian’s Brain Back-Up on a Better Brain: Midlife Cholesterol, Belly Fat, Grape Juice, Berries, Blood Sugar, Naps, and Better Sleep

    http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/happy_healthy_long_life/2009/08/brain-backup.html

  • elizmck

    Sleep is definitely a factor in happiness. I suffer from bouts of insomnia. On that rare occasion when I actually sleep through the night or awaken only once, I am just so grateful and I feel rested and refreshed.

    I’m also a morning exerciser – little or no sleep makes for a tough workout, but I’ve gotten used to it. And, it makes me happy to accomplish something first thing in the morning.

  • Ruth

    How about a post of tips for getting yourself to go to bed on time? It’s so much harder than it should be!

  • http://www.mybodytutor.com/ Adam Gilbert

    Gretchen,

    Another fantastic post and so true! It sounds ridiculous (although not so much anymore!) but just like you have to make time to exercise, you must make time to sleep.

    It’s absolutely essential if you want to reach your health and fitness goals.

    Thanks for reminding us all!

  • wirehead2501

    I agree with you about sleep being of utmost importance, and actually, I love sleep! But I have the same problem about putting myself to bed. I laughed out loud when I read your line about the contacts — I thought I was the only one! I’ll be sitting in the living room thinking “I’m sleepy, I should really get up and go to bed,” but then having to get up and take out my contacts, brush my teeth, etc. just seems like so much work…

    • gretchenrubin

      To avoid exactly this problem, I’m trying to get myself to get ready for bed
      an hour or so early, so I don’t have to surmount that hurdle before turning
      off the light.

      Also, I’ve noticed it’s like putting the cover on a parrot’s cage — when I
      take out my contacts, I start feeling sleepy.

  • kldt

    It will be interesting to see how getting to bed early goes for you when your girls are teenagers. My son has always been a night owl but when he was little, I could make him go to bed. Now that he’s 16, that’s out of the question. His being quiet is also out of the question. If I just go off to bed, doors are unlocked and not re-locked, milk is on the counter and he’s up and down the stairs several times. He’s a really good kid. Otherwise no trouble. So I really can’t complain.

    Every night my goal is to get to bed by 10:00 so I can read for 30 minutes. Rarely happens. I finally decided to stop stressing about it. That only makes it worse and harder to sleep. Besides, before I know it, he’ll be off to college and the house will be way too quiet.

  • http://roseeliff.blogspot.com/ Rose

    I generally stay up too late, watching TV until 11 then doing a quick check for email and facebook, which then leads to me being up at least another 1/2 hour. Ugh. I manage to take out my contacts, but I’m inconsistent about washing my face before bed.

    But once I’m headed to bed, I really look forward to it, setting my sheets and blankets just right, smooshing up my pillow into a cozy nest for my head, looking forward to the rest and happy dreams. I have fibromyalgia and because of the pain, I didn’t get a restful sleep and didn’t dream for many years. I take 5-HTP now and it’s made all the difference in my sleep and in managing the pain, too. I love my sleep.

    Did you know that sleep also affects one’s weight? There’ve been a lot of studies showing that lack of sleep can result in extra poundage. Read a good article today about how foods affect sleep: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/spirit/get-to-sleep-guide/what-to-eat-for-better-sleep/

  • http://happinessinthisworld.com/ Alex @ Happiness in this World

    Amen! I heartily second this advice. We are a chronically sleep-deprived society, thinking we can improve the quality of our lives by increasing the number of hours we’re awake (in order to be more productive) not realizing the subtle cost of such chronic sleep-deprivation. My wife and I survived the first 2 months of our son’s life by going to sleep at 8:30 every night. I’ve also found that when only slightly sleep deprived, the time of day I’m most likely to feel it is between 3 and 5 PM.

    • gretchenrubin

      Apparently the period just after lunch (around 3:00) is the low ebb for just
      about everyone.

  • http://www.gipsylife.com/ Kerstin

    I am sure there is a lot of truth in this. However, what about the different needs of night owls vs. early birds? People who wake early naturally will find it a lot easier to exercise in the morning and to go to bed at a sensible hour. Night owls, however, have a tough time in our largely 9-5 world. As you may have guessed, I am one of them! I function best when I go to bed around midnight and if I can sleep until 8 a.m. But most of the times I have to get up (much) earlier than that and it’s a killer. Even if I am tired all day I wake up in the evening and can’t sleep early even if I wanted to. It’s a curse. And I do think I am less productive as a result; the most prolific and efficient people I know are ALL natural early birds. And that makes them happier, too, no?

    I admit, I have never looked at sleep as one of the cornerstones of happiness. You have given me some food for thought.

    Sigh. Look at the time. Nearly midnight again. Better get some sleep!

    • gretchenrubin

      Excellent point. From what I’ve read, it seems like there really are two
      different kinds of people. I think the important thing is to get ENOUGH
      sleep and to exercise in the time of day that is most likely not to get
      bumped for other activities.

      The tough thing is that job, school, etc. starts at certain times; also the
      commute factors in — in terms of determining how late you can sleep. It may
      be that night owls might be at a disadvantage that way, so they’re less
      productive, though they’d be just as productive if they could work their own
      hours. Interesting question.

      • eriqa

        If you POSSIBLY CAN, have a chat with your supervisor and see if you can negotiate flexible work hours. Companies can’t give raises these days so other perks are more on the table. Just being able to start work at 9:30 (while staying later than most in the office) has done WONDERS for my mood, punctuality, general work productivity. I do get dirty looks from the morning people in the office – I ignore them! I’ve talked with the people who are actually writing my job evaluation and they know that the sneering morning people leave 2 hours before I do. Because our culture equates early bird with hardworking, many night people hesitate to have these conversations. Just try it – you may be pleasantly surprised.

    • linda_k

      I was a night owl for many years. I honestly thought I couldn’t change and worked from 9:30 to 6:30. However, I met a wonderful man who worked 7:30 to 4:30 and couldn’t change his hours. In order for us to see each other at all during the week, I had to be the one to change. I won’t lie to you – it was hard. I came in 30 minutes earlier each week until I finally made it in regularly at 7:30. Of course I had to go to bed earlier, too. It took about a month for the sleepy haze to go away, but now I’ve been doing it for over 2 years and I really enjoy it. (It probably helps that I’m now married the wonderful man!) My boss was very happy about my new hours and I am thrilled to be able to walk out the door at 4:30 each day. So, I’m a living example that you can change your sleep habits if you want to – it just can’t be done overnight.

      A family counselor once explained why it was that some people, especially those battling depression, liked to stay up late. It is because late at night you’ve already made it through the hard part of the day and now you’re just cruising. Going to bed means you have to prepare to face the hard part of the day again in the morning. Made sense to me.

  • http://twitter.com/niel_malan Niel Malan

    Yep, getting enough sleep is definitely important to happiness. Going to bed ridiculously early is hard, though. Often ordinary social events end after one’s bedtime! But then again, the more one gets enough sleep the easier it is to handle the occasional late night.

    During my experiments with getting more sleep I discovered that it seems that self-control fades during the evening. After 9 pm it becomes very hard to do the necessary, even putting out the light, and the later it gets the harder it gets. This suggests that getting ready for bed (taking out those contacts!) should not wait until the last moment. It also suggests that late evening is not the best time to start an open-ended task (planning something) or open-ended entertainment (surfing the web, reading a novel).

    • gretchenrubin

      Yes, it takes all my strength but I try not to check email after 8 or 9:00
      pm. Otherwise, I can get carried away for hours.

  • http://frombottomup.com/ Tristan Lee

    Nice post Gretchen.

    I definitely agree that the quality of the day depends on the quality of the day.

    A good night’s rest of 6 hours would be better than a bad night’s rest of 10 hours.

    The hardest part, however, is going to sleep earlier as most people would rather be doing hundreds of more interesting things at night than go to sleep, so it definitely requires a lot of discipline on our part.

  • http://olegmokhov.com/ Oleg Mokhov

    Hey Gretchen,

    The more excited you are in your life, the less sleep you need.

    I found that throughout college, I would be able to get a lot of sleep on some days (8 hours), and no matter what I’d still be dozing off in boring classes. I felt sluggish and unenergetic, because I disliked what I had to do.

    However, while on Alaskan adventures out in the middle of nature, I could get 5-6 hours of sleep and be completely awake the whole day. I’d get a good night’s sleep and wake up the next day just as alert and energetic.

    Right now, I can get 6 or less hours of sleep and still feel pretty alert and banging on all cylinders, because I’m excited to get up and start living. To write, to make music, to go outside, to play, to build my website.

    I feel that the more things in your life you’re excited by–to where you’re cursing having to sleep, and you can’t wait to get up the next morning–the more energetic you’ll be even with less sleep here and there.

    Have an awesome, energetic, happiness-filled day,
    Oleg

  • Linda

    I read somewhere that the people who hate to go to bed consider it to be an end of the current day, but the people who easily go to bed consider it a beginning of the next day. I don’t know because myself I just want to go to bed whenever I am tired, early or not.

  • megrenicker

    Hye Gretchen,
    This is a huge issue for me. I have resisted getting more than 5 hours sleep at night since I was 10-yrs old. I thot I was doing fine, had all my ways and attitudes going on that said this is who I am.

    I’m going to skip all the middle part and just say that I have had to return to work after 20 years and boy, is that ever an eye opener. The only way that I can even be on the job and accomplish anything is to let sleep overtake me. Tired makes me chatty, silly, child-like, whiney, then I don’t eat right and really feel sluggish. If I don’t eat enough I am really bitchy and whiney, if I eat too much or wrong, then I am bitchy and whiney.

    As I say, I am older and life is smaller for me. Now, its really tiny. I seem to be in bed or dozing on the couch by 8 PM. I always eat light, salad or soup, vegetables with an orange for dessert at night, healthy lunch to graze on all day. This is how I am able to be on the job and remain socially acceptable. That is what I have decided is most important to me, for now at least.

    Meg

  • http://www.edenjournal.com Eric | Eden Journal

    I started going to bed earlier when I started my new job about two months ago. It was so much easier to get up in the morning, when I get to bed earlier. I feel so much more rested.

    I’ve noticed over the past couple of years that by getting plenty of sleep I am better able to resist the cold and flu bugs going around. Seems like every time I have an exhausting, action packed weekend (where I don’t get enough sleep at night) I end up coming down with a cold.

    I do find it hard to get to bed early sometimes though, most notably when I have a new video game to play, or if we try to catch a Netflix movie after our daughter goes to bed.

  • drkevinlkeough

    Sleep is the cornerstone of health. Few people have ever paused to examine the insidious and pervasive dark side of the invention of lightbulbs. The upside of this technological breakthrough permitted and encouraged us to disconnect from the natural rhythms of daily life along with seasonal cycles. In the blink of an eye human beings radically altered tens of thousands of years of evolutionary adaptation. We’d do well to explore the nature and degree to which a disconnection from natural rhythms is a direct cause of immeasurable unhappiness.

    The negative effects of chronic sleep deprivation on invididuals and “first world” countries are both profound and largely unknown; either via denial, minimization, or an absence of scientific investigation that results from a blind spot in our awareness. The medical problems and maladaptive organization of entire cultures are mind boggling moving far beyond the well-documented problems listed by Gretchen.

    Our disconnection from natural rhythms of the earth has had such an adverse impact on our cognitive abilities that people actually create hierachies of status and evaluate their “hardiness” according to number of hours slept. Worse, our meta-cognitive skills are so impaired that we fail to engage in endeavors to evaluate genuine threats to our survival our survival from an evolutionary perspective.

    As a result of exposure to more than a few traumatic experiences I am too familiar with the effects of chronic sleep deprivation. During increasingly common periods of healthy sleep I become aware that chronic sleep deprivation permits existence but denies us of a real experience of being awake, aware, alert, and all those things that make it possible for us to love and work and all those things that make it possible for us to “love and work” and awaken to the mysteries and wonders that surround us.

    So, yeah-I do way better when I am getting the right amount of sleep. I’d hazard a guess that “The Happiness Project” is indebted to pervasive chronic sleep deprivation—the upside to the invention of the light bulb !

  • http://www.happyfrom9to5.com/blog Claudia

    Sleep is THE happiness factor for me. I do slepp 8 hours a day, meaning I only get a maximum of 3 hours a day to have a life when I’m not working or commuting. My day is extremely short an I’ve lots of activities.

    One more hour of sleep Mo-Fri would be a gift from the gods.

    Since I don’t get it anyway, sometimes I compensate on weekends when I have a nap.

    If for whatever reason I can’t sleep well, my whole life turns upside down and I get sick. As simple as that.

  • Jon_Mills

    Its amazing how the simple things are so often overlooked. A lack of sleep has become a pandemic

    A good night sleep helps you become so much more effective and focused

    www. adventuresofthefearless.com

  • http://twitter.com/lauracococcia Laura Cococcia

    Took the advice and took a nice long nap today!

  • Jane

    I’ve certainly concluded myself, as well, that sleep is *the* most important factor in my health and well-being. My most recent revelation regarding sleep is that it eases my irritable bowel syndrome. While I’ve known for a long time that better sleep helps my moods, I didn’t realize that it affects my body in such a direct way.

  • MDCore

    I have bipolar disorder and getting enough sleep is so important for a good mood! Not enough sleep = bad mood. Even two short nights in a row makes my mood swing more than if I’m getting enough sleep. But — like you say — it IS hard to get into the habit. Sometimes I’d rather slouch in front of my computer reading, struggling to keep my eyes open than go to bed. Seeing the positive affect on my mood — and very directly, my happiness — is helping me get into the routine.

  • Shandells

    The saying “Early to bed early to rise makes a man(woman) healthy, wealthy, and wise” is so true. I love to sleep, always have. I go to bed very early and get up very early. Sometimes I do take a cat nap at my studio, I have a great chair I curl up in with my dogs, shut my eyes for 15 min and life is back to normal. If I do not sleep well, my day is not as productive and happy.
    This is a great post, so many people run on too little sleep and it shows. The body heals and rejuvenates as we sleep. I find it to be my best defense.

  • betsyconnolly

    Sleep is critical for proper functioning. Shift workers are forever sleep deprived. They suffer from sleep apnea at a rate of about 12% vs. 2% for day time workers. If you have family or friends that are shift workers, find ways to give them support! See our website blog at http://www.workingnights.com/blog.

  • Abacus

    My problem is this: I try to get to bed early, around 10:00 to 10:30 pm, and get up around 6:30 a.m. My wife however, loves to watch 30-45 minutes of TV (HGTV) before going to sleep. I can not sleep while there is noise and light on the tv. I’ve been trying to tell her to stop watching it when we are in bed to no avail.

    Please help.

  • Vanessa

    Yes! Sleep is the number-one thing I need to get right, or everything else falls like dominos – first exercise and mood, then healthy eating, then work and social life. I’ve been so annoyed that I need nine hours’ sleep to feel rested, but there it is.

    For me, too, the internet is a killer. I find it so easy to just keep browsing at night, whereas if I’m reading or having a conversation, I get sleepy and go to bed. I read somewhere that looking at a lit screen messes with your body clock. Damn you, internets! Why do you have to be so interesting? I aim to turn off the computer at 8.30pm, but often I don’t.

    But Becky’s story about waking naturally sounds like heaven. I’m going to try harder to get to bed early.

  • http://www.fenigo.com/ Jana

    Totally agree with this one. I also always would rather do fun things then sleep but it does affect how I interact with my son and view the world. I have way more patience when I get my 7 hours of sleep. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of sleep. Sweet dreams!

  • allwomenstalker

    Definitely agree on feeling good and how getting enough sleep is related to it. I need another 2 hours right now and I am not in the best mood.

    -meream

  • afascinatinglife

    Really great article! You are so right! Mornings are very difficult… But how can we really go to bed early when there is so much to do! It’s so frustrating not to have enough time for ourselves…

  • afascinatinglife

    Really interesting!

  • http://www.anagentofchange.com/ Jill MacGregor

    Gretchen,
    I think this is fabulous and I would love to get more sleep menopause but am finding it challenging menopause to sleep through the night menopause.
    Menopuase, might you have some additional tips for sleeping through the night?
    And menopause.
    Take Care,
    Jill

  • adorita

    I love the bouncy firmness of latex pillows and a good fluffy duvet. They are key for getting a good night sleep for me. I’m also hopelessly addicted to the Downy Simple Pleasure purple softener. Clean nice smell helps me sleep. It’s a chore to wash my sheets weekly, but it is worth it!

    Amazon.co.jp recommends me this watch called “Sleep Tracker”, which tracks the sleep cycle. You can then set a range of time in which you prefer to wake up, and the alarm will go off at the best time of the sleep cycle within that time frame. It sounds fascinating. Has anyone tried it?

  • adorita

    It helps to dim all the lights beginning dinner time, to adjust the body for sleep.

  • http://www.interfaithspiritquest.com/ Sheila

    I am the facilitator for Interfaith Spirit Quest – a group that meets weekly as a spiritual school of thought for the purpose of discovering new ways to deepen our faith and improve our lives. The Happiness Project sounds like it would be a good fit as a regular practice for our group – I’ve been looking for a purposeful activity to add to our agenda.

    I did just send you an email about the Book Group. Best wishes for your success!

  • alexfayle

    I’ve also found getting too much sleep is bad. In fact in my mid-20s I had a sleep study done and they told me that I’m good with six to seven hours and then my brain wakes up and gets active, meaning by the time my body wakes up later I’m exhausted and feel like I haven’t slept at all.

  • Niki

    So true! I’m one who needs at least 8 hours of sleep OR ELSE – it makes it so hard to do everything I want to do in one day. The more I try to fit in, the more sleep I seem to need.

    On a related note, has anyone given those simulated sunlight alarm clocks a try? Getting up in the morning is definitely a difficult task for me, and I’d love to find some ways to make that easier.

  • pamwalter

    I think sufficient sleep (however many hours that may be) is essential to a positive state of mind. After several nights of not enough good sleep, I become one big raw nerve.

  • http://twitter.com/happymakernowco Debbie Bills

    I find that I work best with 7 to 8 hours sleep. With less I work, but I’m a little slower. On the other hand if I have very little sleep say 3 hours I can get just plain silly. It can turn out to be a fun day and rather entertaining.Yes, you are right with good nights sleep one feels much better and it makes it easier to stay happy. You have more patience with the small things that can come up in a day.Debbie

  • http://twitter.com/barryrutherford Barry Rutherford

    I have srtruggled with enough sleep for 20 years ! Iagree with all you say here !

  • http://twitter.com/barryrutherford Barry Rutherford

    I have strugled with sleep deficiency for 20 years + I agree with all you say here !

  • valerian42

    I wish I would be able to get enough sleep, but I can’t because of my two jobs, and school… I’m thinking to get one of those memory foam mattresses, apparently they are very good. If I can at least get a really good nights sleep in the hours that I can sleep maybe thing won’t be so difficult.

  • Karyn South

    Enough sleep is critical, and varies person to person. I think it’s important though to balance the fun evening stuff with getting enough sleep or you just become resentful of having to go to bed early. I find 2 – 3 cups of coffee a day do the trick, letting me get up at 7am, do very mentally demanding work all day, and go to sleep at 11:30pm. Without the coffee I would struggle to be awake after 9:30pm and life is just too short to be missing out on two precious hours of leisure time each day. All things in moderation I think – coffee AND sleep :)

  • http://twitter.com/KatCaverly Kat Caverly

    I have to sleep at least 8 hours to meet the challenges of my day with positivity and enthusiasm. I feel deprived even at 7.5 hours and truly enjoy 9 hours, though without an alarm I will sleep around 8 hours reliably (past 10 years)/ Before that was 9-10. I have had a life blessed with sleep.

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