Skip to content

Making Friends with Sleep: Two Nighttime Alarms

Do you ever notice that multiple messages about something you should be paying attention to start showing up at the same time?

A Time for Every Purpose

In the past few weeks…

  1. I finished The Power of Habit, and decided to tackle my recent slide into staying up late and therefore, not getting enough sleep.
  2. Michael Hyatt posted about sleep and productivity.
  3. Freakonomics posted two episodes about sleep.
  4. The pastors at my church started a month-long sermon series on taking a rest on a regular basis (and not feeling guilty about it).

So here’s the thing:

  1. Getting enough sleep is good for us. We feel better. And happier. We’re healthier (short term and long term). It’s easier to lose or maintain weight. And, we’re also likely to be more productive and to make more money.
  2. When we’re tired, we’re less likely to make “that’s good for me” decisions (for example, “I think I’ll go to bed now”). Instead, we’re more easily distractible (“Let’s watch the next three episodes of our current favorite series on Netflix,” or “I think I’ll just read 17 more things on the Internet”).

To avoid my tendency to want to do one more thing at night, I recently started setting two alarms on my phone (I tried just one, but that didn’t work).

07-21 Timer Screenshot

Your Bedtime Will Most Likely Vary

The first one tells me to “Start Winding Down.” This means:

  • Start thinking about going to bed
  • Finish what I’m doing
  • Make sure not to start something that will take more than a few minutes

The second one says, “Time to Go to Bed,” as in, “Really.” This means:

  • Stop what I’m doing
  • Head for bed and my nighttime routine

Early results have me sleeping 7 hours or more on average. I have more energy, I’m more rested, and I like what the scale is telling me, too.

In terms of setting a new habit, the timer provides two cues. The routine is to ease in to going to bed. And there are multiple rewards, including just generally feeling better.


Book Review | The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Podcast | How to Achieve More by Sleeping More

Transcript | How to Achieve More by Sleeping More

Radio Episode | The Economics of Sleep, Part 1

Transcript | The Economics of Sleep, Part 1

Radio Episode | The Economics of Sleep, Part 2

Transcript | The Economics of Sleep, Part 2

Disclosure: Some links on this site are “affiliate links,” which means that I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase something.