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What Should Your Sleep Schedule Be?

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.

– Sam Ewing

Want to know something cruel about the way boys are raised?

They don’t have a choice.

There are plenty of grown men who have this blog and countless others, all preaching about the other side of the fence – where men are held to a higher standard than domesticated manboob. Many of these men pass right by our gates, stick their noses up, and continue on their merry way…back to the kitchen. That is there choice, and theirs alone. Some just don’t get it. Some can’t handle it. Some are so insulted their go on crusades to burn the cathedral to the ground.

And for some, a light bulb clicks.

Those are the men I want to reach. To work with. To give inspiration to. It’s for those men that I pour so much time into This Is Trouble. It’s in the hope that some guy – whether he be five years younger or older – can learn something from my experiences and apply them to his own, hopefully making his life just a little bit easier. Even though many men start the journey of enlightenment, very few make it. That’s because it’s a lot of hard work to drop all your beliefs and begin forming new ones.

Which brings me to my point.

Young boys today are told the same thing throughout their lives. Get good grades and behave – if you don’t, we’ll shove ADD medicine down your throat. When they reach high school, it becomes all about those SAT scores to get into college. Once in college, they’re told to dump a hell of a lot of money down the toilet for a glorified piece of paper. That piece of paper gets you – guess what – a soul crushing office job!

Of course, you need the good paying job so you can afford the diamond ring for your princess, the big house in the ‘burbs, and to have enough leftover dough to send your little rugrats to the best private school possible. Oh, and you might want to stash some money in the 401k so you can retire by 70 (this will be the norm in a decade or two, just you watch). Also, save for your kids college funds. And one last thing – America seems to be getting lazier, so maybe even put a little away for your own children’s retirement. They’ll probably expect it.

Sarcasm aside, the men who realize that the life path they have been ingrained with since birth is a joke realize something else – it takes a lot of work to break off that path. For example, writing a book isn’t for the faint of heart.

If you want to be successful without being tied to your desk, it’s going to require a lot of time sitting at a different desk in your home. It’s going to involve a lot of late nights, or early mornings. That choice is up to you, and what this post is really about. Hopefully you enjoyed my ranting introduction.

Choice 1 – Wake Up Early

Wake up early to the sunrise.

Wake up early to the sunrise.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s say you work an average day job, 8am to 5pm. That’s a nine hour day with a one hour lunch break. Of course, you can adjust this to your own work schedule, you may work something like a 6am-3pm or a 10am-7pm. Most people I know start between 7am-9am and end between 4pm-6pm, so I’m taking the general median.

Let’s also assume the following things (outside of your normal work duties) need to be accomplished throughout the day. Just a hint, they do if you want to be successful with women, money, and other facets of life. Just a note though, I haven’t found much that can’t be solved with women or money.

  • Workout – it doesn’t have to be anything extreme. But, at a minimum of five days a week you should be hitting the gym and lifting weights or doing some high-intensity cardio. This doesn’t need to be a marathon two hour workout – 45 minutes is a safe bet.
  • Meal preparation – there’s no sense in working hard at the gym if you’re going to poison your body with shit like McDonald’s or Starbucks.
  • Sex you shouldn’t be jerking off. If you’re a normal male, you’ll be wanting to have sex probably at least three times a week. This means you need to dedicate some time towards dates, relationship maintenance, or churning up new leads.
  • A minimum of 2 hours on your “outside” job – meaning your side projects that will allow you to get away from your cubicle. For example, mine include this blog, my books, and a bit of web design on the side here and there. Just a note that this two hours might even be on the low side.

Add all of these things up and you’ll realize that it’s quite a bit of time. Doable, but a lot.

So on this side of the fence you’re waking up early. If you have a half hour drive to work, that means you need to leave at 7:30am. To design your morning schedule, work backwards from there. Do you want to get the gym done and out of the way? Then get to the gym by 6:00am, power through 45 minutes, and get out of there. No messing around.

Do you want to dedicate one of your two hours to working? Great, then roll out of your bed in your PJs at 6am and work until 7am.

If you have a date that night, or a girl coming over for sex – then you can’t leave the workout or the side work until the evening. Be creative to get around this. Get an affordable laptop so that you can do side work on your lunch. If you have a gym at work – USE IT! Alternatively, go for a run outside, or find a gym that has locations near both your home and work.

As far as meal prep goes, work that into your date. Instead of taking a girl out for an expensive and unhealthy meal, invite her over for dinner. And if you don’t have one already, a crockpot is your best friend.

For those of you who struggle to get up early, you’re probably wondering how the hell you wake up somewhere in the 5am range and function. I used to be up at 5:15am everyday in college to train for the triathlon team. The truth is, you just get used to it. Your body will learn to like it. If you want a quick run-down on tips though, here you are:

  • Set your alarm clock far away from your bed so that you have to physically get up to turn it off. Better yet, put it somewhere that you have to turn the light on to get it.
  • DO NOT HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON. No matter what.
  • Cold showers can be your friend. But if you can’t stand these, don’t do it. It’ll just be one more reason to avoid getting up.
  • Coffee isn’t bad for you as long as it’s in a relative moderation. Mix with L-Theanine for best results.
  • Have a set bedtime and stick to it. I think eight hours is a joke, six or seven should suffice for most people. Use Melatonin in combination with L-Theanine if you need help falling asleep.

Benefits To Waking Up Early

  • You have accomplished more before most are out of bed. You are “ahead” of the game.
  • Bedtime and sleep schedule are very consistent.
  • You get things “out of the way”, leaving procrastination for the sheep.
  • Your evening time can be set aside for sex or just relaxing.

Downsides To Waking Up Early

  • No late night dates or sexcapades.
  • If you have a sudden hit of motivation, you can’t “rewind” back in time so you have more time in the morning before work to work on your hustles. Instead, you must step away and head to your office jail cell.
  • You’ll be exhausted by the time you get home from work, which will encourage you to be lazy and get takeout.

Now, my current schedule isn’t to wake up early, it’s…

Choice 2 – The Life Of The Night Owl

nightowl

The Night Owl

Same situation with an 8am-5pm work schedule applies. This means that you roll out of bed at the last possible second to make it to work at time. Reasonably, this is probably 6:45-7am. The reason for the last minute wakeup is because you stayed up until at least 1am in the morning.

The same four to-dos exist with this schedule. Since you’re not getting anything done in the morning, you best utilize your lunch hour effectively. I personally workout. I jog over to the gym that’s about a half mile away, then jog back after, shower, and I’m back at my desk in an hour tops. I recommend doing this so that your plate is totally cleared for the night, whether that be a date or working on your projects.

With this schedule, you have the advantage of being able to set your dates up at the best time – late. Late nights are just more sexy, hands-down. So your evening might look something like this:

  • 6pm: Get home from work, prepare dinner and unwind for a bit. Perhaps a quick power nap.
  • 7pm: Start project work.
  • 9:30pm: Stop work, prepare for date.
  • 10pm-onward: Date and fuck.

Of course, this is easily changeable. No date for the night? Work from 7pm to 11pm or midnight and then unwind for a bit before bed. I do think it’s important to step away from the computer screen and “turn your mind off” so to speak.

Now, I have the night owl in my blood. My dad, for as long as I’ve known, has consistently stayed up until 2am and risen at 7am. He takes a couple naps throughout the evening, but functions just fine. And he doesn’t even drink coffee. I have found repeatedly that my creative juices flow better at night, and I’m just much more motivated. I do like the morning workouts, but I’ve come to accept this as a sacrifice.

Your mileage will vary, but from personal experience, you’re best off picking one or the other and designing your schedule and lifestyle around it. It really doesn’t matter which one is “better”- what matters is which one you are more productive with. Just like the debate over when the best time to workout is. Answer: when you’ll do it. Even if morning workouts are (totally theoretical) 5% better than evening – you won’t reap the benefits of that advantage if you don’t get out of bed.

Don’t kill yourself to wake up early if you won’t do anything.

Benefits To Staying Up Late

  • If no date, you have unlimited time. If you’re getting work done like a machine, stay up that extra hour! Sure, you’ll suffer a bit the next morning, but it’s nothing a good cup of joe won’t solve.
  • Dates have no time limit and can be done at hours more conducive to sex.
  • If you choose evening workouts, you’re not rushed for time.
  • Meals are easier to space out – when you’re waking up at 5am and working out, you’ll get hungry. As a fan of intermittent fasting, I like to eat at 11am and 6pm – 17 hour window. The late schedule is much more conducive to this.

Downsides To Staying Up Late

  • You’re often running out the door at the last minute in the morning.
  • It can be easy to neglect cooking. “Whoops, forgot to pack lunch because I was late. Guess I’m going to Carl’s Jr…”.
  • Your schedule can be all over the place.
  • Often sleep deprived.
  • Easy to slack off and procrastinate at night.

In Conclusion

Pick what is best for you.

If you choose to wake up early, hide that alarm.

If you choose to stay up late, don’t be a slacker.

What schedule do you adhere to?

  • March 5, 2015
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