Going to bed on time and getting up on time both have a powerful effect on your meditation practice. The focus here is getting to bed on time. Why? If you stay up too late, chances are you’ll sleep in the next morning. Even if you do manage to roll out of bed on time you’ll be contemplating your fatigue instead of your mantra.
And even if meditation is not your goal, routinely staying up past your optimal bedtime will leave you feeling chronically run-down. As Jerry Seinfeld once observed, “Morning Man pays for the sins of Night Man.” It’s not so much a matter of how much sleep you get as when you get it. If you go to bed at two and get up at nine, you are likely to have less energy the next day than if you go to bed at eleven and get up at six. So if you want more get up and go, get to bed on time.
Sound too simple? Experiment and see for yourself. Most of us have a pretty good idea which bedtime would make Morning Man’s life easier—so start by being honest with yourself about what time that is. Then record your bedtime for a month, charting your sleep quality and energy levels from day to day. At some point during the month, try going to bed at your optimum time four days in a row. When the month is over, take a look at the results—you may be awakened as never before.
Habits die hard, so be prepared to spend up to a year eradicating the habit of staying up past your bedtime; then see how much go you’ve really got.
Want to track your progress? Below is a simple chart you could use to monitor your sleeping habits:
Day Bedtime Sleep Quality Next Day’s Energy
This elegant little technique will put you to sleep and will help you sleep more peacefully. It uses an effortless 2-to-1 breath. Pay close attention to your breath. There shouldn’t be any pauses, jerks, or shakiness. Eliminate even the pause between the inhalation and exhalation.
Get into bed and take:
8 breaths lying on your back
16 breaths lying on your right side
32 breaths lying on your left side
Very few people complete this exercise. Sweet dreams.