I have been tracking my sleep for a long time now. Long enough for me to figure out that I need at least 8 hours of sleep. Sometimes, even more. I usually average 8 hours, but sometimes I'm at 9 or even 10.
I can't operate well without sleeping at least 8 hours daily. If required, I take power naps during the day as well.
Of course, I can operate with less than 8 hours of sleep. But, I won't be productive and energetic as much as I would with 8 hours of minimum sleep.
I've figured out that working in fresh and energetic condition produces way better results than working when tired. If it takes 2 hours to complete a work when I'm tired, it takes around 30 minutes to complete the same work after I wake up energized.
I take my sleep so seriously that I don't use any screened device at night. I try to avoid it at all cost -- mostly laptops and mobile.
If I'm not feeling sleepy, I read. Sometimes, I don't feel sleepy, but don't feel like reading either. I usually 'think' during those time. Think about my goals, thoughts, and everything that happened during the day.
I generate ideas during this time, mostly. I write those ideas in my mobile phone and write a blog post about the topic next day.
I have some sleep rules which I adopted unconsciously over time:
- No screens at night. Only paperback kindle to read.
- Eat 3 hours before sleeping. I usually sleep at 10 PM, so I always eat before 7 PM. Parties are exception.
- Never set alarm clock. I wake up naturally.
- Track sleep. I have been tracking my sleep for a long time. That's how I came to know that I amount to 8 hours of sleep on average.
- Sleep journal. This goes along with sleep tracking. As soon as I wake up, I write the time and how I felt.
- Tracking energy level. If I sleep for 8 or more hours, I feel energetic. If I sleep for less than that, I feel tired. However, there's something interesting to it as well. If I sleep very less, I feel more energetic. But it goes down all at once within an hour. I have been tracking this as well.
- I don't intake caffeine because it disrupts my sleep cycle.
- Don't intake huge amount of sugar before sleeping. Less sugar level helps me sleep well. I don't know why.
The only bad habit I have is that I don't drink water before sleeping. It's mostly because I'll have to wake up at the night and I can't sleep after that. It disrupts my sleep. Hence, I don't drink water before sleeping.
If there's one thing I recommend you to have quality sleep is to stop using screened device at night. Use it during the day, and read at night. It highly improves your sleep quality.