Tryout New Sleep Schedule
After returning from Europe, or any other continent, for that matter, the following few days are always goofy because of the extreme jet lag. For example, the time zone in France is GMT+1 and California is GMT-8, making a total time change of 9 hours. Ever since returning from the trip to France, I've tried to follow a new sleep schedule. The word tried is highly emphasized, because I am by no means strictly following this.
Pre-France-trip, I was on (what I call) the "college cycle." I ate dinner around 7-8 PM, started getting ready for bed at 10, in bed at 11, and went on my phone for about an hour before trying to sleep around midnight or later. Then I would wake up at 8 AM and rush to hop on the morning Zoom work call. I'd wait to get ready and eat breakfast until afterwards. It definitely wasn't the best idea for my schedule and caused me a bit of stress.
Then, my family and I went to France for Noel/Christmas. I definitely had my issues with sleep there, partially due to being sick for so long. However, I think this was a good "reset" for my circadian rhythm. Throughout the trip, I did eventually get acustomed to the French time zone.
The first few days after coming back, I woke up naturally around 1-2 AM. I remember waking up around this time on New Year's day, while at a friend's house. I had a very slow morning of eating breakfast, showering and shaving (which I normally don't do in the morning), going for a short walk, and planning out my day. I don't think this single event is to blame for my idea to try out a new sleep schedule, but it definitely was a nice and easy morning.
When work started up again on January 2nd, I remember waking up around 3 AM. Not really knowing what to do, I actually logged into my work computer and started working from home, at 3:00 in the morning. I figured that an 8-hour day plus lunch meant I would be done by noon. I probably wasn't supposed to be doing this, but since it was a one-time thing on the first day back at work, I shrugged it off. Many people were still on vacation anyway. It was actually a great day and I was in full focus. After work, I went for a hike since there was still plenty of daylight! I think I ended up in bed around 6 or 7.
Throughout the next few weeks, there was a slow shift back to the Pacific time zone, but I continued trying to keep up my new sleep schedule. I maintained a natural wake-up time of around 4-5 AM for a couple weeks! It was nice - on the days I worked from home, I spent the mornings cleaning up and organizing, making breakfast, and writing many of the articles posted on my website since the France trip. On the days I went to the lab, I would try to leave by 6 AM, when nobody was on the roads. I'd often arrive at work before 7 - meaning I got the best pick of parking spots, and could leave a bit early!
Essentially this schedule "shifted" my work time from earlier to later in my relative "day."
I wanted to keep this up at least until the Chicago trip. Inevitably, my sleep schedule slowly shifted into more and more of a normal one. I still go to bed pretty early, compared to my Pre-France "college" schedule - usually bed by 9, with a natural wake-up time before 7. After this little "experiment", I have to ask myself how I feel with the Post-France sleep schedule.
Did it make me less stressed in the morning? Certainly. Did I miss out on certain things by retiring earlier in the evening? Yes, like staying up later at board game nights. Was it difficult? Actually, going to bed early was not the hard part - the hard part was breaking the habit of going on my phone in bed, which kept me awake much later than I should have. Is it worth it? As an introvert, I actually love this schedule. It offsets my waking hours from what a normal person would have. Do I plan to continue with it? Probably! Again, the real struggle is to avoid grabbing my phone when I crawl into bed. If I can do that, then I should be able to keep this up no problem.