The 9.30pm Bedtime Challenge

As a child, I had no problem going to bed early. I went to bed happy that I had squeezed the juice out of the day and looking forward to reading some of my Enid Blyton book before turning out the light.

As an adult, sometimes it’s not so easy to get to bed, even when we know we should.

What time did your head hit the pillow last night? Was it the time that you intended it to be or think is in your own best interest?

If so, great, read this post to help you do something else you know you want to do and yet you are avoiding. If not, here we go…

First identify and sit with an awareness of the thoughts that are causing you to stay up later than you want to. Here are some of the usual suspects:

The ‘time for me’ thought – ‘I’ve been so busy looking after everyone else today that I deserve to stay up late. This is time for me.’

The ‘one more thing’ thought – ‘I’ll have been so productive today, if I just do this one thing.’

The ‘my growing business depends on it thought’- this one is often linked to comparing your fledgling venture with the work others are doing.

The ‘Just check Facebook’ thought.

The ‘this sofa is so comfy’ thought, often coming up when watching T.V.. Linked with the term ‘box-set’.

The ‘I can steal time here and I’ll lose it if I don’t use it’ thought.

Once you have identified your thought about why you are staying up late, notice when that old pattern of thought comes up.

The 9.30pm challenge is to go to bed at that time for four consecutive nights in a row.

In ‘The 4-Day Win’ Martha Beck says ‘I’ve known for a long time that when I can get a client to do anything consistently for four days- writing, exercising, getting up an hour earlier than usual – an internal barrier seems to fall.’

In the book Martha suggests deciding on a Four Day Win reward and then having a small reward that you have on each day of your four day win.

Before you begin you decide what your daily rewards are going to be and what your four day win reward is going to be and write them down. Then you need to make sure that you actually give yourself the rewards that you have written down when you meet your target of going to bed at 9.30pm.

Your next step involves another Martha Beck tool called the 3Bs.

The first one is ‘Bag it,’ which means not having sleep. As you are reading this it is unlikely this is your preferred option.

The next one is barter it- you can’t get someone to sleep for you (this isn’t a science fiction movie) but you could perhaps barter or pay someone to do tasks that are keeping you up at night.

The last of the ‘Bs’ is bettering. What can you do to ‘better’ going to bed early?

Clean sheets, a tidy bedroom, time with a loved one, remove electronics from the room, a fiction book to read, a journal, a meditation to listen to?

Make your own list of what would better your bedtime.

Take action – take part in the 9.30pm bedtime challenge and report back here.