Why I Hate Sleep
When it comes to sleep, a fool sleeps when he has to, and a wise man sleeps when he can.
— Casey Neistat's Vlog
Images today are from exploring Pasadena with friends last night. 

Images today are from exploring Pasadena with friends last night. 

Let’s talk about sleep, and how very little importance it has in my life. 

There was actually a time, maybe 4 or 5 years ago, that I thought I needed a full 8 hours of sleep to be the best person I could be. That time of my life was also filled to the brim with a lack of productivity, a lack of motivation, and no desire at all to actually do hard work. I would actually wake up at 4:30 or 5 (my favorite time of the day, now) and think “wow, I woke up so early… today is going to suck.” Literally, I said or thought something like this SO many mornings of my life, which is crazy, because if you know me anything about me at all beyond my photography or blog, you know that I HATE. SLEEP.

It wasn’t that I always hated it, though. When I started traveling a lot for work last year, my hate for sleep really kicked in. It’s not that I think sleep is bad for you - I just see it as a means to an end, and a time where I’m only 100% productive in regenerating my molecular makeup so that I can continue to live and not disintegrate. If you took all the hours you spend sleeping in your life, and stole just 1 or 2 hours aways from it every day and replaced that 1 or 2 hours with working hard to achieve your goals, could you imagine the things you could do? The dreams you could achieve?


In one year, if you sleep an average of 8 hours a night (2,920 hours), and you took that instead to 6 hours a night, (2,190), you get 730 hours of your life back.

That’s an entire month. (30 days and 11.4 hours)

Of your life.

That you just got back.

on top of a helipad... 

honestly how cute is she with this face? 

In 2015, I travelled to 14 different countries. My apartment became airports, my bedroom became terminals, my pillow became my backpack and my bed became airport seats. My bedroom window was often the window seat on the plane. There was a time when I fell asleep in the Moscow airport after being awake for 48 hours, and I woke up to a bunch of Russian people staring at me, about 10 feet away.

I learned that sleep wasn’t going to be a big part of my life during my travels… but it was what I replaced it with that made me keep the routine going long after I got home. When I would wake up from 3 or 4 hours of sleep in the airport, I would just start working on producing things, or reading books, or editing photos - and suddenly, I had more hours in the days to actually create things, and no negative effects of “losing” sleep. I just drank more coffee, or exercised, or did something to stimulate my brain, and I haven’t had a single negative effect.

I think a lot of people are not happy with what they do. Why would you be motivated to sleep less and work more if you don’t have anything you love to work on? Why would you want to spend an extra month of your life working on,… nothing? If you aren’t passionate about something you do? Nobody does that. I don’t do that. No one would do that. If you don’t have passion, you don’t thrive. You’ll probably get more sleep, but I would trade a few hours spent behind my eyelids for a passion in anything, any day.

So here’s my theory: if you can find something your passionate about, and a project to work on around it (see my architecture for creation blog post), you can hack your brain in to needing less sleep so that you can work more on your goals for life. When else are you going to do it?


3 Tips for Sleeping Less and Doing More:

Now that you know the math behind how much of your life you can get back every year to work on achieving your goals, here’s 2 tips to make sure you stick to it when that second cup of coffee takes a bit longer to kick in.

1. Have something to wake up in the morning for.

Whether this is a project towards your goals, exercise, cooking, anything… just set out to do it the night before, and make sure you do it right when you wake up. This keeps you focused and motivated to actually get out of bed. I can tell you, after 6 months of feeling lost, purposeless, and without direction, that waking up every morning to write this blog is my number-one motivator to actually get up, get out of bed, and achieve my dreams. 

2. Have a wake-up routine.

If you have anything you love that you can do every morning to anchor your mornings as a positive experience, do them as soon as you wake up. My morning routine is waking up and making myself a pour-over coffee to sip on while I write my blog. I love the process of making a cup of coffee - from grinding the beans to setting up the v60 to brewing the coffee - and it helps me to anchor myself to wake up every morning and feel happy and excited for whatever lay ahead that day.

3. Do it for 21 days before you give up on it.

Okay, so this is *actually* a myth, but track with me. It’s been said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. This statement has been debunked, instead, it is 18-254 days to develop a new habit. I don’t care if it’s either, but I’ve chosen 21 days as my absolute minimum starting point for any new habit in my life. It keeps me focused and centered on doing it and usually, it pushes me past the limits I have given to myself. I choose 21 days because it’s just enough time for me to work a new habit in to my daily routine and normalize it. So, before you give up on sleeping less, give it 21 days and see how you feel. 

Hope you guys have a great week and get less sleep.

- David


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