Question from a reader:
"Sebastian, do you have any suggestions on getting back on a regular sleep schedule after traveling/strange hours without resorting to melatonin supplements?"
Yeah. It's remarkably simple, actually.
Say you went from New York to Tokyo, so now you're waking up around dinnertime in Tokyo naturally, wanting to be awake all night, and sleep at the crack of dawn. Here's what you do:
You wake up like normal at 6PM Tokyo time, and then you make preparations and plans to stay up all night and all of the next day, and you put yourself into places/situations where you physically couldn't sleep.
Then you go to bed really early (maybe 4PM to 5PM) and budget 12-16 hours for sleep.
Refuse to wake up before 5AM the next day, just stay in bed on the off chance you wake up.
But 9 out of 10 times you won't wake up before the morning anyway.
And just like that, your sleep schedule is normalized.
(Jeez, I'm giving all kinds of 'how to do unhealthy stuff' advice lately... someone ask me a question that'll prompt me to give a less hardcore answer please!)
I'm stealing sleep again! I love it!
Ah, yes, what's "stealing sleep"?
It's a dangerous but interesting strategy. It means having a hectic, busy schedule where you run on low sleep, and grab naps/short sleeps of between 20 minutes and 2-4 hours when you have a free chance.
I'm... not recommending it. But it can be a good time...
For me, at least, every time I sleep my mind kind of "resets" to some extent. Or something like that. Thus, for a short period of time (weeks, at most), I can get a lot more high level work out of myself when I'm on this kind of schedule.
Someone (@philiplilly) asked me how I deal with jet lag. I fired off a quick answer ("adjust to the target time ASAP"), which I only later realized isn't what I actually do. It's what everyone else does. So here's what I really do:
I cut my sleep into two chunks, one corresponding to a normal sleep or wake time in the country I'm leaving from, and one corresponding to a normal wake up time in my destination.
So, for example, last week I came to Japan, which is eight hours off from California time. I slept only four hours, from 4:30am to 8:30am, which sounds like it must require intense discipline, but really it ends up being a necessity because I leave all of my travel preparation to the last minute.