Learning How to Sleep

Latest posts by Sam Carpenter (see all)

For any recurring problem, there is a path to sorting things out: Take the inefficient system apart and fix the pieces one by one. Sleep intertwines with numerous other biological, social, and relationship processes, but in that broad conception, one can’t begin to find a solution to improving it. What did I do via systems methodology to cure my serious sleep problem? I envisioned sleep as an independent, primary system that is composed of subsystems.

The vision led me to a doctor who specializes in sleep disorders. The doctor’s recommendations had a strong theme: reduction of stress. This led me to the subsystems of yoga, more sensible exercise, and meditation. I would substantially reduce my intake of caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. There were other systems to modify: changing the layout of my bedroom, removing the clock from the nightstand, refraining from reading in bed, and turning the lights off at the same time every night. I would adopt a more consistent system routine for preparing for sleep. Another thing: Testing indicated my requirements for sleep were less than average—six hours was enough—and so I should avoid lying awake in bed, expecting to get eight or nine hours. Lying there waiting for sleep to arrive was stressful in itself. Instead, I should get up and read, work, or even exercise.

With the help of my regular doctor, I found my blood chemicals were out of balance. Those chemical imbalances affected my sleep pattern, and it was a simple matter to fix those subsystem imbalances with supplements.

I had to reduce my hours at the office and that meant getting the company to run itself without me being there every minute. That transformation was already underway, using the same Work the System thinking.

I got back to a healthy sleeping routine over the course of just a few months, literally doubling each night’s sleep duration.

Now, if I find that my sleep is less than what it should be, I can trace the problem back to a violation of one of the dozen or so system guidelines I initially identified in my “sleep system–improvement” project.

I attacked the overall problem by isolating the primary sleep system and then breaking it down into subsystems that could be manipulated. By taking an outside-and-slightly-elevated vantage point, I was able to tweak my sleep process to more and more efficiency, one piece at a time. It was pure mechanics.

Sam Carpenter is the author of the new book, Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less. Available in book stores in May 2009,the book is available now at www.workthesystem.com. A free download of “Six Steps to Working Less and Making More” is also available on the site.

Previous Article

Friendly Advice From George Will

Next Article

Interactive Marketing Tips from SXSW

Related Posts
supply chain
Read More

How to Keep Vendors and Clients Happy During Supply Chain Hiccups

Supply chain breakdowns are happening due to global disruptions, rising costs and increased consumer expectations. Businesses can't always stop supply chain hiccups, but they can learn from them and limit their impact on vendors and clients. How a business responds to a supply chain issue can have far-flung effects. A company that is proactive and...
implementing new systems
Read More

9 Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing New Systems

If your systems aren’t lean, efficient and precise, you’re wasting time and money while putting your business at unnecessary risk. If you’re going to build out new systems, you need to do it right. Avoid these nine mistakes when building new systems to transform how work gets done in your business. 1. Ignoring human nature...
Read More

How to Support Employee Mental Health and Avoid Startup Burnout

When it comes to finding the right job — and staying there — candidates are looking for a lot, especially in a virtual setting. Gone are the days where foosball tables and free snacks constituted benefits. Of course, we still love them, but there has to be more that matters. People are primarily looking to...
Read More

WJR Business Beat: Job Switchers Rewarded with Higher Pay (Episode 406)

On today's Business Beat, Jeff Sloan talks about how it's going to be more difficult and costly for small businesses to hire the best talent because job switchers during the pandemic have seen significant salary hikes. Tune in to today's Business Beat for more:   Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at...