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So for some time I've been taking various actions to manage my sleeping habits. You know, what time you get up in the morning, how undisturbed the sleep is and so on.

All this has been motivated by an assumption that by getting more control over my sleeping patterns (read, sleeping less) I'll be in a better position to get more out of life in terms over workload, exercise, leisure.

It occurs to me that it might be worth challenging that assumption - maybe things might be better/easier/sensitive to think of sleep as the thing that I should be measuring to see how much I'm get more out of life in terms over workload, exercise, leisure.

The idea being that, by getting more out of life one would spring out of bed energised in the morning - rather than "springing out of bed energised in the morning makes one get more out of life"

My question is - is this an idea that is commonly used? Has it appear in productivity literature before? what are the commonly held beliefs about the cause and effect here?

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The question is too general; the answer may be way different for different people. Some people may have problems in their life, which make them sleep bad. Some people may have sleep problems, which make their waking life unproductive. And for some people it may be a circle, where bad sleep causes bad day, and a bad day causes bad sleep.

Is there something in your life that would make your days miserable even if you had enough sleep? Then fix it.

Do you have a sleep problem that would ruin your days even if you lived in a paradise? Then fix it.

But if you are in a circle where bad sleep causes bad day, and bad day causes bad sleep, it is not so important to discover which one came first. The important thing is where to stop it. You will need to work on both parts simultaneously, but sometimes you can get better short-term control over one of them, so you can start the process there.

For example you could decide that for one week you will go to sleep at 10:00 PM at any cost. Whatever happens, just go to bed at 10:00 PM and set your alarm clock to 7:00 AM. -- The idea is that you should wake up naturally before the alarm clock. That's the most refreshing way to wake up. But expect that it won't happen in the first mornings, if you have sleep debt.

I am suspicious about the idea that "getting more out of life" will magically fix your sleep patterns. (Sorry if I misinterpreted you, but this is how it sounds to me.) But if you insist, try it, now. Only give yourself a deadline, for example one month, when you will give up the idea if you won't get any results. Otherwise it seems just like a rationalization to not fix your sleep habits while pretending that you are trying to fix them indirectly.

In other words: are you looking for a solution, or for an excuse? Because there will always be something that you would like to get more of, so you can postpone fixing your sleep habits forever.

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I think "sleeping better" and "getting more out of life" are two interwoven things, so the short answer is: Both.

For example, I managed to sleep better because I decreased my stress levels and get more physical activity.

Waking up earlier gave me more time with people and more opportunities getting out, having more fun and doing more work.

The same applies for exercise: You can start exercise in order to feel better -or- start feeling better to in order to look forward for exercise.

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