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I've been having a hatred for sleep and when i mean hatred i mean a feeling of not wanting to fall asleep because i feel i've done nothing during the day to achieve my goals.

How can i stop feeling this way during the nights and utilising my day in a better way. This seriously hampers my productivity as i uselessly stay awake till 4.a.m and wake up at 1-2 in the afternoon, skipping class, etc. i.e. missing out on a normal day.

Thank you so much!

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I have the same issue but with different reasons. I just can't stop doing things/self-learning and I'm sooo productive in nighttime to leave the habit. – kaoD Feb 12 '13 at 5:49

This question is pretty broad!! However, I do have some general actions/tips for you. I've used most of them and I sleep very well... not that I am super productive, haha...

Practice conscious living instead of just productive living:

In any case, you'll need to develop a conscious sense during the day. You may have achieved more than you think, and sometimes we tend to hang onto minor negative thoughts, overlooking the good things happening every day.

In order to gain/regain that consciousness, every night keep a record of what you did. Now, I am not talking about "writing 3 things you feel thankful stuff," I just started with writing down only 5 things I did that day. It can be as silly as "I had pizza for lunch." The point is to write down the first 5 activities that came to your mind. Do this for one week.

Now, into the 2nd week, keep the same activity. In addition, assign some pluses to each of them to indicate how happy/unhappy that activity made you feel. The scale is relative and does not have to be scientifically precise... just + for very bad and +++++ for nothing better you can ask for. Do this for another week.

By week three, there is no instruction... because by this week, you'd actually want to write a lot more about everything. Your opinions, your thoughts, your feeling. Once you have a steady record of your activities and your moods, you will have a much better navigation map for your self-improvement. A lot of people are productive without a meaning, it's better to practice both consciousness and productivity.

Redefine what is productive:

Most of the time we set our productivity goal too high or too abrupt. A book that I found very helpful is Zen to Done by Leo Babauta. The key point of the book is to set three and only three things to achieve every day. You get to keep your productivity flowing without burning out.

I do believe being productive is important, but it should not be the sole source of happiness and worry of yours. Chatting with/calling a friend or family member to catch up, making and eating a nice healthy meal, even writing a reflection on why you're not being productive... are not necessarily about being productive but are also crucial to you well-being. This again brings us back to practice conscious living. Are you using every minute with a purpose?

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Here are some things you can do to change your routine immediately:

  1. Fix your sleep schedule. Tonight. Go to bed around midnight and sleep for 7 to 8 hours (in 1.5 hour increments / sleep cycles). Do not sleep past 8 hours. Use sleep aids if you are unable to fall asleep (your body will not want to due to your internal clock).

  2. Plan our your work load for the day. There are loads and loads of questions here for work organization.

  3. Don't skip class (even if the time could be spent more productively).

  4. Eat breakfast, lunch, AND dinner.

Part of this requires an adjustment to your life to find value in the work you do. The other part, sleeping, can be remedied by daily exercise, or sleep aids if necessary.

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I like the answer, but personally I see sleeping aids as a last resort. I would advice to focus more on physical exercise. Moreover, the OP can consider the physical exercise the "alternative" achievement of the day! – laika Feb 11 '13 at 8:43
Good point. I edited the response to emphasize exercise. – Gaʀʀʏ Feb 13 '13 at 2:00

I've been there too; here is a little trick I found helpful - every time you do get that "no achievement during the day" feeling - just say to yourself "I will achieve this in my next life". Sounds silly, but works for me.

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heh, I say to myself "I'll fix that when I travel back in time" :D – elssar Feb 11 '13 at 2:42
Of course too much of that is not good. – elssar Feb 11 '13 at 2:43

Time magazine had a great issue a few years ago on studies of what makes people happy. One of the simplest things you can do to feel happy is, on a nightly or weekly basis, think back for a minute or two about what went RIGHT. Don't think about what went wrong or what wasn't done - just think about what went RIGHT. It does help.

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You are starting a vicious cycle of guilt, shame, lack of sleep and procrastination. Congratulations: by asking for help you are taking some steps to break it. Here go some ideas:

  1. Staying awake is the worst thing you can do. It might seem evident but just needed to make it 100% clear. Knowing how to stop working is important. And you deserve sleeping.

  2. Most people go to bed having achieved less than what we wanted. It is normal. We are humans beings. Rise again and tomorrow will be a better day. In the Pomodoro technique it is says "You were distracted, void pomodoro. Don't worry the next pomodoro will be better". Apply this idea to stop worrying.

  3. Check for symptoms of anxiety or depression. Work on it. You do not need to be mad to be affected by anxiety. There is an excellent book called "When panic attacks" from David D Burns for anxiety and "Feeling good" for depression that might help you in a matter of days. It is full of example of people who had similar problems. The core of the book is that some thoughts and believes might be causing problems. For example, you could be telling yourself "I am a lazy, worthless person, I do not deserve sleeping". This is the least helpful idea. Some personal believes and personality traits like being perfectionist or trying to seem perfect to others could be a problem. Buy the book, do the exercises and may change your life.

  4. Ask yourself. "What am I gaining with this situation?". For example, your self-destroying behaviour might be your excuse for avoiding a huge big pile of work that might be becoming bigger and bigger every day. You can assume that you will do only some realistic amount of work to reduce your aversion to it.

  5. Live in the moment. Be present. Here and now. If you are in the bed stop thinking about tomorrow. If you are studying one subject forget about other tasks. Mindfulness and meditation might help you to sleep better, stop worrying and handle your guilt/blame. But if you do not want to sleep you would better start working on points 3 and 4.

  6. Instead of staying in your self-defeating spiral of guilt and shame focus your energy in setting a small target. Every night write a list of three task that you are trying to do. Don't make a list with everything it will be huge and disappointing. Make a small objective and then add some bonus tasks. Example: A) wake on time to go to class. B) Study one hour C) Research one hour our maths paper. Bonus: study another hour. Iron some clothes.

  7. Put some rewards. If tomorrow I wake up soon I will do XXX. If you reward yourself if will be incoherent with self-punishing.

  8. Focus on the process not in the outcome. Sometimes we do not control if we pass or fail an exam, but we can seat and study. If you work hard but fail you should be proud even if result in a bad outcome.

  9. Avoid thinking in shoulds. "I should have done X". Change it to "I want X to gain Y or avoid Z consequence". Or may be you do not want it at all. Don't do it then!

I hope it helps. You deserve a better life.

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Reflect on this day and realize that it probably fulfilled a past vision of how you pictured a successful life to be. Thank yourself for having come thus far and for realizing that now you may have a different set of goals. Thank yourself for sounding the alarm that something is off kilter. Realize that you have some realignment to do.

Start brainstorming about what your next set of goals will be. What did you spend time doing today. Does that fulfill a higher level goal that has gone stale? Are your stated goals not attractive anymore? Renegotiate with yourself on what is important to you. Think of what is attractive to you and then think of long term or short term goals that will achieve your new vision of whats important to you

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Try telling yourself "all the stuff I need so desperately done, would be done best if I wake up fresh tomorrow morning as early as possible, so I'd better go to sleep now".

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