Improving my sleep quality was one of the topics I was looking into recently, and I finally figured it out.

I realized the root cause of my trouble was my evening routine. After a long day of work, I always wanted to spend at least a few hours having a good time, which largely included watching screens.

I was going to bed late and exhausted, setting myself up for a new difficult day. The vicious circle might look familiar to you:

Evening routine vicious cycle

You might wonder: How do I break this pattern?

You remove the evening “entertainment” part and go to bed earlier.

So I can’t have time for myself?

If you’re trying to break this pattern, you must push yourself for a day or two. But the reward is bigger and comes quickly. In the following days, you will wake up earlier, have more energy, and work fewer hours. You will actually be able to enjoy your favorite activities during the day. These activities will certainly be more fulfilling than the dopamine-seeking screen wandering time you have after a long day.

Two important success conditions:

  • Avoid screens and strong lights before going to bed. Blue light has been proven to reduce hormones like melatonin which help you relax and get deep sleep (study, study).
  • Get exposed to light early in the morning. Studies show morning light increases alertness and sleep quality (study, study). If you can wake up at sunrise, that’s perfect.

The effects on me have been huge.

I’m now going to bed around 21:30 and waking up naturally around 5:00, just before sunrise in Thailand. I feel much more alert and can do most of my work in the morning.

You can find plenty of advice on improving your sleep online, including appropriate diet, exercise, and environment. Some of them helped me, but this habit change was by far the most impactful.

Note: This routine is quite new for me. I will update this page if my experience noticeably evolves.