C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

See all my books at AllThatChazz.com.

How to sleep more and get more reading done

(Or don’t)

I’ve written plenty here about how to get more writing done (See the previous post: Do You Believe in Writer’s Block?). But what if you could read more books and sleep better, too? No longer an empty wish, this feat is achievable for many people who aren’t currently managing it.

Caveat #1: If you’ve got young kids, don’t come at me. I’ve been there, I get it, and sorry, this post probably isn’t for you. As the parent of a young child, you will read more, but it’ll be a lot of Cat in the Hat and Goodnight Moon. Unless…see Caveat #2 below.

The first mindset shift is that you must prioritize you.


I have a sleep disorder. After consulting my sleep specialist, my doctor didn’t have much for me except sleep hygiene protocols. If you’ve ever had insomnia, you probably know them already. Make your bedroom dark and cool and free of distractions, limit caffeine, blah, blah, blah. Every insomniac knows this stuff. Losing sleep was killing my productivity so I had to finally get serious about acting on those tactics. One thing I didn’t anticipate was being liberated to read more books more often.

Second mindset shift: Nobody gets more time. You don’t make more time. You have to take it.

There are a thousand things to do each day and we’re all out here treating ourselves like overscheduled and underpowered robots. One of my most cherished chapters from Do the Thing is the to-don’t list. To-do lists are plentiful, unrealistic, and way too long. I’ve got things engineered so I do one adult chore a day. My wife does the same. Your Dad (like mine) might call you a lazy shit, but what does he know? He’s miserable and exhausted. The positive effects are cumulative so ignore the naysayers. What needs to get done, will get done. What wants to get done may have to wait. Minimalism is healthy. You’ll learn to deal with gearing down to what’s realistic. Be real, you weren’t getting it all done, anyway. My way, you don’t drive yourself mad. For your mental health, please don’t try to do everything that needs to be done all in one day.

Wherever possible, don’t multi-task, either. In the 1970s, some moron proclaimed that a human being can do seven things at once. Western culture has suffered for that idiot ever since. Other countries and cultures have siestas and sex in the afternoon. We got the gig economy and the all-the-hours-you’re-awake work week. Multi-tasking is bullshit. Split your attention and you end up doing everything poorly.

Mindfulness is peacefulness. To do anything well, do one thing at a time.

To sleep, perchance to dream, wind down with a book.

We’ve all fallen into the Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram rabbit holes, but in the search for more sleep, I stumbled on the way out of social media’s electro-warren. To get a good night’s sleep, I had to stop looking at screens after 8 pm (aiming for an 11 pm bedtime).

Switching out of work mode and into relaxation mode, I can’t watch TV or cruise social media obsessively until bedtime. After I’ve washed the dishes, I’ve got two or three hours of empty time. I don’t want to be bored, but I can’t get overstimulated, either. It can’t be a glowing screen, so I choose paperbacks.

Yes, I could wear sunglasses and there are apps to alter screen glow, but at night, my mind races. I have to exercise the discipline to consciously slow down and a good paperback serves that purpose. A chapter or three is a logical stopping point. If you can scroll forever, chances are you will. The internet has no logical stopping point, so it’s never done.

I tested my hypothesis this morning. I joined my wife in bed as she woke up and we scrolled through an Instagram thread of cute babies doing sweet baby things with no thought to the time. That’s a quick way to burn 45 minutes or so. Babies and dogs, man. I could scroll videos of babies and dogs forever.

I used to wake up at 3 a.m. and stay awake until dawn, tossing, turning, plotting books, and plotting against my many, many enemies. Since changing things up, four of five nights, I’m getting seven or eight hours of sleep. I’m reading more and sleeping more. I feel less like something on the bottom of someone’s shoe, too.

It only took a global killer pandemic for me to reevaluate how I work and relax. Things are getting better. I hope this helps you, too.

Caveat #2: To distraught parents, if you’re still in baby days, you will find reading for pleasure is a challenge. However, depending on the age of your kid, you can still get away with reading anything you want as long as you read to them aloud and they don’t understand you. Go ahead. Read that gory horror story in a soft, soothing voice. It’s possible you might scar them for life, sure, but that’s how short people with skulls full of mush grow up to be interesting adults, right?

~ Looking for something to read tonight? Check out the links to all my grand and fabu offerings of science fiction and crime thrillers on my author site, AllThatChazz.com.

Filed under: getting it done, reading, , , , , , , , ,

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