Sleep Smarter, not Earlier

Debunking the Myth of Early Morning Success

James Halliday


Photo by Alexander Possingham on Unsplash

The online gurus; they say you need 8 hours of sleep. They also say you need to get up early. Like 04:00.

That this is what all successful people do, implying you’re a loser if you don’t.

But you can’t generalise for the whole planet like that.

More than 7 billion people? We’re not all the same.

For some, 8 isn’t enough. For others, 8 is impossible.

I’m the latter; I sleep in short stints of 1 to 2 hours and get around 6 hours. Sometimes 7 if I’m really tired.

Yes, I’ll be in bed for around 8 hours, so I’m getting physical rest.

But 8 hours sleep?


It doesn’t work for me. I can’t do it.

We need sleep. We all know that.

But figure out what works for you. Not what some online guru tells you you need.

Consistency is key: go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.

That made a big difference; it dramatically improved my mental health. In addition, I stopped feeling tired on Mondays when I get up early for work, as my regular waking time is also early.

I’m a morning person. So, getting up early is easy for me. And when I’m up, I’m alert immediately — no wandering around, bleary-eyed for an hour.

When I’m at home, I’m out of the house by about 05:45 to take an hour’s walk. Then I’m back for breakfast and a few minutes quiet with a book before the kids awake.

When I’m away, in the office, I’m up at 06:00, heading to work by 06:15, and in the office between 06:30 and 07:00.

But I’m done by 21:00. Falling asleep. Useless.

This routine works for me. I love it.

But I know plenty of people who are the complete opposite. They’ll stay in bed late but are still going strong at midnight or 02:00.

I know one person who’ll happily stay awake until 04:00 but doesn’t get up until the afternoon. She works the late shift, so it suits her.



James Halliday

Project manager in live television, background in engineering and logistics. Biker, vegan, dad to two tiny terrors. Love travel, food, walking and photography