During the month I cured my anxiety, I made consistent sleep one of my highest priorities. The first thing I did was optimize my bedroom for ideal sleeping conditions. Here are the steps I took: Plugged my iPhone charger in an outlet far away from my bed so I couldn’t grab my phone while I was laying down. This little obstacle prevented me from checking email or Facebook before trying to fall asleep. Cranked up the air conditioning so the temperature in my bedroom was around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.23 Kept the curtains drawn and wore a sleep mask so that my room was as dark as I could possibly make it. Downloaded the Relax Melodies app, which played a continuous loop of ocean waves throughout the night.
Once my room was optimized, I committed to a consistent bedtime. I set a daily reminder on my iPhone called Get Ready for Bed, which went off at 10:00PM every night (i.e. nine hours before I wanted to wake up).
As soon as it went off, I’d stop whatever I was doing, hit the bathroom, brush my teeth, and change out of my day clothes. I was dead serious about obeying my phone’s command. Even if I was in the middle of a conversation, I’d abruptly end it so I could get ready for bed. After I finished getting ready, I would switch my phone to Flight mode, open the Relax Melodies app, and climb in bed to read fiction for 15 minutes.24 When I was done reading, I’d turn off the lights and focus on the rhythm of my breath until I fell asleep.
It took several nights to adjust to this change, but within a week, I was sleeping like a champion. I wasn’t eating anything after 8:00PM, and I stopped drinking caffeine after 5:00PM. Those habits helped my body wind down earlier, but the critical part was getting ready at the same time every night.
There was another aspect of my sleep routine that was critical for healing my anxiety: I took a 20-minute nap every afternoon.
Play It Away: A Workaholic's Cure for Anxiety
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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