Sleep is my new side business

One of my new year resolutions for this year was to bump up my side income to 75% of my day job income. Most of my side income comes from selling online courses. I created three new courses and at least a couple of dozen promotional content to get the word out. As most of the aspiring entrepreneurs, I woke up 1 hour before I usually get up and stayed up 1 or two hours at night to spend extra time on my side hustle.

It was a great plan. It was working. Except in the opposite direction!

I felt more and more tired. I felt behind most days. Almost every week something will go wrong and I had to fix it. I found myself most of the time hating life in general. The online school once I thoroughly enjoyed, has become another painful burden.

I didn’t know what to do. At the time I was commuting to work on the train. I usually listen to a podcast when I am on the train and “Tim Ferris’s podcast” was one of my favourites. One of the episodes had a lady called “Amanda Palmer”. I never heard about her before, most people who come on who I never heard of. This is why I love Tim’s podcast. I get introduced to so many cool people. Not only that, what I think “cool” get redefined by people in the show. Anyway, she mentioned about this book called “Why we sleep” in the interview. By this time I have heard at least two other people talk about this book however, Amanda had a really interesting way of describing this book.

I went home. I didn’t buy the book but instead, I downloaded a sleep tracking app called “sleep cycle”. I wanted to find out my current sleep quality before reading the book. 200 days went by since then, I never read the book but I gathered a bunch of interesting data on my sleep. Not only that I improved my sleep quality from 63% to 98%. Oh, the side income right? I stopped tracking that. My sleep is now my side income.

Sleep profile data from sleep cycle

I got into entrepreneurship, by the sheer disappointment of being poor all the time. I am an artist. I had thousands of followers online but I was broke. I watched a few videos of Gary Vaynerchuk and decided I need to become a millionaire. Like Gary says if you don’t hustle you don’t win. I started reading books about sales, business and finance. I started to get a sense of business and making money. I even put some of the tricks to work and they seemed to work at that time. If you read anything about making money, success, business, startups or wealth, you will come across words like “struggle”, “hustle”, “grinding” a lot. If you are a real “hustler” you need to stay up. You are only allowed to sleep for more than 5 hours. If you are not then you are not a real entrepreneur. You need to do a lot of sacrifices. If you are someone who is going down this path right now, believe me, sleep is the last thing you need to sacrifice.

You will wake up like a zombie (if you do wake up, that is), you will have less focus, you will make a hell lot of mistakes, you will be a very grumpy person. Simply, you will ride the storms of failure in no time and you won’t even know why. Honestly having a shit load of money is not going to make you happy. Not even remotely happy. I never had more than 40,000 dollars to my name but I don’t need to make millions to know it won’t make me any happier. Trust me – when it happens, you will know too.

Now I sleep more than 8 hours every night. I wake up very relaxed most days. My cognitive skills have improved. My memory has increased. I haven’t got sick. Most importantly I find myself making only a handful of decisions. A handful of very good decisions. I don’t seem to panic much or worry much about most things. I have very interesting dreams and most days I remember them very vividly too.

When I first started, getting a good sleep score was very difficult. I had to make up a proper sleep routine.

1) I stop talking to people after 6.30 pm
2) Now I try to have dinner between 7 and 7.30 pm
3) I try to have a lighter dinner.
3) I don’t work after dinner.
4) After dinner, I write, paint or read while listening very low key music.
5) I turn off most lamps after dinner and light one or two candles.
6) Before going to bed I do a 5 minutes love and kindness meditation.

What I also find, exercise has a very high impact on the quality of sleep. On an average day, I go for a 20 minutes walk in the morning and a 20 minutes walk at lunchtime. I do callisthenics exercises 3 times a week and try to do a long bike ride on the weekends. I stopped eating sweets after dinner, even though I am not exactly sure if it helps or not.

Steps data from sleep cycle

I am more switched on and energetic. I am liking this new side hustle. It doesn’t pay me money, it pays me in life!