10-3-2-1-0: How To Actually Sleep Better And Be More Productive Every Day


Are you searching for calmer, more restful nights, more enthusiastic mornings, and skyrocketed productivity through the work day?

If you’re like me, then you understand how real the struggle of getting to bed at a decent time is. I daydream through the work day–my only desire to be tucked beneath a sea of blankets. But when I get done working, the resounding ‘buzz of freedom’ makes me want nothing more than to hang out with friends until midnight, or binge watch my favorite movies in succession.

Believe it or not, there’s actually a very legitimate formula that exists that will help you avoid daily worker burnout, and help you wake up more naturally.

The Formula for Productivity: 10-3-2-1-0

This formula was designed by Fitness coach Craig Ballantyne. If you want a simple approach to sleeping better and taking control of your mornings, Ballantyne recommends you follow the “10-3-2-1-0″ formula:


Do not drink any caffeinated beverages starting 10 hours before you plan to go to sleep.

Remember that caffeine rich teas, sodas, and energy drinks all fall into this group–not just coffee. These drinks will all keep you awake into the night if consumed too close to the evening. Also remember to be weary of eating caffeine rich foods, such as coffee flavored ice cream and high percentage dark chocolate, too close to bedtime.


Stop eating food and drinking alcohol 3 hours before bedtime.

Eating right before bed causes the body to work extra hard digesting food. Since a lot of the digestion process takes place during sleeping hours anyways, adding more food into your body right before bed causes the digestive system to exert even more energy. The result is compromised sleep because our bodies are working overtime instead of recuperating.

While there is an argument to be made about drinking before bed, it’s not a wise decision if you’re looking for a truly restful night. Sure, alcohol may help people fall asleep more quickly at first, but drinking right before bed is a hinderance on overall sleep quality. Drinking and sleeping limits the ability to achieve REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the deepest, most restful stage of sleep. As a wise friend once sarcastically told me: “Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”


Turn your ‘work brain’ off 2 hours before you go to bed.

Work goals can get in the way of personal aspirations sometimes. So don’t let work affect home life. This includes things like answering work emails on your phone while off work or planning out the following work day during dinner. At the 2 hour mark, flip the off switch on your work endeavors. Having a work/life balance is important, your brain and body will thank you for the break.


Power down all electronic devices 1 hour before sleep.

People love technology and the associated conveniences. At times, we love our smartphones a little too much, so powering down from tech becomes a challenge. Staring at a lit up screen while laying in bed reverses sleeping efforts. Bright light in a dark room messes with the eyes and can cause what I’ve deemed as ‘rabbit hole syndrome.’

One funny YouTube video leads to another, and before you know it you’re watching full episodes of Bob Ross’s painting show instead of sleeping. Don’t get caught up in the rabbit hole of insomnia. Be sure to power down all screens including bedside TV’s at least an hour before counting sheep.


Hit the snooze button on your alarm a total of 0 times.

If you find yourself struggling to avoid hitting the snooze button, you’re not alone! I had this problem and concluded that it was because my alarm clock (iPhone) was always plugged in right at bedside: big mistake!

When I moved my charging station to a spot on the opposite side of my room, waking up became more natural. It forces you to stand up, walk over to my phone, and fumble to shut it off. At that point, going back to bed seems pointless. Since you’ve already stood up, the desire to go back to sleep dissipates. You’ll wake up feeling surprisingly chipper when you go to bed earlier, instead of sleeping in later.

“When you follow this formula, you’ll get more done and stop letting the big opportunities in your life slip away,” says formula creator Ballantyne. He offers more advice on each individual point in his article on Early to Rise.

Bonus Helpful Tips

When facing a multitude of tasks at your workplace, avoid too much multi-tasking! When done in an effective manner, multi-tasking can be beneficial but many people overdo it. Instead of trying to do too much, tackle the daunting tasks by themselves. Also, remember to take care of big tasks when you’re most energetic, whether that’s first thing in the morning, or the last few hours of your day.

Most any job can be associated with frustration and stress at times. When inundated with these emotions, sometimes the best thing to do is practice simple meditative breathing.

Following the 4-7-8 method:

  • Breathe in through your nose quietly for a count of 4
  • Hold your breath while counting to 7
  • Exhale air deeply through your mouth while counting to 8
  • Repeat the process several times

The added oxygen to your body and brain helps overcome stress and allows for a cool down period.

Additionally, if you are feeling burnt out by technology, simply take a break from our tech-infused lifestyles! Try turning your phone off for the majority of a weekend. Make a goal to stay away from computers and television for a day and enrich your life with alternative activities instead. Or better yet, take a weekend off from technology.