A few days ago, I did an experiment.
Many months ago, when I had a bad cold with severe coughing, I slept out in the living room sofa so that I didn't bother my wife. That night, I slept really well. I suspect that the reason for this is the angle that the armrest creates with my head position, similar to what a good contour pillow does—by tilting your head slightly back, it opens up your airway.
Recently, I haven't been sleeping well, and I after working late on my computer, I decided to try sleeping on the same sofa to see if I could recreate that great sleep experience. The experiment failed miserably. My sleep quality was pretty bad, especially since it was a bit hot and humid.
The next morning, I mentioned to my wife why I slept on the sofa that night. I told her that I wanted to recreate that really good nights' sleep that I had previously. She looked at me for a few seconds, and said something in passing, that really didn't hit me until now: "Honey, I know you're really passionate about sleep, but if your main goal is always to get that perfect night's sleep, you'll never get it."
I only recently realized just now how profound her statement is. She was just trying to be helpful and give me some practical advice, but I think she hit on a major life lesson: Don't focus on absolute goals when you should be focusing on bigger things in life.
For example, running and finishing a marathon is a worthwhile goal, but what's more important is, why even run the marathon? Is it to become healthier, or develop an exercise regimen that's part of an overall healthy lifestyle?
Is your goal of eating healthier to see how healthy you can eat? Could it be that by staying healthy, you'll have the energy to spend quality time with your children, as well as to be around to see your children grow up past their teens?
Why even bother getting a good nights' sleep? Is it to boast to everyone that you're such a great sleeper?
Rather than trying to sleep well, think about the reasons why getting a good nights' sleep is so important in your life: You can be much more refreshed tomorrow and be at your best during your presentation or 5K run.
What I realized was that a good sleep should not be your ultimate goal. Rather, it should be a part of your overall plan for bigger, grander life goals, such as enhancing and enjoying your relationships, succeeding and advancing with your career goals, and living the life of your dreams.
Numerous successful people have stated that once you have a grand vision or life goal, the steps that you need to take will come naturally. Once you know they why, the intermediate steps and the how will become obvious.