Personally, I have never slept better in my life than I do now. My improved quality of sleep is the most noticeable aspect I’ve changed — I feel like I can get less total hours because the quality of my uninterpreted sleep is so high. I’ve only come to this result through years of experimentation. This post is dedicated to everything I’ve learnt that I am certain can help others.
1. Eliminate Blue Light
During the day, computer screens look good — they’re designed to look like the sun. But, at 9PM, 10PM, or 3AM, you probably shouldn’t be looking at the sun.
A extremely useful program called f.lux addresses this. It makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. The program increases and decreases the contrast, brightness and blue light levels based on where the sun is in the sky.
If you work on a computer late at night GET THIS PROGRAM. You can get it for iPhone/iPad if you’ve jailbroken your phone.
If you don’t want to jailbreak your phone us the ‘invert colours’ feature on your iPhone in the settings to turn the screen black instead of the bright white. Instructions here.
HOW TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY CIRCADIAN RHYTHM
In order to maintain healthy optimal sleep habits you need to maintain smart light rhythms day, evening and night.
What that means is getting in front of sun light immediately after waking. Either raising the curtains and blinds to let a flood of natural let enter your room or let going outside be on of the first things you do after you wake. All in all getting 30 min of bright sun during day will really help anchor your circadian rhythm.
In the evening as the sun is nearly down you will want to progressively dim the lights in your house. This is where flux comes into play as it will automatically adjust your screens.
Personally I have replaced the standard bulb of my bedroom lamp with a red light bulb. I can adjust my lamp on 3 settings of intensity which makes the room feel even better because it create a really dim calm environment. This will be the only light that stays on in my bedroom in the following hours before sleep. I cannot emphasise how beneficial this is! There is no artificial blue light active in my environment, from this I’ve noticed I am much more relaxed and mentally I’m much calmer and at ease. With this, I can get to sleep faster and easier.
This is what your room could and should look like if you take your sleep seriously. The bulbs are cheap there is no legitimate excuse!
If you share a house with multiple people this may not be possible at times as you enter environments with bright artificial light. This is where blue light reduction glasses can be used 2 hours before better to combat this.
Philip Hue makes a really great automatic wireless lighting package that enable you to control the lighting in your house with hundreds of different shades of colour and tints that use 80% less power than traditional light bulbs.
Exercising some of these options will be enable you to watch TV, be on your computer and phone late at night because the blue light that is disrupting your sleep will be filtered out.
2. CONSUME ZMA EVERY NIGHT
Zinc, Magnesium & Vitamin B6
ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I’VE DONE TO IMPROVE MY SLEEP QUALITY
I started experimenting with this after Brandon Carter said it aided in his sleep.
I noticed the effects almost immediately. I used to wake up many times during the night which was frustrating because it would sometimes take me a while to get back to sleep. Until I took 3 ZMA capsules before I sleep. I didn’t know why these micro-nutrients helped my sleep quality so much but research said approximately 50% of the US is deficient in magnesium so consuming ZMA will definitely not only help to aid in sleep but many other physiological and psychological functions.
Some interesting literature done with B vitamins, B6 specifically, and magnesium that showed B6 affects the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, which then gets converted into melatonin, and magnesium affects the conversion of serotonin into melatonin, and it’s a GABA agonist. So might definitely explain why ZMA aids sleep so much.
WHAT ABOUT MELATONIN?
I’ve experimented with melatonin for about 6–8 weeks and didn’t really notice any difference in my sleep. Below is quote from Dan Pardi speaking this topic which I think explains partly why melatonin may not be as crucial as people think. If you don’t care for science or technical information just skip ahead.
HERE’S THE THING ABOUT MELTATONIN: IT’S NOT AS IMPORTANT AS GETTING YOU TO SLEEP AS YOU THINK
“Most people are aware of rods and cones in our eyes — they look at light to detect color and light intensity, and there they can transduce a light signal into a nerve signal.When rods and cones are triggered in that way, that message goes back to the primary visual cortex, where we turn light into image.
However in the mid 90s there was a different type of cell that was identified by a researcher Ignacio Provencio. He found there’s another retinal ganglion cell that also acts similarly to rods and cons, finding that it can also turn light into a nerve signal, but that nerve signal’s not going back to the visual cortex like rods and cons it’s going back to what’s called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or the master clock.
So when melatonin is produced under something called “dim light melatonin onset,” when the light dims in intensity, and also the tone of the light changes, or the color of the light changes such as when the sun goes down, then melatonin is produced in the pineal gland during this multisynaptic loop. So it is the perception of light by the eye which is eventually the trigger to say, “Okay. It’s becoming dark. Produce melatonin.”And then melatonin, which we often think of as a sleepiness hormone, but it has fairly weak soporific activity, soporific meaning it’s not a very strong stimulator for sleep, but it’s more of a reinforcer that it is in fact dark outside. And so it’s telling all the clocks within the suprachiasmatic nucleus, “Yeah, it’s now nighttime. Do nighttime activities.”
3. DEVELOP A NIGHTLY ROUTINE OF SOFT TISSUE WORK, STRETCHING & MEDITATION
Ever wondered why you feel so relaxed and sleepy after deep tissue myotherapy?
Because soft tissue work stimulates your vagus nerve which activates your parasympathetic nervous system.
You don’t need to pay for any one do it you can do it yourself with a foam roller or any type of hard small ball.
In short, use a foam roller to roll out tight areas of the body nightly focusing on each area of an extended period of time at least 30sec. Ideally 1min+
Combine this with resting a small tennis ball like object on tight knotted muscles on areas of the back, hips shoulders etc anywhere you feel tight just lay on the ball and breath through the discomfort until it dramatically lessons. You will feel very relaxed and loose after it. If you are unaware how to foam roll or soft tissue massage check out one of the best mobility strength and conditioning coaches int the world Kelly Starett.
From here I will do some specific stretching and meditate for 10 min while laying in bed as I’m trying to fall asleep.
If your familiar with the meditation app Headspace I use “Sleeping Part 2” in the ‘Singles’ category which really helps me fall asleep quick as it guides me through a breathing mind exercises for 10 min. (Headspace is free but this option is only available on the paid subscription service) Highly recommend it though.
4. BLACK OUT CURTAINS & THE PERFECT EYE MASK
This is one of the first things I attempted to aid my sleep because I noticed I was a light sleeper that was being effected by the moon and street light illuminating through the small gaps in my curtains and blinds. I didn’t actually purchase black out curtains but instead hang large blankets from my window using pegs AKA old school I don’t give a fuck style.
On the topic of eye masks, every eye mask I’ve used has eventually broken or some light is always coming through it. Tim Ferris sharing the same sentiment to me finally found a really good quality mask called Sleep Master Sleep Mask. Definitely worth purchasing if you sleep in a shared room with someone where there is more light than you’d like.
THE EXERCISE MISNOMER
Yes exercise can help you sleep better, but it’s going to take more than a couple of days or weeks. It usually takes months to see noteworthy results. So try not get impatient when you don’t notice any improvements immediately. High quality sleep takes time. Dr. Rhonda Patrick and a recent study on women with Insomnia confirms this below.
“Exercise improves both the sleep intensity and duration. Several studies have linked exercise to better sleep. Controlled trials have shown that when sedentary women with insomnia exercised for 30 min over the course of 16 weeks. They slept on average about 45 minutes longer and felt more rested when they were awake. But it has been shown that in some people exercise in the short term may exacerbate sleep problems and it is only long-term exercise that improves sleep.“