10 Simple Tips for Mastering Sleep
aka the easiest way to be smarter, healthier, and prevent Alzheimer’s
Sleep is hands down the easiest way to make yourself smarter, healthier, happier, and more productive. It is astounding to me how many people are doing it incorrectly.
Here is how to radically improve your life with minimal effort.
- Prioritize Sleep—You can’t possibly sleep 8 hours if you don’t give yourself 8+ hours of time to sleep. People need different amounts of sleep and you can figure out how much you need by sleeping without an alarm for a week and seeing when you naturally wake up. I know I need to be in bed for a little over 8 hours to get 7 quality hours of sleep and feel my best.
- Consistency—Pick a sleep time and do not vary it by more than 20 minutes a day. Our bodies love routine and pushing your bedtime back an hour or more ruins your deep sleep. It doesn’t get made up by sleeping in.
- Dark & Quiet — Use blackout curtains in your bedroom and always travel with a good cheap eye mask and earplugs. It is like a little oasis no matter where you are sleeping.
4. Keep it Cool — Sleep in cool temperatures (ideally 65 degrees). A low body temperature helps get us into deep sleep. This may seem really cold to some of you, but give it a try and thank me after. I use a Nest Thermostat so I can easily schedule everything and run the fan periodically at night.
5. Invest in Your Bed — People resist spending a lot on a mattress because it is expensive. Dumb. You spend 1/3 of your life in your bed and a good mattress will last 25+ years. The best mattress for pretty much everyone (side and back-sleepers) is the Tempurpedic Cloud-Supreme Breeze. It will change your life. There are hundreds of direct to consumer foam mattresses brands out there and they are ok, but Tempurpedic is still king at the high end.
A $4,000+ bed may sound crazy, but brand new Tempurpedics can be had on Ebay for 50+% off. I have bought two Tempurpedics this way and they both arrived brand new from one of the many mattress stores that are liquidating nowadays. Here is a link to all the new ones on Ebay.
6. Use Blue Light Blocking Glasses before bed — They look weird I know, but studies show that they are more effective at producing melatonin than popping melatonin pills. Put them on 2–3 hours before bed. Ideally you would avoid all screens before bed, but it is not entirely realistic nowadays so these goggles help block out some of the harm. I also dim my Phillips Hue lights as the night progresses. Of all the different blue light blocking glasses I’ve tried these are my favorites.
7. Avoid Alcohol / Drink Early — Drinking destroys your sleep. If you are going to drink, please stop drinking well before bed so as much as possible is out of your system by the time you go to sleep. Day drinking is way more fun anyway. No one needs that last drink before bar close.
8. Avoid Caffeine/Sugar— The half-life of caffeine is about 6 hours, which doesn’t mean that caffeine is out of your system in 6 hours. It means that if you go to bed 6 hours after having coffee then half of it is still in your system. It is the equivalent of throwing back half a cup of coffee right before bed. Do yourself a favor and limit your afternoon caffeine. I don’t have coffee after 2pm and I know I should really stop at noon.
Some people like having a dessert or something before bed. Don’t do it. Eat a handful of nuts if you are hungry. Sugar wrecks your sleep.
9. Separate Bedrooms—If you have a partner, sleeping in separate beds can do wonders for your sleep. Sleeping separately allows each partner to customize their sleep environment and avoids the additional movement, heat, and noises that disrupt sleep. It is also a lot more common than you think.
10. Track It — A sleep tracker is useful for understanding what works best for you and keeping yourself accountable. My favorite right now is the Fitbit Inspire HR. It is the smallest heart tracking wristband at the moment and has a solid week plus battery life. The Apple Watch Series 4 + Pillow app is a workable alternative if you are willing to charge it everyday for 1-2 hours. There is also the Oura Ring, which tracks everything in a ring, but it is pricey ($300+) and comes with 9 week plus wait.
For more on sleep, read “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker Ph.D. or check out his podcast with Kevin Rose here.
Happy Sleeping 😴😴😴