Sleep is the new coffee

December 6, 2018

A month ago I finished reading Why We Sleep. Not only did I become convinced that getting high-quality sleep is the best protector and enhancer of health and cognition, but it is also the most underappreciated.

I’m shocked that sleep hygiene is not a global priority, and even more irate that my three children are expected to maintain school schedules that hinder adolescent development and contribute to mental illness. The science is sound.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve worked to systematically optimize my sleep and have experienced significant gains, ranging from a 40% to 157% increase in deep sleep! It feels amazing.

Graph of improving deep sleep time

These gains have come at a cost to my social life. I’ve been leaving events early and declining entertainment opportunities in order to maintain my routine. The benefits in how I feel have enabled me to do so without regret or FOMO.

Here is what I’ve been experimenting with (note, what works for you may be different):

  • Using Oura ring to track sleep stages, heart rate, body temperature and quantify improvement efforts
  • Blacked out windows for complete darkness
  • No food or liquid after 6 pm
  • No caffeine, alcohol or other mental stimulants
  • Using f.lux to auto-optimize screen colors/brightness
  • Blue light blocking glasses starting at 7 pm
  • 1 hour minimum wind down time after work before going to sleep
  • 5–10 minute meditation before bed
  • ChiliPad over my mattress, set to 62.6F
  • Room temperature set to 67F (a compromise; my partner likes it warmer)
  • In bed between 8:45 pm and 9:30 pm (this is my optimal window, everyone is different)
  • No morning alarms to remove pressure/stress/sound shock (I now wake up on time naturally)
  • Hemp/CBD oil ingested a few times a week 5 minutes before bedtime
  • A deep wave sound machine

I’m eager to learn what others are doing. Chime in on Medium or on Twitter!