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Rob C

The 7 steps I took that greatly improved my sleep quality

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I just finished listening to the NIKE podcast that Andrew recommended. They didn’t really mention too many steps on how to improve one’s sleep. I just went through a very successful sleep improvement program, so I thought I would list what worked for me.

I will quickly mention where I am coming from. My daughter had serious sleep issues for her first few years. This forced me to get ~3-4 hours of sleep a night (not in a row) for a couple of years. I survived it but it left me sleeping like a cat and would wake up continuously all night long. Compounded was family/work limits my sleep to ~5.5-6 hours a night. I live in California so I wake up at 4:45am to get ready for the day and prepare for the market open. So I really need a good night sleep.

In this list I won’t mention the obvious (caffeine, consistent sleep time, alcohol, stress, temperature). I also won’t mention the more holistic (grounding, meditation, message).

I am listing in the order of impact it had to improving my sleep.

1)    Where orange glasses when looking at a screen at night. Yes, it’s easy to say to reduce screen time at night, but realistically none of us can do that. I tried the blue light reduction app, but it didn’t make much difference. I bought $10 blue block glasses from Amazon and it made a world of difference. Actually I just continuously where them after the sun goes down to reduce all blue light exposure. I tried the more expensive ones (Swannies) but they break easy.

2)    Where clear sunglasses when driving to work in the morning. I was brought up that you should where the darkest brown sunglasses whenever your outside. That’s obviously wrong. There is time for sunglasses and a time not to have them. This is a great way to get you Circadian cycle started on time. Again $10 Amazon for UV protective but clear sunglasses. I use them for my morning drive. Actually not only did it help my sleep, but really helps you wake up in the morning. Don’t worry you stop squinting in a few weeks.

3)    Read this book: Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson. I have read a lot of books on sleep. This is by far the best. All but three of these tips that I am listing here are in his book. If you want a free Audiobook copy, send me your email. You are allowed to send a free audio book to anyone once from Amazon Audible.

4)    Use a sleep tracking watch. By chance I bought a Garmin for running that happens to have a sleep tracker app. It made a huge difference. Most of these steps I took I could not feel the difference, but my watch would detect that it did. So I try a new habit each week and see if my watch detects anything. Once you add a few of these new habits together you then feel the difference.

5)    Darken your bedroom. My daughter had poor night vision. So our house was filled with light at night. After reading the impact of nightlights on children’s vision I changed that. The house is dark now with blackout curtains.

6)    Don’t take multi vitamins before bed. For decades that was exactly what I was doing. That was my normal regime. Take a vitamin and head to sleep. I was reading a book on genes and it just happen to mention, “and of course don’t take B vitamins near your bedtime since they are a stimulant.” I was totally shocked by this and stopped immediately. That really helped my sleep.

7)    Walk don’t run. I love running, but I am also fond of walks and hiking. A recent study determined that walking induces better quality sleep than more vigorous exercise. So I now always walk at lunch and sometimes give up my evening run for a walk if I can convince a family member to come along (it’s usually my son).

 Hopefully you found this useful.

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Thanks for the comment.

The bright sunlight tells your body the day has started. So your body will stop Melatonin production and begin the Circadian cycle.

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It sounds like someone else is a fan of Dave Asprey 😀

some more I'd add

1) Replace your coffee intake with tea (happy to recommend some for those who don't enjoy the thin, bitter swill that is conventional bags of tea dust)

2) the inverse of wearing amber glasses at night is that spending 30-60 min in front of a bright screen (ex: watching an episode of something on netflix) is a great way to wake yourself up

3) learn your chronotype. (read The Power of When by Michael Breus).  

4) Avoid fluids 3 hours before bed

5) Meditation is somewhat overrated. The last thing a highly anxious person should do is sit alone with their thoughts for hours. 

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