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If you’re going to join the Sleep Challenge, you’ll need to select some interventions. I’ve broken them down into 3 categories:
- Sleep Hygiene Products: These are physical items or devices that are designed to improve the quality of sleep. Examples of sleep hygiene products include sleep masks, earplugs, white noise machines, and special pillows or mattresses.
- Sleep Supplements: These are products that are taken orally and are intended to promote sleep or improve its quality. Examples of sleep supplements include melatonin, valerian root, chamomile, and magnesium.
- Sleep Hygiene Practices: These refer to habits or behaviors that can help to promote healthy sleep. Examples of sleep hygiene practices include maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, keeping the bedroom dark and cool, and engaging in relaxation techniques before sleep.
What I Would Choose
- What I Would Choose
- My Favorite Sleep Hygiene Products
- Sleep Supplementation
- Sleep Hygiene Practices
If I was just starting out, knowing what I know now after years of experimentation, I would choose:
- blue light blocking glasses in the evening
- 15 minutes of morning sun lamp
- a blackout sleep mask
- and of course, my beloved ChiliSleep system so I can always sleep in the freezing cold!
However, it’s up to you to pick and choose what you think might work best for you.
Here are some other example interventions:
- Wear blue light blocking glasses 3 hours before bed
- Cut caffeine intake in half
- Wear a blackout sleep mask
- 15 minutes of morning sun lamp
- Cut out alcohol
- Huberman’s sleep stack (jump link to the protocol)
- Begin meditating before going to sleep
- Blackout curtains
- ChiliSleep System
You choose the interventions you want to include and track how it impacts your sleep in the tracking spreadsheet:
The following isn’t an exhaustive list. There are tons of things you can try. I’ve had amazing success with blue light blocking glasses, sleep masks, and morning sun lamp exposure. Remember, the idea is to get you started tracking and experimenting with your sleep!
My Favorite Sleep Hygiene Products
Blue Light Blocking Glasses
The ones above are my favorite- they’re actually REAL blue light blocking glasses. Click here to check them out!
- Blue light blocking glasses can help improve sleep quality by reducing the amount of blue light exposure in the evening, which can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
Blackout Sleep Mask
The one above is what I use. They’re soft and velcro adjustable + really blackout the bedroom. Click here to check them out.
- A blackout sleep mask can help create a dark sleeping environment, which is essential for promoting healthy sleep.
- Studies have shown that using a sleep mask can improve sleep quality, reduce awakenings during the night, and increase melatonin secretion.
- Blackout sleep masks can also be beneficial for people who work night shifts or have irregular sleep schedules, as they can help create a dark sleeping environment during the day.
Sleep Tracking Device
I’ve been using the Oura ring for years and it’s helped me identify sleep difficulties and assess how different interventions (like my sunlamp) improved my sleep. If I had to buy it all over again, I might try the FitBit (check it out here) because some sleep experts I trust say it’s better at measuring sleep stages than Oura.
- Sleep Insights Unveiled: Imagine a small ring on your finger that uncovers the mysteries of your sleep. The Oura ring and other sleep tracking devices offer valuable insights into your sleep patterns. They reveal the duration of your sleep, the various stages you experience, and your overall sleep efficiency. Armed with this knowledge, you gain a deeper understanding of your sleep quality and can make informed decisions to enhance your well-being.
- Personalized Sleep Optimization: These devices go beyond tracking and provide personalized recommendations to help you optimize your sleep. By analyzing your sleep data, they offer insights into factors that may impact your sleep quality, such as bedtime routines and environmental conditions. With this information, you can make adjustments and cultivate healthier sleep habits, leading to improved overall well-being.
- Comprehensive Health Monitoring: Sleep tracking devices like the Oura ring offer a range of health monitoring features. In addition to tracking sleep, they monitor daily activity levels, heart rate variability, body temperature, and provide insights into your overall readiness and recovery. By integrating sleep data with other health metrics, you gain a holistic view of your well-being, allowing you to make informed decisions about your health and performance.
Morning Sun Lamp
I use a different (much larger and more expensive) sun lamp than this one- but this option is a solid choice
- A morning sun lamp can help regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle by providing bright light in the morning, which can reset the circadian clock and improve alertness and mood.
- Studies have shown that morning light therapy can improve sleep quality, reduce daytime sleepiness, and increase cognitive performance.
- Morning sun lamps can also be beneficial for people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is related to changes in daylight hours. Light therapy can help alleviate symptoms of SAD and improve mood.
- Blackout curtains create a dark sleep environment that promotes the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
- Blackout curtains block out external noise, promoting deeper and more restorative sleep.
- They can be especially helpful for people with irregular sleep schedules, such as night shift workers.
- Investing in a set of blackout curtains is a low-cost and easy way to improve the quality of your sleep.
I’m currently recommending the BedJet, though I use an older model ChiliSleep system. They both work to temperature-control your bed, one with water (Chili) and one with air (BedJet)- but the BedJet is a much more cost-effective option.
- The ChiliSleep system works by using a special mattress pad to circulate water through a network of micro-tubes. The water is either heated or cooled to your desired temperature, creating a comfortable and personalized sleep environment.
- Sleeping in a cooler environment has been shown to have numerous benefits for sleep quality and overall health. When we sleep, our body temperature naturally drops as part of the sleep-wake cycle. By creating a cooler sleep environment with the ChiliSleep system, we can enhance this natural drop in body temperature, which may help us fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
- Additionally, sleeping in a cooler environment can also promote deeper and more restorative sleep. When our body temperature is too high, it can disrupt our natural sleep cycles and lead to more shallow and fragmented sleep. By cooling our sleep environment, we can help promote deeper and more restful sleep, which can have numerous benefits for our physical and mental wellbeing.
The Andrew Huberman sleep supplement stack
*The video above explains the reasoning behind the recommendations
To enhance your sleep, you can use any or all of the following supplements, 30-60 minutes before bedtime:
*Read more about this sleep stack here.
Andrew Huberman is a distinguished neuroscience professor at Stanford University, and he runs the acclaimed Huberman Lab podcast. With his Ph.D. in neurobiology and a wealth of experience researching brain development and function, he is a recognized authority in his field.
The Huberman Lab is focused on unraveling the mysteries of the neural circuits that drive behavior, including the intricate systems that govern vision, sleep, and stress responses. With his deep understanding of the human brain, Huberman has become an expert in the realm of sleep supplements.
He recommends a supplement stack that includes magnesium threonate, apigenin, and theanine to help promote restful sleep. Alternatively, he suggests GABA, glycine, and myo-inositol as viable substitutes or additions to the primary stack.
So if you’re looking to improve the quality of your sleep, it might be worth giving these supplements a try. But always remember to check with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.
Other supplements you can try
- Melatonin: This is a hormone naturally produced by the body to help regulate sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin supplements can help promote restful sleep and may be especially effective for people with jet lag or shift work disorder.
- Chamomile: This herb is a popular natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety. Chamomile tea or supplements can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
- Valerian root: This herb has been used for centuries as a natural sleep aid. Valerian supplements can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality, but they should be used with caution as they may interact with certain medications.
- Passionflower: This herb has mild sedative properties and can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Passionflower supplements can help improve sleep quality, but they should be used with caution as they may interact with certain medications.
- 5-HTP: This amino acid is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and sleep. 5-HTP supplements can help improve sleep quality and may also have antidepressant effects.
Sleep Hygiene Practices
Here’s a list of some common sleep hygiene practices you can try incorporating:
- Establish a consistent sleep routine: Just like you have a routine for your workday, establish a consistent sleep routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and improve the quality of your sleep.
- Create a comfortable sleep environment: Your bedroom should be a sanctuary for sleep. Keep it cool, quiet, and dark. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows, and consider using blackout curtains or a sleep mask to eliminate light.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake: Caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep, so it’s important to limit your intake. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day.
- Manage stress: Stress and anxiety can keep you up at night. Find ways to manage your stress, such as exercise, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
- Avoid screens before bedtime: The blue light emitted by electronic devices can disrupt your sleep. Avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime, or use blue light blocking glasses to reduce the impact.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day, but avoid exercising too close to bedtime.
- Avoid large meals before bedtime: Eating a large meal before bedtime can make it difficult to fall asleep. Instead, eat a light snack if you’re hungry.
- Don’t use your bed for anything other than sleep: Your bed should be reserved for sleeping and sex only. Avoid using it for work or watching TV, as this can disrupt your sleep routine.
Hi, I’m Ryan Nelson, a 42-year-old solopreneur from New York City. After battling insomnia, I delved into quantitative strategies to improve my sleep. Now, I’m here to help you do the same. Explore data-driven approaches to enhance your sleep quality, backed by my journey and discoveries. Join me in uncovering the secrets to restful nights and energized days. Let’s transform your life through better sleep.