12 Tips For Sleeping Better Than A Baby

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Articles, Sleep

The following is a guest post from Craig Huggart, who has been a longtime podcast listener, and is a technology trainer for law firms (and also a triathlete). Craig's been geeking out on his sleep lately, and now shares his fantastic tips below on how to sleep better.

This is a great read if you want to see how the average working guy implements sleep optimization into his daily routine.

If you have questions, comments or feedback about how to sleep better, leave them below the post, and if you find this information helpful, you may also want to check out the article “How To Hack Your Sleep, Beat Insomnia & Get Into A Deep Sleep Phase As Fast As Possible”.

And now let's hear what Craig has to say.

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Nothing has more impact on your training, racing, and overall health than sleeping.

Thanks to Ben’s guidance combined with my own research and self-experimentation, I am sleeping better now than I ever have in my adult life (I’m 51)! And I’ve done this while traveling extensively (195 nights in 2012).

So, what do I personally do?

Below is a sketch of an average day and the little and big things I do to get better sleep despite my hectic travel schedule.

5:00 AM: I wake up to some music I like, turn off the app that tracks my sleep (Sleep As Android) and record my sleep and some other details using RestWise. If you are competitive like me, then merely tracking the quantity and quality of your sleep will motivate you to get better sleep. I don’t personally use the Zeo Sleep Manager because I want to avoid radio waves as much as possible.

5:30 AM: Finish off my shower with 3 minutes of water as cold as I can stand it. Since I have started doing “Cold Thermogenesis”, I can really see an impact on my sleep. This is especially true if I work out later in the day. In those cases, taking a cold shower after my workout makes a huge difference in how well I sleep.

6:00 AM: 5 minutes with the emWave2 for general stress relief. The emWave2 is pricey but there are some less expensive alternatives (see Ben's Podcast Episode #222).

Extra Tips:

During the winter, in the early mornings I use a light that clips on to my laptop called Syrcadian Blue for about 20 minutes.

Throughout the day, I maintain a clean, high fat / low carb diet and drink lots of water. I also carry a Brita bottle with a filter nearly everywhere I go.

9:30 AM: I take some TianChi. If I could only take one supplement, this would be it. This helps with sleep because it helps with adrenal exhaustion. And besides, this stuff rocks!

Extra Tip:

Whenever it gets dark: I put on sunglasses. There are a wide variety of sunglasses available on the market but just make sure you get ones that block blue light. Think about the last time you went camping. Didn’t you begin to get sleepy when the sun went down? Artificial light, especially from computers, negatively affects hormones that get our bodies ready for sleep.

7:30 PM: Put on my Cool Fat Burner vest for about 30 minutes while I watch TV (more cold thermogenesis).

8:15 PM: My bedtime routine begins.

  • I down a tablespoon of MCT oil. One of the reasons that I used to wake up during the night was because I was hungry. Even though it is only about 100 calories this slow release fat source really helps.
  • Next I do 10 sprays of topical magnesium. I get the best absorption on my back and inner thighs. In terms of a true sleep aid there is nothing better than magnesium. In addition to the topical magnesium, I take a heaping tablespoon of Natural Calm Magnesium. By the way, I definitely prefer the Raspberry Lemon flavor. I just let it dissolve in my mouth.
  • After that, I head to my bedroom. I sleep on an Essentia Mattress (you can use code BEN10 to get 10% off). I’ve replaced the bulb in my bedside lamp with one from LowBlueLights.com. Also, I have done all I can to make my bedroom dark. I’ve installed black out curtains and have used duct tape to cover up lights on power supplies. I don’t have a night light in my room. Another thing I do is try to get the temperature and the humidity right. 65 degrees and 65% humidity is ideal. If you travel, you may be surprised at how dry most hotel rooms are. I used to travel with a temperature and humidity gauge but now I just assume all hotel rooms are all too dry. To combat this you can run a tub of hot water and just let it stand.
  • Then I start up my Earth Pulse. The Earth Pulse uses pulse electromagnetic fields to help you relax and sleep deeper. This is a fairly expensive item and it is pretty “out there” but I am convinced that I am sleeping better since I started using it. This is something that Ben swears by and talks about on a number of podcasts.
  • Once I get settled in bed, I put the lid on the day. This is a routine that I learned from Sound Sleep, Sound Mind (the best book I’ve read on sleep). The basic idea is that you deal with or make notes about whatever is on your mind and then you tell yourself “I’m not going to think about that right now because it is time to go to sleep”. This may sound trite but it can make a huge difference. If you have trouble “turning your brain off” I highly recommend you check out this book.

8:45 PM:

  • Turn on Sleep As Android. One setting I use is to have it automatically turn on Airplane Mode. This shuts down all the radios.
  • Turn on Pure Sleep by AmbiScience. AmbiScience makes my favorite apps (on Android and iOS) for generating binaural beats combined with white noise. From the first night I started using binaural beats, I could tell a difference. I created a Preset on the app with the following settings: Sound: “Just the waves” (Volume 100%); Effect: “Deep Sleep 1.05 Hz – HP” (Volume 30%). The sound quality is great. For a simpler alternative (that Ben uses), you can download one track and create a playlist that repeats this 2 hour track 4 times.
  • Plug in and put on my sleep headphones and drift off to sleep (almost always by 9:00 PM).

This probably seems like a lot of trouble…and it is a bit of effort! But my quality of my life is so much better now, and that makes my sleep routine well worth it. At 51 years of age, I’m sleeping better than at 41, 31, or 21.

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So how can YOU do all this?

I would begin by getting an app for your phone that can track your sleep. Then pick one thing, try it and see if it makes a measurable difference. If it does, keep doing it. If not, move on.

When it comes to sleeping better, what works for you? Please let me know in the comments, along with any questions or feedback you may have. Finally, if you have health, fitness or nutrition tips you'd like to contribute as a guest post, click here to contact Ben.

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26 thoughts on “12 Tips For Sleeping Better Than A Baby

  1. Alivia cora says:

    sleep can directly affect your mental and physical health it can also affect your weight, productivity, and emotional balance,
    I suggest every one to sleep well every night. here you mention very good tips of sleep .thankyou for sharing very nice article ..keep sharing

  2. Katy says:

    Thanks for the detailed guide you shared. If people apply it, they will definitely sleep much better.

    To me, the way seems simpler. All I need to do is stay away from my iPhone, stay away from FB, Instagram.

  3. Lúcia Mayra says:

    Very good content, i must sleep better currently

  4. Janet says:

    Great post! Exactly what my husband and I needed to read!

  5. Jim Thrope says:

    This dude has too much time on his hands. Get a real job then try to do all this.

  6. acne no more review - review, says:

    What’s up, I read your blog like every week. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep up the good work!

  7. For the warm summer climates, I recommend a glass of water before going to bed. Helps you establish a cool temperature. That one serves well for the summer where it can get so hot and humid in the evening.

  8. Carly says:

    I'm having trouble finding good blackout curtains, do you have any suggestions for a good brand to use?

  9. Joel says:

    F.lux – Automatically changes the screen output based upon the time of time. http://stereopsis.com/flux/

    1. Yes, flux rocks! I use it every night!

  10. Joel S says:

    I'd really like some additional first hand knowledge about the Syrcadian Blue light. While it's not that expensive, I can't seem to get a clear picture of this product and if it is worth the investment?

  11. Joel S says:

    I'd really like some additional first hand knowledge about the Syrcadian Blue light. While it's not that expensive, I can't seem to get a clear picture of this product and if it is worth the investment?

    Any feedback guys/gals?

    1. Light therapy has good research behind it, and this one looks good. Just remember – don't use it at night! Morning only!Ben

  12. @TheLoneMarmot says:

    Thanks Ben!

    I'll factor that in, should the MCT not work.

  13. cathy says:

    Another good tip is massaging oil on the body. From an ayurvedic standpoint, too much Vata causes poor sleep. (Vata is dry, light, thin). Bringing moisture into the body is balancing. I use castor oil right before bed. I massage my abdomen, neck, forehead and bottoms of feet. It really does help!

  14. Beccah Canada says:

    I love this post. Thanks for sharing Ben & Craig. I started Magnesium last night & ordered my cool fat burner vest today. Every little bit helps & the tips & tricks are amazing from you all. Thanks so much for sharing such a wealth of information. I am one of those people who never feel fully rested, and on the days I do I am so grateful. Here is to looking forward to some more restful nights of sleep. Thanks Again!

  15. Saul says:

    What exactly is Tian Chi?

  16. @TheLoneMarmot says:

    Almost every night I wake up between 03:00 and 04:00 hungry.

    I eat to my recommended calorie allowance and it still happens.

    So, I'm going to try that MCT oil trick and see how it goes.

    Thanks.

  17. A couple of things . . .

    My sleep wasn’t that bad but it is significantly better. The biggest difference is my first night in a new city. It used to be that the first night I slept really poorly. Now, I sleep pretty good and by the 2nd night I’m sleeping as good or better as I do at home. And honestly, all of the things I do are just part of my routine and hardly take any time at all.

    Also, for those who are interested, I’m trying a new app. for binaural beats that I really like. It’s called Brain Wave and it’s by Banzai Labs (iOS only). The link is: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/brain-wave-30-advanced-binaural/id307219387?mt=8. What’s great about it is that rather than 1 setting for the whole night it takes you through stages. My favorite is “Dreamy Sleep / Wake-Up”. It has 6 stages and when combined with “Waterfall” for white noise is an excellent combination.

  18. Jason says:

    That seems like an insane amount of effort. I'd bet that 20% of what he's doing would give 80% of the benefit. He must have had horrific sleep patterns beforehand.

    1. You'd be surprised at the number of folks who have a hard time sleeping (especially people who travel a lot like Craig) and will go to these efforts for solid sleep every night. Once you make it a habit, this stuff is actually pretty quick and effortless to implement.

  19. Raquel says:

    Hey Ben! Are there alternative iPhone apps available similar to the ones you mentioned?
    Thanks for your help!
    Raquel

    1. Joel says:

      I downloaded sleep cycle. It works okay considering what it is trying to accomplish.

  20. Reka says:

    Hey Ben, What about sleeping too much? What needs to be checked if someone sleeps too much naturally, besides thyroid and iron?

    1. You're right that there's a law of diminishing returns with sleep, Reka, and the "money zone" appears to be more than 5.5 hours but less than 9 hours. Depends on you, your genetics and your activity though. Professional Ironman Andy Potts sleeps 11 hours a night and he does pretty well. ;)

      If you sleep too much, I'd begin by looking into basic adrenal fatigue, common among parasympathetic dominant folks, like endurance athletes. A lot of times you do find thyroid antibodies and low iron go hand in hand with this type of chronic fatigue as well, so you could absolutely check those too. A micronutrient and mineral analysis through a company like Spectracell would be good too. Hope that helps!

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