I need my sleep, my brain just doesn’t function without it. I am also an emotional wreck if I don’t sleep well. Up until I was about 38 I always seemed to sleep like a baby regardless of what was going on in my life, but as the years have passed, I find that just the simplest of things can fuck with my sleep and I think the main culprits that are right at the top of the list are food & drink, plus any form of work related stress.
So on that note, here are the things I have committed to habit to ensure I sleep well consistently:
- No caffeine. Only caffeine free Diet Coke and decaf coffee for me 😇
- No sugar. This is a hard one as I am like a wasp around orangina when it comes to sugar.
- Stretching. About 10-15 minutes whilst watching the TV at about 9pm (not every night but I always feel like I sleep better when I do)
- I stop eating at about 6pm. I always sleep better when I don’t eat late and feel more energetic in the morning.
- I stop drinking any fluids at about 6.30pm, this means no peeing in the night.
- I have trained my body to ignore any sensation to go for a pee in the night, instead it waits until 7am at the earliest (this took me about 6 months of completely ignoring the need to pee).
- I have no work related apps installed on anything that can leave my office, this means that work stays in my office and doesn’t follow me around the house or out of the house and I am not tempted to peek at work related stuff before I go to bed.
- My wife is really good at making sure that we don’t spend our nights glaring at phones.
- I don’t watch or read the mainstream news.
- I’ll pickup my kindle and read a few pages of a book (currently reading Ready Player 2)
- No iPhone or iPad in the bedroom at bedtime.
- I always have one beeswax ear plug (they really are the best) to slot in my exposed ear during the night if I need it.
- I’ll consciously breath a certain way as I begin to nod off for the night (more about this below)
Also, since Apple released sleep tracking on the Apple Watch it has added nothing but value to my sleep cycle.
I never wore my Apple Watch in bed, I tried it but I found it irritated me and gave me a bit of a feeling of restlessness in my left wrist (even with the silicon band) so I gave up on it and instead set an alarm.
So when sleep tracking was released I thought I'd give it another go. First thing I did was switch it to my right wrist, full time - which took a while to get used to but felt much better when wearing when asleep. I also changed my charging routine by putting in on a full charge once I woke up for 20 mins.
I then set the wake-up routine for 6.45 am every weekday and 7.45 every weekend to add consistency to my sleep cycle with a bedtime of 10 pm. I set the alarm to a haptic touch so that it gently wakes me.
I have been doing this for about 4 months now and my body has gotten into a consistent routine where it wakes up just before my Apple Watch gently taps me awake, both during the week and at weekends, on the odd occasion I do go over, the gentle tap is a nice easy way to come round from a deep sleep.
One of the things I wasn't expecting though was the heart rate notifications I get once I am awake, they let me know that my heart rate has dropped during certain times in the night which again are generally consistent.
When I first started, I didn't get any of these notifications, then after a month or so I started to notice them more, eventually I'd get them consistently, now I get 2-3 per night.
I also noticed, after I started getting these notifications for the first time, I felt much more refreshed and energetic during the day so I guess they are an indication that I am entering deep good quality sleep cycles.
It all conincides with when I started Bone Breathing before sleep (which I do in a sleep position before drifting off), more on that here:
I don’t know if that is related or not, but the combination of Bone Breathing and haptic wake ups has really added lots of consistency to my sleep patterns, there are other things as detailed above that I do to enhance my sleep, the musts are cutting out caffeine, a minimal amount of sugar is another and to stay as hydrated as possible.
Currently, I am consistently hitting 8 hours plus, these are my latest stats.
Ultimately, a good sleep cycle helps me enter a flow state when I exercise or when I am doing something I enjoy.
Have a great day!