June 30, 2022 3 min read

God bless the internet. 


Despite it’s barrage of distractions, trolls and bad news, there are some pretty cool things online. 


One of the coolest is all the research people are doing on themselves and their habits. 


This research can save us years of trial and error by giving us a place to start that’s further down the experimental road than we might start on our own. 


As an example, consider the couple who spent two years tracking their sleep habits to see what helped and hurt their sleep. 


They tracked everything from alcohol to temperature to exercise and more. 


Take a look at the data and then we’ll share some additional thoughts:

What’s interesting to note is how some of the results, like temperature, are nearly opposite. 

 

And that’s a great reminder that just because someone (even us) writes an article with tips for sleep or… well… whatever, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. 

 

You have to test these things for yourself. 

 

What’s also interesting to notice from this particular bit of data are the two things that helped and the one thing that hurt sleep for both partners. 

 

Sleep Helpers:

 

  1. Fasted in the 3 hours before bed. 
  2. In bed before 11pm

 

Sleep Defeater:

 

  1. Alcohol

 

So, if we were going to audit our sleep routine, these three sleep hacks would be a really good place to start. 

 

  1. Stop eating at least three hours before you go to bed. Late night eating is often a precursor to sleepless nights! In order to eliminate its negative effect, try eating your last meal several hours before bedtime. 

    Some foods are more difficult to digest than others. Those are the ones to stay away from at night. Stick to simple, digestible dinner options and eat them as early as possible. 

    Avoid heavy meats and creamy dishes. In the event you get a little hungry later on, go for a cup of calming tea. This isn't the time for a heaping scoop of ice cream!

  2. Get in bed before 11 pm. Some research suggests each hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight.

  3. Don’t drink alcohol within 2-3 hours of bed. Just because it may relax you does not mean it helps you get restful sleep.  

 

The bottom line is to test and track what works for you. The best way to do this is use a sleep tracker like an Apple watch or an Oura ring. 

 

You’ll probably want to combine your tracker with a habit app to get a better idea of what’s working and not working for you. 

 

The app used by the couple above tracks far more than just sleep and can be found at:  www.bearable.app

 

And if you want to try something we created for the unique sleep and stress needs of first responders,  check out Night Shift

 

Listen, you owe it to yourself to have a restful night's sleep. Your mind and body perform much better when you  get sufficient, quality rest. Once you commit to understanding what works for you, you'll be in a better position to rest well every single night.


[Publisher’s Note: The sleep data image above along with context and some interesting comments can be found  here.]


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