Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

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Smashter
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Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Smashter » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:07 am

I want to improve my sleep quality. Here are some ways I go about getting a good night's rest:

- I use blue blocking glasses at night to stimulate melatonin production
- I rarely drink caffeine after 1 PM
- I will take 1mg of melatonin when I am traveling or when I feel like my sleep cycle gets off track (which is probably more than it should...) This is a good explanation of why more people should consider using low dose melatonin.
- I track my sleep via the "Sleep Cycle" app on my phone. I have 808 nights of data, and I average 8:29 minutes in bed each night.
- I use blackout shades
- If I read in bed, I use a nightlight that does not emit blue light
- I wear a sleep mask and ear plugs

I want to open this up by first asking if anyone else sleeps with ear plugs. I started using them when I first moved into an apartment with roommates who would watch loud TV shows after I went to bed. Now, I am hopelessly addicted. Really. I have a very hard time falling and staying asleep if I don't use ear plugs. I am very sensitive to loud noises in general, so maybe that plays a role.

Despite all my efforts, I am still not the best sleeper. I feel like there are only 1 to 2 nights per week where I wake up thinking "Ahh, my brain detritus has been fully cleaned away and I am 100% refreshed." Maybe my standards are too high?

Anyway, I would love to know if anyone else geeks out over sleep and what your best practices are. Maybe if I stop trying to optimize and chill out a bit that will solve all my issues :)

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BRUTE
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by BRUTE » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:17 am

does Smashter fall asleep and wake up at the desirable times? if not, light therapy might help.

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Chad
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Chad » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:19 am

I do some of what you do (blackout shades, melatonin if I travel across timezones, etc.).

Two additional things:
- Instead of ear plugs I use a fan every night. Great white noise.
- I love it cold. 65 or so.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:52 am

Get a cuddle buddy who is a good sleeper.

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Dragline
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Dragline » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:20 pm

I don't wear earplugs, but have considered -- we have a dog that snores sometimes. Otherwise, I like it dark and cool. I sleep better if I have had sunlight and physical activity the previous day.

If you are sleeping more than 8 hours on average, it might be too much.

I would not read in bed. Only use it for sleeping and "cuddling". ;-)

You might try lithium orotate if you think your sleep issues are anxiety-related or you are having circadian rhythm issues.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:40 pm

My wife sleeps with one earplug in.

White noise generator, pick a setting, leave it.

The bedroom is for sleep and play. If you aren't ready for either, stay out of bed.

I also believe that a cold room makes for good sleep. I compromise with my wife, cool bedroom, preheated bed. Electric blankets are cheap and efficient. But it has to be turned off at bedtime. Otherwise she would bask in a 95 degree bed, and conduct that heat to me.

I sleep with a cpap, and I'm usually out in less than 5 minutes. Routine is key.

This is because sleeping is a skill. It should be developed like one.

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Smashter
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Smashter » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:20 pm

Thanks for the tips, all.

@everyone -- I have a fiance to cuddle with. It is of no help. She sleeps like a rock. I am jealous.

@Brute -- I should look into light therapy more.

@Dragline -- whoa. Never heard of that, will have to do some research.

@Riggerjack -- one earplug?! What is this madness you speak of. That would drive me crazy. I agree, it's probably all about routine. I envy your ability to go to bed quickly with the CPAP. Maybe this was burying the lede, but I was diagnosed with mild sleep Apnea a couple years ago. I tried the CPAP machine and thought it was the devil incarnate. I lasted about 6 months before ditching it. It's possible I need to give it another go. I have a deviated septum that I have tried to fix via surgery (twice!) but it didn't work.

Getting off topic, but for anyone considering that surgery it is advised to wait at least a couple months after the operation before playing high-level basketball. I had a ball hit me in the nose and I'm pretty sure that didn't help the healing process.

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chenda
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by chenda » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:24 pm

+1 on the cold bedroom. I sometimes leave my window open even in the dead of winter.

It does make getting up harder though.

wood
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by wood » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:37 pm

Marihuana.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:33 pm

I only mention the cpap, because it is part of the routine. You should certainly look into it again. Those who need cpap, and don't use them, need less to retire on, but that is no solution.

My wife wears one earplug, because she is a side sleeper. Why plug an ear that is against a pillow? We gave two cats that get locked up in a spare bedroom at night, to minimize shenanigans. What they do get up to disturbs her sleep, so an earplug. I get woken by deer and rabbits but that is no worry. Up, verify the source, go back to sleep, no problem. Deer thumping around in the backyard at night is common enough my wife calls em zombie deer. Always moving in the woods, just outta sight.

I used to work in construction, with quite a bit of shift work. Night shift, day shift, night again in the same week could happen, and did. 4 years in the army. A summer in Alaska, with no nights. Getting sleep as sleep is available is a survival skill.

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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by lilacorchid » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:28 pm

I think your standards may be a bit high. I had insomnia so bad for so long I ended up in the doctor's office in tears begging for something. I had tried melatonin, cutting caffeine, blackout shades, no blue light after supper, cold, warm, sleeping by myself, "cuddling", anything.

I'm a very happy person if I'm 80% refreshed or 100% refreshed a few times a week. If I'm able to go to work, function and be happy that I am awake and with my friends and family, I'm satisfied.

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BRUTE
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by BRUTE » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:56 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:Get a cuddle buddy who is a good sleeper.
just the worst. very few things are more annoying than laying in bed next to a human that's sleeping.

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Ego
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Ego » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:48 pm

This is one of those issues where you are deciding between two diametrically opposed solutions:
- shaping your environment to yourself
- shaping yourself to your environment

Rigger said that sleeping in a loud, light place is a learned skill. I agree. Exposure (or immersion) to noise and light at night may encourage your brain to get better at prioritizing noises/lights and determining which to filter and which represent a threat. Maybe start with a night when you know you don't have to be 100% the next day and try sleeping with a radio playing in another room. See if you can train your brain to up the endurance to noise.

One of my favorite stories, which I am sure I told here before, is of the homeless woman who was offered a bed in a shelter after years of sleeping out on the cold hard sidewalk. The first night she had to sleep on the floor beneath the bed because she found the soft warmth of the bed uncomfortable. She had become accustomed to cold concrete.

For tens of thousands of years our ancestors slept like this.....

Image

Presumably they got enough sleep to survive and function. The African bushveld can be a loud place at night. Cicada beetles are literally as loud as power saws.

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Smashter
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Smashter » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:22 am

@Ego your post is a nice wake-up call and reminds me of this fascinating paper on ancestral sleeping habits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119282/

Time to stop being a baby and go cold turkey on my ear plugs.

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Dragline
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Dragline » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:28 am

I'm reminded of the scenes in "My Cousin Vinny" where Joe Pesci's character, a wise-ass lawyer from New York, can't sleep at all in the country but sleeps like a baby when he gets thrown in jail and there are all kinds of sirens, doors banging and other human commotions.

There's much to be said for habituation. And plain old physical exhaustion. I never have trouble sleeping on backpacking trips no matter how hard the ground is or what kind of noises (mostly other humans in the group) I hear.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:24 pm

I have slept in C130s. Unstable, incredibly loud, tangle my Kevlar helmet in the webbing, out for most of a 1 hour flight.

At home, I have a white noise generator, that plays the sound of frogs. I got it when I lived in the suburbs, to raise my sleeping noise threshold. Nieghbors a few doors down slamming a car door doesn't wake me. My dog going through the dog door does, just enough to verify the source, roll over, and back to sleep.

I have motion sensitive exterior lights. When one of the lights trip, or in the summer, with windows open, there is a noise, I get up, check the source, go back to sleep. A glock, a flashlight and a night vision scope are within reach. Waking in the night should not be an adrenaline rush, it should be the norm.

Sleep shouldn't depend on uninterrupted silence, we didn't evolve for that.

BTW, I skipped a step in an above post. There are times when it is time to sleep, but I'm not yet ready for sleep. At these times, it is tempting to read, surf, whatever. This is all wrong. The last thing you want is any kind of stimulation at this time. I use this time to massage my wife's back/neck/shoulder. This is relaxing for us both, and after 15 minutes or so, I can roll over and sleep.

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Smashter
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Smashter » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:47 pm

I have no experience equivalent to being in a C130, but your comment reminds me that I can almost always fall asleep when I'm on a plane. Even when I forget my earplugs. That makes me think it's a psychological barrier more than anything.

Also, I now feel like even more of an entitled, pampered, whiner after listening to Peter Attia and Jocko Willink on a podcast. An MD (pre-residency labor law changes) and a Navy Seal dive into some sleep deprivation stories that are pretty hardcore. http://jockopodcast2.com/2017/01/04/56- ... ter-attia/

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Ego
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Ego » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:34 pm

Yesterday I typed the above post. Last night I was woken by Mrs. Ego snoring like a buzz saw and stared at the ceiling for a while wondering if the universe was playing a joke on me. Gave her a shove and she shut up. This morning she asked how I slept and I told her about her buzz-sawing. She told me to stop whining.

I'm starting to wonder if she reads my posts here then trolls me in real life. Wouldn't put it past her.

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chenda
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by chenda » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:42 pm

Maybe I am your wife...??

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Ego
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Ego » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:47 pm

That's just mean! :o

No way she'd figure out how to upload an avatar. You had me going there for a minute. :lol:

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C40
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by C40 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:53 pm

C40's Top 3 tips for best sleep ever:
1 - Exercise often. Ideally daily. With enough intensity/duration that your fitness is continually improving. You may find that exercising at a certain time of the day works a little better. But consistency is the most important thing.
2 - (This can have immediate effect) - meditate as you go to sleep. I once read a two page magazine article from some 1970s weightlifting magazine. One written in an intentionally cheesy way. It had very simple instructions on how to meditate as you went to sleep. Basic stuff like focusing on and relaxing one part of your body at a time. Counting slowly and intentionally and repeating some sort of sleep mantras (in your head, not out loud). I tried that and within the second night had the best sleep of my life
3 - Regular sleep times. Be in bed with your eyes closed at the same time every single night. (No late nights on weekends!) Wake up at the same exact time every morning.

(Extra tip - other stuff needs to be at least 'good enough' - low stress, good nutrition, comfortable enough sleeping area (the Soviet Russians found that 63 degrees F is the ideal room temperature for best sleep), and so on)

The best period of sleep in my life was while I was using all of these three with complete regularity. (Though my meditation was not the sleeping stuff, it was for sports performance). I slept very well. I had my alarm set for 6:00am every day. For a period of a few months, I woke 90% of the days on my own between 5:55 and 5:58, feeling well rested and ready to spring out of bed.

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chenda
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by chenda » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:12 pm

@Ego ;) :lol:

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Eureka
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Eureka » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:29 pm

Smashter wrote: reminds me of this fascinating paper on ancestral sleeping habits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119282/
Oh, yes, this paper is indeed fascinating. Thanks for reminding.

I am especially drawn towards the Tibetan caravaneers and how they are able to sleep soundly in the freezing cold of the Himalaya only by use of body heat. Does anyone have experience with this sleeping position? Or knows more about it?

A while ago, I experimented a bit with trying to fall asleep like the caravaneers, but so far without much luck. I cannot stay for long in this position (under my cover) as the heat that is generated in the stomach, intestinal, lung region quickly gets too intense. Next step is probably to skip the cover and try to relocate some of the heat from the front of the body to the back side of the body.

I guess I should keep on exploring. And that it will take some practice to achieve.

Being able to sleep like this would be really something though: one would no longer need a house nor bedding, but could literally sleep in any place. At least for hiking trips there would be no need to carry tent or sleeping bag.


Image

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Smashter
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by Smashter » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:18 pm

C40 wrote:C40's Top 3 tips for best sleep ever.
Slightly off topic, but have you found these tips help you lucid dream as well? I'm curious if you've found a correlation between what helps sleep in general and what helps you take control of your dream self and go on flying adventures. (or maybe I'm the only one who tries to fly during every lucid dream :) )

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C40
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Re: Sleep Hygiene - Best Practices?

Post by C40 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:58 pm

Eureka wrote:
Image
Ok. I'm currently out at a gathering of vandwellers in the desert in Arizona. I do a lot of walking around, including in the morning just before sunrise when most people are still sleeping. I read your post yeterday. Last night I dreamt that I was on one of those early morning walks here, and I came upon a man AND A DOG sleeping in that exact pose. :-D :-D :-D



Smashter wrote: Slightly off topic, but have you found these tips help you lucid dream as well? I'm curious if you've found a correlation between what helps sleep in general and what helps you take control of your dream self and go on flying adventures. (or maybe I'm the only one who tries to fly during every lucid dream :) )
Uhhh, I don't know. My lucid dreaming skill is currently at 08/100. I have them only rarely now and if I do, I'm really only 1/2 lucid. I'd expect they help, but I think "dream checks" make a much bigger difference for me. I never got to where I actually did the dream checks in my dream, but forming the habit of being aware of whether I am awake or possibly dreaming is what seemed to be making the biggest difference for me back when I was trying before. But I wasn't trying very hard or having much success, so I'm not good for advice on this.

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