PODCAST: Tim Ferris’s tips on Hacking Your Sleep
You may be asking yourself: who is Tim Ferris? Tim Ferris is the serial entrepreneur who has written a couple of influential books including “The Four Hour Workweek”, “The Four Hour Body” and “The Four Hour Chef”. Tim is passionate about optimizing anything in his life and the life of people around him, and he recently tackled the subject of sleeping in his podcast. Tim explains that his interesst in sleep began when he was doing an experiment (going without sleep for 5 days and observing the side-effects. He starts off with saying he did not make it 5 days. Hallucinations prevented him to last the entire 5 days, but he has always continued to experiment with sleep optimization and variation.
The following tips are ones he has picked up over the last 15 years which he actively uses to improve his sleep and his nights rest.
- Consume 150-250 calories of low-glycemis index foods in small quantitys prior to bed.
Low blood sugar followed by overnight fasting often is the reason for morning fatigues and headaches. When you have a small healthy snack before bed this can be prevented. What are low-glycemic index foods? Try a stick of celery with almond butter, a mandarin and some almonds or plain low fat or fat free yoghuty with an apple.
- Use ice baths to provoke sleep.
As mentiouned in our previous blog Tim Ferris also mentiones the mistakenly assumed fact that warm baths before turning in help you fall asleep faster. According to Tim, cold baths are more effective.
As there aren’t really any studies done on this subject, Tim decided to test the effects of taking 10 minute ice baths 1 hour before going to bed and found that it absolutely helped him be more relaxed and sleep easier. How do you take an ice bath? The icebath is simple: 2-3 bags of ice, put into a half-full bath until the ice is about 80% melted. Beginners should start with immersing the lower body only and progress to spending the second five minutes with the upper torso submerged
The result: it’s like getting hit with an elephant tranquilizer. Don’t expect it to be pleasant at first.
- Eating your meals at set times can be as important as sleeping on a schedule.
People talk a lot about rythyms and establisging a regular sleep schedule. But often people cut into their bedtime as this is an easy way to create “more” time. Having a set time to go to bed is just a question of being firm and once you see the benefits of a sleeping schedule it’s easier to hold on to. Also eating meals at set times helps you to regulate hormones like: melatonin, ghrelin, leptin, and other, these hormones affect your sleep cycle.
- Embrace 20-minute caffeine naps and ultradian multiples.
Test “caffeine naps” between 1-3 pm. Set your alarm for no longer than 20 minutes, which prevents awakening in the middle of a restorative sleep cycle. Interrupting these cycles often leaves you feeling worse than no sleep
For longer naps, test multiples of 90 minutes, which is called an “ultradian” rhythm, But don’t forget to factor in your time-to-sleep. If it takes you up to an hour to fall asleep your alarm for 7 hours should be: ((4 x 90 minutes) + 60-minute time-to-sleep)= 7 hours away
- Turn off preoccupation with afternoon closure and present-state training.
As tim ferris has “onset insomnia” he has no trouble staying asleep but does have a difficult time falling asleep. He feels there are two approaches that have a good effect with this issue. 1. Determine and set a to-do list in the afternoon for the next day to avoid late-night planning. 2. do not read non fiction prior to going to bed. this encourages projection and future planning. fiction however engages imagination and demands attention to the present.
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