Sleep: Best Practices

Below are some good habits/rules of thumb for sleep.

These habits/rules of thumb are not independent.


One should keep in mind that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Some of these habits may not be effective for everyone.

For example, personal data shows it’s not effective at increasing relevant sleep metric, or one isn’t practicing them for behavioral reasons.

A Few Basic Principles

Most of the practices below are justified by one of the following principles:

  1. Decrease core body temperature

  2. Increase sympathetic tone

  3. Be consistent

  4. Increase Melatonin

  5. Increase Adenosine

Sleep Practices

TODO: list which principle(s) each practice is justified by.

  1. Stop eating > 3 hours before bedtime

  2. Maintain regular bed/wake up times
    • Go to sleep according to chronotype,
      • Complete MEQ to determine chronotype.

    • Maintain consistency on weekends

    • Experiment with alarms to help maintain consistency

  3. Avoid exercise > 2 hours of bedtime

  4. Switch off lights > 1.5 hours before bedtime
    • Prefer red light to blue light

  5. Set bedroom temp to 65-67\(^\circ\) F
    • Wear socks to invite blood flow to feet, dissipating heat from core.

  6. Hot Shower/Sauna before bed
    • Invite blood flow to the surface of body, dissipating heat from core upon exiting shower/sauna

  7. Have relaxation/wind-down practive
  8. Go to bed only when sleepy, avoid lying awake in bed > 10-15 minutes
    • Mind needs to associate the bed with sleep
      • Exit bed(room), relaxing, return to bed when sleep

  9. Don’t nap after ~3pm, avoid daytime napping if having trouble sleeping

  10. Learn to mentally decelerate before bed
    • Avoid potentially anxiety-inducing stimuli/thoughts
      • e.g. social media/communication, art, etc.

  11. Remove visible clock faces, technology, etc.
    • Avoid anything eliciting ruminative/projective anxiety

  12. Avoid alcohol, THC, caffeine, etc. before bed
    • Causes frequent wake ups, sleep fragmentation, etc.
      • potentially without awareness of the disruption

  13. Don’t go to bed too hungry

  14. Morning/Daylight sun exposure

  15. Sleep alone
    • Sleep partners can be (un)intentionally disruptive

Standard Exceptions

  1. Forces out of our control regular coerce violations of #3, e.g. travel, social obligations, etc.

  2. Compliance with #1 may require violation of #13.
    • The opposite should be avoided when possible.

  3. You may have to violate #13 during prolonged fasts