I am not the world’s greatest sleeper. I think I usually sleep out of necessity more than desire. If I could get away with it – I’d rather pass.
That said – I’ve been informed that I have to sleep every day – which I’ve double checked with the doctors – and I’ve unfortunately confirmed as true.
So, I figured if I’m going to have to sleep – I might as well try to get better at it. So, over the past 6 months or so, here are 3 sleep experiments that I’ve been testing out (and have worked for me).
Daily Outdoor Routines: Cold Water Mornings + Mid-Day Walks
Yes, I’m talking about cold water again.
I’ve found the days that I start by jumping in Barton Springs are considerably better than days I don’t.
There’s two reasons for this.
1) Having something I have to “go to” early in the morning in incredibly helpful. Simply rolling over to my computer on the other side of the apartment doesn’t quite do it. Having to be at an activity on time has a completely different effect.
2) It’s full body cold shower therapy. It wakes up you up quick.
Also – scientifically speaking, getting up with the sun helps right-set your circadian rhythm and get you on track for the day. It also makes it hard for you to stay up to all hours of the night when you’re up before the sun.
If you have any sort of circadian rhythm disorders (going to sleep early and waking early, or going to sleep late and getting up late), these help remarkably with ‘resetting’ your body into getting on a natural cycle.
I’ve done this before, but the pandemic found me holed up working most days and spending way more time indoors than normal.
Implementing these helped straighten me out, normalize my evening circadian rhythms and overall decrease stress – which helps with the sleep as well.
Chili Sleep: Mattress Cooling Technology
I was sent a Chili Sleep machine a while back and took me a long time to actually try it out. I assumed that it would be more difficult to set up and I put it off.
I finally got around to setting it up….and it’s a game changer for the temperature gains alone.
I think it’s going to be very hard to going back to sleeping at any other temperature than “cold” for a few reasons:
→ It helps you fall asleep faster
→ It promotes deeper sleep
→ Like other cold therapy, it can help you burn fat (while sleeping? I’ll take it).
That said, while the idea of sleeping cold is great, I don’t love the specific setup I have. I did a full Chili sleep review over on MoveWell, and the technology just feels like it could be done better.
Long story short – I love the temperature control. I don’t love the (older) chili sleep system. It feels like it could be built directly into the mattress. There’s a newer version – the Ooler – and other sleep systems like Eight Sleep have come into the game to see if I can get better results.
New Sleep Formulation
One of the benefits of the last year and a half of quarantine, is that I’ve had a lot of time to tinker around with reformulating our nutrition line.
While, I’ve played around with sleep formulas from other companies for a long time – the broad majority have never worked for me.
Personally, my issues with sleep are two-fold
1) Feeling rested + recovered in the morning (I have had mixed success here)
2) Falling asleep (this is always the more difficult part).
A bunch of supplements I have tried in the past have either led to super-vivid dreams that are not pleasant in the least or have a sedative effect – so while I would “sleep” – I would often wake up exhausted more than recovered.
Then, there are the ones that would cause night sweats or cause me to oversleep 10-12 hours. Both gross.
On several of my sleepless nights, after staring at the ceiling for hours, I’d dig out my computer and start researching what compounds actually work without building dependencies or having wild side effect profiles..
I came down to two main ingredients – completely natural, non-habit forming and backed with a bunch of studies.
Magnesium + L-theanine.
The magnesium helps you stay asleep and recover the next day. It promotes sleep and muscular recovery. I was familiar with this from a few supplements previously. It helped me the next day, but wasn’t necessarily helping me fall asleep.
The l-theanine promotes the calming effect – aka – it helps turn your brain off at night when it’s running at a million miles an hour and you’re staring at the ceiling. If you’re an entrepreneur or type-A person – you’ll relate. This helps “wind you down” versus a sedative “knock out” that might be quicker – but is less natural and harsher on your system.
I started supplementing this ad-hoc on my own, but wanted to have an evening drink to wind down with – so I got to work formulating my own custom mix.
I purposely kept out things like melatonin (which has a whole slew of side effects), valerian root (weird dreams), and ones that can interfere with dopamine + serotonin production (GABA / 5-HTP) and should be supplemented individually.
As it turns out – as I was experimenting on this on any own, Andrew Huberman was advocating this on other podcasts (here, and here). Not going to lie – that made me feel way more validated in my research.
At first, I was just testing this out myself, but I’ve been perfecting this over the past few months (along with a few other formulas) and I’ve been sharing this with a small feedback circle.
The initial feedback I’ve gotten on this has been great (from the flavor profile to the actual sleep effects to the newfound ritual people find it helps create every night before bed).
I’ll be sharing more soon when this is ready for launch, but if you want to get in on the early list – you can sign up here.
This is just what I’ve been experimenting with lately. If you have any questions (or any things you’ve been experimenting with on sleep) – leave them down below.