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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. Iโ€™m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything weโ€™ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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June 07, 2011

How to Wake Up and Feel Alert

By Mark Sisson
162 Comments

Have you defeated the fearsome sleep beast that plagues so many of your countrymen?

You might think you have – after all, you installed blackout curtains in the bedroom, disconnected every LED-light before hitting the sack, peer through slitted eyes at a F.lux-altered computer screen, get seven to nine hours a night, and make getting to bed early a priority – but if you’re still waking up groggy, foggy-headed, and in desperate, immediate need of a caffeine infusion… is the beast really slain or has it merely assumed another form? You could even be displaying zero outward signs of sleep deprivation, like insulin resistance, fat gain, or a zombie-like disposition at midday, instead continuing to lean out and enjoy steady energy throughout the workday (once you snap out of the morning doldrums), but that waking grogginess cannot be ignored. It’s annoying and it’s ruining what should be a serene moment of quiet energy before the madness of the day descends. You don’t want to be stumbling through the kitchen for the coffee maker; you want to spring out of bed and greet the morning like the dear old friend it should be.

Okay, so how do you do it? How do you really defeat the sleep beast once and for all?

Self-experiment. Shift some things around, do something differently, and note the effects. I’ll give you some leads, but first, try some Seth Roberts sleep hacks.

Seth is great. I’ve discussed him before, he’ll be speaking at the upcoming Ancestral Health Symposium, and he’s connected with many of your favorite paleo and Primal bloggers. Seth is also big into self-experimentation. And I don’t mean trying things and subjectively assessing their impact. Seth goes all in and quantitatively tracks the impact of a change. Stats, graphs, logs, the whole nine. Years ago, Seth had sleep quality issues. Wasn’t getting enough and the sleep he was getting wasn’t great. He noticed that different variables seemed to improve and/or worsen his sleep, so he got to figuring out exactly how each worked.

Intermittently standing on one leg to exhaustion.

In 1996, Seth noticed that standing up while working, reading, writing, or studying worked well and improved his sleep, but it wasn’t practical. He couldn’t stand for eight hours a day comfortably and still get all his work done. Then, in 2008, he wondered if standing on one leg instead of two would condense the effect and require less time to enact it. It did. Standing on a leg to exhaustion once or twice a day led to more restfulness upon waking the next day. Three times a day was better than one or two, and four was better than three. He eventually settled on three daily sets of two – each leg to exhaustion three times per day with four hours in between sets. When his legs got too strong to reach exhaustion, he upped the ante by slightly bending his knee and “bobbing” up and down. Doing this improved his “sleep efficiency”; he didn’t necessarily sleep any longer or earlier, but he always awoke refreshed, indicating that he was sleeping better in the same amount of time.

Try standing on one leg to exhaustion several times each day. It’s goofy looking, sure, but so are those Vibrams. Who cares?

Skipping breakfast.

Seth also found that he was waking up earlier than he preferred, leading to groggy mornings and less wakefulness during the day. On a friend’s recommendation, he added fruit to his breakfast, which made the problem worse. He removed the fruit and added protein, which was better than fruit but not good enough. Finally, to go back to square one and systematically isolate variables, he stopped eating breakfast altogether. This was the “control.” His goal was to add things in and note their effect without outside noise, but the control setting solved his problem. He began waking up at a normal time feeling extremely refreshed, probably because he was no longer entraining anticipatory behavior in himself. When he ate an early breakfast, he was training himself to wake up in anticipation of feeding. Stopping breakfast solved this. Now, you may not think you’re waking up early, but you may be waking up earlier than is optimum for your body because of anticipated feeding.

Try intermittent fasting instead of eating a daily breakfast. Maybe skip breakfast altogether, or, if you love bacon and eggs as much as I do, push breakfast back to 11:00 (which is when Seth broke his fast).

Eating more animal fat.

Now, I don’t think this one will be a hard sell with the PB crowd, but I’m always happy to tell you to eat more animal fat. After Seth started working his way through a pork belly (which is uncured bacon, essentially, and mostly pork fat) that’d been sitting in his freezer, he immediately slept better. As in, the day after his first pork belly meal, he slept better. This effect persisted.

If you’re still scared of animal fat, don’t be. Don’t shy away from the fattier cuts of meat.

Those are one man’s experiments with sleep, albeit one man with a fair number of readers, many of whom have corroborated his findings. But still – they may not work for you. They certainly won’t hurt, however, so give ’em a shot.

What about some other potential ideas that you may be missing? Well, a few months back I gave you 17 concrete tips to improve your sleep. Go over those, make sure you’ve got them dialed in, and then proceed:

Daytime light.

Don’t just avoid or limit nighttime light exposure, which you’re probably a master at; maximize daytime light exposure as well. It’s easy enough to lower the lights, put on some candles, and install light dampening apps on your laptop, but it’s not always easy to actually get outside during the day and get natural light exposure when you need it. Because it’s true: you need it – at the right times – to maintain proper circadian rhythm.

Go outside right when you wake up. Even if it’s overcast and gray, you’re still getting exposed to natural light. It’s a great way to wake up in the immediate sense, and it ensures your circadian rhythm is on point for the future.

Keep an eating schedule.

Just like eating an early breakfast entrained Seth Roberts to awaken early, eating your other meals at roughly set times might also entrain stable sleeping patterns. Wild variations in eating schedules could be sending your body a confusing message about when to expect bedtime. While I’m not big on eating schedules in general (eat when you’re hungry and don’t when you’re not), if you are waking up groggy this might help.

I don’t think it’s all that important how your schedule is constructed. Just have one.

Eat an earlier dinner.

Maybe all those grandmas and grandpas who wake up at the crack of dawn and eat dinner at four PM know something we don’t. I’m not saying you should sit down for a roast just after noon, but it might be worth eating a little earlier than usual – especially if you’re having trouble with morning grogginess. Melatonin, the “sleep hormone,” is blunted with feeding.

Eat no later than two hours before bed.

Stop caffeine.

I know, I know, it’s sacrilege. Caffeine comes in many delicious packages. It is king. But maybe it’s also affecting the quality of your sleep. We’ve all heard of the people who can’t have a sip of coffee without it preventing them from getting to sleep later that night. What if caffeine isn’t affecting your ability to knock off, but it is reducing the quality, or efficiency, of the sleep you get? It’s certainly worth a (decaf espresso) shot, right?

If you’re a cup-a-day drinker, avoid coffee for a week altogether. If you’re more of the pot-a-day kinda drinker, reduce your daily intake to a cup (I hear caffeine withdrawal headaches are nasty things). The key is to drastically reduce your caffeine intake from present levels.

Eat gelatin.

Animals have traditionally been consumed nose to tail, including all the gelatinous connective tissue that most modern meat eaters trim and toss. Real bone broths are another lost dietary component, replaced by canned “stock” and bouillon cubes. Both are rich sources of gelatin. To whit, most modern eaters don’t get enough gelatin, and modern PB eaters who focus on muscle meats, veggies, and eggs to the exclusion of bone broths and bone-in cuts might be missing out, too. According to Ray Peat, gelatin helps with sleep (of course, he also insists sugar is a prime energy source…) by supplying certain amino acids, like glycine, which are relatively rare in muscle meat. Even if he’s wrong, broth is worth working into your diet.

Incorporate real bone broth into your cooking on a regular basis. Get into the habit of making stock every week. Freeze in ice cube trays. Stock cubes are easy to add to veggies, soups, sauces, or even just alone in a mug. Powdered gelatin also works; this brand is from pastured cattle.

Reading fiction.

Rather than “limit electronics” before bed, eliminate them and read yourself some fiction to sleep instead. Even with F.lux engaged, I’m unconvinced the late-night blog reader is completely in the clear. The smooth, inert pages of a real life novel you can hold in your hand, though? It’s a potent sleep aid. I’m not exactly sure why it works so well. Maybe fiction is similar enough to dreaming that you get halfway there just by opening the book. Maybe immersing oneself in a fictional world takes more mental exertion than reading and understanding nonfiction, and it just tires you out faster. Whatever the mechanism, it’s worth pursuing.

Read some fiction before bed. Ebook readers that use e-ink should work about as well as regular books.

Nearly everything we do has an effect on some seemingly far-flung physiological process. It might be slight, but it’s there. The key, then, is to try lots of different things one by one (so you can deduce cause and effect), note the response, internalize it, and move on to the next one. It may be that caffeine doesn’t affect you, but a lack of morning light does. It may be that skipping breakfast by itself isn’t enough, but standing on one leg and skipping breakfast are sufficient (that does sound odd, doesn’t it?). The cool thing about all these tips is that they are completely safe. Experimenting with any or all of them is not going to put you in harm’s way. Heck, I bet some of you have already been thinking about drinking more bone broth, standing up to work, getting more sunlight during the day, and giving up caffeine without morning grogginess as the impetus. Overall, these are just healthy, net-beneficial practices to incorporate – all the more worth trying if you’re having trouble getting up in the morning.

Now it’s your turn. Give these a shot if you’re having sleep issues, and let us know what’s worked for you if you’ve already slain the beast. Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear from you in the comment section!

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162 Comments on "How to Wake Up and Feel Alert"

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Edward
Edward
5 years 3 months ago

Great article once again Mark. Sleep has always been an issue for me, even when I was a little kid.
I have really noticed that reading on my iPad right before bed is horrible for me. Usually, reading makes me sleepy, and it’s no different using the iPad. However, I can’t sleep for hours after using that thing.

Ely
Ely
5 years 3 months ago

As I understand it, the iPad does not use e-ink. Therefore it has the same light as a computer screen and will interfere with sleep.

Burn
5 years 3 months ago

there needs to be a F.lux app for the iPad, that would definitely help

Nutritionator
5 years 3 months ago

I used to notice the same thing with my mac (addicted to getting updated on blogs before bed.) I’m not sure if the Ipad has a similar feature but if I turn down my screen brightness to the last setting before off, it almost looks like a real book page to me and is much less stimulating. I’d like to see some studies done with this but try it on the lowest light setting you can. Helps the battery last longer too ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jules
5 years 3 months ago

I set my iPad (kindle app) to sepia or white letters/black background; I get sleepy after a few pages!

Jess
Jess
5 years 3 months ago

iPad is like a iPhone, computer or tv screen. Too much blue light stimulation which is known to disrupt production of sleep-inducing hormones. Kindle uses e-ink, so it works great. I use non-fluorescent light bulbs (natural spectrum incandescent bulbs) with the Kindle – amazing. Give it a try!

Dragonfly
Dragonfly
5 years 3 months ago

The Barnes and Noble app called Nook has a brightness setting in the upper right hand corner. Tap on the screen to bring up the menu. I like the fact I can change the setting while reading. I keep mine on the lowest setting when reading before sleep and I doze off just like reading a bound book.

Taco
Taco
5 years 3 months ago

Mark, you say to eat animal fats, yet you say to avoid non-organic animal fats because they are laden with antibiotics/pesticides, but how do we, those who are unable to afford/access organic meats, obtain animal fats? Just butter? What else can we eat?!?!!?!?!? FFFFFUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!

Paleo Josh
5 years 3 months ago

I don’t have an iPad. I sleep great. LOL

Trish
Trish
11 months 26 days ago

You highlight a brand that you say is from pastured cattle for gelatin. When I clicked the link it says great lakes porcine. Is that the one that you recommend or should I get bovine? I wonder what the difference is. Thanks.

Satish
5 years 3 months ago

Eating a healthier diet overall has helped me with sleep. Also, I have found that b-complex vitamins work well with managing my stress and helping me fall sleep.

Shamra
5 years 3 months ago

The B-complex has helped me out, too. Also, I have read that early morning grogginess, especially after 7 – 9 hours regularly per night, might signal that your cortisol and melatonin are out of rhythm. You can get them checked with your doctor if you suspect that is the case.

Katie @ Wellness Mama
5 years 3 months ago

I noticed improvement with b-vitamins too, and also with taking Calcium Magnesium right before bedtime.

raydawg
raydawg
5 years 3 months ago

You should separate calcium and magnesium as they tend to cancel each other out.

If you’re going to take calcium, take it in the morning, because the magnesium will help you sleep, so it should be taken at night.

Same with Vitamin A and D. Don’t take them together. You’d normally get D from sunlight, so morning to afternoon is a good window for D. A you should probably take at night. A and D both compete for the same receptors, so if you take them both, they cancel each other out.

Andy
Andy
5 years 3 months ago

Reading fiction is absolutely a good one. I swear by it. I just get into bed a good half hour before I’d like to be asleep and read until my eyes begin trying to close on their own. Then it’s just a matter of setting the book aside and turning off the light and I’m out immediately. Works like a charm.

Daria
Daria
5 years 3 months ago

Eating Primal and getting more exercise helped me be able to wake up in the mornings. I usually wake up before the alarm rings and I don’t have to drag myself out of bed. However I still get extreme sleepiness sometimes in the afternoons. I’m not sure why this is.

I’m already doing the things listed here except for the standing on one leg thing.

francois gamache
francois gamache
5 years 3 months ago

nice

wilberfan
wilberfan
5 years 3 months ago

Several people in Barefoot Ted’s Google Group sleep on the floor–no mattress, no pillow, just a blanket or duvet under them–and report much improved sleep. I’ve been experimenting with it for about 2 weeks now, and it DOES seem like I get to sleep faster, and wake up less often.

It fascinates me how little we “need” to function perfectly well in the world.

Jaybird
5 years 3 months ago

I’m a big believer in this! I wouldn’t do it chronically, but 3-4 times a month i’ll sleep on the floor (at a friends house, too hot in bed) and I notice waking up feeling much better.

Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

I’ve slept on the floor in Chicago at my bros place before and I recall sleeping quite well.

I have no reason to change how I sleep but I also love experimenting. Hmmm….

I am going to Orlando, FL – Harry Potter World – this weekend with 2 others… with 2 beds… we were going to get a cot. If its extra I am going to sleep on the floor the first night.

Interesting….

Nutritionator
5 years 3 months ago

Go for it dude, it’s an idea I’ve been toying with as well and I’d like to know how it works out for you. Is there anything better than a nap on a soft carpet in the summer?

Brandyn
Brandyn
5 years 3 months ago

Sometimes I have the urge to take a nap on the floor. Its almost like my body craves the carpet floor over the soft bed. My only problem is my tailbone and back of my head start to hurt after 30m to an hour.

Jess
Jess
5 years 3 months ago
Indeed! I use a natural rubber mattress (firm) on platform bed – the best investment I’ve ever made. It’s similar to sleeping on the floor, only a bit more comfortable and something about sleeping directly on the (dirty) floor bothers me. My sleep has always been good, only better now…springing out of bed is my favourite feeling of the day. Back issues also went away. Interestingly…sleeping on my SO’s soft as pillow bed with fancy supports make me wake up droggy and in a rotten mood, with back issues on a full-on revenge. It did not feel good. Training first… Read more »
calvin
calvin
5 years 3 months ago

Mmm, I’ve started doing this. I was cleaning my mattress one day, didn’t finish before bed, so I just plopped down on the floor. Weeks later, I’m still sleeping on the hardwood. For some reason, almost every night I’m having vivid dreams and waking up feeling…well, not bad. Certainly with a lot to think about. And now there’s so much more space in my room!

Wendy
Wendy
5 years 3 months ago

I used to have trouble falling asleep when I was a kid. I would eventually make my way down to my carpeted floor and slept great.

Katie @ Wellness Mama
5 years 3 months ago

My brother-in-laws all gave up sleeping in their beds for one month just for the heck of it, and they are still sleeping on the floor, swearing it is more comfortable…

caolas
caolas
5 years 3 months ago

In my teens I found my bad back felt better after I’d spent a night on a friend’s floor. So I got rid of the bed and slept on a closed cell camping mat for the next seven years. Worked great. When I got married the concession was to get a thin futon instead, and lay it directly on the floor. Twenty years later, still using a futon and never (either of us) had any sleep problems.

Hal
5 years 3 months ago

These are some interesting ‘sleep hacks’, many of which I’ve never heard of before. It will be interesting to try these things out. I’m pretty much unable to keep a schedule where I get more than seven hours of sleep per night (usually more like 5-6), and every little bit helps. I cut most of the caffeine a while ago, now I just enjoy a glassful of iced tea in the morning a few hours after I wake up. The standing on one leg thing is too simple NOT to try.

Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

I am known to sleep like a baby every night but I am still going to utilize this tip…

“Read some fiction before bed”

I love my primal/evolution/sciency books but I need to start reading some fiction too. Does anyone have any recommendations? I am going to Harry Potter world this weekend and I would not be surprised if I came home with the first book…

TheMaskedEmu
TheMaskedEmu
5 years 3 months ago

I’d recommend “The Atrocity Archives” and “Jennifer Morgue” by Charles Stross. They’re perfect summer books.

Ely
Ely
5 years 3 months ago

Don’t try reading Harry Potter before bed. I found it so engrossing, I stayed up much too late reading. ๐Ÿ™‚

Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

Ha! Have you read all the books? I LOVE to sleep so I think I will be able to put the book down. I’ve been flirting with the idea of reading fiction for 30-60 minutes before I wish to sleep but have yet to do it.

Since I am going to the Harry Potter Park with 2 die hard fans it just seems like this will be the winner!

Erin (Pretty in Primal)
5 years 3 months ago

Harry Potter books are really engrossing and fun (and well written:)

Jenn
Jenn
5 years 3 months ago

Harry Potter is a great read.

If you like Military Sci-Fi, try David Weber’s Honorverse novels. 1st one is “On Basilisk Station.” Female lead space-naval officer.

If you like long epics with swords and magic, try Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novels. 1st one is “The Eye of the World.”

Heck, those two series alone could take you two years to read if you’re only reading 30 minutes a night.

kerry
kerry
5 years 3 months ago

If you are into sci-fi or even not (seriously amazed at how many people love this but hate sci-fi) check out Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. You’ll quickly get sucked into the sequels and prequels and related books… so good.

Jaybird
5 years 3 months ago

Next to the Dune sereies, The ender saga is the greatest sci-fi series written.

Malin
5 years 3 months ago

Everything by Jules Verne. It’s 19th century science fiction, what’s not to love?

Chipin
Chipin
5 years 3 months ago

If you are looking for something more primally, I would recommend Clan of the Cave Bear Series and The First North Americans series (People of the Wolf, etc.)

Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

I am actually. A story out in the wilderness.

A perfect example that is a true story is “Into the Wild.” Have any of you heard of that?

juliemama
juliemama
5 years 3 months ago

Yup, I have it ๐Ÿ™‚

Mamaeli
Mamaeli
5 years 3 months ago

I second both of those–just finished Jean Auel’s latest one last night. The first three are her best, but I haven’t found one of the Gear’s that I haven’t liked yet.

Laconophile
Laconophile
5 years 3 months ago

FWIW, I’m re-reading James Clavell’s Shogun. If you like historical fiction it’s a must-read.

bbuddha
bbuddha
5 years 3 months ago

anything by Robert Heinlein. I particularly like Glory Road.

Hal
5 years 3 months ago

And “The Moon is A Harsh Mistress”!

Also Pastwatch, and the Ender Series by Orson Scott Card. Good stuff!

fritzy
fritzy
5 years 3 months ago

If you’ve never read any Vonnegut, now’s a good time to start. May I recommend you start with “Breakfast of Champions,” “Cat’s Cradle,” or “Slaughterhouse 5.”

Bev
Bev
5 years 3 months ago

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. Humorous and thought provoking at the same time.

Slightlycracked
Slightlycracked
1 year 11 months ago

I know I’m really late to this conversation, but if you’re still looking for good books, try The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

Staci
Staci
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks for the article. One thing that has changed a lifetime of sleeplessness for me is to cut out sugar and sweeteners- has made all the difference

Joe Brancaleone
Joe Brancaleone
5 years 3 months ago

Foresaking the computer and TV at night and using the Kindle I just got has been a great improvement. Some low light and Kindle, getting a bunch of the classics on ebook for little or no cost. Treasure Island!

Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

I have been strongly considering buying a kindle. Amazon just started there buy back program where you can sell back your books for store credit. I have 20-30 books chilling here that have not been read yet that are available on Amazon. I am thinking of just selling those books and then getting the kindle version when I am ready to read them.

What do you think? Is the kindle worth it?

TheMaskedEmu
TheMaskedEmu
5 years 3 months ago

Getting a Kindle or Nook is definitely worth every penny. I’ve read more in the 6 months I’ve had mine than I had in the last 6 years. I can’t recommend one highly enough.

raydawg
raydawg
5 years 3 months ago
Nook color is fantastic. It’s a full android tablet. I have one and I didn’t even bother to register it with B&N. Instead, I installed http://phiremod.wordpress.com/nook-color/ on the internal memory (eMMC). Phiremod is a very functional version of the Android software, I’ve had better luck with it than with cyanogen. I use the Aldiko ebook reader which works very nicely and even has a “night” mode. You can change the colors to whatever you want, and dim by dragging your finger up and down on the left hand side, so it’s safe to use at night. It’s much nicer than… Read more »
Grim
Grim
5 years 3 months ago

Harry Potter books are easy, but good, reads.

They are normally in the kids section though, just fyi. It took me a while to succumb to the fact I was buying children’s books at 25 at the bookstore. ๐Ÿ™‚ I looked everywhere else, lol.

I just finished “Feed” by Mira Grant. Not your average zombie book. It was -very- good.

Grim
Grim
5 years 3 months ago

And yes, the kindle is -absolutely- worth it.

If I don’t have my kindle with me, I have the app on my phone. So anywhere I’m bored for a minute, I’ll whip out my phone and read a few pages.

Jenn
Jenn
5 years 3 months ago

I love my Kindle. I’ve had mine for two years now. I can read it in direct sunlight with no problems.

You can also loan out some books now, digitally. Basically, you give someone access to your book license for a couple weeks. During that time, you can’t access your book content, but you don’t have to worry about never getting it back. When the time is up, your copy is unlocked again.

Bourgogne
Bourgogne
5 years 3 months ago

LOVE my Kindle. I take it everywhere with me. The screen is so easy to read, and you never have to worry about tattered pages or broken spines.

HillSide Gina
HillSide Gina
5 years 3 months ago

Love the Kindle. I only read ebooks now. Another big benefit – after reaching the age where your eyes change and you can’t see close up any longer, reading books became a chore – I had to have reading glasses on top of wearing my contact lenses for life-long myopia. Then I got multi-focal lenses, which helped but I still got eye fatigue from reading.

When I got the Kindle when it first came out I could read it without any issues of eye tiredness. Hooray! I also read my Kindle books on my iPad and even on the iPhone.

bbuddha
bbuddha
5 years 3 months ago

I have a Sony Reader, it’s great. I’d do some price shopping, find out which one will give you the best deal. Kindle started coming down in price when they started getting some competition so they may be the best deal now.

Z
Z
5 years 3 months ago

The linked gelatin product is made of pork (see picture and product description).
The same company has another product made of beef, but I haven’t found any information on whether it’s made of pastured animals.

Rodney
Rodney
5 years 3 months ago
Z, The company’s direct web site sells both kinds in packages of six. The price is cheaper than Amazon, but shipping is pretty expensive unless you decide to buy 12 or more at a time. There is no direct information on how the cows are raised, but I found a few blogs mentioning the product that claim the cows are pasture raised and grass fed. I would take that with a grain of salt, as it is second hand information, and definitions of pastured vs grass fed vs grass finished, etc. can get sticky pretty quickly. It sounds like one… Read more »
Andrea Reina
Andrea Reina
5 years 3 months ago

Store-bought gelatin is a pretty pure product so between grass- and grain-finished it shouldn’t matter.

Meghan
Meghan
5 years 3 months ago

Natural Calm!

Nutritionator
5 years 3 months ago

+infinity, has worked so well for me.

Nick
Nick
5 years 3 months ago

I like this article a lot. I am definitely struggling with excessive consumption of caffeine and the belief that I can get by on less sleep. This is an area I would like to work on.

Gary Deagle
5 years 3 months ago

My three best tips for waking up alert and ready are intermittent fasting, not eating 2 hours before bed, and no caffeine 4 hours before bed. When I started doing all that I wake up ready to roll every day and do not even need an alarm clock.

Ryan Denner
5 years 3 months ago

Very timely Mark – thanks!

Crunchy Pickle
5 years 3 months ago

The primal lifestyle has definitely helped me to have more quality sleep (except if I have coffee or chocolate in the afternoon or evening!)

PrimalArturo
5 years 3 months ago

Love it! Going to be giving these a try. I always go outside after I wake up to check the weather. It usually gets me energized, but that may be because I live in San Diego and the weather’s almost always great.

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 3 months ago

I sleep like a rock 99% of the year.
I always make sure I’m not going to bed with a growling stomach, that’s pretty much the only thing that would keep me from falling asleep.
Don’t be hungry!

On full moon days and a couple days leading up to a full moon I sleep lighter and wake up more easily.

Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

Haha love it. Instead of saying baby I will have to say rock as well.

I tend to usually go to bed when I am tired and wake up when I wake up. It seems to work quite well.

People will say… oh, yea well you don’t have to wake up for anything. Ok, well, I wake up around 6 am in the summer ๐Ÿ™‚

There are exceptions of course… I have a 6:30 am flight on Thursday to go to Harry Potter World!

Steve-O
Steve-O
5 years 3 months ago

I find if I eat a small portions of carbs like rice or potatoes with dinner, I have much more energy in the morning. I also notice if I have a small amount of carbs + protein for breakfast (e.g. bacon, eggs with potatoes), I don’t get that 2pm crash.

However, it’s a very delicate balance. No carbs or too many carbs knock me out.

Debbie Hodges
Debbie Hodges
5 years 3 months ago

Primal Toad, Kindles are definitely worth it. I have a first generation one and have never regreted it. Will buy another one if this one bites the dust.

Dasbutch
Dasbutch
5 years 3 months ago

i’m in the primal camp. i found that when my eating habits are based around 100 grams of carbs a day and the rest of my energy, mainly fat; i sleep like a baby and wake to the sun. oh yea…don’t forget to MF@SP. if i get sleepy in the afternoon i take a 20 min nap. give it a try…

Malin
5 years 3 months ago
I’m not sure if this has been brought up when it comes to sleeping issues but: Examine your relationship to sleep. I used to have a lot of problems with sleep ever since I was nine and when my life is stressful sleep is the first thing that stops working. At times it would get so bad that I would avoid going to bed and just stay up because it was preferable to laying in bed with that dread in my stomach and eyes wide open. If you’re having serious sleep issues, look at what the psychological problem behind it… Read more »
Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 3 months ago
My husband has chronic insomnia. On nights where he finally does fall asleep he wakes up within the next 2 hours again and then lays there with his eyes wide open until the sun comes up. Once the sun is up he is so exhausted from laying there awake all night, he finally falls sleep. He then wakes up around 9 a.m., takes his morning bath (he hates showers because he is too exhausted to stand) and then usually lays back down to ‘nap’. I want to slap him, seriously. Our relationship has suffered because of his chronic insomnia. All… Read more »
Dasbutch
Dasbutch
5 years 3 months ago

different beds in different rooms

Linda
Linda
5 years 3 months ago

I knew a man who always woke up at 3 am. It turned out that 3 am is when his grandfather would come to molest him. Your husband may need more compassion and less judging. And help beyond what any of us here can give him.

Laws of the Cave
5 years 3 months ago

Plot twist O.o

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
5 years 3 months ago

He has to want to sleep bad enough to make changes. You can’t save people from themselves.

Jules
5 years 3 months ago
I feel for you guys! My boyfriend has sleep apnea- half the time I have to nag him into using his CPAP, and the other half the time he falls asleep on the couch watching TV. He also has combat PTSD, which causes a whole other set of sleep issues. Like your husband, he also turns into a chatty Cathy when I’m ready to go to sleep, grrrr. I try to encourage him to read before bed to get his mind off things, try melatonin & magnesium, and he insists on sitting in front of the TV; it’s quite frustrating!
Evolutionarily
5 years 3 months ago

Primal Palate, how may I get in contact with you? Any chance you could shoot an email to doit [at] evolutionarily.org so I can write you back? Thanks!

Desdemona
Desdemona
5 years 3 months ago
Sleep can very well be tied to psychology, might not be as dramatic as what Linda’s friend went through however. It can also be a sign of depression. Though the dislike of light, sun, and heat could be related a sensitivity of some sort. I would tell him to see a Dr who may decide he needs to see a psychologist. If he refuses then there is not much you can do but try and decide if you want put up with it or not. I was in a relationship with someone who had insomnia related to depression. It was… Read more »
Alistair
Alistair
5 years 3 months ago
My wife is the light sleeper in our family. Our mattress was worn and dead so we invested in a new one, much much firmer this time and made from latex foam instead of sprung inside. The bed frame isn’t sprung either, the mattress rests on wooden boards. The firmness feels similar to being on tatami mats at an Aikido or Judo dojo. She has noticed since buying the mattress that she gets to sleep more quickly and has a much better quality of sleep, waking up feeling refreshed. In light of this experience I would definitely recommend now anyone… Read more »
Nicky Spur
5 years 3 months ago

Thanks for covering this mark — I’m going to give some of these tips a try.

Andrew
5 years 3 months ago

It be very interesting for you to do a post, a fair post of course, on Ray Peat. He only endorses sugar in context of a low PUFA diet (4 grams a day is his hope). There’s not much out there that examines that context (which doesn’t mean you should go eating sugar).

shannon
shannon
5 years 3 months ago
I usually don’t have any caffeine during the day, but if I do, I notice that I wake up a LOT groggier the next day. it’s like a caffeine hangover. My partner drinks coffee and it takes him an hour to wake up. I wake up immediately and am wide awake and fully alert. He thinks this is really weird. But it was very useful when I was taking care of my mother and had to wake up during the night to help her go to the bathroom. I love my Kindle too. For me, non-fiction is fine before bed.… Read more »
L.S. Engler
5 years 3 months ago

I am blessed enough to not really have much trouble sleeping at all (thanks to following some of the previous suggestions, I think!), but I’m still really excited to try some of these, especially since while I’ve been sleeping well, some of the mornings have been rough. Besides, these sound like a lot of fun (especially the one-leg thing!)

But not the caffeine bit. That does not sound fun at all…as I glance guiltily toward my pot-a-day plus lots of tea habits…

Erica
5 years 3 months ago

Great article! I’m inspired to try more gelatin…I think I will try to make an aspic sometime next week ๐Ÿ™‚

Darrin
5 years 3 months ago

I never realized how much environmental distractions prevented me from falling asleep until I started using an eye mask and sometimes earplugs. Highly recommended!

Being Primal Dude
5 years 3 months ago

That’s a lot of gear my friend…you are one step away from wearing a helmet ๐Ÿ™‚

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 3 months ago

Omg, yes! Earplugs.
What would I do wihtout them.
I have a 200 lbs english mastiff and a 250 lbs husband competing with each other every night on who snores the loudest.
Without the earplugs I think one of them would’ve already been killed =P

raydawg
raydawg
5 years 3 months ago

Try adding a source of white noise, like an air conditioner, or an air filter.

A long time ago I used to have a clock radio that had a sleep mode that played various forms of white noise, some that sounded like waterfalls, etc. I haven’t seen those things around in ages, but an air filter works great for me.

Dave, RN
Dave, RN
5 years 3 months ago
I used to have a terrible time with sleep. I had two sleep studies and they could not find anything. The doc gave me a sleeping pill script, but I hate taking that stuff and won’t. So I started taking Valarian (a herb) about 2 hours before bed, and then about 600-900mcg of Melatonin right at bedtime. This combo worked like a charm. I’ve recently stopped taking the Valarian and just take the Melatonin immediately before bed. At times I even forget that. Thankfully my sleep problems are now a thing of the past. Sleep hygiene is also important. Having… Read more »
AlyieCat
AlyieCat
5 years 3 months ago

“you may be waking up earlier than is optimum for your body because of anticipated feeding.”

This applies to me, LOL.

John
John
5 years 3 months ago

I think fiction helps because of the visualization. I’ve found it’s much easier to sleep if I stop thinking in abstracts and just start visualizing things, going through another night’s dream is a good way to do it.

Anne
Anne
5 years 3 months ago

I have a real, REAL hard time waking up. I drink a shot or 2 of espresso in the morning, and a cup of coffee around 3. I’ve given up a lot of stuff easily with PB but coffee?? ๐Ÿ™

It would be a good experiment to take it away for a week and see if it helps though. But what can I put my coconut oil in in the morning besides coffee? Eating it straight is gross.

Primal Palate
Primal Palate
5 years 3 months ago
I used to not even really wake up in the mornings. Actually I woke up around 1 p.m. I was a walking zombie…walking in a coma. I’d go to bed around 10 pm and still wanted to sleep the next day when my eyes opened around noon…it drove me nuts. This was years ago… I found out it was allergies and I had an allergy test done (70 different things) and was prescribed allergy shots for about 3.5 years. My insurance paid for it. I had 0 antibodies for everything that was flying around. Plus a diet high in omega… Read more »
Laws of the Cave
5 years 3 months ago

I find it easier to sleep with some sort of ambiance or white noise.

I personally believe that our ancestors didn’t have 100% silent environments while sleeping, and some mild (comforting) noise is beneficial.

I’m also surprised this wasn’t mentioned in the article.

Paul
5 years 3 months ago
First off, great article!! For some reason the part about getting outside as soon as I wake up has intrigued me & I can’t wait to try it out tomorrow morning. I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have an issue with falling asleep at night, but every few months I have this bloody annoying habit of waking up during the night & not getting back to sleep for hours! You know when you’re just laying there watching the time tick by, getting more & more agitated -which ironically makes falling asleep even harder. It drives me nuts!! I… Read more »
Kyle
Kyle
5 years 3 months ago

At one of the places I go to frequently we have this hard wooden bench that I lay on from time to time. A lot of the time I have a hard time keeping awake when I lay on it.

I’ve always had trouble falling asleep, takes me forever. Not sure why the sleeping on a hard surface thing hasn’t crossed my mind. I think I will try out sleeping on the floor sometime soon.

Timothy
5 years 3 months ago
These are some great ideas! I have one of my own to share: eat adrenal glands. I get mine from bison. Now I’m taking a bit of a risk sharing this with a large audience, because after all, there’s only one pair of adrenals per bison and I sometimes have a hard time procuring my own supply. But frankly, it is a magic bullet for adrenal exhaustion, a malady that afflicts many of us. This will not necessarily help you sleep better, but it will ensure that you get a serious jolt of cortisol when you wake up, and you… Read more »
kerrybonnie
5 years 3 months ago
I was just happily thinking, ‘Oh I don’t have any sleep problems’ – until I remembered how much I struggle to wake up. I guess I’m getting a bit tired now myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ The snooze button is my best and worst friend. I still remember one hellish wake-up call a few months back, when I had set my alarm at 2am, in order to get up and shower before a 6am flight. I must have cunningly turned the alarm off in my sleep, because next thing you know, my lovely mother had arrived to take me to the airport… I… Read more »
Rhys
Rhys
5 years 3 months ago

Yeah, I don’t care if I sleep like crap for the rest of my life….I’m never giving up coffee. The aroma and taste of fresh espresso in the morning never gets old. If that means 20 minutes of grogginess after rolling out of bed, so be it.

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
5 years 3 months ago
Amen! I love the stuff and thoroughly enjoy it with no sugar and lots of real cream. I guess that’s one of the benefits of being an “old person” and being retired: I can get out of bed in the morning when I damned well please, thank you. I also go to bed when I damned well please, thank you! But I realize what a lot of folks here are saying as far as having to get to work or where ever at a certain time and having to deal with that. I used to get up at 3:15AM, leave… Read more »
bbuddha
bbuddha
5 years 3 months ago

Sleeping isn’t a problem for me but i do have a really hard time getting out of bed in the morning. I’ll have to try some of these tips

Cha
Cha
5 years 3 months ago
I ditched the high-pitched shrieking alarm clock when I was a kid – I hate being shocked out of bed by such an annoying and unpleasant sound. Back then I just turned the volume off on my clock radio and surprisingly, the ‘click’ of the alarm was enough to rouse me gently from sleep. Today, I use the vibrate setting (on very low) on my phone. I always set my alarm about 20 minutes early and this lets me comfortably ease into wakefulness. Another thing that has helped me is to sleep with the blinds open…the natural change in day/night… Read more »
PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
5 years 3 months ago
Yes, I’ve noticed the same thing with having the natural light come in. It does seem to aid in the wakening process in a calm and soothing manner without having the shock of that shrill alarm clock jarring me out of bed. I’d be a wreck for the next 15 minutes or so after that thing went off – I hated that feeling. Although I can continue to sleep in the morning with the room lightened without any problem if I want to. I guess the problem with letting the natural light come as a “natural alarm clock” is for… Read more »
Primal Toad
5 years 3 months ago

Here is another quick tip – Sleep at a temp that is comfortable for you. Around 68 is a general temp for most people. I do best around 66-68.

I prefer to have it a little cool and then wrap myself in a bedspread as oppose to having it warmer and nothing on me.

Oh, and sleep naked. I’ve experimented with this and being naked wins every time.

PrimalGrandma
PrimalGrandma
5 years 3 months ago
During the summer – where I’m at that’s usually starting around end of June – I sleep with a fan blowing on me. I have a fan set up on a bar stool right next to the bed blowing directly on me all night. In the couple of months prior to that (usually end of April-May)I just use the ceiling fan and that seems to do it. (That’s not including the A/C that we usually have to start running around the end of June.) You’re right about the room temp – I’ve read that the mid to high 60 degrees… Read more »
William
5 years 3 months ago

Awesome post! I get a good 7 hours a night but always seem tired through out the day. I do drink 1-2 cups of coffee a day though. I think I may try the coffee fast. I have fasted it before and I felt amazing but I love the taste of coffee!

Uncephalized
Uncephalized
5 years 3 months ago
My fiancee and I just flew to Honolulu to visit my grandparents yesterday. I ate on the plane, so I wasn’t hungry for dinner and skipped it. My grandparents have no TV in their living room and almost no electronics in their house. The house is also dimly lit at night with just a few lamps. No bright lights or electronic distractions anywhere. There is a 3 hour time difference so we got tired around 9:00 instead of midnight and went to bed by 9:30. It is hot and muggy here this time of year so we set up a… Read more »
Kevin Cowart
Kevin Cowart
5 years 3 months ago

Chuck Palahniuk

Ray
Ray
5 years 3 months ago
Ever since I’ve started this diet I’ve been a walking zombie. I’m sleepy all the time and have trouble staying awake. I get plenty of sleep (at least 8 hours/night) and never nap. I’ve been eating primal for about 4-5 months so far and love the other benefits it’s provided, but don’t understand why I’m sooooo sleepy and dopy all the time. It’s not just a lack of energy, it feels like I haven’t slept in days. I’m dizzy, light headed, my body feels like it weighs a ton. I have trouble even talking to people or standing up straight… Read more »
Jack
Jack
5 years 3 months ago

SEX. Before bed time. Trumps everything else you can do

Earthspirit
Earthspirit
5 years 3 months ago

I think my sleeping issue is more about having an 11 week old baby that enjoys her 4am nommies than my diet or exercise. I used to sleep wonderfully before. Ah well, some day soon she will be sleeping thru and ill get some blissful uninterrupted sleep – then she’ll be in school and ill get a daytime nap too!

Wout Mertens
Wout Mertens
5 years 3 months ago
Polyphasic sleep taught me to fall asleep within minutes, any time, any where. I take several 20 minute naps during the day (as many as I need to feel well rested, all the time, which usually is 2 or 3) and I try to keep my sleep to 4.5 hours at night. Try this if you can do it with your job: Every time you feel tired during the day, lie down for 20 minutes, no more. That should be enough for you to dip into light REM sleep but no further. Make sure you have an alarm that will… Read more »
Annika
Annika
5 years 3 months ago

Sounds like torture.

Franco
Franco
5 years 3 months ago

Listening to an audio book! mostly thriller/historical.
Nothing knocks me out like that at night. Much better then reading (and no light required). But must be one read by a male with a dark voice. Most (high) women voices are out of question for this purpose.

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