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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’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 we’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 thoughts on “How to Wake Up and Feel Alert”

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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 😉

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

    3. 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!

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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….

        1. 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?

        2. 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.

    2. 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 thing in the morning (which is always my routine) is also much harder.

    3. 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!

    4. 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.

    5. 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…

      1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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…

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

    2. Don’t try reading Harry Potter before bed. I found it so engrossing, I stayed up much too late reading. 🙂

      1. 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!

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

    4. 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.)

      1. 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?

      2. 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.

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

      1. And “The Moon is A Harsh Mistress”!

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

    6. 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.”

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

    8. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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!

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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 the Kindle, which I gave to my older kid, but the battery doesn’t last anywhere as long, but that doesn’t bother me.

      2. 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. 🙂 I looked everywhere else, lol.

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

      3. 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.

      4. 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.

      5. 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.

      6. 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.

      7. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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 of the better options out there for gelatin. Go directly to the company site if you want to order larger quantities.

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. 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 🙂

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

  19. 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 might be, as well as the physical ones.

    1. 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 he does is SLEEP. But he says he doesn’t sleep, he tries to sleep and lays there.
      How can someone not sleep, EVER? His oxygen when awake is at 94% (mines at 98% at elevation of 4500 feet). He is a mouth breather and snores…and has 2 different kinds of sleep apnea.

      I’ve noticed that when I go out into the sun my Melatonin production goes WAY up in the evening and it hits me like a train. I literally am already asleep before my head hits the pillow.
      He hates to go outside, he hates the sun, he hates to sweat and hates the brightness of the sun. And when I want to go to bed he turns into a chatter box.
      I’m at a loss with this guy.

      1. 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.

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

      3. 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!

      4. 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!

      5. 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 very tough and I did end up leaving after he refused help and then when he had no choice he did not do all he was told in order to heal himself.

        Sometimes, too, leaving wakes them up and they do get the help they need. Then you could always choose to take thim back.

  20. 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 with sleep problems to experiment with the surface upon which they lay.

  21. 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).

  22. 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. I am reading The Second Sex right now (not on the Kindle).

  23. 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…

  24. Great article! I’m inspired to try more gelatin…I think I will try to make an aspic sometime next week 🙂

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

    1. 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

    2. 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.

  26. 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 a bedtime ritual prepares the body for sleep. My typical ritual is to wait until everyone else goes to bed. Then I have about 30 minutes to myself to read, play a computer game or sometimes have a snack or just sit out in the backyard if it’s nice. Works for me. I sleep like I did when I was a teenager (I’m 51).
    Oh, and a good Crossfit session that day doesn’t hurt!

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

    This applies to me, LOL.

  28. 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.

  29. 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?? 🙁

    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.

    1. 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 6 made them worse (SAD diet) and grains and pasteurized milk made it even worse.
      I’m very thankful for having done my allergy shots at age 36.

      btw, i also used to load up on caffeine (Coke) in an attempt to wake up.

  30. 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.

  31. 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 tried loads of different sleep hacks but nothings worked. Having said that, it hasn’t happened for a while now, so fingers crossed…..

    At the moment I’m doing a 3 month Rebuild of my body & have incorporated the primal/paleo way of life into the process & I’ve got to say, WHY THE HELL DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO JUMP ON BOARD??? You can check out my progress at
    http://web.me.com/prcreations/Site/REBUILD_Blog/REBUILD_Blog.html if you’d like. It’s been an eye opening experience so far.

    Thanks heaps for putting together such good blogs guys & girls. Much appreciated!

  32. 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.

  33. 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 won’t have any trouble getting out of bed. Works like a charm for me. I eat them 1-3 times weekly depending on availability. They also have the advantage of being jam-packed with B- and C-vitamins, as well as large amounts of DHEA, that essential steroid hormone precursor. Of course, you must eat them raw to reap the benefits.

    Just make sure to leave a pair or two for me! 🙂

  34. 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. 🙂

    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 do find music helps to wake me up in the morning though – the stuff that makes you want to dance anyway.

  35. 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.

    1. 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 the house in time to meet my car pool at 4:20AM and drive 70 miles to work (one way). I did that for way more years than I’d like to admit (hey, the $ was good!) Coffee was my/our savior and I’m not aware of anyone in the car pool having any problems because of it.

      When left to my own biological time clock – even after all these years – I go to bed around midnight and get up maybe around 9:00AM or so. I think some of us are just set differently than the rest of the world.

      Meanwhile, DH goes to bed at 9:00PM and gets up around 5:00AM!! He’s also retired but he’s always been that way so why change now? He does his thing and I do mine – it works for both of us——

  36. 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

  37. 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 light seems to work for me!

    1. 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 folks who have to get up super early in the morning before the sun comes up. I used to get up at 3:15AM to get to work — no natural light then (at least not on the west coast of the USA). Using a clock radio wasn’t quite as bad, however.

      On a side note, I’ve seen alarm clocks that use a light source instead of a loud noise to waken you. Never tried one but it seems like a good idea.

  38. 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.

    1. 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 range is optimal for good sleep. Of course I guess that depends on the person. DH freezes as does my daughter. But my granddaughter loves the fan blowing on her — geez, she could have inherited my superior intellect or my fabulous good looks — but NO, she inherits my hot flashes! Go figure!

  39. 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!

  40. 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 fan to blow on us (white noise) and went to sleep.

    We woke up at 5:00 am to the sound of tropical birds singing and a rooster crowing down the hill. The sun was just starting to lighten the sky; we stayed abed for a few minutes talking quietly and then agreed it was time to get up. No grogginess, perfectly alert, we said good morning to my grandfather who is always up at 5, then into the garden for a little walk and smell the plumeria blossoms. I’ve been awake and alert all day. Sure beats my usual pattern of staying up until midnight and dragging my ass out of bed grudgingly at 9 or 10am like I usually do at home. I need to cultivate a little Hawaii to take home to Arizona (too bad I can’t afford to move here).

  41. 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 most of the time. At it’s worst I feel very depressed and lack any motivation. I’ve tried adding some carbs in the form of rice and potatoes, but that hasn’t helped.

  42. 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!

  43. 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 wake you and that you do not oversleep. Jump up as soon as the alarm goes off. If you’re not tired enough to sleep, build up some sleep deprivation to get you started. It’s all about getting quality naps

    A sleep mask and headphones with white noise help to keep out the environment. My alarm is a sample of me whispering “Wout, wake up”, which gets me every time. I now nap at my desk or in my car, by slumping in my chair and letting my head stoop forward and folding my arms or jamming them between my legs – this position is comfortable and stable without using any muscles.

    As a bonus, you get more time during the day! Some people only get 2 hours of sleep, on uberman. I tried E3 which is a total of 4 hours but it was too harsh for me and made me irritable. I now average 5.5 hours and feel well rested all the time.

    Google puredoxyk, Uberman, Everyman, SPAMAYL and Freenap if you want to find out more.

    Takeaway: Learn to nap like Grok.

  44. 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.

  45. This is such a timely post. Thank you Mark I’m experimenting different ways to improve my sleep quality. I normally don’t have any problems falling asleep, except for my noisy upstairs neighbour that keeps waking me up at night. However, waking up is a whole other issue. I drag myself out of bed every morning and it normally takes about 30 minutes of snoozing before I can even convince myself to do so. Ever since the link on sleeping on the floor a couple of weeks ago I have experimented doing so. I simple take the mattress pad out of my bed and sleep on the floor. It’s less than 2 inches thick and I definitely wake up less groggy in the morning. I’ve thrown in a couple of nights of sleeping in my bed the past few weeks and definitely feel worse waking up, more groginess and more backpain. I realize I probably need to experiment on reducing/eliminating caffeine and see if sleep improves further. For those of you who have trouble falling asleep, I recommend a hypnosis recordning. I listen to one every night just because I find it so relaxing and I fall asleep within minutes!

  46. Wow, after reading this I am going to have to completely re organize my schedule. I have had a terrible insomnia for so many years, I don’t even remember the time when I didn’t have insomnia. I’ve cut down on coffee and I tried giving it up completely but that gave me migraines I couldn’t handle. Now I just drink a cup a day.
    The only thing I eat before bed is a cottage cheese, but that actually helps me sleep. I tried not eating it but then I can’t sleep because I am hungry.
    Thank you Mark for another great post.

  47. There are so many great ideas here that it’s insane. It’s unfortunate that I really don’t have any option in the summer. I live in a cheap apartment that doesn’t have an air conditioner. This means that in the summer it’s sometimes even hotter inside than outside. With this said I now wonder how I can sleep at all in this heat.

    I’ll try to experiment sleeping on the floor, but first I’ll also try sleeping without a pillow. Yesterday I kinda tried it and it felt good, because there’s nothing to elevate your head — your head is just lying straight.

    One question for you folks: How does reading fiction help? My logic tells me that it’s good for stimulating heart and brain, not help you fall asleep. I’ve always questioned this idea, because it doesn’t seem to work for me.

    It’s interesting that Marks mentions not eating after two hours before bed. It’s the rule I’ve pretty much always followed too, but when you have conversations with bodybuilders, it’s very common that they eat immediately before bed or at least get their protein shake in. Apparently they don’t want to lose their hard-earned muscle… But yeah, I generally eat the last time 3-5 hours before bed.

  48. LIMIT LIQUIDS WITHIN 3-4 hours of bedtime. Having to get up to pee interferes with sleep. I limit caffeine to tea in the am, caffeine in coffee seems to be far more disruptive. And I had to put all electronics away before bed. My ipad was addictive and far too bright evn on dimmest setting.. Also, alcohol at night, especially wine wakes many peopke at 2-3am. A warm bath w/epsom salts is also restful.

  49. I would second the recommendation of the Ender books and Dune. I would also recommend anything by Phillip K Dick: “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, “Time Out of Joint”, “Ubik”, “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch” …. all of his work is good. People need to read more PK Dick.

  50. I’m excited to try these things. I have been feeling less of myself recently, due to this week of restless sleeping and poor sleeping habits.

    I’m going to skip breakfast, and try to over exhaust my legs. I practically do everything else on the list 🙂 But I think I also need to stop eating right after 7:45 pm,again, I find my body much easier to relax, when its still not processing my food.

    I’ll let you all know how it works 😀

  51. Definitely good advice, I personally started falling asleep better after eating slightly later dinners. The worse thing for me is an empty stomach when it comes to falling to sleep. Personally the traditional eating schedule just makes dinner too early for me.

    I personally find a slightly repetitive game or a magazine article work better for me than a good book because if the book hooks me I don’t want to put it down (And I usually don’t read it if it doesn’t hook me)! And even when I do I’m in anticipation of what will happen next. This feeling is similar to anxiety and I don’t find it ideal for sleep.

    As far as waking up alert goes my biggest thing is just getting up as soon as I wake up. I notice that if I lay in bed for another 20+ mins trying to get some extra snoozes in it can make me groggy for the rest of the day. Where as if I get up soon as I wake up I can be alert for most the day even if I don’t get adequate sleep. I’m surprised this wasn’t mentioned in the article since I find it to be the primary catalyst in waking up alert and staying that way.

  52. Thank you for this great post. I am printing it out and giving it to my father-in-law who has suffered with insomnia for years.
    For me, what’s my eyes open, I am awake for the day. For me, as soon as I wake up, if I go outside and take the pup for a walk THEN eat my breakfast I feel fuller longer and have more energy.

  53. Great article as always. Not sure I could get rid of breakfast though. lol. I have very weird sugar levels. Have you guys ever covered that topic? I get severe headaches and stuff if I don’t snack small throughout the day.

  54. I hate to nitpick, but what is an LED-light? A light-emitting-diode-light?
    Hello, department of redundancy department, how may I help you?

    1. It’s a lamp or light bulb that uses several or more LEDs to produce light. Yeah, it sounds stupid, but it’s something different than just an LED.

  55. Great article. I’ve figured out with myself if I do at least 10 minutes of yoga before bed, I wake up refreshed.

  56. Cold showers and baths have become such a ritual to me that they’re all I take now, and I’ve noticed an immense improvement in my sleep since adopting the practice.

    From what I’ve heard, part of the process of falling asleep is that the body cools. I assume there’s a sweet spot temperature, and if I’m right then cold showers/baths can improve sleep by helping you reach that sweet spot by warming up after the session, rather than cooling down.

    It always struck me as a mistake to take a cold shower before bedtime given the jolt it gives, but I regularly get tired within minutes of warming up afterwards, so I almost always take a cold one before bed these days.

  57. I read Primal Blueprint when I want to fall asleep…j/k!!!

  58. Interesting suggestions. Some seem a little out there but others are worth a try. I know I am beat when I wake up. Some days it seems as though I just lay my head down and then it is time to get up.

    I will be sure to try a few of these out.

  59. I have insomnia; I have the type where it takes forever to fall asleep (~1 – 1 1/2 h). No matter how tired I am, pysically or mentally, I have trouble. Then I was watching a little blurb on the TV from some doctors (Wise Quacks) in a community show talk about applying a cold wash cloth to the forehead 20 min prior to going to bed. Supposedly ~15% of the population has above average activity in the frontal lobe and applying the cold cloth helps slow it down for a better sleep. Since it was only a cold washcloth, I gave it a try and it work. A simple solution!

  60. Anyone dealing with restless leg syndrome at night? I started having pain in my upper legs causing me to shift positions constantly and leading to disrupted sleep.
    I would like to try some suggestions before going to a doctor.

    1. Victoria, I am actually a sleep, brain, behavior researcher and not a sleep clinician. But I hear about the clinical side at our scientific conferences and in journals. Restless legs is difficult to understand and thus treat. My first suggestion is to stabilize your sleep times. Our brain does an amazing job of adapting to the habits that we give it and preparing the body to do what we want it to do. Sleeping at the same time every day may help your neurochemicals better figure out when to let your body relax. Also, I would recommend removing all possible stimulants (no caffeine, no energy drinks, etc). My last major question is how much do you actually exercise, walk, or otherwise make good use of your leg muscles? I’m less confident that exhausting the leg muscles would work, but it is something that might be worth trying. But I would only try that after you stabilize your sleep patterns and remove all stimulants from your diet. There are some drugs that the drug companies are pushing for RLS. I am not a fan of using drugs for anything but I think it is important to point out that the sleeping medications were not designed for long-term use which is what most people do with them. I find it scary. I hope this helps.

      1. I do a lot of exercise. I usually do a workout in the am for 40 min and then do another one in the evening for 1 hour. Resistance training every other day. I am moving my evening workout to a late afternoon one to see if that helps. It almost feels like maybe the leg muscles are overworked. What about decaf coffee? I drink a lot of that.

        1. Victoria, did you read the Primal Blueprint Fitness ebook? That much exercise doesn’t seem to align with its ideas…

        2. Victoria, The first issue to resolve is your sleep-wake schedule. Are you going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning both during the week and the weekend? That is the first change you should try. My suggestion is to try stabilizing your sleep times for at least 2 to 4 weeks and see if that makes a difference. Moving any exercise periods earlier in the day may help. Some people can really feel a difference in their sleep quality by making their exercise times before about 6 pm. But, it doesn’t seem to affect everyone. Also, please remember that any effect from changing your exercise time will likely be much less than the positive benefit of stabilizing your sleep patterns. I don’t think that decaff coffee would be a major issue. At least there is no scientific evidence about decaff coffee. Hope this helps.

  61. Be careful, everyone. I am a sleep and brain scientist. Please be careful playing with your sleep. Many things are happening at night while we sleep. Playing with your sleep can be unwise. My recommendation for what it is worth, go to bed and get up at the same time every day. That will likely solve most problems. It is important to note that if you don’t have stable bed times that any other changes you might make will be unreliable at best.

  62. I’m a swing shift worker. Do you have any sleeping advice for those of us stuck in the 24 hr. work world? Thanks.

    1. Leigh Anna, Shift work definitely makes it harder. My first suggestion would be to stabilize your sleep times as much as you can. For example, if you work nights, try to find a specific time of the day that you can sleep, even if it is in two episodes and sleep at the same time every day that you work nights. Do the same thing no matter what shift you actually work. Try to pick a time that you can sleep and really work to sleep at that same time every day. Of course, if you work nights, you won’t do that on days off. That is one of the biggest problems for night shift workers. In those cases, I’d recommend stabilizing the sleep times at night for days off and having separate but stable sleep times on the days that you work nights. It isn’t perfect, but working nights is never doing to be perfect. I hope this helps.

  63. try read something really boring tutorials like higher Math or Estonian language .

    🙂

    works like a charm

  64. All these ideas to get to sleep are great, but is there any specific advice on how to recover from a night when you don’t get enough sleep? If I miss an hour or two, my energy is completely shot and my muscles feel like they’ve shrunk overnight!

  65. I recently moved and it is becoming increasingly difficult to wake up in the mornings. And when I do finally get out of bed, I am groggy for hours. After reading this article & comments, I think I found the culprit – chickens! I had chickens at my last place and they helped start my day in 2 ways. 1) the morning clucking was a gentle & gradual alarm and 2) I had to go outside every morning to check on their food & collect eggs. Since I cannot have chickens at my new place, I think I will try a bird feeder outside my bedroom window and remind myself to take a few minutes outside before rushing off to work.

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  67. A while back I was not happy at all with the quality or the quantity of sleep I was getting. I had changed my diet, was getting into a routine of exercise but my sleep was just awful. So as an experiment I decided to drop all caffeine for a while and see what happens. At that point I was what one might call a heavy coffee drinker – around 4-5 cups of black coffee a day (can’t help it, I love the smell and taste of it). The withdrawals were quite nasty as I jumped in and did it cold turkey (similar to my approach for everything else Primal). The effect it had on sleep was immediate and unbelievable. The first few days I was so tired I went to bed early and slept for 10 hours. I figured it was the withdrawals still and I kept at it. It’s been a few weeks and even though sometimes I still can’t get to sleep as early as I’d wish I wake up much much easier than ever before. I miss the taste and smell of coffee but I’m enjoying the sleep a lot more.