6

votes

How do you get yourself to go to bed earlier?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 20, 2011 at 4:42 AM

I absolutely know that I should go to bed earlier and try to get 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night. That's both what feels ideal for me personally and consistent with the notion that adequate sleep keeps cortisol in check and promotes health. My 8am self is acutely aware of this. But, my 12am self always wants to stay up and read the news, watch a movie, cook, finishing some reading for class, clean the apartment, etc. Any suggestions for motivating myself to go to sleep earlier?

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178

on May 25, 2011
at 03:28 PM

I perform MUCH better getting 8 hours from 10-6 than 8 hours from 2-10. Just my experience, but this also seems to pan out in most people's experience.

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on May 25, 2011
at 03:02 PM

I hear you! Every morning I BING awake between 4-5, despite (several) attempts to sleep in. Crash at around 10pm.

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on March 31, 2011
at 08:02 PM

Doubtful, my issue is that I have to get up at 6am but go to bed at midning :(

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on March 27, 2011
at 02:40 PM

i'm sure it varies, yeah.

A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on March 26, 2011
at 10:51 PM

I actually have a much harder time falling asleep when reading fiction... I want to know what happens next! I have better luck reading non-fiction about complex topics (finance in my case)... it focuses my mind and helps me go to sleep faster than when I read story. I'm sure that varies from person to person.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on March 21, 2011
at 02:07 AM

Yes, I don't find the "ear buds" very comfortable when pressed into a pillow either, at least the ones I've tried. Maybe if I can find some that don't stick out at all. Probably I shouldn't be using a pillow in the first place.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9

(1304)

on March 20, 2011
at 11:56 PM

Aaron: interesting, I need to check if my player has that function as well. But I wonder if, with that function, I wouldn't be alert enough to take the earphones off when falling asleep, and then strangle myself like you :) BTW, have you tried to use earphones instead of headphones?

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on March 20, 2011
at 05:16 PM

okay cool! thanks for the answer

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 03:53 PM

i lit a fire in my fire place.......makes me feel authentic paleo. LOL I actually did this last night while reading my nook with a red light on.

E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:11 PM

Oh, interesting about the Tungsten setting. I was using the Daylight setting. I wonder if this will make a difference.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:06 PM

Forgot to mention pre bed push ups and if I am really stressed because of work/surgery/kids.......sex. I must at some point tell people about how sex can be therapeutic. When I have big cases planned the next day my wife is the best assistant to me insurgery without being there. It absolutely has an amazing effect on my ferrari's metabolic engine.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:04 PM

All great things to do. I should have mention I do myself exercise 10 minutes before bed by doing 20 push ups in my bathroom before I go to bed. Moreover,when my day has been stressful due to a big brain surgery or spine case I crave sex because of what it does to my oxytocin......it raises it and absolutely turns on melatonin quick.....It is the best way to jump start sleep for me. My wife is amazed at how much better I sleep and how different I am when I wake up the next morning. I wish I knew about this in residency!

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:01 PM

this is a great rec too.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:01 PM

is it dangerous? It could be........but we test for it........so we know the context......of how to use it. not testing means your flying blind......my recs are always to test and then repair and tweek. That is why I put a large range above. Rob is correct in saying it can be bad..........but he never discussed the context. And the context is where the rubber meets the asphalt.

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on March 20, 2011
at 01:44 PM

Isn't it a bit dangerous to supplement with melatonin, since it's a hormone? I think Robb Wolf said something about that (could be mistaken though).

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on March 20, 2011
at 11:35 AM

I do this a lot, also with e-books. My mp3 player has a sleep function, so it'll shut down automatically if I haven't pressed a button in an hour. One downside is that I'll occasionally wake up with the cord wrapped around my neck a couple times, and I worry that could disturb my sleep. Also, I need to find some better headphones that won't press into my ear so much when I lie on my side.

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17 Answers

9
3eb3f79868b24b3df4450ea2d4f9a5d5

(2387)

on March 20, 2011
at 03:24 PM

  1. No computer or TV screen after 6pm (actually, throw out our TV-set)

  2. No bright lights at all.

  3. Pen and paper next to your bed to write down any ideas or problems that occupy your brain.

  4. A good book that really engages your mind (fiction! The problem with non-fiction/specialist literature is that it tends to wake up my "work" brain which, in turn, will start racing on and on).

  5. Having something "real" to work on after work (knitting, handicraft work, playing an instrument etc) really relaxes the mind and the feeling of accomplishment creates a feeling of peace and helps a lot (I do 95% computer-based work during the day and the awareness that all I create is just "virtual", however valuable it might be, is very disturbing for me, coming from a craftsman family)

  6. No food after... 6pm (most of the time).

  7. A really, really, really comfortable bed.

  8. No noise in the bedroom.

All of these steps improved my sleep quality and I'm still working on improvements.

6
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on March 20, 2011
at 01:47 PM

I use f.lux to limit the blue light from my computer. But the clincher is that I read to and cuddle my children. Puts me right to sleep, even when it doesn't work on them.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:01 PM

this is a great rec too.

6
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on March 20, 2011
at 04:57 AM

Turn out the lights and do something until the melatonin sets in. Meditation, listening to music, a podcast, etc. Just so long as it doesn't involve light. Back in the old days when the sun would go down that would be the signal for the pineal gland to ramp up melatonin production and make us go to sleep, since you really can't do anything outside when it gets dark. There were no streetlights and a campfire only helps so much.

Says Stabby on his computer at 11pm...

2
07154e6d8e42065f230d06249700fe5b

(2057)

on March 20, 2011
at 04:20 PM

Audiobooks. Pop on some Hitchens, Harris, or Dawkins, and I'm out within 15 minutes. The more interested I am, the faster I fall to sleep. I think it has something to do with thinking very hard about what's being said, while they're still talking. It's a bit hypnotic, puts me right out.

2
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on March 20, 2011
at 01:49 PM

I don't think this will work for you, but what you asked is how I go to bed earlier.

I go to bed with my daughter at 9pm most nights. We watch tv until 9:30 and then it is time to turn the tv off. Sleeping next to her keeps me very still because I want her to fall asleep also, so I tend to sleep much better with her than without her. On the nights I sleep by myself I do the whole mind racing thing and driving myself crazy and NOT sleeping. It's just comforting to have her there with me.

We are trying to actually transition her out of this habit though, she's 9 and it's just not necessary. My husband used to work nights away from home, but now he works nights from home and it's tough for me to be in bed at 9pm every night. I do wake up at 4:30/5am though. Sleep is a tough subject for me. I know my situation is not optimal, but I don't really ever feel like I'm not getting enough sleep.

2
0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on March 20, 2011
at 01:48 PM

Let me add to Dr. K's excellent post: - Install F.Lux on your computer (use 'Tungsten' setting).

  • An alternative to shutting off the lights completely: Only use candlelight for the last 2/3 hours.

  • People have mentioned Yoga Nidra before going to bed.

  • Try to finish eating as early as possible, since food intake increases testosteron production which in turn decreases melatonin production. Although this seems to be different for different folks.

  • Go meditate and/or read some fiction before going to bed, and stay away from non-fiction/study/sciency/work related/logical-thinking type of stuff. (I think Tim Ferriss mentioned this).

  • Turn off all electronic devices in your bedroom.

  • And of course; make your room pitch black.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:04 PM

All great things to do. I should have mention I do myself exercise 10 minutes before bed by doing 20 push ups in my bathroom before I go to bed. Moreover,when my day has been stressful due to a big brain surgery or spine case I crave sex because of what it does to my oxytocin......it raises it and absolutely turns on melatonin quick.....It is the best way to jump start sleep for me. My wife is amazed at how much better I sleep and how different I am when I wake up the next morning. I wish I knew about this in residency!

E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:11 PM

Oh, interesting about the Tungsten setting. I was using the Daylight setting. I wonder if this will make a difference.

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 03:53 PM

i lit a fire in my fire place.......makes me feel authentic paleo. LOL I actually did this last night while reading my nook with a red light on.

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on March 27, 2011
at 02:40 PM

i'm sure it varies, yeah.

A6b2325aefabe3e40c89646e40223f6f

on March 26, 2011
at 10:51 PM

I actually have a much harder time falling asleep when reading fiction... I want to know what happens next! I have better luck reading non-fiction about complex topics (finance in my case)... it focuses my mind and helps me go to sleep faster than when I read story. I'm sure that varies from person to person.

2
Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 01:41 PM

  1. Magnesium malate and acetate or Natural calm (800mgs) 2 hrs before bed.
  2. Turn the lights down as much as possible or totally off.
  3. depending upon your sleep deprivation and levels......6-20 mgs of Melatonin at 6PM
  4. 50 mgs of DHEA in the AM depending upon blood levels.
  5. If you have ever had a CT of your head look at the radiology report for anything mentioning the pineal gland.......if its calciifed you have had a leaky gut in your past and this is why your melatonin levels are fried.....suprachiasmatic nucleus is the site for circadean rhythm.
  6. Make sure your thyroid is optimized.

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on March 20, 2011
at 01:44 PM

Isn't it a bit dangerous to supplement with melatonin, since it's a hormone? I think Robb Wolf said something about that (could be mistaken though).

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:06 PM

Forgot to mention pre bed push ups and if I am really stressed because of work/surgery/kids.......sex. I must at some point tell people about how sex can be therapeutic. When I have big cases planned the next day my wife is the best assistant to me insurgery without being there. It absolutely has an amazing effect on my ferrari's metabolic engine.

0ee98c251b5eef357445aefec99c5d7b

(888)

on March 20, 2011
at 05:16 PM

okay cool! thanks for the answer

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25472)

on March 20, 2011
at 02:01 PM

is it dangerous? It could be........but we test for it........so we know the context......of how to use it. not testing means your flying blind......my recs are always to test and then repair and tweek. That is why I put a large range above. Rob is correct in saying it can be bad..........but he never discussed the context. And the context is where the rubber meets the asphalt.

2
E2b9c679315c7c9c7265783dde89f350

on March 20, 2011
at 07:52 AM

I can't pull this off every night, but the nights that I'm able to not turn my computer on (at all) after work and then knit or crochet for a half hour to an hour, it makes me want to go straight to bed halfway through that knitting or crocheting. I think it has something to do with the relaxing monotony, plus the close work making my eyes tired. I'm usually watching a movie while I knit or crochet, so if you have some sort of close work hobby, you might want to try combining the two.

Just this week we switched our living room lights over to amber light bulbs (marked for ceiling fan use, but they fit fine in our lamps) and bought black out curtains for our bedroom. I was already falling asleep early because of the close work and lack of internet, but those changes seem to help too.

For me, the real trigger is the internet. If I don't allow myself any access at all, I get the cooking and some cleaning done much earlier, and then can relax with a movie, book, and/or close work.

1
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

on May 25, 2011
at 02:36 PM

I find arising about 4:30 in the morning makes it easy to go to sleep at circa 8:30 in the evening. :)

9f933fedd259b97a5369c3ee5dae3151

(341)

on May 25, 2011
at 03:02 PM

I hear you! Every morning I BING awake between 4-5, despite (several) attempts to sleep in. Crash at around 10pm.

1
B485f0cf678c0b420941e883adfea28d

on March 20, 2011
at 06:04 PM

I personally use reading a book as an excuse to get off the computer, shut it down, and get away from the blue light. I'll do this about an hour before I want to actually be in bed. Obviously you have to like reading for this to be effective but having a dedicated reading hour has worked tremendously well in helping me get to sleep earlier as well as increasing the amount of reading I've been able to do.

1
5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9

(1304)

on March 20, 2011
at 07:42 AM

I agree with Stabby. For me podcasts work very well. I import a few favorites, and then listen to them in bed, lights off. I really look forward to going to sleep now. It's so pleasant and relaxing, I fall asleep like a baby, they really work like bed-time stories. But remember to switch the device off...

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on March 20, 2011
at 11:35 AM

I do this a lot, also with e-books. My mp3 player has a sleep function, so it'll shut down automatically if I haven't pressed a button in an hour. One downside is that I'll occasionally wake up with the cord wrapped around my neck a couple times, and I worry that could disturb my sleep. Also, I need to find some better headphones that won't press into my ear so much when I lie on my side.

5672b2d190891342389e764cc4056ca9

(1304)

on March 20, 2011
at 11:56 PM

Aaron: interesting, I need to check if my player has that function as well. But I wonder if, with that function, I wouldn't be alert enough to take the earphones off when falling asleep, and then strangle myself like you :) BTW, have you tried to use earphones instead of headphones?

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on March 21, 2011
at 02:07 AM

Yes, I don't find the "ear buds" very comfortable when pressed into a pillow either, at least the ones I've tried. Maybe if I can find some that don't stick out at all. Probably I shouldn't be using a pillow in the first place.

1
B4313b18cc03036a6147543d7b0872d6

(566)

on March 20, 2011
at 05:13 AM

I've started wearing amber safety glasses around the house in the evening to filter out the blue light. Don't know if it's helping yet, but they were cheap and my self control is low re: bedtime. Actually going upstairs helps too: I'm working on that one.

0
669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on March 31, 2011
at 07:57 PM

Like most Lymies,I suffer from a disorrientated sleep pattern too, though I incorporated most things mentioned already. I also wear one of those little sleepmasks to let my body believe it's pitchblack=time to sleep. It did increase my sleep pattern a bit. For some reason,days I need to get up early for an appointment,I sleep the worst.....oh and when it's full moon,the borrelia tends to wreak havoc.

0
Ac9425a387b78cb37a01972fe848bddb

(655)

on March 31, 2011
at 07:33 PM

Does it matter if i still get my 6-8 hours even if I go to bed at 2 a.m. and wake at 10 a.m.?

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on March 31, 2011
at 08:02 PM

Doubtful, my issue is that I have to get up at 6am but go to bed at midning :(

6f2c00fcbf48c69f0ea212239b3e1178

on May 25, 2011
at 03:28 PM

I perform MUCH better getting 8 hours from 10-6 than 8 hours from 2-10. Just my experience, but this also seems to pan out in most people's experience.

0
61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on March 21, 2011
at 01:55 PM

I got out of the snooze button habit by scheduling something immediately upon waking. In order to get in my workout, shower, and get to school on time (when I was in college), I would HAVE to start my day at 5:30 am. If I didn't get out of bed when my alarm went off, I would not have time to do everything I wanted to do.

I now have a dog and he usually wakes me up before my alarm. While he hasn't had an accident in the house in months, I can't fall back asleep when I know he's up, so I get up and take him for his morning walk/jog. I'm up sometime between 5 and 5:30 every morning.

0
0adda19045a3641edac0008364b91110

(1146)

on March 20, 2011
at 03:41 PM

I could only go to sleep with the TV on. Usually I watch The Simpsons right before bed. It's a habit I have to stop, but I find it very difficult to do so.

-1
C77669135b45421f8b7fa35bddefea51

(58)

on March 20, 2011
at 05:28 PM

Like I've told my 9 year old many times - the difference between a mature adult and a child is that one knows he is tired and stays up late anyway and doesn't care about tomorrow. The other knows he is tired and goes to bed because he is mature enough to know that actions have consequences.

I assume you're already being a mature adult with most food/health issues - now apply that willpower and determination to sleep and the rest of your life and you will know no limits.

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