Recently I’ve been getting great sleep (without any major changes in general lifestyle or stress levels). I made a bunch of changes at once. One, all or some combination of them are having an effect. Here’s the list:
  • Comfortable mattress: This is obvious. What’s not obvious is how much effort people have already put into testing every available mattress and writing up their findings in detail. It’s worth spending time on Sleep Like the Dead and Sleepjunkie before buying a mattress to find one that suits you. (It’s possible spending a lot of time researching a mattress makes it feel more comfortable through placebo effect, which is fine by me).
  • Eat dinner early: I’d often eat dinner within an hour of going to sleep. Now I’ve been eating at least 4.5 hours before going to bed (related to starting a Intermittent Fasting protocol).
  • Oil diffuser: I turn on an oil diffuser with lavender scents about 45 minutes before going to sleep.
  • Reading fiction: I read an hour of fiction. I typically don’t read much fiction and would use any spare reading time for non-fiction/learning. That makes my mind too active though and it’s also tough to focus on dense material after a long day.
  • 10 min meditation: After reading I do a 10 minute guided sleep meditation on Simple Habit or Headspace. I think taking long deep breaths is 90% of the benefit vs the actual meditation.
  • Sleep stories: Calm has a feature called Sleep Stories, which are exactly what they sound like — bedtime stories for adults. I was skeptical at first but I’ve found them amazing for keeping you getting wrapped up in your thoughts and staying awake. I’m usually asleep before the end of one.
  • No phone in bedroom: The only electronics allowed are my Kindle and an old iPhone with just the Spotify, Calm, Headspace and Simple Habit apps.

Two other things I’ve used for a while are:

  • Blackout curtains: Make your room as dark as possible (I don’t like using a sleep mask)
  • Sunlight alarm clock: Wakes you up gradually.

Finally, the best advice on getting good sleep I’ve heard was from Naval — “don’t run a company” :)

(Edit: As many of my friends have noted, all of these suggestions will be utterly useless if you have kids).