If we don’t sleep well, we can’t build businesses, create wealth, or make an impact. Because of these reasons and more, I care a lot about my sleep.
Here are my six favorite tools to improve sleep:
1 – Intermittent Fasting
This first one isn’t so much a “tool” in the sense of a physical device, but it’s more important than any other item on this list.
I’ve intermittent fasted for ten years or more now. There are more complicated ways of doing intermittent fasting with specific eating windows. However, the simplest way to look at it is don’t eat past around 6PM.
If you stop eating at 6PM, you’ll be asleep sometime between 9PM (closer to when I go to sleep) and 1PM (when some of my friends and business partners go to sleep). You’ll have a long fasting window from when you stop eating and when you resume eating the next day.
Late-night eating and snacking until bedtime is what causes the most issues for people. They eat more calories than they need, therefore gaining excess weight, and mess up their sleep.
2 – Philips Hue Bulbs
I put these in every new house we move to. They’re amazing.
The feature I like the most is the full color spectrum. If you pop a couple of these in your nightstand lamps, you can turn them red at night. Red light doesn’t mess up your sleep preparation as much as blue light.
Our bulbs in the bedroom are set to turn red (a bit weird, I know…) at least at 7PM. I can still read with these on at night. We can move around the bedroom without phone lights or other bright blasting lights bringing us out of pre-sleep preparation.
3 – Swannie’s Blue Blocker Glasses
A friend of mine, James Swanwick, created these blue blockers years ago. They’re sold all over the place now and are great.
You look like a huge dork wearing them, but that’s OK. My friends now I’m weird anyway.
I try to remember to put them on at least a few hours before bedtime if we’re watching a movie or hanging out outside of our bedroom with the red lights (both at the same time is overkill).
I’ll also wear them if I have a later night webinar we’re hosting and I don’t have my video camera on. Then I’m not as wired right before bed when we get off at 9PM or 10PM.
4 – White Noise Machine
This machine is a game changer. I bring it with me almost every time I travel.
It’s also great at the house if you have other people over and you want to go to sleep before they do. You can turn it on and don’t need annoying earplugs to block out some of their noise.
This one’s noise comes from a real wind-generation mechanism which makes it feel more natural compared to an electronic white noise sound.
Right now we’re using it at an Airbnb that is quiet except for a heating device that turns on loudly every 20 minutes or so. With the white noise machine, we get a consistent white noise sound that makes the intermittent heating machine’s noise less abrupt.
5 – Black Electrical Tape
It seems like every hotel has at least three or four LED lights blasting in your face at night. To cover up LED lights, I carry a roll of black electrical tape with me every time I travel (this is my most essential travel sleep tool).
For our 10-year anniversary, my wife and I went to a nice resort in the Dominican Republic. The bungalow house on the water was amazing, except for a super bright light from the AC unit high up on the wall lighting up the entire room at night. I didn’t notice it the first night because I was so tired. But, the second night, I tossed and turned all night because my body thinks it’s daytime already with the light shining in my fast.
I had to stand on top of a desk and attach strips of my electrical tape to an umbrella to reach the AC unit’s lights about 15 feet up on the wall. OMG. The difference was huge and absolutely worth it.
Never leave home without it.
6 – Manta Sleep Mask
I’ve tried probably ten sleep masks. This one is the best by far.
The cups around the eyes block out almost all light, even in a brightly lit room. Most sleep masks lay over your eyes and allow light to seep in through the top and bottom. This one doesn’t for about 95% of light (a huge improvement).
It’s also super comfortable.
I wear it while on overnight plane flights. I also wear it when there’s a large window or open door letting in light I can’t block at an Airbnb, hotel, or even our house at times.
A Final Few Tips
I read about a study that took a group of self-proclaimed “night owls” who could “never” fall asleep early out to the woods to camp. They took away all their electronic devices. What happened? They all were asleep by 10PM.
I’m no health expert, but I think the same applies to people who say they can’t sleep well. My guess is 99% of the time they’re doing things which sabotage their ability too sleep well.
Here’s a good routine to solve most sleep problems:
- Exercise vigorously every day
- Don’t eat a lot of sugar
- Don’t drink a lot of alcohol, especially within five or six hours before bed
- Turn off electronic devices at least two to three hours before bed (read a book instead)
- Use the tips above to block out as much blue light as possible
- If you feel like you have too many problems to deal with, write them down before bed in a single list and put the list where you can deal with it in the morning to let your mind rest
Until someone does all of the steps above, I don’t think they can complain about not being able to sleep well. They’re not even doing the basics to try to sleep well.
We owe it to our long-term health, our financial futures, and the people we care about to bring our best every day. A big part of this comes with sleeping great.
Give the tips above a try. I nearly guarantee they’ll improve your life as they have mine.