Optimizing Sleep Quality: My Bedtime Habits

Optimizing Sleep Quality: My Bedtime Habits

The interventions I put in place to help improve the quality of my sleep, given that sleep plays a pivotal role in optimizing both immediate and long-term health outcomes, as well as influencing day-to-day functionality.

I use both my Fitbit and Oura Ring to track the duration of my sleep, my sleep efficiency (how much of my time in bed is spent sleeping), and the key components of sleep (light, deep, REM and awake times). Each person is unique and using the global average values isn't the best way to determine what is right for you, so I decided to first benchmark what my personal average values were for these parameters over a month. Once I had that in place, I then experimented with four specific lifestyle habits to see which of them impacted these parameters, and to what extent.

They were (i) the amount of time between finishing dinner and getting into bed, (ii) how many grams of carbs and added sugars I consumed in my dinner, (iii) how many minutes of walking I did after my dinner and (iv) the impact of artificial light before I went to bed. There are many more factors I tried over the years (the role of alcohol, how much time after eating should one walk, impact of water, how it differs for people who are more hypoglycemic vs. hyperglycemic, etc.), but I am highlighting a few of the factors that were each statistically significant. I cover a lot more of the details about all the things I have tested for in the seminars I do for members in our program, and why they work, but I am going to summarize a few of the key takeaways for those that are interested in the bottom line.

I found that I had the best quality of sleep when I kept a 3 hour time lag between finishing my dinner and getting into bed, tried to keep my carb and added sugars low at dinner (and had more of it for lunch), walked for 15 minutes after my meal (while listening to a podcast so the walk isn’t boring), and for the last 1 hour before sleeping, turned off the lights in the bedroom and avoided my mobile phone screen. It has gotten so consistent that I can almost perfectly guess what my sleep score (that the Fitbit provides) is going to be the next morning even before I go to bed, based on how much I was able to follow the aforementioned habits that day. Try it out and see if you find it as effective.
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26 comments

Vivek Krishnamoorthi: Nickhil Jakatdar I had the same question about the right time to go to bed. Did you figure it out with a trial and error method? Do you stick to the same routine (more or less). Great posts by the way!

Vivek Krishnamoorthi

Ashish Chitale: Nickhil I am curious about the 1 hr. before sleep. I understand the mobile part. But lights out also mean no reading as well. Various people have suggested reading instead of mobile. Also, did you notice anything related to the time you go to bed? Does it matter for quality if sleep? Nickhil I meant a physical book 😊

Ashish Chitale

Husein Sehorewala: Nj the last I remember was that you used to sleep for 2 to 3 hours a day, so it’s great to see you work on your sleep. What is more important, quality or sleep or duration of sleep?

Nickhil Jakatdar: Husein thanks! Both are very important but if I got a meaningful amount of REM and Deep sleep even if it is for a shorter overall duration I would take that over mostly light sleep for a longer duration.

Husein Sehorewala

Neeraj Choudhary: Nickhil Jakatdar with your discipline I am going to call you a health swami – thanks for sharing consistently.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Neeraj I am going to add that title to my LinkedIn profile πŸ˜€

Neeraj Choudhary

Ajinkya Apte: Wait, you sleep? I cannot believe it! πŸ˜‰

Nickhil Jakatdar: Ajinkya more often than not πŸ˜€

Ajinkya Apte

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