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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Anita Manwani: Nick thanks for putting this forth. Stress is a big factor in sleep. Its challenging to control, unlike food and screens. Waiting for your Next post!

Anita Manwani

Sarita Kohli: Great practical tips.

Sarita Kohli

Ritu M.: Thanks for sharing. It is always good to be reminded.

Ritu M.

Saeesh Nevrekar: Nickhil you are turning into IronMan or Robocop or something similar.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Saeesh with all the titanium in my neck and legs, I am probably a good mix of the two 😀

Saeesh Nevrekar: I find that if I eat desserts after dinner I cannot get sleep at night. So I have cut out desserts. Not yet successful with the carbs.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Saeesh that’s exactly right. Desserts (sugar) and carbs (which also convert to glucose once it enters our system) are effectively the same. The one potential saving grace for carbs is that if you try having more complex carbs rather than simple carbs the impact will be that much lower. On the other hand, the desserts could contain glucose or fructose, with the latter having an even more deleterious effect in general. So net-net cutting the desserts at night is a good thing; and with carbs, if you can cut by 50% and/or have more complex carbs and have Gauri’s lovely protein-based dishes (fish, etc.) at night, you should see an improvement in your sleep quality and duration.

Saeesh Nevrekar

Jaya Munot: What about the carb intake how does it affect sleep?

Nickhil Jakatdar: I try to avoid high carb intake at dinner and have more of it during lunch because if my carb/sugar intake is high at dinner, it negatively impacts my sleep duration and quality.

Jaya Munot

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