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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Sameer Kerkar: Which factors differed for hyper and hypoglycemics? I’m loving these write-ups.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Sameer thanks for the support as always! For people with hypoglycemia, the issue is that the longer the gap between dinner and bed time, the higher the chance that the blood glucose levels begin to drop by early am below the lower limit of 70 mg/dl and that causes folks to wake up because the body is trying to send you a signal that it needs a source of energy. Having a few nuts or 4 oz of milk just before bedtime helps keep it above that lower limit and leads to better sleep.

Sameer Kerkar

Sunanda Khivansara: Lovely reading the detailed write up, Nickhil

Sunanda Khivansara

Hemant Joshi: Thanks ! As usual very useful

Hemant Joshi

Smita Gaikwad: I am going to try this technique too as I am also looking at solutions for optimal sleep! Anxiety surely interferes with it and I am at my wit’s end to calm the body when anxiety is high ( upcoming travel, work release).

Nickhil Jakatdar: Smita awesome. I am keen to hear how well it works for you once you try it out.

Smita Gaikwad: Nickhil Jakatdar sure thing.

Smita Gaikwad

Paula Kravitz: Super inspired to read this. Thank you for sharing so generously.

Nickhil Jakatdar: Paula thank you!

Paula Kravitz

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