I Don’t Sleep, I Hustle!
If you are an entrepreneur or frequent entrepreneur communities you have probably heard numerous people say something to that effect.
You may even think that way yourself, I know I did for years.
There is this belief that sleeping is some sort of weakness and that if you are sleeping you are wasting valuable time and aren’t “hustling” enough.
I see chest thumping about it all the time from people that want to show how good an entrepreneur they are (forgetting the fact that they have time to sit around discuss how much they are hustling) and I am here to tell you…
they are wrong.
Before I get to what I have done to improve my sleep I want to provide a little bit of background.
I have had a sleeping condition my entire life. Even as a child.
I have actual insomnia.
Insomnia isn’t something you get every now and then when you have a night where you can’t sleep.
That is akin to saying that because you feel sad when something bad happens that you have depression.
Insomnia is a medical condition.
People use this incorrectly all the time.
I tell you that not to whine or ask for sympathy but to illustrate that I was starting from a position that most people won’t be.
But over the course of the last year I have been able to dramatically improve the quality of my sleep, and in turn it has lead the most productivity and mental clarity I have ever experienced in my life.
I am going to tell you everything I did but before I do a couple of disclaimers.
First I am not a doctor and have no formal training. Nothing here should be construed as advice and is for entertainment purposes only. Consult a trained professional if you need help sleeping.
The other thing is, everyone is different.
I am going to talk about what worked for me, it may not work for you. You will need to test different variables and find what suits you best and improves your sleep quality.
So how have I managed to improve my sleep over the last year or so?
First let’s talk about the tools I used.
What Tools Can You Use To Help You Sleep?
- Oura Ring this is a ring that monitors your sleep and other vitals. If anything on this list is a must have it is this. It will sync top an app on your phone every day (they also have a cloud based app) and provide you with all sorts of information about the quality of your sleep. You can’t improve what you can’t measure, so you will need some way of monitoring your sleep progress. If you don’t want to wear a ring check out Whoop instead which is a bracelet that works in a similar fashion.
- Blue light blocking glasses I put these on when it gets dark out. There is some science to it, but suffice it to say that your brain thinks that the light from your TV, phone, and monitor is sunlight, and therefore it is not time to go to sleep. These correct for that.
- 120 mg of Melatonin at bed time. Melatonin is a chemical that occurs naturally in the brain and is associated with relaxation and sleep.
- My air conditioner. I found that I need my bedroom needs to be 62 degrees Fahrenheit for me to sleep well. Portable units are an alternative if you can’t do it through central air.
Additionally I am going to be incorporating the following soon to see how they help, though I haven’t tested them yet.
- White noise machine these help block outside noise
- Gravity blanket I have only recently been reading on these but apparently these help you relax and affect the nervous system
- Essential Oil Diffuser I have one of these in my office and I am going to see if putting one in the bedroom helps
- Turning off my phone. I know this will help a lot… but I am scared something might happen that needs my attention.
I also tried some things that did not work for me, though again this is just me, it may be different for you.
- Sleep Mask I tried a bunch of different ones and all they did was annoy me
- Tryptophan. Tried a few brands to no effect
- Doing nothing but sleep/be intimate in the bedroom. I found if I just went and laid down that I couldn’t shut my mind off. Having the TV on for half hour or so on something mindless really helped me.
What Kind Of Diet Will Improve My Sleep?
Keto is the loose definition of the type of diet I have been on for a lot of that time. Essentially though a lot of good fatty food like avocado, walnuts, and olive oil, moderate protein like chicken thigh, and minimal carbs from things like kale.
Disclaimer though I started this type of diet for a different reason and did not test it individually from everything else so it may be correlation and not causation.
Now let’s take a look at the process I used to make this all work and improve my sleep.
How Do I Improve My Sleep?
- Limit caffeine and other stimulants and never have any later than noon
- Get up and go to bed within a 1 hour window. For me this usually mean I get up between 6:30am and 7:30am and got to bed between 9:00pm and 10:00pm
- No exercise or strenuous activity 2 hours before bed. This seems to vary wildly from person to person, but exercise for me really wakes me up and makes it hard for me to come down so I need at least 2 hours before I intend to sleep.
- No eating 2 hours before bed. Similar thing here. I find that eating wakes me up and give me energy and makes it harder to sleep.
- Take the Melatonin right as I go to bed. It kicks in within 15-30 minutes usually
- I put on the blue light blocking glasses when the sun goes down (whenever I can) and I leave them on until I start to fall asleep.
- I keep my bedroom as dark as possible. That’s not too difficult for me, but you may need to get some blackout curtains and block any artificial light sources.
So that is the main process that has changed everything for me.
Now I want to talk about the metrics that seem to matter most to me and my sleep quality.
What Are The Most Important Metrics For Improved Sleep?
The first step is to get an Oura Ring or a Whoop Bracelet.
You can’t improve what you can’t measure so this is almost a prerequisite.
The key metrics that I have worked on that have seemed to have improved my sleep the most are:
- Total Sleep
- REM Sleep
- Deep Sleep
- Resting Heart Rate
- Heart Rate Variability
Here is my sleep and readiness score along with some other metrics from a couple of days ago.
So let’s look at some of these numbers and dig a little deeper.
Total Sleep: testing has taught me that usually I need to get 7+ hours. This night I got less than that so it kept me out of the 90s.
REM Sleep: REM sleep means rapid eye movement sleep. This is one of the stages of sleep and is when you start dreaming. I usually need about 1:30 of this so I did well on it on this night.
Deep Sleep: This is when the brain produces alpha waves and is the most important type of sleep. On optimal nights I get like 1:30 – 2:00 so I was a little low this night. The blue blocker glasses really helped me improve this variable.
Resting Hear Rate: This has been a lot higher for me than normal lately, I haven’t quite figured out why (though it is still far better than most people) I like it to be in the mid 50s to low 60s
Heart Rate Variability: This is by far my biggest struggle. I want to improve this by a good 30% in the next few weeks.
Those are the biggest factors I found that contributed to my sleep quality… but like I said it is different for everyone.
Get an Oura Ring or Whoop bracelet and start measuring different variables on your own.
I know this is a rather dry topic, but I think it is important.
I urge everyone to work on this and not make excuses as to why you can’t.
Plenty of people have businesses, families and other obligations and still have good sleep habits.
As I said this has been a problem for me all my life. Technically it still is.
But right now is the best I have ever managed it… and its no coincidence that I have had the most successful, productive, and creatively charged year of my life.
Please work on your sleep, it will improve your health, business, relationships, and life and after all you owe it to yourself, and to the rest of the world to be at your best and bring as much value as you possibly can.