I am SO tired of not getting good sleep at night. I am SO tired in general.
At the age of 24 now, I wouldn’t have pictured myself so concerned about my sleep. Adults will warn you from time to time that good sleep is a fleeting thing for a lot of them, so enjoy your younger days while you have them.
My parents in particular talk a lot about how they either couldn’t fall asleep for a while or they woke up at 4am and couldn’t go back to bed. Sometimes one of them has a nightmare that bothers them and makes it hard to get back into a restful sleep.
Now, I’m in the same boat!
However, unlike them, I can actually tell you why. For me, it is anxiety and stress that keeps me up, period. Nothing complicated. Those come in the form of eustress (good stress) and good anxiety too by the way.
A lot of what keeps my “monkey mind” (as Tim Ferriss calls it) running is the very predictable stress of trying to run a functioning online business.
It is very hard, as opposed to what influencers online will try to sell you. It comes with tons of planning, problem-solving, and worry for how things will work. But like I said, this is normal. It’s simply hard to turn off at night when it’s basically my life.
Another form of stress is my relationship. Sometimes we’re not on the best of terms and I have to wonder how things will turn out. It’s not always rational of course, because our instincts have a tendency to make a catastrophe out of things.
On top of these, I also get down on myself for not working hard enough and not being successful enough yet. I wish it wasn’t true but I have to start acknowledging that it is so I can move towards fixing it. Reading all the success stories on this platform or on the rest of the internet can be motivating, but can also be debilitating on your self-image.
Other things that pop up at night for me are things concerning my relationship with my parents, my connection with my friends, something that was said to me that I didn’t like, flashes of things from my past that still make me angry, and so on.
Now that you know what keeps me awake, let’s talk about what I’m trying to put me to sleep.
. . .
Tim Ferriss seems to field a lot of criticism today, but I can’t help being thankful for the endless slew of ideas I’ve gotten from him.
It turns out, he suffers from the same problem as me; the “monkey mind” won’t stop running at bedtime.
Tim has noted that it’s very difficult for him to break out of his problem-solving mindset when he’s trying to fall asleep.
This is exactly how I would summarize insomnia. All the stress and anxiety and worry are just signals trying to tell you to solve the problem.
But really, it’s natural to have problems in your life as there are so many things to manage. You have to get good sleep so you can wake up rested, think rationally again, and then go solve your problems.
Tim Ferriss uses and has recommended the following options to get to sleep easier and have more restful sleep.
Tim recommends replacing coffee with tea, ultimately. You can ease yourself from regular coffee to decaf coffee or to tea, and then to decaf tea.
He even says you can control your exact caffeine intake with a decaf tea and a caffeine pill separately to ween yourself off it entirely. He says don’t drink caffeine after 5pm, I would edit this to make it no later than 2pm.
What I have been doing recently, as I love myself a good coffee, is just scooping less coffee grounds into the same size cup or just drinking a smaller coffee altogether.
It’s very non-scientific, but I feel less jittery because of it and there’s less caffeine throwing a party in my system.
Meditate in the Morning
Tim is a big proponent of meditation. I’ve heard him promote methods such as Transcendental Meditation and the Headspace app which provides guided meditation.
He does around 20–30 minutes in the morning to sort out his monkey mind, but says even 10 minutes is a great place to start.
Meditation has always been a tricky one for me. Honestly, I’m still one of the “it doesn’t work for me” kind of people. However, I meditate in other ways. When I play soccer, go for a run, go for a walk, clean the house, or build Legos, I’m meditating.
I’m a big advocate of getting yourself into as many flow states as you can because I think that is a sign that there is lots of happiness in whatever activity that is for you. It allows you to step out of your body for a bit and think about things without reacting so poorly.
I would highly recommend exercise of any kind to enable more flow or “meditative” states.
Read Fiction Before Bed
This piece of advice is a complete game-changer in my life.
Tim recommends reading fiction at night “to take you into a story-consuming instead of problem-solving mode.”
We all love story-telling and I find this is a great way to get out of your anxious state of trying to think your way out of every problem. Fiction obviously will never have anything to do with your reality so it’s much less likely to trigger new ideas or new worries as you’re trying to wind down.
This update in my life is going to become a permanent one because my old way was reading “How I Make ___ Every Month” articles and trying to fix my life at 1:30am.
f.lux is a program you can download onto your computer to control the light coming off the screen. In particular, it helps moderate the blue light which blocks melatonin production in the body.
Tim Ferriss is a long-time user of this program and so am I. I put it on my laptop a few years ago, at the recommendation of someone else, and now I just let it naturally moderate what colors my screen shows and how intense they are.
My girlfriend will often ask me,
As it gets later in the day, my screen removes more blue light and shows more red light. The screen also gets darker so it is less intense of my eyes.
By the later nighttime, my screen is mostly just dark red and it is harder to make out little nuances on the screen. This is necessary for someone who uses their computer late at night though.
It is not only a deterrent to stop being on your computer, but also better for your eyes and melatonin production so you can actually get to sleep soon.
Certainly the most aggressive of Tim’s ideas, this is most likely the last line of defense for a good night’s sleep.
He has mentioned doing podcasts with people like James Fadiman where substances such as psilocybin were discussed.
Tim is also an advocate for what he calls “smart drugs” which he uses to hack performance and enable different states of being.
Please do your own research on this point because I have no expertise in this area. Make sure anything you do is legal.
Tim Ferriss is a wealth of knowledge in most areas regarding performance and self-optimization.
Sleep is just one of the latest subtopics of lifestyle design that I’ve found him to be incredibly insightful with.
This post was previously published on Change Becomes You.
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