Wednesday, July 10, 2019

How I sleep

At Google they teach you how to sleep. I don’t mean in a meeting room, of boredom. I mean there’s an employee training dedicated to sleep efficiency. It’s a part of the leadership education program. To me it sounded absurd at first. But it turned out to be one of the most useful trainings in my life.⠀
The basic idea: nothing affects our productivity as much as the quality of sleep the previous night. Sleepless night at a computer is not an act of heroism, but rather negligence. Want to work effectively? Learn to sleep effectively.
In theory, sleep is an automatic process. But humans are the only mammal who’ve figured out how to deprive themselves of sleep at will. And we hurt ourselves a lot by doing this.
Three facts
▪️ After 24 hours without sleep, the ability to learn drops by 40%. We can’t submit acquired knowledge in the long-term memory anymore.
▪️ Every year on the the day of daylight saving time transition, the number of heart attacks increases by 24%! That night is only 1 hour shorter.
▪ A man who sleeps 5 hours a night, has testosterone level equal to someone 10 years older. Their testicles decrease in size.
There are many other scientifically proven scary facts. But I think you get it. The topic of sleep is no less important than diet and sport. It’s worth digging into.⠀
Here are the key points
▪ We sleep in cycles of 1.5 hours: phases of slow sleep and fast sleep (REM). Ideally, you go through 5 complete cycles, i.e. 7.5 hours of sleep is optimal.
▪️ The most natural awakening is at the end of the cycle, immediately after REM. This way it’s easy. Try our the “Sleep Cycle” app — cycle-aware alarm clock.
▪ Establish stable sleep routine. Get used to going to bed and getting up at the same time. I go to bed at 10:30 and wake up 6:00 every morning
▪️ Avoid: alcohol, caffeine after dinner and irregular workouts in the evening. Regular evening workouts are ok
▪️ Block the blue light from the screens 2 hours before bedtime — turn on the night shift on the phone. I don’t keep my phone by the bed. Wear blue light blocking glasses in the evening.
▪️ Lower the room temperature overnight to 18C.
▪️ If you can’t fall asleep, don’t stay in bed. Take a shower, go for a walk, then come back. Teach your brain “bed = sleep.”
▪️ Measure and optimize. I use a sleep tracker device — Oura ring. It changed my life. In the morning I check the key metrics: sleep phases, heart rate, body temperature, etc. Then I make decisions based on behavior.
For further information, I highly recommend the awesome TED Talk by Matt Walker “Sleep is your superpower”