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Sleep is a critically important activity, one that we ideally spend one third of our life doing. And the quality of it determines the large majority of our life. So with that in mind, here are some of the most helpful things I’ve found for improving sleep quality.

Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar tonic

A simple mixture:
2 tbsp of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp raw honey
Mixed into hot water

And drunk right before bed. I learned this one from Tim Ferriss and it’s very powerful.

Body temperature

ChiliPad is a somewhat pricey, but very powerful device that regulates body temperature very closely throughout the night and can fix many bad sleep issues.

Blue light saturation

Controlling the amount of blue light you consume before bed (especially the 1-2 hours before) can help tremendously in preparing your body for rest. It depends how extreme you want to get, but I’d recommend using the Night Shift on your iPhone, Night Mode for Android, or F.Lux for your computer. And potentially getting blue light blocking sunglasses as LEDs and many other light sources emit a lot of blue light as well.

Monitoring your sleep

There’s two facets of this; monitoring your sleep to find insights, and controlling how you wake up. Monitoring your sleep alone can be very powerful in identifying issues and problems while sleeping. But controlling your waking is probably more important typically as waking up improperly can throw your bodies chemical balance off for the whole day (eg the groggy feeling). I personally have used many apps, but Sleep Cycle seems to work pretty well for me on both parts of this.

Another facet of monitoring sleep, is to use an app that allows audio recording and records sleep activity. This will help you learn if you’re snoring, have sleep apnea, or there’s something disrupting sleep but isn’t disruptive enough to cause you to wake up and remember it (dogs barking, cars in the distance, etc). For example one thing I learned was that there was a truck that would drive by late at night that wouldn’t full wake me up, but would disrupt sleep enough to break me out of REM.

Your pillow

How your head and neck are configured throughout the night is pretty influential on how well you sleep, and feel during the next day. I’ve used many pillows, but find a cervical pillow to be my favorite. Here’s an example, although it’s not the exact one I use.

Heart rate

Heart rate variability is one of the most important metrics about your bodies condition and health. Tracking your heart rate through a smart watch is good, but sadly optical heart rate sensors like most smart watches contain aren’t accurate enough to handle HRV (Heart Rate Variability) calculations etc. So a skin contact ECG is needed to get accurate enough calculations. I’d recommend giving the Polar H7 a try.

Breath rate

Tracking your respiratory activity is also very helpful to determining if there are issues with oxygenation or respiration. Not breathing deep enough or with proper rhythm will also interfere with quality sleep. I personally use a Spire which is very helpful.

Additionally right before bed, performing some “box breathing” is very helpful to adjust your physiology and generally calm everything down including breath rate, heart rate, etc. This simple website is helpful as an aid.

What are your favorite sleep hacks?