Tim Ferris is not the type of guy that is afraid to experiment, mainly on himself.
Over the years this author and entrepreneur has become known for experimenting in different ways on practically any and every topic your can think of.
In doing so, he has accumulated an enormous following, particularly with his podcast, which has won numerous iTunes awards.
His first book was published in 2009 and since then he has pushed the envelope in virtually every realm to test theories and find out what really makes a difference when it comes to various things that we are told on a daily basis.
One of the areas that we are interested in that Mr. Ferris has experimented with extensively is sleep.
Over the years he has tinkered with many theories and methods for battling insomnia and improving your overall sleep patterns.
One of the stranger experiments that Tim tried was to experiment with ice baths before bedtime.
This is a bit of a take off on the old Japanese theory that hot baths prior to bedtime will help the body excrete more melatonin, thus enabling a person to sleep better and increase his or her life span.
Tim wasn’t interested in a hot bath before bed, so he tried the opposite, which would obviously be an ice bath.
He puts a few bags of ice into a bath tub, allowed it to melt, and then sits in it for 10 minutes. Add a small dose of melatonin to this (1-3 mg) and he compares it to being hit with an elephant tranquilizer! Tim does recommend easing into this to avoid shocking your body, but if you can do it, the results are well worth the discomfort.
Just don’t expect it to be a real good time.
Keeping your bedroom at a cool temperature is another favorite of Tim’s, as well as many other sleep experts.
60-67 degrees is usually optimal, but it varies for everyone. You should seek to find your ideal temperature and he recommends wearing socks if it seems a bit cool for you. Tim recommends the ChiliPad to maintain the proper sleep temperature. ChiliPad, the “Tim Ferriss Mattress”, allows you to set the precise temperature of your mattress (with available dual zones to accommodate your partner), so you can achieve the perfect environment for your best sleep.
Temperature is highly individualized so it may be necessary to experiment with a few different temperatures to find out what is perfect for you. Learn more about sleeping cool here.
Caffeine naps are another favorite of Mr. Ferriss. While this one may sound as strange as an ice bath, he says that drinking an espresso and then immediately taking a 20 minute nap can have a great effect.
Since the coffee doesn’t generally kick in for about 30 minutes, you have a perfect opportunity to take a quick cat-nap (particularly in the middle of the day from 1pm-3pm) and then have an extra kick-start when you wake up.
This one sounds a little odd, but if you can work it into your schedule, you will find your afternoons end up much more productive.
Protein and fat heavy meal
What you eat also directly impacts how you sleep and Tim recommends a protein and fat heavy meal about 3 hours prior to bedtime.
You can read up on how long it takes to digest various foods, but this is one that can help out immensely with your sleep cycles.
You may not want to try it if you are on a diet, but otherwise, you will sleep a lot better with the right type of meal before bedtime.
Honey and apple cider vinegar
One of Tim’s go-to tranquilizers is honey and apple cider vinegar.
Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of honey in a cup of hot water is the recipe that he follows and oddly enough was recommended to him by noted PhD, Seth Roberts.
Another Ferriss discovery after his extensive experimenting, was that low blood sugar can affect your sleep and leave you feeling crummy in the morning even though you may have had 8 hours of sleep.
He recommends a couple of celery sticks with either almond butter or peanut butter as a pre-bedtime snack. Adding 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil will also help keep you from waking up in the middle of the night as well.
This is another little trick that may sound a bit odd, but if you can make it part of your routine, your sleep patterns will benefit from it.
Speaking of routine, most experts, including Tim Ferriss, agree that your bedtime routine is extremely important in getting a good night’s sleep.
Tim says that prioritizing getting a good night’s sleep as your #1 goal of your day is a great way to get into a routine and stick with it.
Most people have a bedtime routine and if you think about it, the times when you stray out of it (out late night partying or being out of town sleeping in a bed other than your own) are generally the times when you don’t get a good night’s sleep.
Figuring out when works for you and making it part of your routine, be it incorporating ice baths, taking a dose of melatonin, having a bed time snack, will allow your body to get used to getting ready for sleep.
The more you do the same routine, the more comfortable your body will become and the more often you will get a good night’s sleep.
Preparation for sleep is key and how you wind down your day may vary from person to person.
Much like the temperature of your room, some of these things are highly individualized, so don’t be afraid to experiment to find out the optimal things that work for you.