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Health The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
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The Lizard of Oz Offline
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Post: #1
The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
A week ago, I wrote the below post in another thread. The post was in response to a poster's question about dealing with mental exhaustion, but I thought it deserved a thread of its own because it contains the best summary of what I think are the most essential habits that men should follow to get consistently good sleep, and be healthier and happier in general:


*******************************

A few things.

The main thing you need to do is to maximize the benefits of the sleep you are getting. That is the single most important factor in being able to cope with mental fatigue and keep your health intact. To that end:

1. Strongly consider using bright light therapy to regularize and deepen your sleep. You can read about it in this thread:

http://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-39799.html

One thing that is common to guys who do a lot of mental work is that they sometimes have trouble turning it off and falling asleep. That is in particular something light therapy takes care of -- it more or less guarantees correct and timely sleep induction.

2. (This goes hand in hand with #1) Make sure your sleeping schedule is highly regular. You should be getting up and going to bed at very nearly the same times every day, including weekends. Do not make the mistake -- all too common to guys who work hard during the week -- of oversleeping on weekends and throwing your rhythm off. Using a light box (see #1) will help establish a very regular schedule, and also improve and deepen the sleep you are getting.

3. DO NOT ABUSE CAFFEINE. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough. Guys who do a lot of mental work make the mistake of leaning on caffeine to get them through the day, and this messes with your sleep and makes you more not less tired on average and over time.

You should not be drinking more than one cup of coffee a day, always in the first half of your day (never late) and never on an empty stomach. One cup after breakfast or after lunch is fine; do not exceed that.

4. Do not abuse alcohol, and other drugs. Forget about nootropics, you don't want to mess with that stuff. Keep your system clean and your body and brain will thank you over time.

5. Download the free utility f.lux and install it on all your devices at home and at work. You don't want to be staring into blue light monitors after dark, this will take care of that. Keeping f.lux on incandescent setting throughout the day (not just at night) will also relieve some of your eye strain.

https://justgetflux.com/

That's as far as sleep goes, and that is the absolute key. In addition, the following habits/tips will help you stay fresh through the day and generally help:

-- Do not overeat. Don't eat an excessively heavy lunch in the middle of the day, or a heavy dinner late. It's better to eat more often and smaller portions. Try to avoid junk and very high sodium restaurant food.

-- Get up from the computer every 30 minutes. No matter what you are doing, get up, walk around and do a few basic stretches. This is key -- you have to give your eyes a rest, and you have to give your body a rest from the bad postures it adopts when sitting in front of the monitor. A LOT of eye strain can be ameliorated by taking breaks. Look up some simple postural stretches you can do in the office or in the bathroom and do just a few throughout the day.

-- You should do your main weightlifting workouts on the weekend when you are fresh. If you can work out hard and effectively with weights both Saturday and Sunday that goes a very long way towards increasing your test levels and keeping your body in good shape. However:

-- Do not overdo it in the gym after a week of mental work; work out hard but safely. I see a lot of weekend warriors and cube jockeys, pale and having a bad posture, come into the gym and immediately try to lift heavy weights (with bad form) on something like the deadlift. That is a recipe for significant injury and for fucking up your body. If you are doing mental work all week, your body is probably not very flexible, has postural problems, and is primed for injury. You have to work out intelligently and balance the need to lift hard with being aware of what you can do. Err on the side of lighter weights and higher rep sets done with perfect form.

-- To counteract the postural problems that are likely to accompany this kind of mental work, use modalities like stretching, yoga, and massage. Do some basic stretches every day; take a hot shower or a hot bath when you get home, then get on the mat and do some stretches afterwards; sign up for a yoga class if you can fit it in your week; get deep tissue massage from a good professional masseur once a week. All these things will help keep your body flexible and supple and reduce the risk of injury when you lift (and in general).

***************

All of this seems like a lot but it really isn't -- and these things will make an immense and disproportionate difference in your day to day life. Check them out.

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
04-12-2015 02:39 PM
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GlockTrigga Offline
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Post: #2
RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Massage works wonders, once every 2 weeks especially if you hit the weights hard. Other than that, epsom salt bath and arnica oil.
04-12-2015 02:46 PM
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redbeard Offline
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RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Bumping to add a "trick" that helps me sleep, and may help night owls ease into an earlier bedtime.

I used to think "okay, if I'm going to sleep 10 hours, I have to be in bed at 9 PM and wake up at 7 AM."

I would lie down at 9 PM and expect my body (which was conditioned to falling asleep at midnight) to flip the switch and pass out. Wrong! I would lie in bed restless, unable to sleep until later.

I was too worried about falling asleep at a fixed time, to actually fall asleep at a decent hour.

Now - I have a "window" of bedtime. This is a 2-hour window where I have told myself it's OK to go to sleep. If I wake up at 7 AM, this window is between 9 PM and 11 PM, which guarantees 8-10 hours of sleep.

Around 8 PM I'll start the sleep ritual - turning off electronics, relaxing, meditation, dimming the lights, taking a HOT shower, etc.

Then, sometime between 9 PM and 11 PM, I'll lie down and start reading. I might read for 15 minutes, I might read for an hour. It doesn't matter. Either way - I know I'll get a good night's sleep, even if I miss the window and lie down around 9:30 PM.

Since electronics are off, I don't even know what time I'm going to sleep most of the time. I don't care. I have a system in place that guarantees adequate rest.
01-15-2016 08:37 AM
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Spyridon Offline
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Post: #4
RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Great advices.

I have installed flux a couple of hours ago and it works wonder. Great stuff.
Moreover, I would add Valerian root extract to the list. It acts as a sedative and helps you to relax your body and having a good night sleep. It is not a drug but I would take it with moderation, you don't want to develop some form of dependancy by thinking that you can't get a good sleep without taking some valerian. I usually take it thirty minutes before going to bed and it really helps. I usually take it every three days.
01-15-2016 09:10 AM
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Zona Offline
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Post: #5
RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
(01-15-2016 08:37 AM)redbeard Wrote:  Bumping to add a "trick" that helps me sleep, and may help night owls ease into an earlier bedtime.

I used to think "okay, if I'm going to sleep 10 hours, I have to be in bed at 9 PM and wake up at 7 AM."

I would lie down at 9 PM and expect my body (which was conditioned to falling asleep at midnight) to flip the switch and pass out. Wrong! I would lie in bed restless, unable to sleep until later.

I was too worried about falling asleep at a fixed time, to actually fall asleep at a decent hour.

Now - I have a "window" of bedtime. This is a 2-hour window where I have told myself it's OK to go to sleep. If I wake up at 7 AM, this window is between 9 PM and 11 PM, which guarantees 8-10 hours of sleep.

Around 8 PM I'll start the sleep ritual - turning off electronics, relaxing, meditation, dimming the lights, taking a HOT shower, etc.

Then, sometime between 9 PM and 11 PM, I'll lie down and start reading. I might read for 15 minutes, I might read for an hour. It doesn't matter. Either way - I know I'll get a good night's sleep, even if I miss the window and lie down around 9:30 PM.

Since electronics are off, I don't even know what time I'm going to sleep most of the time. I don't care. I have a system in place that guarantees adequate rest.

Good stuff...I do something pretty similar.

I'm already using K9 to help with my NoPorn goals, so I set it to disable internet access at 10pm every night. Without internet there isn't a whole lot for me to do on the computer, so I'm basically forced to turn it off at that point. I have no TV, or really any other electronics that can distract me into the wee hours.

Basically I have nothing else to do after 10pm but start my pre-bed ritual (meditate, read for a little bit). It ensures that I have a good shot at falling asleep by my target of 11pm.

Like you, I don't really worry about the time once my process is started. I just do it and enjoy the knowledge that I'll probably fall asleep pretty close to my goal so that I get about 8 hours of sleep.

Lately I've been starting the process even earlier. Since I know that I'm done online at 10pm, I usually start wrapping up whatever I'm doing between 9-9:30. I no longer make the mistake of staying up late on the computer, then immediately trying to fall asleep. It just doesn't work for me because I need that buffer period to wind down.
01-16-2016 08:26 PM
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redbeard Offline
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RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Awesome.

Just another example of Goals vs. Systems.
01-16-2016 09:01 PM
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roberto Offline
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RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Has anyone any tips for me? I used to sleep rock solid until a year ago. Then I started waking up needing a pee. This progressed to peeing two to four times a night. I'm thirty. The onset was pretty sudden. The doc said it was nothing to worry about, so long as there are times when I still piss like a firehose. Said it might have been a urine infection, as I had soreness also, but I declined antibiotics and the soreness went away on it's own.

Still waking to pee though. If I'm hammered I might sleep through till the morning then piss a full bladder. If I'm busy working and then need to pee there's a normal amount to come out. But usually at night I don't need to pee much but I still wake. It seems to be pretty well synced with my sleep cycles, which leads to the second problem- often I will wake between two and four AM and not be able to get back to sleep for hours. Which of course plays havoc with being rested during the day- I'm just not. If it's towards 4AM I'll often just get up and head to my yard to do some work before my lads arrive in the mornings, rather than lie there before falling back to sleep around 6 only to have to wake an hour later.

I've tried drinking nothing from 6PM. Still wake once or twice to pee. I could manage the need to wake and pee just by keeping a bottle by the bed, but it's the not being able to get back to sleep and the disturbance of my sleep that's doing my head in.

I avoid caffiene btw.

They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety- Benjamin Franklin, as if you didn't know...
(This post was last modified: 12-16-2018 06:50 AM by roberto.)
12-16-2018 06:49 AM
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Horus Offline
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RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
I had the same problem earlier this year, but the problem corrected itself within a few months. Hopefully this will be the case for you. However, you may want to get a second opinion from another doctor, because it's possible that this is symptomatic of an underlying medical condition, such as kidney problems. You mention that you sometimes go to sleep hammered, so can I assume you're a heavy drinker? (Sorry if I'm assuming wrong, just basing this on my own experience). If that's the case, thirties can be the age when when your kidneys begin to suffer. The good news is that you're young and the damage can be easily reversed. Since you've experienced this for a whole year it would be worth getting it checked out properly.
12-16-2018 08:28 AM
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RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Actually very rare that I drink to excess. Usually two or three pints on just one night per week.

They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety- Benjamin Franklin, as if you didn't know...
12-16-2018 08:44 AM
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Lampwick Offline
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Post: #10
RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Thank you Lizard of Oz for this excellent thread, as well as the bright light therapy thread. +1 from me.

I find that when I follow this program, I feel sharper and stronger, and have tons of energy throughout the day. I have depression and anxiety, and getting on a regular sleep schedule with bright light therapy puts me in the right mood almost 100% of the time.

However I'm curious how you and others reconcile their adoption of this program with your social life. People normally follow a certain schedule during the week, such as going to bed at 11 pm and waking up at 7 am. The way I see it, everyone has three options for the weekend:

1. Stay up late and sleep in late. This is what the vast majority of people do, in my estimation, and it's probably not good for you.
2. Stay up late, but wake up at the same time as during the week. A sleep doctor told me that your wake time is much more important than your sleep time. His reasoning was that even if you stay up late, at least your circadian rhythm will stay consistent. He also said if you get tired during the day on the weekends, it's okay to take a nap to get some relief. I have tried this, but I still get really tired. If you stay up until 4 am and then wake up at 7am, it's not pleasant.
3. Go to bed and wake up at the same time as during the week.

You seem to be advocating for option 3, which is probably ideal for health. But then would you say this program is really for guys who no longer do night game at all? For example, guys who are in a long-term relationship or who exclusively do day game?

In general, I'm okay with foregoing night game. As others have noted, the ROI is much lower than in days past, and the nightlife is not the greatest where I am any way. I'm also reaching a point where I'd like to start meeting better women. But even setting aside night game, it seems that so much socializing revolves around night time, especially on weekends.

Fixing my sleep has had a much better affect on my mood than talk therapy or pills, but maintaining a healthy social life is obviously also really important. I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this.
01-18-2019 01:07 AM
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DJ-Matt Offline
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RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Is there a fix for not being able to get up in the morning? I've NEVER been able to get up at 6 7 or even 8 very easily, always a struggle to wake and get moving. Even at work right now as I type this I feel draggy. It doesn't seem to matter how much sleep I get, even going to bed at 8 or 9 doesn't seem to do much.

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01-18-2019 12:31 PM
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Kentemo Offline
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RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
I guess I replaced my alcohol (not drinking in 2019) with coffee (love it as well). I like tea as well - do you think that's a lot healthier than coffee? I guess both have their advantages and disadvantages Smile

Very great post, thanks for sharing.
(This post was last modified: 01-18-2019 05:42 PM by Kentemo.)
01-18-2019 05:41 PM
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monsquid Offline
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RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Avoiding alcohol is great. I enjoy the taste of good beer but don't like being drunk.

From sleepfoundation.org

How Alcohol Affects the Quality—And Quantity—Of Sleep

Anyone who drinks alcohol from time to time knows that beer, wine, or spirits can sometimes leave you feeling drowsy. In fact, as many as 20 percent of Americans use alcohol to help them fall asleep. But while alcohol, a depressant, can help you fall asleep faster, it also contributes to poor quality sleep later. Here’s what happens—behind your closed eyes—when you go to sleep after drinking.

There’s a battle of sleep rhythms.

Drinking alcohol before bed is linked with more slow-wave sleep patterns called delta activity. That’s the kind of deep sleep that allows for memory formation and learning. At the same time, another type of brain pattern—alpha activity—is also turned on. Alpha activity doesn’t usually happen during sleep, but rather when you’re resting quietly. Together the alpha and delta activity in the brain after drinking may inhibit restorative sleep.

It can interrupt your circadian rhythm.

While you may fall asleep quickly after drinking, it's also common to wake up in the middle of the night. One explanation is that alcohol may affect the normal production of chemicals in the body that trigger sleepiness when you’ve been awake for a long time, and subside once you’ve had enough sleep. After drinking, production of adenosine (a sleep-inducing chemical in the brain) is increased, allowing for a fast onset of sleep. But it subsides as quickly as it came, making you more likely to wake up before you’re truly rested.

It blocks REM sleep.

Another reason people get lower-quality sleep following alcohol is that it blocks REM sleep , which is often considered the most restorative type of sleep. With less REM sleep, you’re likely to wake up feeling groggy and unfocused.

It can aggravate breathing problems.

Alcohol causes your whole body to relax, including the muscles of your throat. And that makes you more prone to snoring and sleep apnea.

It leads to extra bathroom trips.

Typically, your body knows that nighttime is time for sleep, not time for trips to the bathroom. That means that your body has learned to put your bladder into hibernation for the night. But alcohol, a diuretic, can make you need to go more, interrupting your normal sleep pattern.
01-18-2019 11:05 PM
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The Lizard of Oz Offline
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RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
(01-18-2019 01:07 AM)Lampwick Wrote:  Thank you Lizard of Oz for this excellent thread, as well as the bright light therapy thread. +1 from me.

I find that when I follow this program, I feel sharper and stronger, and have tons of energy throughout the day. I have depression and anxiety, and getting on a regular sleep schedule with bright light therapy puts me in the right mood almost 100% of the time.

However I'm curious how you and others reconcile their adoption of this program with your social life. People normally follow a certain schedule during the week, such as going to bed at 11 pm and waking up at 7 am. The way I see it, everyone has three options for the weekend:

1. Stay up late and sleep in late. This is what the vast majority of people do, in my estimation, and it's probably not good for you.
2. Stay up late, but wake up at the same time as during the week. A sleep doctor told me that your wake time is much more important than your sleep time. His reasoning was that even if you stay up late, at least your circadian rhythm will stay consistent. He also said if you get tired during the day on the weekends, it's okay to take a nap to get some relief. I have tried this, but I still get really tired. If you stay up until 4 am and then wake up at 7am, it's not pleasant.
3. Go to bed and wake up at the same time as during the week.

You seem to be advocating for option 3, which is probably ideal for health. But then would you say this program is really for guys who no longer do night game at all? For example, guys who are in a long-term relationship or who exclusively do day game?

In general, I'm okay with foregoing night game. As others have noted, the ROI is much lower than in days past, and the nightlife is not the greatest where I am any way. I'm also reaching a point where I'd like to start meeting better women. But even setting aside night game, it seems that so much socializing revolves around night time, especially on weekends.

Fixing my sleep has had a much better affect on my mood than talk therapy or pills, but maintaining a healthy social life is obviously also really important. I'd really like to hear your thoughts on this.

Lampwick, thank you for this post. I'm very happy to hear that you've benefited from the suggestions in this and the bright light therapy threads. Getting on a regular and consistent sleep schedule that gives you a deep and restorative sleep night in and night out is the key to a healthy and enjoyable life; this is true for everyone, but it is incomparably true for people whose brains are susceptible to anxiety and depression.

My answer to your question is simple: given the benefits you've experienced from having a consistent sleeping schedule, and the difficulties you've experienced prior to having one -- which, as you noted, could not really be solved in any other way, but disappeared as if by magic once your sleeping schedule was fixed -- maintaining that sleeping schedule should be your number one priority, and everything else must come second. That means, in particular, that you should be going to bed and getting up at the same time on weekends as you do on weekdays, with no exceptions or at most extremely rare exceptions. Certainly, maintaining a consistent sleeping schedule is not compatible with staying up late and waking up late every weekend or having an active night life on most weekends.

It's true that committing to such a lifestyle involves some sacrifices, but given that this is the ONLY way -- as you've yourself observed -- to live a healthy, productive, and enjoyable life, you should accept these sacrifices and consider them to be a small price to pay for such an incalculable benefit. And of course maintaining a regular sleeping schedule does not preclude you from having a full and active social and sexual life; it only means that you have to find times and places to meet friends and girls that do not involve the night life and its scenes. These times and places can be found if you make an effort, and with all the energy and mental clarity that everyday restorative sleep vouchsafes you, such an effort should not be beyond your capabilities. Smile

Of course that doesn't mean that everyone is obliged to make the same choice (although I believe that MANY people would greatly benefit from doing so). If you were a very young man -- say, in your early twenties -- and someone who has never once been troubled by a "sleeping schedule" even as a concept and who had little or no relation to anxiety and depression, then there would be no need, for the time being, to sacrifice the pleasures that a night life can bring in the name of such disciplines. But for a man like yourself who has had to struggle with these problems, the benefits of a consistent sleeping schedule outweigh the costs by so much that your decision should be a very easy one to make.

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
01-20-2019 12:38 PM
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Lampwick Offline
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Post: #15
RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Thank you Lizard of Oz once again for your wise words and encouragement.

In addition to your tips, I want to share the following which have also helped me:

- Get checked for sleep apnea

If you ever fall asleep on your back and you randomly wake yourself up by snoring or gasping for air, you should get checked for sleep apnea. The same goes if you are getting plenty of sleep, but still feel really tired during the day. Some estimates are that 25% of adults in the U.S. have sleep apnea. A lot of this is due to obesity, but it is also genetic. The shape of your throat can cause it. Using a CPAP machine is the best way to manage it. I would stay away from any kind of surgery, because its effectiveness is questionable, and there are many horror stories. An overnight sleep study where professionals monitor you will give a clear diagnosis. This is usually covered by insurance.

- Use a sleep mask

Blocking as much light as possible during sleep is really important. This can be difficult, especially when you're travelling. The Manta Sleep Mask is the best one I've found on the market. The eye covers don't touch your eyes during REM sleep. Almost all other masks press up against your eyelids and interfere with your eyes moving back and forth. Also, the mask is totally modular, so you can adjust all the pieces to fit your face.

- Use blackout drapes

I sometimes inadvertently remove my sleep mask in the middle of the night. Plus, when you're at home, it's nice not to have to wear it. A lot of people recommend blackout curtains to cover their windows. This may be ideal, but it can be difficult to set up, depending on how your room is configured. Instead, I hung a blackout drape around my bed:

Hanes Serenity Blackout Drapery Black Fabric By The Yard

This blocks out light really well. The downside is that it makes things warmer, so it's probably not very good for hotter climates.

- Use earplugs

Noise disturbs sleep, so it's best to use earplugs, especially when you're travelling. I don't typically use them at home though, since it's pretty quiet already.

- Cover LEDs

A lot of electronics have bright lights, especially blue ones, which keep you awake. I covered all of these with electrical tape.

- Use red lights at night

The blue spectrum from lights keeps you awake. When bedtime starts rolling around, I turn off my regular lights and switch on these red lights:

Feit Electric A19/R/LED A19 Red LED

Another option are smart lights, such as the ones from Philips. But, those are much more expensive and require more hardware and more configuration. These lights are really cheap by comparison and just replace standard light bulbs. Plus, they are good for watching movies instead of sitting in a pitch black room.

- Install f.lux on phone

In addition to installing f.lux on my desktop computer, I also installed it on my phone. I have a rooted Android phone, so I can install f.lux. If this is not an option, both Android and iPhones have similar built in night mode settings.

- Switch from coffee to tea

Tea has lower caffeine content and certain kinds can have other health benefits.

- Avoid laying down in bed when not sleeping

Don't do anything in bed except for sleeping and sex. Reading or using the computer in bed trains your mind to associate laying in bed with those activities instead of sleeping. You will then have a harder time falling asleep when the time comes. This sounds like bullshit, but I have heard this from multiple sleep doctors.

- Don't continue to lie in bed if you can't fall asleep

You should be falling asleep within roughly 20 minutes of getting in bed. If you continue to lie there, you fall victim to the effect mentioned in the previous point. Instead, try to fall asleep for 20 minutes. If unsuccessful, get out of bed and read a book for a little while under the red light. Don't turn on any screens. Then, return to bed and try again. Repeat until you fall asleep.

- Don't eat or drink anything except water for two hours before bedtime

If you have a bunch of food in your system, it puts a strain on your body to process it, and your sleep will not be as deep. Similarly, you don't want to be too hungry when you go to bed, because this can make it difficult to fall asleep. Try to find the sweet spot that works for you.

- Turn on a fan or AC before bedtime

In addition to darkness, sleep is actually triggered by a drop in core body temperature. Turning on a fan or AC helps to lower the temperature of the room and can help with this process. You still want your extremities to be warm though, so try to cover your feet and hands.

- Sleep naked

Just like the previous point, less clothes helps to drop your core body temperature.

- Avoid alcohol or cannabis before bed

As others have noted, alcohol interferes with your sleep, even if it knocks you out temporarily. It's best to drink earlier in the day and let it work through your system before bed. The jury is still out on whether cannabis has a similar effect, but it's probably best to avoid it before bedtime as well.
01-20-2019 04:26 PM
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eradicator Offline
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Post: #16
RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
For OP, or anyone really, do you use prescription sleeping pills like ambien to tomazopan to get back on your regular schedule?

Let’s say you are in a new city and you get to sleep at 3am or 4am the first night and the second night you want to get to sleep at 11pm.

Or you are forced to work late a couple nights in a row where you don’t get home until 2am or 3am and you want to get back on your sleep schedule

I try to exercise a lot so by the time it’s 11pm I just fall asleep naturally but this thread is so important, we all do better with regular sleep

Team yoga pants
[video=youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UoeQOC-5iw&t=143s[/video]
03-07-2019 09:04 AM
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ball dont lie Offline
Kingfisher
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Posts: 629
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Post: #17
RE: The TLOZ Program for Better Sleep and Better Health
Wanting to bump this. I just got out my bright light and set it next to my chair where I drink a cup of green tea or coffee in the morning. I sat for 25 minutes with the light right next to my face getting as much light as possible.

Feels good man. Its getting gloomy here and this is medicine for the brain.
10-22-2019 11:51 AM
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