End Your Day Complete

You will sleep better having checked off just one last task on your list before calling it a day. If needed, finish it right before you hit the pillow – whatever it takes to clear your conscience before shutting down. I do not condemn the nights where a whirling mind delays sleep, but those nights are often preventable if you need the extra hours invested in your rest.

6 Tips for Falling Asleep

Anytime I have trouble falling asleep, I focus on a combination of the following six things. I usually win, no matter what is on my mind. Many of these tips take time, so budget 15 or 30 minutes accordingly. It’s worth it; time spent here will pay off with a better night’s sleep.

1. Dim the lights – set the mood for relaxation.
2. Turn off all devices – absolutely no screens of any kind to stimulate the mind!
3. Half a glass of wine – we’re not getting sloppy here!
4. Finish a to-do task – a small sense of accomplishment helps clear the conscience.
5. Tryptophan – turkey is sleep crack. Avoid high-fat foods.
6. Read – preferably something you’re not terribly invested in, like the news.

Go to Bed

I know you have a lot to do. And I know you think there’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead. But there’s really not. You can try to milk your waking hours dry while trying to top the world. Or you can be a human being and get some sleep. I spent my teenage years ignoring everyone’s advice. And now I’m paying for it with slight memory retention loss, heart strain, and then some. But now, I’m looking the other way. I’m face down in a pillow eight hours every night I can get away with it. I’m in business to bank some Z’s. You know what? I feel better for it. Don’t take sleep for granted.

Production Sucks [Film Friday]

After five long shooting days, only 16 total hours of sleep, editorial madness, 1.9 terabytes of footage, and three dozen script pages, we’ve finally wrapped the sixth original series I’ve produced in little over a year. Absolute madness.

I haven’t slept in 38 hours. Before I say something about filmmaking I might regret, it’s time for bed.

How to Track Your Sleep And Earn A Better Night’s Rest

The key to a higher quality life is through self assessment. To improve performance, break habits and adjust personal behavior, one must quantify his or her life with gadgets, apps and spreadsheets that help track personal trends and identify areas for improvement. I am very much on board with the Quantified Self school of thought. I maintain spreadsheets galore.

I have never been able to track my sleep in spreadsheets. Why? Well, because I am asleep.

Enter Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. My friends Drew and Nicole introduced me to this rather handy iOS application that graphs your sleep phases. Place your iPod or iPhone on the bed next to you at night and the accelerometer will monitor your every move to determine which phase of sleep you are in. The main purpose behind the app is to wake you during your lightest sleep phase where you feel rested and relaxed (in a specified time range rather than a hard alarm time), but I have found it more useful for the sleep graphs.

Sleep Cycle Graph

Above, my graph from Friday – went to bed at 1:40am, woke up at 9:59am and slept a total of 8 hours and 19 minutes (believe it or not, college friends – I actually sleep now!).

With only a week of data, I can already see trends. I am taking notes on pre-sleep activity, successful bed times, successful waking times and more. Apparently, a glass of wine within an hour of bedtime has helped me to sleep quicker. Uh oh!

Keep track and you can unlock self improvement.