Hard surfaces

https://zafu.net/sleep-therapy/sleepergonomics

The assumed paradigm is that a mattress is essential to good sleep just like a chair is essential to sitting. But why did mattresses become mainstream? When did the buffalo robe and pile of leaves go out of fashion? Could a good night’s sleep be had if, for instance, we slept on a sandy beach or the equivalent? Why did ‘they’ start saying a firm bed is best, and still provide a two to three foot thick ‘system’ of mattresses just to get you to that ‘firm bed’ effect?

~ Patrick Clark

I wish I’d found this 12 years ago. It took me forever to figure out a lot about sleep. I’m still working on the shoulder range-of-motion required to side-sleep without a pillow. (I still wake up feeling like I’ve dislocated my sternoclavicular joint.)

…anyway, yes, harder and flatter is unquestionably, always better for me. If I’m having trouble sleeping, I sometime get up, and get out my favorite, 1-inch-thick, inflatable air-mattress on the floor—so so comfortable . . . with my fave silk-cotton-blend sleep sack . . . and my fave little pillow . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz every time.

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Sleep smarter

https://www.librarything.com/work/17512525/150336148

The International Agency for Research on Cancer has now classified overnight shift work as a Group 2A carcinogen. This means that staying up late repeatedly, and working overnight, is a strong enough cancer-causing agent to be lumped in with lead exposure and UVA radiation. That might sound crazy, but there s now a ton of scientific data showing exactly how this happens.

~ Shawn Stevenson, pg 43 of Sleep Smarter

Shift work that involves circadian disruption? Carcinogen.

A while back I wrote a piece on Sleep. It turned into three parts and after writing it, I felt I had only scratched the surface. Then I stumbled over this book.

I read the book and it’s really good! I blasted through it agreeing all the way. If you know everything about sleep, you’ll still enjoy seeing it all laid out in an approachable fashion. If you have NOT YET MASTERED SLEEP — wait, what is wrong with you?! Sleep is the single most important thing in your life. It is the activity you spend the most aggregated time doing. Remind me why you have not spent time studying sleep and improving yours?

§6 – Sleep Epilogue

(Part 6 of 8 in ~ Changes and Results)

Here are a couple more things which I’ve read about, but haven’t tried as part of my sleep hacking.

Sleep journaling

Some people have suggested keeping a sleep journal. In it you record everything related to sleep: notes about your last meal (what and when), what time you go to bed, when you wake up, perceived quality of sleep, dreams… everything. You would then be able to review this sleep journal periodically and use it to inspire changes in your sleep rituals.

The best way to improve you sleep is to conduct experiments. Change some detail and then sleep with that for a month. Then review your sleep journal notes to compare with the previous month.

In my general life hacking, I was often changing many things at the same time. Some of the details of sleeping which you would hack on with a sleep journal, I was already hacking and tracking.

Sleeping alone

My Grand-parents’ generation seems to have slept more frequently in separate beds than is popular these days. (A quick search of the Internet leads me to believe as many as 1/3 of couples currently sleep in separate beds on a regular basis.)

I haven’t graduated to this level, yet. But I can tell you that having another person immediately next to you whose movements, or snoring, may wake you, is just another thing to mess up your sleep. When I first started hacking my sleep, I realized that we were waking each other up frequently in the night. It turns out that if I’m only sleeping lightly, the other person’s movements will wake me. But it seems that as my sleep quality has improved, movements and sounds are now much less likely to make me.

That said, if you wanted to try separate sleeping, you could try sleeping on the floor (with futon cushions, or air mattresses.) You could then move your bedding closer or farther apart as the mood strikes, and still be on a solid surface which would not convey any sense of movement from the other person. You’re still close enough, of course, that sounds could be an issue.

Aside: This is one reason why I prefer to sleep on my air mattress on the floor when I travel. Sharing a pull-out sofa or large bed with someone I don’t know, is the worst-case scenario for being disturbed all night.

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