The 10-3-2-1-0 Better Sleep Formula

 


In this newsletter I’ve included a formula I stumbled upon for better sleep.

Although this isn’t a direct ‘diet’ topic, indirectly sleep is incredibly important to your overall health and both muscle growth and fat loss, depending on your goals.

If you don’t already place a very high priority on sleep, I won’t spend too much time trying to convince you because there is no reason not to make it one of your highest priorities.

Instead, I’m going to share a formula that many highly productive people use to achieve greater levels of sleep because for many people, even if they want to sleep more, they “can’t.”

As with nearly everything in life, if you can apply some structure or a formula around your goals (in this case getting better sleep), your chances for success will improve dramatically.

This system helps you get to bed on time, sleep better, and wake up the next morning well rested and ready for battle.

One major caveat though – this assumes you have already put some structure in place so that you will have 8 hours to sleep. If you haven’t done that yet, start there first.

The Formula goes by many names. The one we will use is “The 10-3-2-1-0 Goodnight Formula for Better Sleep”.


 

The 10-3-2-1-0 Goodnight Formula for Better Sleep

10 hours before bed – No more caffeine
3 hours before bed – no more food or alcohol (although I change this to just no more alcohol)
2 hours before bed – no more work
1 hour before bed – no more screen time (turn off all phones, TV’s, and computers)
0 – the number of times you will hit the snooze button in the morning

Why?

Rules – The fact that it is a formula, rather than some general ‘good ideas’ is important. Even just being cognizant of the formula will make you more likely to follow it because there is not room for wishy-washyness.

For instance, you won’t find yourself saying ‘Well, I usually try to not drink too much before bed, but it isn’t that much so it isn’t a big deal.’

Instead you will find yourself saying, ‘I don’t drink alcohol within 3 hours of bed and I’m going to bed in 3 hours, so I can’t have this additional glass of wine.’

Why Caffeine – 10 hours is generally the amount of time required for your body to clear it from the bloodstream and eliminate its stimulatory effects. This depends on the person though as some people are faster caffeine metabolizers than others.

Why Alcohol – Alcohol does allow people to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for awhile, but it reduces REM sleep – the part most important to feeling rested.

Why Work – It takes a couple hours for your brain to stop running in circles on work issues. If you jump right into bed you will still be thinking about the problems of the day. Instead, stop work at least 2 hours before bed and do a quick brain dump – create a list of outstanding stuff so you aren’t running through a to-do list all night.

Why Screen Time – The blue light from the devices most people use affect your body’s production of sleep inducing melatonin and shift your body’s natural clock, known as its circadian rhythm. One solution is to use special glasses that block blue light.

Instead, I highly recommend just turning off all screens. Spend the final hour of your day reading real books, talking with your family, meditating, etc. In the long run this will have much more positive impacts than another 30 min. browsing Facebook.

When You Get Up – The last step comes in the morning. Everything you did in the formula the day before should have you better rested, but when you rise you may still be tempted to linger in bed. Don’t! Instead, get up immediately and start your day.

Remember it’s your one and only life, and the day is wasting as you lay in bed.


So What Do I Do?

Every once in awhile people ask what my diet looks like, or my day.

Here’s what the end of my day looks like to guarantee better sleep.

1. I aim to be asleep by 10pm at the latest and wake up at 6am. Although I find myself starting to shift more towards 9-5 because I can be so much more productive when I’m up before the world starts banging on my door.

2. Around 8pm I stop any and all work, including reading via work related articles, blogs, books, etc.

3. Around 9pm my phone is closed and charging for the next day, the TV is off (I’m not much of a TV watcher anyway), and I’m preparing a cup of Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime tea – delicious, caffeine free, and contains rooibos to promote sleep (thank you Tim Ferriss for the suggestion.)

4. Between 9 and 9:30pm I climb into bed with a fiction book (and sometimes the remainder of my tea), and start reading till at the latest 10pm (I usually don’t last that long). Right now I’m reading Time and Again by Jack Finney and I highly recommend it.

5. Lights out for good at 10pm.

6. I usually wake up around 5:45 – 15min. before my alarm clock goes off.

And then it is off to the races (or a hot coffee and round 2 of that book on my porch).

Make it a great day,

Andrew

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