Night-Time Routine

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Night-Time Routine

Post by RedComet on Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:55 am

Hey, all. I was wondering if any of you keep a consistent night-time routine. Do you always go to bed at the same time? Is there anything you do to ensure better sleep? Anything you avoid?

I've made some changes lately that have helped me wake up a little more refreshed (despite my snoring), but I'm always looking for more!

I use apps that block blue light on my devices after dark. Each night, about 2 hours before bed, I also make a strong cup of chamomile tea and add a teaspoon of Natural Calm, a teaspoon of raw honey, 2 scoops of Great Lakes collagen and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. This combo is effective as a sleep-aid, I've found. Only trouble is, I sometimes have to wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom after drinking it--thus my effort to finish it at least 2 hours prior to bedtime.

I got a white noise machine recently and it's incredibly relaxing. I've also been playing around for some time with one of those accupressure mats, with mixed results.
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Re: Night-Time Routine

Post by Rig D on Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:56 am

Sleeping has never been an issue for me. But I don't get anywhere near the recommended 8 hrs/day. I'm normally in bed shortly before 1AM and usually up and at 'em between 6 and 6:30AM. I don't have any sleep protocol, but I have an hour long "white noise" type mp3 I play in repeating mode whenever I'm in a non-quiet environment. I also have it on my PC and use it whenever there is a lot of distraction in the house. I worked a long time as a road warrior in IT implementation and support and, with headphones, this thing was a work life saver in letting me concentrate.

I discovered the white noise approach while in college in the late 60's, I had a desk fan that I set up in a corner, played with position and various "baffles" to get maximum noise out of it. It really helped me sleep in a fairly noisy fraternity house.
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Re: Night-Time Routine

Post by Nightly Orange on Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:17 pm

I avoid blue light exposure at night. Got a huge, clunky pair of orange Uvex glasses that I wear around the house after sunset. I was skeptical at first, but after trying them out for a few weeks I can definitely say that my eyes feel far more relaxed at bedtime and that it's way easier to go to bed early and wake up at dawn. I don't get eyestrain anymore, despite the fact that I spend the same amount of time on the computer, even before bed.

Before the Uvex, I had f.lux installed on my computer, but I can safely conclude now that it doesn't hold a candle to actual blue-blocking glasses.

Anyway, since the Uvex worked so well, I got curious and started researching a little more about "light hygiene" and the way our eyes use light to regulate circadian signalling. Jack Kruse is one guy I've found online who's written a lot on this topic (he used to be part of the whole ancestral health and paleo scene, though he broke away years ago and has been doing his own thing). Some of his writings are extremely speculative and a lot goes over my head, but you can distill some actionable items from all the perfusive science talk and quantum biology digressions.

Essentially, blue light--especially as part of natural early morning sunlight--is what signals our suprachiasmatic nucleus to kickstart all our hormones for the day. UV-A light, which is blocked by the atmosphere in the morning and only shows up around noon, is the light frequency that shuts this hormone production off. The problem with our modern fluorescents and LED computer screens is that they have massive spikes of blue light without any balancing UV, which tells our body that it's perpetually noon and therefore time to ramp up hard and go. In the long-term, this disrupts our circadian clock and can lead to all kinds of hormonal imbalances, melatonin and cortisol cycle disregulation, and even thyroid burn-out (e.g. Kruse is convinced that adrenal fatigue and Hashimoto's are fundamentally circadian issues).

So, actionable items regarding light:

  • Get as much natural sunlight as possible, especially at dawn.
  • Omega-3 DHA concentrates highly in eye tissue and is crucial to proper biologic signalling, so eat a diet high in seafood, with emphasis on raw oysters and wild-caught, coldwater fish.
  • Block blue light at night.
  • Utilize blacklights at night (these shine mainly in the UV-A spectrum), especially if you've been around blue light all day (due to work, for instance, which most of us can't avoid), in order to tell your body to shut down all the processes that were instigated by the excessive daytime blue light.
  • Infrared light, especially near-infrared or IR-A, is also okay at night. I'm not sure, but I think it's relatively neutral for hormone signalling, and on top of that has some well-established benefits in terms of promoting tissue healing and retinal health. There's a lot of research now on light therapy, and near-infrared is one of the frequencies that scientists are looking most closely at.


I eat a fair amount of seafood and have been waking up early and getting outside at dawn, so right now in the spirit of self-experimentation I'm going to try out some of those indoor light-hacks. Recently purchased some clamp lights, UV bulbs, and a near-infrared sauna lamp, and will set them up and use them at night for a few months, to see if they make any noticeable difference in my sense of subjective well-being.

Rig D wrote:Sleeping has never been an issue for me. But I don't get anywhere near the recommended 8 hrs/day. I'm normally in bed shortly before 1AM and usually up and at 'em between 6 and 6:30AM. I don't have any sleep protocol, but I have an hour long "white noise" type mp3 I play in repeating mode whenever I'm in a non-quiet environment. I also have it on my PC and use it whenever there is a lot of distraction in the house. I worked a long time as a road warrior in IT implementation and support and, with headphones, this thing was a work life saver in letting me concentrate.

I discovered the white noise approach while in college in the late 60's, I had a desk fan that I set up in a corner, played with position and various "baffles" to get maximum noise out of it.  It really helped me sleep in a fairly noisy fraternity house.

Ever looked into "pink noise"? I hear it can be even more effective for sleep than white noise.

I have a small fan that I run in my room at night, which produces a low white-noise effect, in addition to keeping the air circulating.
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Re: Night-Time Routine

Post by Rig D on Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:06 pm

Yeah, pink noise is white noise, with more emphasis on lower frequencies. My "noise" file is "brown noise" which has even more emphasis on the lower frequencies than pink. I tried several "flavors" of noise before settling on the brown version. I got the file quite a number of years back from a  web site where Chuck Berglund was the guy putting the files up.

I did a quick search and found this youtube for brown noise and has a download link for an 8 hour long MP3 here(didn't try the link) but it looks like you have to buy it.
youtube.com/watch?v=GSaJXDsb3N8
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Re: Night-Time Routine

Post by Glass Full of Air on Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:47 am

I've been a "bad sleeper" since I was 12. I'm much better than I used to be. My routine is probably not the most correct or healthy but no amount of dark room, white noise, turning off electronics, meditation, or other similar things helped.

My bedtime routine starts around 8pm so that I can get to sleep before 9:30. I pour myself a drink (most nights), grab my kindle, and read. I read and have my drink (or drink water depending on the night). I continue reading as I brush my teeth. I read some more, until my eyes are heavy. The trick is... I never read anything that's new to me. I read books I've read before, often a dozen times. I basically spend an hour and a half telling myself a bedtime story, and then I sleep.

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Re: Night-Time Routine

Post by meepster on Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:50 pm

I wear laser-safety goggles that block all "bad" frequencies for about an hour before bed. (they're dark red - red works much better than orange for sleepy-glasses). I also wear a sleep mask for actual sleeping. Also, I keep very consistent bedtime hours.

All of that generally results in good sleep for me.
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Re: Night-Time Routine

Post by Rig D on Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:15 pm

Glass: Do you, like RedComet, have something on your Kindle to knock down the blue light, or like Meepster, wear blue blocking glasses? Most screen devices emit a lot of blue light that hinders your body moving into sleep mode. I don't know where a Kindle would lie on the blue light scale, but it is worth checking.
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Re: Night-Time Routine

Post by meepster on Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:33 pm

Glass Full of Air - I highly recommend sleepy-glasses instead of "turning off electronics". White lightbulbs still emit a ton of blue light, which works to wake you up. In my experience, even a sliver of light coming in through the window is enough to wake you up, let alone a bright white lightbulb. The pineal gland is VERY sensitive to light. Even when your eyes are closed, the little bit of light coming in through your closed eyelids will wake you up, hence the sleep mask I use. Feel free to read my old journal on the old MDA forum for my experimentation on the subject.

I use red laser-safety goggles from NOIR as my "sleepy-glasses". After extensive experimentation (I can't even tell you how many red and orange goggles I've tried), these really are the best ones. They're rated to block 99.999% of all blue and green frequencies of light.
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Re: Night-Time Routine

Post by Nightly Orange on Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:59 pm

meepster wrote:I use red laser-safety goggles from NOIR as my "sleepy-glasses".  After extensive experimentation (I can't even tell you how many red and orange goggles I've tried), these really are the best ones.  They're rated to block 99.999% of all blue and green frequencies of light.

I found this article from a while back; apparently green light can have the same acute melatonin-suppressing effects as blue light, though the effects of chronic exposure aren't as dramatic:

https://sleep.med.harvard.edu/news/356/Green+Light+Affects+Circadian+Rhythm

Ordering from the NoIR site seems complicated; was there a pair you bought and didn't have to customize yourself? Similar products are available on Amazon, I'll grab a pair and see how they compare with the Uvex.
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Re: Night-Time Routine

Post by meepster on Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:16 pm

I just called the NoIR people and ordered by phone. Their website really is pretty impossible. The filter you want is KRY, by the way. Here's where I found these:

http://noirlaser.com/kry.html

I find that compared to the NoIR ones, the red goggles from Amazon aren't as "sleepy" - I imagine that they still let through some minuscule quantities of the "wrong" frequencies, and that is enough to make a difference.
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Re: Night-Time Routine

Post by Nightly Orange on Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:35 pm

meepster wrote:I just called the NoIR people and ordered by phone.  Their website really is pretty impossible.  The filter you want is KRY, by the way.  Here's where I found these:

http://noirlaser.com/kry.html

I find that compared to the NoIR ones, the red goggles from Amazon aren't as "sleepy" - I imagine that they still let through some minuscule quantities of the "wrong" frequencies, and that is enough to make a difference.  

Thanks, appreciate the info. I'll test drive my Amazon ones and if I really like them, I'll get a NoIR pair. Some of those frames are awesome.
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