Sleep: Summary of What I’ve Learned

I want to summarize what I’ve learned about how to sleep well. I’ve found about a dozen changes that helped. Taken together they suggest the importance of four dimensions:

1. Healthy brain. My sleep greatly improved when I ate a lot of pork fat. (As far as I can tell, butter produced the same effect.) I wasn’t getting enough animal fat. My sleep also improved when I started eating honey at bedtime. I assume honey raised blood sugar to better levels during sleep, improving brain performance. The great importance of this, I believe, is why we evolved preferences that push us to eat strongly sweet foods, such as fruit, separately and later, i.e., dessert. Bedtime honey also caused my muscles to grow more in response to exercise — a sign of better sleep, since muscles grow during sleep. I have never measured the effect of flaxseed/flaxseed oil on my sleep but the brain benefit was so clear in other ways I’d be surprised if it didn’t improve sleep. Continue reading “Sleep: Summary of What I’ve Learned”

Orange Glasses and Sleep: Correction

I recently posted that an Oakland woman found that wearing orange glasses (which block blue light) in the evening greatly improved her sleep, which had been bad for decades. My post underestimated the improvement. Before she started wearing the glasses, it took her 2-4 hours to fall asleep. After she started wearing the glasses, it took 15-30 minutes. She wears the glasses from 8 to 10 pm. After that she goes to bed and tries to fall asleep.

I was very impressed by her story and started wearing orange glasses starting at 8 pm, even under incandescent light. Previously I only used them when looking at a computer screen in the evening. I’m not sure if wearing them more improves my sleep, but if I had to guess I’d say it does.

LEDs: Indoor Lighting of the Future

In response to my post about wearing orange goggles at night, a reader of this blog writes:


The starter pack includes three bulbs and a controller. One small drawback is that the bulb returns to white when you cut the power. It’s annoying to have to repeatedly reset a smart device. The bulbs are well-made, and the light quality is very good across the colors. It will be a great system when they get the price down and refine the controls.

Random LED multicolor bulbs on Amazon

These have varied in quality. One cycled rapidly through the colors (in demo mode) whenever you turned it on, rather than defaulting to white–great fun when your kid likes to flick the lights. One had poor color balance between the red, green, and blue LEDs, so the blended colors came out wrong. Some were great. Having the little remote control nearby was convenient, as long as a kid didn’t lose it. These don’t put out a lot of lumens, especially in single-LED colors, but that worked fine for us. The bulbs are much lower quality than the Philips Hue, but the low price makes them a good starting point.