episode 3 sleep

this episode, blue talks about why playas need 8 hours of sleep a day, why blue light affects sleep, and why micronapping isn’t for everyone. oh hey, did you know playas is “beach” in espanol?

download sleep cycle
download f.lux


Effect of caffeine on physiological sleep tendency and ability to sustain wakefulness at night

Sleep Loss Results in an Elevation of Cortisol Levels the Next Evening

Blue light from light-emitting diodes elicits a dose-dependent suppression of melatonin in humans

Polyphasic sleep/wake pattern and their significance to vigilance

fuck. this. shit.
five hours of sleep. four beers. three obnoxious nocturnal pets.
5:30 in the morning. god, i could probably use another 15 minutes of sleep. does that ever even work?

the other day i decided to change my alarm sound. i chose one that sounded like an isolated beach in Baia do Sancho, but i was caught between that one and the other that took me to a cabin in the middle of the woods.

i imagined myself wearing a blue flannel, strolling alongside the left side of the weakest creek, 3 foot stick in my right hand. watching my wup waddle ahead of me with his dumb face to the ground, sniffing for insects.

pug life.

in the morning, i discovered the sound of the birds and breeze only threatened to put me BACK to sleep. i’m not sure why we even need mornings at all, if we’re being honest.

side note: someone recently put me on to jeff bridge’s sleeping tapes. honestly I’m ashamed of myself for never having heard of it before this person mentioned it because… something about it, i don’t even know what, reignited some form of creativity in me. now i find myself taping ambient noise wherever i get the chance. for this project, actually. because i’m a copycat.

something about just being present and aware in the moment. you just like, “dang birds. what you even got to be so happy about? it’s just houston, fam.”

but back to sleep.

i’ll be straight up with you guys – most days, i do get my 7-8 hours of sleep a night. i’ve recognized that if i get much less than that, everyone else has to pay for it the next day.

and don’t you buy into the idea that it’s only sleep and that it’s a good idea to get 4 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis.
i promise you, you’re only depriving yourself of all of the wonderful benefits of a great sleep cycle.

i cannot recommend in good conscience to anyone that they regularly sleep less than 7 to 8 hours nightly. i know there is a lot of contrary information out there related to sleep hacks, but truthfully, these are short term solutions to short term problems. in the long run, you will lose more by depriving your body and brain a proper sleep than you will gain.

don’t get me wrong, i can understand the use for running on a few hours of sleep now and again – sometimes playas got deadlines, things due, homework to complete – but this is not about that.

this is about extracting optimal sleep performance night to night to keep your brain running at its peak during its waking hours.
it’s about making the most of yourself to get the best possible hard reset your body can use.

number one.

we need to talk about caffeine, guys.

i know, i know. you totally need it to function, it improves your focus, you’re addicted, blooby blooby bloo. i get all that. i’m not asking you to give up coffee.

but we do need to look at a few things.

first, caffeine has a half-life of 3-5 hours, which means if you’re taking it 6-8 hours before bedtime, your sleep cycle will definitely be disrupted and thrown off course.

if you go to my website, you’ll find a list of sources alongside the show notes.

caffeine is a stimulant and not something you want to take later in the day if you’re trying to fall asleep easily.

so it seems pretty obvious, but let me reiterate – cut that shit out early.

i drink 10 oz at 7am. another 10 oz at 10:30am.

if i’m feeling ballsy, i will have one last cup at 2 in the afternoon. considering i go to sleep by 10, i’m cutting it pretty close. so maybe i’ll resolve to cut out that last 10 oz. who needs 30 oz of coffee a day anyway?


i’ve been reading a bit about how cortisol levels can also affect your quality of sleep. so what does that mean?

cortisol levels in the body are highest around 8 in the morning, and lowest around midnight. when your body stresses, your cortisol levels rise, not allowing you to get a proper rest.

alternately, if you suffer from low blood sugar, this may sometimes lead to lower cortisol levels, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. your brain is being told you’re hungry, so you naturally wake up. probably a huge pain in the ass most nights too.

so that may explain why you wake up at 2 in the morning without fail. get those glucose levels up.


blue light.

but yo blue, i heard you like blue in your blue so we put blue on top of blue and put it in your blue!

apparently, there’s such thing as too much blue light.

blue light affects your production of melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for putting you to sleep. during the day, when there’s nothing but blue light, your body’s melatonin levels are low.

which really blows because blue light is emitted from all of your favorite digital devices. while you lie in bed, trying to fall asleep, your body is confused by the cell phone screen you can’t seem to put down. so your pineal glands say fuck this shit and stop producing melatonin.

what what what what

true, apple introduced some night shift feature than changes your screen to a warmer temperature in the later hours, but i mean, took ’em long enough. by adjusting your screen to a warmer, more orange at night, it imitates the natural temperature of a post-sunset sky.

if you’re looking for something similar on a pc, f.lux is a sweet piece of free software that adjusts the temp of your screen based on the time and your location, which helps a lot if you’re one of those people who spends the entire evening parked in front of a computer.

the default temp is 6500k during the day, 3400k at night, with the option of a gradual or quick fade. the temperatures are also adjustable.


blackout curtains. if you can afford them.

but especially if you have one of those rooms that are perpetually bright as fuuuuuuh no matter what you do.

if you have never had the pleasure of sleeping in a pitch black room, then you truly do not know what you’re missing.

being able to block out both light AND noise is like putting yourself to sleep in an isolation chamber, where it’s just you and the air you breathe.

kinda like Guantanamo but kinda not.


micronapping? polyphasic sleep?

i mean, i’m curious about whether or not i would personally notice a considerable difference, but i truthfully do not have it in my schedule to even try this.

think about it. if you have a set schedule most days, work in the morning, sleep at night, or even vice versa, it’s going to be difficult for most people to split their sleep schedule into two or more parts.

this could work for some people – those lucky bastards who don’t work on THE MAN’s work schedule – so if you have any personal experience with it, feel free to let me know. i’m also curious to know how it affects your social life.

not that i have one. but asking for a friend?


you could try supplements. valerian is a pretty popular herb for sleep and has been shown to increase GABA in the brain. 5-HTP is another popular GABA reuptaker. melatonin can also be taken in supplement form on occasion, just don’t go crazy. magnesium is also used as a mild muscle relaxer and helps nerve function.

i think that’s the bulk of it. there’s a teensy bit of info out there about the effects of EMFs on sleep, so if you ever want to try putting your phone in airplane mode during the night, especially if you’re one of those people who sleep with your phone near your head, it might help.

white noise is also supposed to be a good sleep aid for some people. personally, i fall asleep fine with no sound at all, and the idea of having any kind of sound on before sleep seems like it would confuse me, but i honestly haven’t tried it and i don’t know much about whether it would help me get an actual restful sleep.

sleep cycle.

so now that you’ve heard me ramble on for far too long, go download sleep cycle.

i think i already warned you guys, i like dealing with data and numbers. i’ve been using sleep cycle since 2012, and i have a good amount of data on my sleep already. i also like that it’s started recording your snoooooore time.

here you go. this is for you.

anyway, you run sleep cycle right before bed, keep it in the same room with you. it records your movement during the night to create a chart of your REM cycle. then it uses that info to create a sleep quality index for you.

you can add sleep notes that sleep cycle will organize for you. for example, i have meditation, weed, alcohol, exercise all as notes. so now sleep cycle will give me statistics on my sleep based on these sleep notes.

apparently, i get a slightly better sleep when the moon is full. i get my worst sleep when there’s rain outside. taking a sleep aid increases my sleep quality (derp) while being sick or having a stressful day decreases it (double derp).

i’ll throw some of my trend graphs on the show notes on my website at hihowareyou.us. the letter U, the letter S. you should also try subscribing to my podcast and if you’re feeling eeeeextra super cool, a rating would be hella awesome and me love you long time.

but you do you, i’mma do me. next episode is gonna get deep. we’re gonna talk about suicide.

i know, you’re thinking, “what the fuck is she thinking?”

now you’re thinking, “how did she know what i was thinking?”

now you’re thinking, “i hope that’s shepherd’s pie in my knickers.”

5 gold stars if you know that reference.

now go go children get off my lawn why don’t you.

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