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KHashmi316

CR sleep ... some useful tips at last!

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For those on hard-core CR, you know may already be familiar with this SUCKY drawback. Difficulty in falling asleep ... difficulty in re-sleeping after any midnight awakening, etc. Indeed, these and other "CR sleep" topics have been the subject of several threads, back in the Mailing List days.

It seems U.S. Navy research has come up with some tips that may help.

The Navy aimed for 2 minutes. I am down to about 3-4 mins. Some of these tips new to me including: pro-actively positioning  body to reduce "pressure points". If you're a back sleeper, you're all set. I'm a side sleeper, so I experimented a bit, till I found a very comfortable position.

The other tip -- completely new to me -- is the LAST step. With eyelids shut, rolling eyeballs up and pulling them into sockets -- you'll feel a bit of pressure. I think this may be the natural position of eyeball in unconscious state.

 The following video is long-winded but if you can sit thru it, you might find it useful.

 

Edited by KHashmi316

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About midnight awakening ... it helps to have your bladder empty. HOWEVER, on heavy CR, I can't get drowsy (or stay asleep) without some calories in the belly. 

As far as peeing ... a bad pan urinal can help ...

male-urinal2.jpg

I also found it helpful to not turn on bright lights ... one of these "reading lights" has a dim orange lamp that works well (clip it next to your bed)...

led-clip-light-2.png 

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That’s interesting. I have zero problem falling asleep. In fact, I amaze myself at how good I am at this - and this in spite of doing “everything wrong” - I read on my phone or iPad in bed, sometimes I read an actual book with clip-on light from IKEA. Yet, I fall asleep I’d estimate, within less than a minute. I can have a very strong coffee not long before I go to bed - no problem falling asleep. It almost never happens that I have difficulty initiating sleep.

BUT. My big problem is waking up at night after 2-3 hours and then often not being able to fall asleep again for as long as 2 or even 3 hours; sometimes I’ll just lie in bed and read my iPad or book (fortunately my wife is a very sound sleeper). This happens 1-2 times a week. Then another 1-2 times a week, I’ll have sleep that’s very fragmented - i.e. I’ll wake up multiple times, sometimes not fully, throughout the night. And 1-2 times a week I’ll have a problem-free night of sound sleep. This pattern has been pretty steady for the past 10 years or so. When I was younger, I had zero problems with sleep.

Here’s the puzzler to me - with rare exceptions, even after a very bad night, when I get up in the morning, I feel fully rested - and I really mean fully. I feel totally refreshed, I have zero daytime sleepiness, I never nap during the day, and I seem to function very well, with no discernible (to me, or others - no one mentioned any) impairments. During a bad night I always think to myself “the day will be terrible”, especially when I’ve had only a few hours of sleep, like 3-4 hours - but it almost never is! I keep marveling - why am I not tired or woozy-headed?

Anyhow, I figure it’s probably not healthy on some level, and I really should fix it. So I’ll try the tricks mentioned here. Thanks for the post!

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Tom, some outliers really need little sleep u may b one. But of course your conditioned by the culture to believe otherwise. I’d go with your feelings. The body that is sleep deprived will cause all kinds of obvious symptoms

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Right. The worst part - as when it comes to almost all medical science - is we really know so very little about sleep. I mean, I know it’s super fashionable now and tons of books and supposed experts abound - but it’s like with diet, there’s a lot of noise and very little actual reliable science. So I’m left with either a vague worry that I have a problem, or trusting my body that seems to indicate everything is fine. Wish there was real science to settle all this. I feel like we’re living in ignorance in the Middle Ages. A couple of hundred years from now folks will look upon our times as the dark ages when it comes to medical science... we have no idea what happens when we sleep, a full 1/3 of our time on this earth, and we really don’t know what to eat optimally... doesn’t get much more basic than this - sleep and eat, two big mysteries, sigh. 

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I agree! The media replays the same BS over and over again and for a person with insomnia or early awakening issues this stuff doesn’t work. I have early awakening issues and have tried everything including the above pilot technique which I was already familiar with and I still wake up too early. I’ve just learned to adapt by simply getting up doing something l8ke push ups and sit-ups and stuff like what I’m doing right this second. Eventually my brain will get sleepy and I’ll go back to bed. 

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About quality and qty of sleep ...for me anyway ... gotta have about 7 hrs/night plus usually a 15 min. nap after lunch. If I don't get enough, I'll feel groggy and malaise ("flu-ey") all day. Also ... on underslept days, I'll be much more prone to mistake-making and brain farts ... including dangerous shit like traffic mistakes. 

Another thing about ACUTE undersleep is that it can be difficult make up that sleep right away, even with deliberate attempts to lay down and nap. Almost like a weird, nervous hyper-vigilance state. IME, that sleep debt is only repaid over the next 72-96 hrs.

So, the oft-repeated tip about keeping same sleep schedule seems like a biggie.

About use of electronic devices JUST before bedtime ... no problems here.

Also with the 15 min. afternoon nap ... I do that in a bright sunlight room.

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A class in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), among other things helps one to develop techniques of Meditation.  Preparing for meditation while in bed makes it easier to fall asleep.

The inventor of MBSR is Jon Cabot Zinn; he has written many books.  But it's probably best to attend an MBSR course, if one is available to you.  There are many benefits to such a course; improved sleep is one of them.

  --  Saul

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Hi again Khurram!

I used to have similar problems falling asleep, and also falling back asleep after waking several times during the night (which always happens, including now).

The procedures that I use is the same as what to enter a meditative state, but done while lying in bed.

Here's a brief primer on (at least of my method) of mindfully falling asleep:

First, I relax my jaw (it may initially be clenched) and shoulders, and try to relax all muscles. 

I assume that I'm lying in bed, my eyes closed.  I observe my thoughts, without trying not to judge which are or aren't desirable.  All thoughts are fine.  By observing -- the technical term is witnessing -- a thought, I've put it somewhat at a distance -- it begins to fade away.  I eventually am witnessing all of my conscious thoughts, all of which grow more remote.   My breathing slows and I begin to become more sleepy.  Eventually, I fall asleep (I might be in a meditative state for quite a while before finally falling asleep -- or so it may seem.  Actually, less time might have passed).

I hope that helps.  Best is to attend an MBSR class, if one is available to you -- most universities have them today.

(BTW, the method of meditation -- and other methods of entering meditation -- that I've discussed was not invented by John Cabot Zin -- it is ancient.  It's one of the pillars of Buddhism, an ancient religion.)

  --  Saul

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On 6/30/2019 at 2:53 PM, Saul said:

A class in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), among other things helps one to develop techniques of Meditation.  Preparing for meditation while in bed makes it easier to fall asleep.

The inventor of MBSR is Jon Cabot Zinn; he has written many books.  But it's probably best to attend an MBSR course, if one is available to you.  There are many benefits to such a course; improved sleep is one of them.

  --  Saul

Yes indeed Saul! Not perfect but certainly helpful. I often use the mindfulness technique of focusing on breath to an advantage when I have racing thoughts.

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On 6/29/2019 at 12:46 PM, KHashmi316 said:

The Navy aimed for 2 minutes. I am down to about 3-4 mins. Some of these tips new to me including: pro-actively positioning  body to reduce "pressure points". If you're a back sleeper, you're all set. I'm a side sleeper, so I experimented a bit, till I found a very comfortable position.

The other tip -- completely new to me -- is the LAST step. With eyelids shut, rolling eyeballs up and pulling them into sockets -- you'll feel a bit of pressure. I think this may be the natural position of eyeball in unconscious state.

I've been using parts of that 2-min technique for months.  The way I learned it here is, starting in bed on your back:

Your face is the key to slowing down everything

Now that you’ve got your position, it’s all about the face. Think of it as the epicenter of your emotions. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply. Then relax all 43 of your face muscles — no squinting or frowning. Your forehead should be smooth. Let everything go loose. Breathe out as you feel your cheeks, mouth, tongue, and jaw relax.

Your eyes are shut, but you want to make sure they are totally limp. Do this by letting them fall deep into your socket. There are six muscles that control your socket; feel them relax and go lifeless.

When you relax your face and let your eye sockets go limp, you signal to the rest of your body it’s time to unwind.

Send your upper body south

Now it’s all about the shoulders. Let them drop as low as they can, as if they were floating down your body. You should feel the back of your neck go lifeless. Let all the muscles there go even looser.

Breathe in deeply. Then exhale slowly, blowing out all of the tension.

Next are your arms. Start with your dominant side. If you’re right-handed, focus on your right bicep. Feel it relax and drop down your body. If it’s not relaxing, tense it first, then let it go loose.

Then move to your right forearm. Focus on sending it limp. Finally, comes your hand and fingers. Let them fall like a dead weight against your leg. When you’ve finished with your dominant side, work through the process with your other arm.

Your upper body should be nice and limp, like it’s sinking into you. You’re more than halfway there.

What to say to your legs

Next stop is your legs. Tell your right thigh muscle to sink, like a dead weight. Then tell the same thing to your right calf muscles. Then do the same thing for your ankle and foot. Feel the muscles go limp, as your leg sinks into the ground.

Repeat the process with the left leg, talking to your thigh, then your calf, then your ankle and foot.

Now you have unwound, relaxing every muscle in your body from your face to your feet. There’s just one more thing you need to do to turn your relaxed state into deep sleep.

How to not think about anything

The last step is to clear your mind for 10 seconds. That’s it. No thinking about what went wrong that day, or what time you need to get up, or when you’ll get to call your partner. Doing these things all involve movement. Which means just thinking about them is enough to make your muscles involuntarily contract.

Instead, you need to keep your mind still. You can do this by holding a static image in your head. Imagine you are lying on a comfy couch, in a pitch black room. Hold this image in your mind for 10 seconds.

If that doesn’t work, say the words “don’t think … don’t think … don’t think” over and over for at least 10 seconds. This will clear out any thoughts and stop your brain from wandering.

When you’re physically relaxed and your mind is still for at least 10 seconds, you’ll be asleep.

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On 7/12/2019 at 9:06 PM, Kenton said:

Your eyes are shut, but you want to make sure they are totally limp. Do this by letting them fall deep into your socket. There are six muscles that control your socket; feel them relax and go lifeless.

Don’t at all understand this one. Letting them FALL deep in their sockets? 

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Meditation is a good way to fall asleep.

Obviously, relax your jaw, shoulders and other body parts.  To meditate, you may want to sit erect with your head up, and eyes closed.

To sleep, do similarly while lying down.  I'd ignore the military methods;   Buddha knows better.

🙄

  --  Saul

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3 hours ago, mikeccolella said:
On 7/12/2019 at 8:06 PM, Kenton said:

Your eyes are shut, but you want to make sure they are totally limp. Do this by letting them fall deep into your socket. There are six muscles that control your socket; feel them relax and go lifeless.

Don’t at all understand this one. Letting them FALL deep in their sockets? 

Yeah!  That is the best part--the part I always incorporate.  While you are laying  on your back facing the ceiling, think of your eyeballs as being so heavy that they fall (e.g., via an oozing motion, lol) or slowly travel under their own weight (they are very, very dense / heavy in your imagination) down through your skull to the back of your head. 

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I usually fall asleep really fast and have no trouble staying asleep.

I've been listening to ASMR before sleep and it's actually kind of nice and relaxing lol. Makes me super relaxed in fact...

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Seeking rapid fat loss while hopefully preserving lean mass I'm 5 days into a near fast, averaging about 660 calories/daily ~80g protein, 34g fat and 8g carbs:  a late breakfast of whey protein mixed with a couple eggs plus a white and an early dinner of sardines or pickled salmon, heart and liver on salad greens dressed with an almost mayonnaise of a  yolk and 1 tbl evoo and plenty of salt.   I've never made it past 5 days of water fasting having always succumbed to coldness, fatigue and related low energy symptoms.  This time I'm not having any of my typical problems and feel like I could go much longer except poor sleep has me concerned.  For the past couple days I've been taking afternoon naps getting roughly an hour but I'm still coming up short by at least an hour if not two from my typical non fasting daily sleep.  Haven't noticed much if any adverse impacts from sleep deprivation but the Matthew Walker book has me questioning the trade offs between getting lean and wrecking my sleep.  I'm hoping increasing sleep pressure will overcome whatever this approach to fasting is doing to my sleep.

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Personally, I'd ignore the Matthew Walker book. There's too much we don't know about sleep. Sleep durtion might be different, but sleep requirements might also vary depending on feeding status. It stands to reason that if the body senses low energy input status, it cuts back on sleep to allow more time for food foraging. And that might be entirely a good thing, not bad, perhaps through hormesis. Bottom line, I deeply distrust pronouncements from hypesters and self promoters like Walker who make authoritative recommendations without the science being there - and again, we are woefully ignorant wrt. sleep. YMMV, all IMHO.

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1 hour ago, TomBAvoider said:

It stands to reason that if the body senses low energy input status, it cuts back on sleep to allow more time for food foraging.

My experience though is that when the body senses low energy input status, it cuts back on energy expenditure, increasing sleeptime.

It happened during fasts that I wasn't able to sleep, but I was deprived of energies either, so the foraging might not have been so successful.

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On 7/17/2019 at 12:57 PM, TomBAvoider said:

Personally, I'd ignore the Matthew Walker book. There's too much we don't know about sleep.

Tom I often share your skepticism.  At least when I have enough understanding of a topic to question expert opinion.  But my understanding of sleep was fairly shallow prior to reading Walker's book and without much basis to discount it I find it concerning to have disrupted sleep.  I've been tracking things such as body temp, physical performance, pulse, blood pressure, blood sugar,  ketones, HRV and subjective measures such as how I feel throughout the day and other than sleep disruption don't have much reason to change course.  But now I'm wishing I had a way to track mental performance such as websites or phone apps to measure aspects such as memory, alertness, and cognition speed to better judge sleep deprivation impact.

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I really don't understand the skepticism of Matthew Walker's work around here or what he is saying that is wrong.  You'd personally ignore his book.. have you read it?

He works for Google (One of their Alphabet companies) so they trust him 😛 

 

 

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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5385214/#!po=30.4878

 

the above review strongly supports aerobic and resistance exercise and more generally fitness as an important element for improvement of sleep. They also indicate that mindfulness based tai chi and yoga are especially helpful, but these lack the volume data supporting exercise in general. It also appears that morning and evening exercise may have immediate impact that is favorable.

on another note a friend of mine is a respiratory therapist and works in a sleep lab. He always eats a large meal right before bed because he feels low blood sugar disrupts sleep. That would be consistent with the above comments by TombAvoider. Also consistent with predators like lions etc who sleep after gorging.

Edited by mikeccolella

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Walker (mentioned above by Matt) is also referenced in the video below.

I haven't tried any of the sleep monitoring apps (like SnoreLab) ... seems it may be useful in tweaking sleep...

 

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I liked that sleep position video, makes me feel good that I only sleep on my side 😉

 

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Hi Khurram!

Nice video.

BTW, the cleaning of the brain that occurs when we sleep is most effective during SWS (Slow Wave Sleep), which is a form of NREM (non-dreaming) sleep.  And this nightly cleansing process was discovered here at the University of Rochester.

As to myself:  I used to suffer from severe insomnia, and my wife complained about my nightly snoring.  But, since taking several MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) sessions here at UR, the problem has been resolved.

Despite sleeping mostly on my back and using a pillow (more than one), my wife hasn't complained about snoring.

My greatest sleeping problem:  I frequently have a post nasal drip.  I need the pillows to prevent the possibility of liquid draining into my lungs.

(BTW, some years ago, while I was a prolific snorer (reported by my wife), I was tested overnight at a Sleep Research Center.  The main results were that I don't have sleep apnea, but, at the time, was suffering from sleep insomnia.)

Khurram (and Michael), my recommendation is to try an MBSR session -- it certainly helped me (my wife confirms this).  I'm going to another such session, starting August 13, going on for eight weeks on Tuesday evenings (a day when I don't teach).

 Take care,

  --  Saul

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I agree with Gordo and Saul - great video Khurram. Thanks for posting it.

First off, we did a deep dive on the side-sleeping / glymphatic system paper that is discussed in the video a few years ago here.

Like Gordo, I always sleep on my side. Besides the progressive relaxation technique discussed earlier, here are a few tips I've stumbled upon that I've found to really improve my sleep.

1) Neck relaxation - I'm not sure where I heard this, but I've found that when the rest of my body seems very relaxed, I still carry some tension in my neck. But consciously focusing on maximally relaxing the back of my neck, I drift off to sleep much more quickly.

2) Body Pillow - I've found sleeping on my side with a body pillow between my knees and over which I drape my top arm really helps me sleep better. Here is position I'm talking about (except for the head pillow and bottom arm, discussed below):

SY_MltPstnBdyPllw_Model_v5b.jpg

I've found a body pillow used like this helps with two things. First it eliminates "skin-to-skin" contact (see #3). Second, it helps align my hips and back more naturally, eliminating stiff back and joints which impair my sleep and make me wake up sore.

3) Avoid Skin-to-Skin Contact - I discovered long ago that skin-to-skin contact between any parts of my body impairs my falling asleep. This goes for all such contact - e.g. hand on hip, face on arm, knee on knee, even finger against finger. To fall asleep more quickly, I make sure no part of my body is touching any other part of my body directly (i.e. skin-to-skin).

4) Shoulder & Arm Pocket - This one may be the hardest for the average person to implement, but I've found it perhaps the most helpful aid to better side sleeping, that I haven't seen discussed elsewhere. I discovered it a year and a half ago when (unknown to me at the time) I was suffering from Lyme disease, a few months after my Thoreauian experiment of living in the woods for six weeks where I apparently got bit by a Lyme-carrying tick.

As is typical of Lyme disease, it made my knee and shoulder joints very sore. So much so that side sleeping in either the positions labelled "foetus" or "yearner" in the image below, resulted in my shoulder being very painful, impairing my sleep. Plus even before Lyme, I always found that sleeping in either of these two side positions resulted in my bottom arm and shoulder getting poor circulation and sometimes "going to sleep" (i.e. triggering the "pins and needles" sensation).

Sleeping-Positions.jpg

I already had my mattress (this foam one, which I really like to this day) on the floor with the head-end butted up against a wall, so I decided to try an experiment. I pulled the head-end of the mattress away from the wall by the width of a pillow (~12 inches). Into the gap between the head-end of the mattress and the wall I stuffed a couple pillows so that when compressed, the pillows were level with the height of the mattress - effectively extending the mattress to the wall with a pile of (two) pillows. Then I put my regular (memory foam) pillow on top of this pillow pile. Here is a picture of the top of my bed to illustrate what I mean:

15644118985431639023291840547606.jpg

What this did was to effectively create a virtual "mattress" with a crack or "pocket" in it at the exact location where my bottom shoulder is when I sleep on my side. So rather than flexing my shoulder to put my arm under the pillow (i.e. foetus position above) or sleeping on my shoulder (i.e. yearner position above), I was able to slip my shoulder and arm into the pocket between the head of the mattress and the pillow pile to relieve the pressure on my arm and shoulder when sleeping on my side. You can just see my left hand poking out of the pocket in the image above. 

It worked great when I was having shoulder trouble from Lyme, and I've continued it ever since. I find having my shoulder and arm naturally suspended in the pocket to be much more comfortable and conducive to deep relaxation and better sleep. I think a lot of people default to sleeping on their back because they can't figure out what to do with their bottom arm when sleeping on their side, it just feels uncomfortable. This hack avoids the problem, and makes side sleeping much more comfortable for me.

I readily admit it is difficult to implement this hack unless you are willing and able to put your mattress on the floor butted up against a wall. But for anyone who really wants to sleep on their side since it seems like the healthiest position, but is having trouble because they find side sleeping uncomfortable, a body pillow and a pocket to relieve pressure on your bottom shoulder & arm might be two things to try.

--Dean

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