86: Rest is a Weapon - Relay FM

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Hi Mike. It was one of the most interesting podcast since the start. Can you tell what headphones that you use. Because I can never sleep with headphones and it looks like you did find a solution for that. Ward

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Hi @Ward, I believe he referred to the Bedphones. I myself am currently thinking about a sleep mask with bluetooth — such as this bluetooth headphone/sleepmask. I think whatever suits your personal preference is the right way to go :slight_smile: Hope that helps.

Other than that: great episode! Just made a quick list with stuff having a negative effect on my sleep and how I could resolve each issue. This episode was the perfect reminder to go and revisit this important topic. Now all I have to do is keep up the momentum. Thanks!

Yup, it was the Bedphones! The new ones are pretty expensive, so still rocking the corded ones.

Loved the episode!

I have a similar setup. I use SleepCycle to wake me up with the Philips Hue lights ramping up brightness in the morning in a light sleep phase. Also black out curtains (still manual).

Also via the app iConnectHue I’ve set timers for my Hue lights to dim and shift to warm white slowly from 10pm to 11pm. Afterwards it will shift to a dark orange within half an hour.

Furthermore I have NFC triggered Shortcuts set up to switch some of my lights that heavily utilize if-statements with different time of the day conditions to set my lights to different color temperature scenes, instead of just triggering it on/off.

Also I use HomeRun on my Watch and have regular and warm/dimmed duplicates of all my HomeKit scenes. I would love the dev to include a day/night template.

I use the AutoSleep Watch app to get some statistics, which means I wear the watch at night, but I also bought an Oura ring, which I wear at night to track HRV, resting heart rate, body temperature and generally recovery rate. Especially when used together with the app HRV4 Training, which can hook into the Oura ring API it is a great helper to avoid over training (I exercise a lot).

I recommend looking into getting rid of pillows entirely. Or get a neck stabilizing one out of softer memory foam that isn’t too thick. This can really help to neutralize and decompress the spine.

Also hanging before you go to bed is a great relief. It doesn’t have to be the upside down hanging with gravity boots (which is great), but just grabbing a pull up bar for 1-2min. and letting your bodyweight to the work is great.

Cold showers work, but also half an hour walks.

Another great tool are saunas, if accessible. There is a lot of research conducted right now, whether it even has life prolonging effects. The relief from heat stress is very soothing and it also prevents muscles soreness and therefore cuts down on recovery time for those that exercise a lot. I always sleep like a baby afterwards.

Strength training is also a factor. If you regularly work out your body will just crave the recovery. Since I’m tracking my sleep (since about 2013 with various fitness trackers) I can clearly see patterns that in times of low strength training workout volume that my sleep rhythm will be more often disturbed.

Also I can recommend drinking valerian tea about half an hour before you want to go to bed and then just read on a kindle or other ebook reader.

Magnesium also helps, but usually you should take it orally in the evening. The topic application that you described seemed odd to me, as the absorption rate is quite low.

Oh and staying away from alcohol or other drugs and stimulants (caffeine), as well as heavy meals (especially carb rich meals before bed) should go without saying. :ok_hand:

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Hi guys,

loved the episode. Thanks!

Sleep tracking

I am using https://www.sleepwatchapp.com to track my sleep quality / habits. This means wearing the Apple Watch to bed which I am fine with. Merlin Mann recommended the app on I think the Talk Show podcast at some point. Basic use is for free which already gives you great hints and tells you a bit about the quality of your sleep. They’re also tracking the your 3-day sleep average meaning you get an idea if you’re going too far into the red by not sleeping enough several days in a row. They could after only a week already tell me that on nights I consumed alcohol my sleep heart rate dip wasn’t as great. The HR dip is most likely linked to a more restful sleep. Also on days that I went for a run it could tell me that the HR dip was indeed better then on other days.

If you take the subscription they condense all the factors into one score which makes this a video game kind’a thing to improve your sleep (according to Merlin Mann). I never did, I will at some point, even without it’s a lot of value I find.

Power naps

During my university end term study time I used to so this daily which meant I got really good at falling asleep after few minutes. Now that I am only occasionally taken naps it takes me longer, but still works. I realised that 30 min is the cut off for me. Anything above and I am a zombie, and will not get up from the couch anymore that day. So I have two Shortcuts called ‘Powernap 18’ and ‘Powernap 28’ which set DnD and a timer for the respective time. I’ll use them depending on how much time I have. (I have a friend who incidentally also sets the timer to exactly 28 min and swears by it. I am convinced there’s a yet undiscovered scientific reason for this).

Kids and sleep

We did realise this too late, but using silicone earplugs (and learning how to correctly put them into your ear) is a necessity esp if you have a kid that has problems sleeping. Correctly used you can block out most of the noise around you. It felt weird in the beginning, I had the feeling of letting my wife down and alone with the kids, but three days in, with two zombie parents, it becomes clear that that isn’t a great alternative.

Thank you guys.

I thought so, too. I do tend to get tangled in wires, so I ended up with these and am really pleased so far.


I guess this is the opinion of someone who goes to bed alone at night, but I just use a pair of book shelf speakers with an echo dot wired into them.

Great episode! I just ordered one of the weighted blankets and can’t wait to see how it works.

Here are some of my recommendations:


  • Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker - excellent explanations of what goes on in our sleep. You’ll be haunted by all the trials they’ve done and the oft repeated phrase “And they never returned to baseline.” I think my baseline was in High School.
  • Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by T. S. Wiley and Brent Formny - one of the takeaways was a study showing that a light taped to a leg made a difference in sleep quality when it was on. Demonstrates that it’s not just covering your eyes that matters for the dark.

Tricks from an airline pilot:

  • When traveling use one or two of the pants hangers that have the clips. Use vertically to clip the curtains together to prevent light leaks.
  • Lower the temperature to around 65 and use blankets as required.
  • The one I hate but really works: give up caffein and alcohol. I did this for a month and after a week of being exhausted I had more energy than ever.


  • ChiliPad - this one is expensive but very worth it. Basically a pad that goes between the mattress and the sheets with tubes embedded in it like astronaut underwear. It has a cooling unit the side that pumps the water through the system. You can adjust the temperature to your liking and the queen size units can have different temperatures for each half of the bed. Also creates a nice white noise. https://www.chilitechnology.com/
  • Doc Parsley sleep formula. A supplement by a former SEAL turned Phd. Has a slower release formula of melatonin and some other things including Magnesium which really help with a good night’s sleep. Highly recommend the lavender flavor. http://www.docparsley.com (I’ve also tried a formula of hot water, honey, and apple cider vinegar that Tim Ferriss swears by and really works…the sleep formula tastes way better though)

Recommendation on naps: if you really need energy take a shot of espresso right before the nap. It will kick in about the time a 20-30 minute nap is over and you’ll be supercharged.

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I’ve got a collection of noise apps and I agree with Mike that myNoise is currently the best. I love how each noise is a 10 track mixer where you can adjust the level for each sound. There are hundreds (200+, I think) of sounds available for a one time $10 in app purchase. Plus, unlike Nature Space, all newly created sounds are included with the in app purchase.

Other noise apps I own, in order from most to least favorite.

  1. Nature Space - A bit pricey to buy the sounds, but I particularly like the Lake Michigan waves, since I grew up listening to Lake Michigan falling asleep in the summer. This app is buggy and doesn’t always pause when unplugging/disconnecting headphones, but previous versions would crash when unplugging headphones so pausing wasn’t an issue. I think I actually preferred the crash.
  2. Dark Noise - It’s mostly eye candy, and there are no adjustments for each sound, and there is no mixing. If you like the unaltered noises, then it’s great, but after being able to tune each scene in myNoise, this is truly disappointing.
  3. White Noise - Possibly even more sounds than myNoise, but it’s a clunky system requiring two apps. IIRC the noises are free. It’s been a while since I have had this on my phone, so my recolection may be inaccurate.

I really enjoyed this episode.

Daylight Saving Time was not originally for farmers, it was to save electricity during WWI in the factories that made the munitions and other items needed for the war effort. Any farmer knows that the animals do not understand clocks. We always do work based on the sun time because that is the only thing that affects the animals unless you modify their natural system by applying artificial light. (Like putting laying hens under lights in winter to keep them laying during times there isn’t enough natural light to trigger the egg laying system.)

re the water consumption In my experience it doesn’t matter if I avoid water entirely past noon I will STILL have to get up to go to the bathroom in the night. So I just live with it and try to drink a full glass before I go to bed anyway. I’m going get up no matter what so I might as well be sure I’m properly hydrated.

The only time we have to use an alarm clock is when we have to get up when it’s dark to get to some time specific appointment. For us that’s almost always taking a load of sheep to slaughter because we have to be there at a specific time and it’s about an hour to get there from here.

Interesting on time required for sleep and the whole napping idea too. For me personally I need to get 8 hrs of sleep minimum and really do a lot better if I get 8.5-9 hrs. But the amount of time we sleep varies with the seasons. We go to bed when we are tired and get up when we wake up. I’ve gone to bed as early as 8pm and not woken up until 7 the next day. But I figured I needed it. During lambing the actual all in one go sleep time gets really short but we take naps during the day, sometimes several of them so it works.

Edited to add

The comments on the week starting on Monday got me thinking. I’ve found for me I do my best weekly review of my task manager, calendar etc on Friday and so I actually consider that my “week start”. Part of that is that we are open for farm tours in summer starting Friday afternoon and then again Saturday and Sunday. So my “might be interrupted by other people” work days start Friday so it makes sense to me to get my planning done before that so I know what I have to do around whoever shows up for a farm tour. We close during the winter yet I’ve never changed my weekly review day. I might play with that and see if a different day during off season makes sense.

Great episode, thanks!
About the importance of sleep for our health, I cannot recommend enough the 3 parts podcast interview with Matthew Walker (expert of sleep and professor of neuroscience at UC Berkeley) on The Peter Attia Drive (episodes 47, 48, 49: https://peterattiamd.com/matthewwalker1/), especially the second and third one. Great listening, plenty of information and scientific advice. After listening to that, you’ll start making lifestyle changes to sleep more!

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