We recently wrote about the slow-carb diet that Tim Ferriss used to help him get into shape while he was working on his various books, advising some of the world’s largest companies, and traveling the world. However, and perhaps more importantly, Ferriss has a habit of, well… making a habit of things!
The famous host of ‘The Tim Ferriss Show’ has also been known to focus heavily on optimizing his nighttime routine in order to improve his sleep quality. Sleep is important to everyone, but for someone like Ferriss who chronically suffered from insomnia for much of his life, getting enough shut eye can be priceless. Along with the pressures associated with tight book deadlines, plus the strain of running multiple businesses, and it’s not hard to see why Ferriss has attempted to use an evening routine to maximize his sleep quality.
“Ours is a culture where we wear our ability to get by on very little sleep as a kind of badge of honor that symbolizes work ethic, or toughness, or some other virtue—but really, it’s a total profound failure of priorities and of self-respect,” said Ferris, in one of his works, Tools of Titans.
Here, Ferris rightly identifies that, in spite of outside pressures, we simply must ensure we’re getting enough sleep in order to lead productive lives. This is something that several high-profile business people have alluded to (most notably Arianna Huffington) but despite their advice and guidance, many people still prefer to dodge those precious hours of shut-eye.
For those who have tried, and ultimately failed to achieve an evening routine that optimizes their sleep pattern, there may be some things that you can learn from Tim and his experiences.
How to build an evening routine to optimizes your sleep quality
Tim Ferriss is known for experimenting with tools, foods, drinks, and anything else that he can get his hands on that might improve any aspect of his life. This holds true for his evening routine - he even has a separate one for his evenings when he is travelling.
Here, we’ve taken inspiration from his more commonly practiced and proven-effective techniques for maximizing sleep quality.
1. Drink a hot, decaffeinated beverage to help you relax
One thing to mention before anything else: it’s strongly advised that you avoid drinking caffeine after 5 or 6 pm. As Ferris himself says, “Even if you don't feel it, it's in there.”
However, that doesn’t mean to say that you should completely cut all hot beverages, in fact, Ferriss actually recommends a hot, decaffeinated beverage before bed. Not only does it help relax your body, it also helps digestion before and during sleep. One way you can start making a habit of this is to:
Set an alarm [x] minutes before you go to sleep to remind you to boil water and prepare a cup of hot tea or decaf coffee
Setting an alarm is a good way to not only remind you to prepare a hot beverage but it can also act as a notification to remind you that it’s time to begin winding down your body and mind for sleep and begin your evening routine.
2. Take a hot bath or shower to relax your muscles and sooth your skin
Ideally, you’ll be able to soak your body in a hot bath and use some epsom salts which are “for systemic magnesium supplementation and muscular relaxation" and "speedy recovery after workouts,” according to Ferriss.
If you don’t have the patience for a hot bath, take a shower and try to relax, even sitting down in the shower might help. You can even use the hot-beverage queue as a trigger to remind you to run your bath or turn on the shower. Or you can:
Set a reminder or alarm to run a hot bath or shower (x) minutes before you want to sleep
An added tip: leave your towel and evening wear ready for once you get out of the bath - again, over time you’ll begin to associate each of these with sleep, and thus, prepare your body for rest.
3. Read a book - ideally fiction - in order to relax your mind
Ferriss is another advocate of reading before bed to tire your eyes and relax your mind, decluttering it of technology or business-related information. However he takes it a step further by suggesting that you read books based specifically on fiction.
“I’m not going to read something like a nonfiction business book that’s going to keep my problem-solving apparatus in sixth gear. That’s not helpful, I need to turn that off. So I’ll read fiction.”
You can begin to build a habit of reading just before you sleep by:
Leaving a book beside the bath, (or your bed if you’ve had a shower) - read (x) pages
You can increase the number of pages that you read each night or week, which not only means you use reading as an effective - and productive - part of your evening routine, but also ensures that you’re engaging in activity that doesn’t revolve around a screen or device, which has been shown to interfere with sleep.
As always, each of the suggested habits throughout the above article can be copied into the Evolution 2 habit tracker. Just sign-up for your account here.