No matter what doctors say about needing sleep to stay healthy and live longer, everyone knows it’s not that easy. The office is only a click away, the kids require attention and all of those “friends” on social media are constantly beckoning. So what do the experts do to shut down and get some shut eye? We asked sleep and wellness pros for their best sleep secrets.
“The biggest thing I do to improve my sleep is to pull the plug. It’s not easy. I made the decision that my sleep comes before catching up on my life. So when it’s 11 o’clock—apologies to every person who wrote me whom I haven’t answered yet—but I turn off my email and my phone and my computer.
Warm baths and warm milk also help. If you raise your body temperature, it not only helps you fall asleep, but it gets you into deeper sleep.”
—Robert Stickgold, associate professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
“I think there are three ways you can mess yourself up. The first is by smoking cigarettes, the second is by becoming obese, and the third is really shortchanging yourself on sleep. I try to get eight hours each night.”
—Leonard Guarente, co-founder of Elysium Health and director of MIT’s Paul F. Glenn Center for Science of Aging Research
“I was a chronic snorer, depriving my brain of a certain amount of oxygen. Now I sleep much more restfully using a sleep-apnea machine. I also believe in getting mental exercise, so I do daily cognitive tests. If I’ve had a short night of sleep, I consistently score much lower, and it definitely affects my cognitive function.”
—J. Craig Venter, scientist and CEO of Human Longevity Inc.
“You should sleep in a room that’s pitch black—no LEDs or light coming from behind the curtains. I use my phone on airplane mode to track my sleep.”
—Dave Asprey, founder and CEO of Bulletproof
“I have trained my body to not use alarms. I wake up on a consistent rhythm now. I block out light from any ambient light that disrupts different hormones and I try to get 8-9 hours of sleep a day.”
—Geoffrey Woo, CEO and co-founder of Nootrobox