How To Fall Asleep Faster And Sleep Better - Tim Ferriss

Posted on December 26th, 2012

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss


More than two glasses of wine within four hours of sleep decreases deep-wave sleep 20–50%. Even four glasses six hours beforehand did not appear to have this effect, so the timing is crucial. Conversely, taking 15+ drops of California poppy extract appeared to increase deep-wave sleep up to 20%.

Almond Butter

Eating two tablespoons of organic almond butter on celery sticks before bed eliminated at least 50% of the “feel like shit” (1–3) mornings. Ever wonder how you can sleep 8–10 hours and feel tired? The likely culprit: low blood sugar. Make a pre-bed snack part of your nutritional program. 

Flaxseed Oil 

One to two tablespoons of flaxseed oil (120–240 calories) can be used in combination with the celery-and-almond-butter to further increase cell repair during sleep and thus decrease fatigue. Flaxseed oil tastes like a mixture of raccoon urine and asparagus, so—if you opt to include it—I recommend pinching your nose while consuming it, per Dr. Seth Roberts, whom we’ll meet later.


Test 67-70° as your bedroom temperature.

This was the variable I experimented with the most while in Nicaragua for my medical tourism adventures (coming up later), and it was also the variable that had the most consistent effects. Specially, using a single bedsheet at a room temperature between 67°F and 70°F produced the fastest time to sleep. Warmer temperatures never worked, but as low as 65°F would work equally well if I wore socks to keep my feet warm. If you can’t control the ambient temperature, testing socks of different thicknesses is the easiest variable to change for tweaking heat loss.

Ideal temperature is highly individual, and each person will have a narrow range, so experiment to find your own.


Eat a large fat and protein-dominated meal within three hours of bedtime.

I discovered this unintentionally while tracking testosterone changes. Consumed within three hours of getting under the sheets, meals of at least 800 milligrams of cholesterol (four or more large whole eggs) and 40 grams of protein produced dramatically faster time-to-sleep scores than meals of lower volume or lower protein and fat. Eating two rib-eye steaks, each about three-quarters of a pound, had the strongest tranquilizer-like effect.

Cold Bath One Hour Prior To Bed

The Japanese have longer average lifespans than most other nationalities, including Americans, whom they beat by more than four years. One explanation researchers have proposed is that the regular shower, or hot bath at bedtime, increases melatonin release and is related to mechanisms for life extension. Paradoxically, according to one of the Stanford professors who taught the sleep biology class I took circa 2002, cold is a more effective signaler (aka zeitgeber, or “time giver”) for sleep onset.

I tested the effect of combining shorter-than-usual 10-minute ice baths with low-dose melatonin (1.5–3 milligrams) one hour prior to sleep. The ice bath is simple: put two to three bags of ice from a convenience store ($3–6) into a half-full bathtub until the ice is about 80% melted. Beginners should start by immersing the lower body only and progress to spending the second five minutes with the upper torso submerged as well, keeping the hands out of the water. (See “Ice Age” for other approaches and benefits.)

It was like getting hit with an elephant tranquilizer. Best of all, this was true even when melatonin is omitted.

Sleep Position

Resort To The Half Military Crawl Position

Lie on your chest with your head on a pillow and turned to the right. Both arms should be straight by your sides, palms up. Now bring your right arm up until the top of your right elbow is bent at 90 degrees and your hand is close to your head. Alternative hand placement: the right hand is under your pillow and under your head. Next, bring your right knee out to that side until it is bent at approximately 90 degrees.

This is a last resort that works for one simple reason: you can’t move. It’s like a self-imposed papoose, which the Inuits and other cultures have used to calm infants

It’s like a self-imposed papoose, which the Inuits and other cultures have used to calm infants by immobilizing them. To toss and turn from the half military crawl position, you have to first lift your entire body off the bed. Less fidgeting means faster sleep.


The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss (Hardcover - Dec 14, 2010)

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