Night One of My Sleep Hack

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Yesterday, I mentioned that last night was to be night one of my new sleep hack routine. Unfortunately, what messed up my plan, at least to a certain degree, was tweaking my back while doing Deadlifts.

So after the “tweak,” when I got to work, I applied a combination of ibuprofen and ice backs to reduce the inflammation and the discomfort associated with my lower back trauma. Also, one of my supplements, Curcumin 2K with Black Pepper Extract, is an anti-inflammatory, and I’m able to take that both morning and evening.

I hope it helps.

Actually, I do feel better today and was able to perform a session of cardio. I didn’t work on my abs because that activity also impacts my lower back, which I’d just as soon “baby” for the present.

As the day wore on yesterday, I started considering how to actually apply my sleep hacks.

My first step was to stop drinking coffee at work after noon. I didn’t like that one bit, but I stuck to water post-lunch.

Then, once back at home, I decided that getting into and out of a bathtub with a sore back wasn’t the greatest of ideas, so I let that one slide.

I did a bit of additional research on my sleep supplements to make sure they didn’t react to one another adversely, and as far as I was able to determine, they don’t.

I took the 5-HTP capsule first, around 6 p.m., just because. But what about the powders?

Both Natural Calm and RelaxMax are designed to be dissolved in a glass of water and then consumed.

I split the difference and drank a glass of Natural Calm around 7 p.m. and then the RelaxMax at about 7:30 or a quarter to 8.

I also left the computer alone and spent my time reading Bill Gifford’s new book Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (or Die Trying), which is a well-written, entertaining, and no-nonsense examination of the anti-aging industry, including rather scathing criticisms of The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) in general, and its primary spokesperson Suzanne Somers in particular (which would hurt my long-suffering wife since she adores all of Somers’ books on anti-aging).

As much as I love reading, if I’m at all tired, I have a tendency to want to doze off after a while, and this was no different. As my 8 p.m. bedtime approached (I get up no later than 4 a.m. during the week), I began to feel a little drowsy.

Everyone was out of the house for the moment, so I did my usual activities to get read to go to sleep.

At last, I put the “Bulletproof” Sleep Induction Mat on my propped up pillow and gingerly reclined upon it, trying to take my still tender lower back into consideration.

sleep induction mat
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The sharp plastic “pokey” things actually feel good on my back, and I continued to read for the required 20 minutes I’m supposed to use the mat. Once I finished one more chapter, I set the book on the night stand, tossed the mat on the floor (far enough away so when I got out of bed again, I wouldn’t step on it in the dark) and tried to find a comfortable position…

…which wasn’t easy, and certainly made relaxation and taking full advantage of my first “sleep hack” night more difficult.

Also, even with the blinds fully closed, it wasn’t pitch black outside at 8:15 p.m. or so. That means the total darkness requirement of the “hack” was initially missing.

All said and done, I must have dozed off, but only for slightly less than an hour.

Then I woke up again. I don’t know why.

I fell asleep again, and again woke up after an hour, this time to use the bathroom, since all of the water I drank with my Natural Calm and RelaxMax products was taking its toll.

The next time I fell sleep must have been for about 3 hours or so, but once I was awake, I couldn’t fall asleep again. The clock said around 2:30 a.m. At some point, my wife must have come to bed.

My back was bothering me and I was gently moving around trying to find a position where it didn’t hurt or at least didn’t hurt much.

That didn’t work out so well, and on top of that, the “itches” returned, which are sometimes what keeps me awake in the middle of the night.

It wasn’t intense, just annoying.

But that was it.

I finally gave up around 3:30 a.m. and got out of bed. My daughter had to go to work particularly early this morning, so she’d already made coffee, which was a blessing.

On the other hand, I was disappointed to find that my body weight upon awakening had shot up over a pound from the previous morning:

191.8 lbs/ ~86.99 kg/ 13.7 stone.

So much for the first night of my sleep hack. Maybe around a total of 5 hours sleep, with only about 3 hours being continuous. I don’t even remember dreaming.

I was still toying with the idea of doing a cardio session at the gym or not. My back had gotten pretty stiff during the night but I managed to get myself psyched up for cardio anyway.

Once I was at the gym, it was OK. My body warmed up and I was able to do my usual 40 minutes (35 minutes cardio, 5 minutes cool down) on the elliptical. Well, I did try to take it easy and my heart rate only got up to 140 bpm during the main cardio sequence. I have no idea what it got up to during sprints, but the sprints weren’t terribly intense (I didn’t go as fast as I possibly could, just faster than my usual “jog”).

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Getting back into my car was still a chore, as was putting on my shoes when I was getting ready to leave home for work, but things are still better than they were at this time yesterday.

The question now is whether to attempt weightlifting tomorrow or do more cardio and save the weights for Thursday. I might just do lighter weightlifting Thursday and attempt to repeat Week 3 next week when my back is better recovered.

One step at a time. I still have to get through today first and then tackle night two of my sleep hack. Hopefully, it’ll go better tonight.

If you try to be something you’re not, you’ll end up being nothing.



7 thoughts on “Night One of My Sleep Hack

  1. I admire your dedication to staying fit. Going to bed at 8pm would be a problem for me. I used to have to be at work a 6 am most of my life and had to be out of my house at 5:15. I never went to bed before 10. I now get up at 7:30am and go sleep around 12:30am. I do drink coffee at night even at 10pm and almost never have a problem falling asleep unless something is on my mind. Last time I tweaked my back I tried on of those heat patches and it seemed to help. All,the best.


    1. I set 8 p.m. as an “ideal” since if I really slept a full eight hours, I’d wake up at 4 a.m. which would be right on time.

      But the reality is, I’m rarely if ever asleep right at eight.

      That said, I don’t think I could stay up much past 9 or 9:30 knowing that my alarm is set for four.

      I’d drink coffee all day long at work if I could, but in trying to comply with the various aspects of my sleep hack, I’m trying to stay strictly on task. I failed today. I was reading over my lunch hour and started to feel terrifically sleepy, probably because of my lack of sufficient sleep last night.

      Since I actually have to think at work, I broke down and had a cup of coffee after I got back to the office. I hope my fatigue will take over later this evening and the caffeine won’t affect my falling asleep or staying that way.

      My back’s doing better. Only had to take ibuprofen once this morning. Still can feel the “tug” when I stand up and sit down, but I can tell I’m healing.


  2. Sleep is SUCH a problem for me. I am following this closely to see what may help you and then maybe help me. One thing that helped me quite a bit this year was a sound machine. I love the “thunder” setting. Unfortunately, I have a new pup in the house and the thunder sound is very scary to her! So much for that…..Sweet dreams! (hopefully!)


    1. Thanks, Kelly. Unfortunately, last night was worse than the night before. I’ll chronicle the messy details later today, but I got three…maybe four hours sleep tops. Not good for thinking clearly at work or for anything else.


  3. Hey James, I too have suffered in the sleep department and the domino-esque knock on effects.

    The first thing I had to do (and you’re not going to like this) was drop the coffee I’m afraid. It’s hard especially when you have those mid morning/mid afternoon lags but there is hope! A good green tea I find gives me the caffeine perks but they are less long lasting and feel milder and ‘cleaner’. No more jittery lapses of concentration that many find whilst hammering the java.

    Another thing I started using was an Inositol supplement, not the most publicised product it seems but it’s really helped me get into a regular, nice, long, deep sleeping pattern. Essentially it’s a B-Vitamin which is known for it’s calm inducing, stress relieving properties. Helps me drift off with ease and awake feeling fresh and alert, unlike many of the alternatives I’d tried. The other benefit which will be right up your street is that it’s gaining traction in the fitness world for it’s fat burning properties. Win win 🙂


    1. Ack, Richard! Give up coffee? blasphemy! 😉

      I’ve cut back and stop drinking coffee at noon (unless I’m really exhausted and my brain is full of mush). I’ve tried green tea as a substitute/supplement for coffee but it just doesn’t do anything for me. Besides, I actually like the taste of a good coffee.

      I looked up Inositol at and of all its possible uses, inducing or promoting sleep isn’t one of them, although drowsiness is considered one of its side effects. Any info on timing of ingesting the Inositol and doses?


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