How Emile's Creators Go To Sleep

We spend a fair amount of time thinking and hacking around our sleep habits here at Emile, and have noticed that certain setups make it more likely for us to get a good night's sleep. Hope some of the tips/tricks in the Q&A below would prove useful to you as well.

What are some behavior changes that has helped you fall asleep more easily?

Charlie: I've been paying closer attention to my caffeine intake and I'm not drinking any less than 5-6 hours before my bedtime.

- I try not to exercise or eat dinner late at night, it tends to make it harder for my body to wind down.

- I stick to a “no electronics in the bedroom” policy. To mitigate slippage here, I make sure my chargers are outside my room. I've also started eliminating screens an hour before bed (except for my Kindle Paperwhite). Having a Amazon Echo Dot in my room makes keeping other electronics out much easier. I still have access to the weather, time, music, news, and an alarm if I need it. It drastically reduces the need to have my phone in my bedroom.

- I meditate in the evenings. I started by doing 3 minute sessions on Headspace on my first ten days and slowly increased the duration as I built the habit. To do this without my phone in the room, I plug the phone into its charger outside, connect it to Amazon Echo Dot through bluetooth, press play, and head back into my room. Meditation in general has been excellent training for calming my mind as I fall asleep.

- Even though it's technically not a "best practice," I enjoy reading/listening to a podcast as I'm unwinding. It feels like a cherry on top at the end of my day and makes me look forward to getting to bed. It also allows me to take my mind off of the day.

Naz: It takes me about an hour to unwind, so I try to stop looking at screens an hour before my bedtime. I put my phone on airplane mode to prevent myself from texting/calling friends late at night or going down Instagram black holes. I used to cheat by telling myself that watching Netflix in bed would count as unwinding too, but I've come to stay away from it because the blue light keeps me up.

- I dim/turn off as many lights in the apartment as I can. Helps reduce the environmental stimulation around me.

- I've found that temperature really affects my sleep, so I set it to 68-69 degrees depending on how warm my cover is. If I sleep poorly one night, I check in with myself the next day to see if temperature had anything to do with it, because that’s such an easy fix.

- Sometimes I journal/read in bed. Journaling helps me mentally catch up with my day so that I can then let it go. I try not to plan for the coming day when I'm journaling, because that tends to have an opposite effect. Reading helps clear my mind off of the day-to-day stuff.


Do you have any sleep related products you swear by?

Naz: I really like the Mack's Slim Fit earplugs. I got them after reading this earplug guide on Wirecutter.

Charlie: Lewis and Clarke sleep mask and basic foam earplugs get the job done for me.


Any tips for falling asleep when you're already in bed?

Charlie: I do sets of progressive muscle relaxation counting backward from 1000 (this is a hack I came up with by modifying some of the falling asleep methods I learned from Headspace). I scan my body from feet to head and mentally “turn off” each portion as I go. Each scan counts as one “rep” in the countdown from 1000. On particularly unruly nights I might reach 990 before drifting off. But I’ve found this technique highly effective and have never reached below 980 in my countdown.

Naz: This is a fact I learned from Charlie, but I try to remind myself that simple rest can be as effective as sleeping. This helps me avoid the "I can't sleep" anxiety feedback loop. I might also get up and read some more until I feel sleepy again, or listen to a short podcast episode as a bedtime story. The Modern Love podcast has been my favorite for sometime.