The Science of Optimal Sleep: Introduction to Nutritional Biochemistry, Part 5
There are plenty of tips and tricks out there for more and better sleep (I’ve included a big list at the end of this article as well) but rarely is the underlying science taught, especially in a way that is actionable for self-experimentation (e.g. “why exactly should I take this 5-HTP supplement?”).
Most articles on sleep suggest various food, drinks, supplements, or drugs to consume (or not), wavelengths of light to let hit your eyes (or not), and/or activity to do (or not do) at certain times. These claims are usually based on anecdotal evidence or a whimsical hand wave toward “studies”, which isn’t very helpful for the scientifically curious reader.
Having a basic idea of how a car works, for example, will help you discern whether or not you need to take it into a mechanic when something is broken. Sadly, when it comes to sleep in particular, and health and fitness in general, having a basic knowledge of what’s going on “under the hood” is rare. Most people either go see a doctor too often, or not often enough.
Thus, my goal here is to help you make sense of it all in a way that — in addition to consulting with your doctor (please do) — you can intelligently experiment with improving the length and quality of your sleep.