Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss


Different kinds of insomnia:

  • Onset: difficulty getting to sleep
  • Middle: waking too often in the middle of the night
  • Terminal: waking too early and being unable to get back to sleep

The problem with sleep labs is that you have 22 wires attached to you to take various measurements, and no one can sleep with 22 wires hooked up to them.


Zeo: uses an electrical headband that measures electrical patterns in the brain

Accelerometers like the WakeMate and the FitBit can’t distinguish between lack of movement and sleep.

WakeMate and Zeo feature smart alarms that wake you during specific arousal points intending to minimize grogginess (seemed to help in Tim’s case).

Findings using the Zeo

  • Good sleep = higher percentage of REM (?)-to-total sleep
  • Taking 200 mcg of huperzine-A 30 min before bed increases total REM by 20-30%. Huperzine-A is a nootropic (smart drug). Tim uses it  pre-language acquisition no more than 3 days per week to avoid side effects.
  • Higher percentage of deep-wave sleep (?) = the better the later physical performance
  • More than two glasses of wine w/in four hours of sleep decreases deep-wave sleep 20-50% (and 15+ drops of California poppy extract increases deep-wave sleep up to 20%).
  • Eating two tablespoons of organic almond butter on celery sticks before bed often eliminated grogginess in the mornings. (Solves the problem of low blood sugar in the morning; eat a pre-bed snack!) Also, eating flaxseed oil as well increases cell repair during sleep.

Getting to sleep

  • Set around 70 degrees F as the room temperature
  • Use the Philips goLITE (or other light therapy device)
  • Hit yourself with some cold (ice packs or ice baths, if you’re a freak)
  • Use an Air-O-Swiss Travel Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier (or other humidifier). The one named is tiny and gets its water from any plastic water bottle. It eliminates sinus problems and is great for the skin (though it’s unclear how it helps with sleep).

Polyphasic sleep

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