Best Sleep Hack I’ve Found In Years: Yoga Before Bed

For years, I thought that yoga wasn’t for me. I had tried it several times, and it never seemed to do all that much. A few months ago however, I decided try it again, and this time, did it before going to sleep. The results were fantastic. I fell asleep quickly, had many vivid dreams, and woke up feeling incredibly well rested. I’ve done yoga many times before bed since then, and the effects have persisted. I’ve also recommended it to friends. Here’s the response I got from one of them, edited slightly for clarity: 

“I did yoga and meditated last night and had a mystical experience. I had vivid dreams, and got 6 hours of sleep that felt like more sleep than I’ve gotten in months.”

If you’d like some guidance on yoga and would prefer to do it in the comfort of your own home rather than going to an in person class, I’d highly recommend checking out this YouTube channel. I’m attaching one of my favorite routines from it below: 


Forgiveness Exercise: Using Others As Mirrors

Increasingly I’ve come to believe that just about every trait that we see in others, we display in some way ourselves. Additionally, I believe that the degree to which we are bothered by any given trait is a fairly good indicator of the degree to which we display it in our own lives. The catch is that there is usually some difference between the trait we see in others, and the way it manifests when we reflect it. I.e, if someone you know has an incredibly strong irrational fear of spiders, you probably have an incredibly strong irrational fear of something else. I know that may sound quite general and unfalsifiable, which is why I invite you to try the following exercise. My guess is that if you do, you will begin to notice innumerable examples in your own life that display an almost spooky amount of nuance and specificity. 

How to do it: 

  • Think of a person or group of people who bother you 
  • Ask yourself what tendencies (meta-tendencies) they display that bother you 
  • Ask yourself, “In what ways am I similar to this person / these people? In what ways do I display the tendencies (meta-tendencies) that bother me when I see them displayed by this person / these people?” 
  • Be patient. Sometimes, the answer comes fairly quickly. Sometimes it can take months.
  • When it does, the result is usually an immediate wave of compassion and forgiveness. 

Examples from my life: 

One of my close relatives is an hyper perfectionist when it comes to housekeeping. She wipes down the sink after every use. She cleans obsessively. She trims every dead branch that she can from the trees in her garden. 

How I reflect this tendency: 

I am a hyper perfectionist when it comes to interaction. If I feel as though I come off in the wrong way, feel as though I have put too much energy into a conversation, too little, or came off as awkward, I’m usually thinking about it for at least several hours post conversation, and often several days.

Another example: 

The same relative is very sensitive to light. She likes to have the lights set at a very low setting in the evening, and is very bothered if the lights are too bright. 

(In this case, the meta-tendency could be labeled as an excessive sensitivity to a sensory input)

How I reflect this tendency: 

I am incredibly sensitive to sound. If I’m in an area with an excessive amount of loud sound, I find it very difficult to think straight. I’ve had numerous experiences in which I’ve met someone in a quiet setting, had a wonderful interaction with them, and then been almost entirely unable of interacting if I meet them again in a noisy place. I display the same tendency even when interacting with close friends, although generally to a lesser extent. 

Additional effects of the practice: 

The more I realize the ways in which I reflect the tendencies that I criticize when I seem them displayed by others, the less I tend to display them myself. Interestingly enough, this alleviation seems to come about without much effort. It’s not just that I consciously choose to display them to a lesser degree, it generally seems as though I’m less compelled to display them in the first place. I don’t need to spend as much energy to fight the fear, anger, perfectionism, etc, because increasingly, they aren’t even there to fight. However, it’s a process. In many instances, the noticing reduces the trait to about 85% of what it used to be. In other words, definitely still something that I need to work on, but not quite as all encompassing as it used to be. 

I’ve also found that the reverse applies; the more I criticize what I perceive to be a negative tendency in another, the more I exhibit some manifestation of the same tendency myself. 

Again, I know this may sound very strange, but if you try the practice outlined above, I think you’ll see that it’s true. 


Recommended Reading

Mavericks and Heretics

  • An amazing infographic showing a collection of scientists (and their ideas) that were initially burned at the stake (sometimes figuratively and sometimes literally) for going against the prevailing notions, concepts, theories, etc, of the time, before becoming widely accepted. 

Screenshots from the infographic:

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