March 15th, 2019 is World Sleep Day. To honor this occasion, and because it is such an essential aspect of human performance, WHOOP is going to spend the next month focusing on sleep. We will also be releasing several exciting updates to our sleep analytics platform.
To kick things off, we surveyed the 100 best sleepers on WHOOP about the things they do to make the most of their time in bed. Our analytics team filtered through millions of hours of sleep data to find the WHOOP members with the best sleep efficiency (percentage of time in bed spent actually sleeping), sleep consistency (going to bed and waking up at consistent times each day), and overall sleep performances (amount of sleep each night vs. amount sleep needed) over the past three months.
In that time, our top 100 sleepers averaged a nightly sleep performance of 96%. And while for many of us that may seem virtually impossible to achieve, our survey results showed that much of what these elite sleepers do isn’t that different from the norm.
For example, 66% of them drink some kind of caffeinated beverage in the morning nearly every day. The vast majority (74%) almost always go without caffeine in the afternoon as well.
Just like the rest of us, 70% of our top sleepers use an alarm clock to wake up either most or all of the time. And while some of our top sleepers do take supplements to help them out, including ZMA, CBD, Melatonin and herbal teas, 42% of them do it the old fashioned way and attain peak sleep without ever using supplements.
One thing they all seem to agree on, alcohol is detrimental to sleep. While we didn’t inquire about alcohol directly, we asked the survey takers to write in what they believe most harms their sleep--30% mentioned alcohol consumption.
Many of the other things our top 100 sleepers are doing are also very simple changes for others to make. Below is their full list of tips for sleeping better, broken down into six helpful categories. Hopefully you’ll find these useful in improving your own sleep!
"My go-to trick for great sleep is…
Sleep Hygiene Tips: Create an Ideal Sleep Environment
- Deep breathing, a quiet, dark room and a weighted blanket.
- Eye mask, ear plugs and sleeping on my own.
- Blue light blocking glasses on by 8:30 pm.
- Floating and binaural beats.
- Get a great mattress/pillow that you always feel comfortable on!
- I'm a side sleeper so I use an extra pillow to help ensure I'm 100% comfortable, invested in a contoured neck pillow for this same reason.
- Using an eye mask in addition to using blackout blinds.
- Fan in the background.
- A VERY COLD room with a nice blanket.
- Dark room empty bladder, peace and quiet.
Night Time: Behaviors and Activities
- Winding down to lower my heart rate is key.
- Taking a bath every single evening and putting my mind at ease.
- Warm shower or heating pad before bed.
- Making sure I leave enough time for sleep and to relax for at least an hour before bed.
- I set a reminder for myself an hour before I want to go to bed, so I can start focusing on the things that help me get ready for quality sleep and helps me from staying up too late.
- Of course, physical activity during the day creates the best sleep, however, knowing my sleep is monitored by WHOOP encourages me to go to bed earlier to ensure I get the amount of sleep I need.
- Work out hard.
- Stretch for 5 minutes right before bed.
- I make a list of what to do the next day for my work/life responsibilities in-order to not stress about the next day.
- Meditative breathing.
- Meditation in-order to sleep. It is hard to explain, but I focus on images in random order in my mind until I lose focus then I fall asleep.
- Do not spend extended time looking at screens. I can't cut it off completely as I still need to check my phone, but I don't start a show or movie after 9 pm.
Pre-Bed Tips: Lock in Your Routine
- No matter what is happening, I make sure to get in the bed within the same timeframe every night (8:30 - 9:00 pm).
- I always read before bed - whether it's 15 minutes or an hour, I find reading helps me wind down, keeps me off of my cell phone/electronic devices, and gives my brain an escape from the stress of my day.
- Turning off television by 9pm and allowing myself an hour for my bedtime routine: shower, prep for next days activities, keeping bedroom cool and dark.
- I start to wind down about an hour prior to my bedtime. I put on my pajamas, brush my teeth, wear blue light blocking glasses, and relax.
- Put on relaxing music, lavender lotion, and grab a good book. Don't stress yourself into sleeping, relax into it.
- I make it a point to go to bed around the same time each day - moved up or down based on what my WHOOP tells me my sleep need is. I turn on the ceiling fan, make sure the room is pitch black, spray lavender on my pillow, spray a melatonin spray in my mouth and take several deep breaths once in bed. I also make sure my phone is on SILENT and screen faced down during the night. I'm lucky in that I work from home so I have no need for an alarm clock (which REALLY helps!) unless I'm coaching the Saturday morning classes.
- There's no trick, but rather a culmination of good bedtime rituals (no blue light at least an hour before bedtime), gratitude journaling, reading, stretching.
Day Time: Behaviors and Activities
- Waking up naturally.
- Daily routines to ensure my ability to go to bed early because I'm an early riser. My morning routine is always solid and doesn't change, so going to bed early ensures I maximize my time in bed and sleep quality.
- Make sure I’m tired from physical exertion during the day.
- Reducing stress in my life and prioritizing recovery.
- Get up at least 3 hours before I go to work. I workout most days, clean my house, laundry, make my breakfast and lunch, watch some highlights, listen to music, glance at emails all by 7:45 am.
- The WHOOP Sleep Coach! I use it almost every night to provide the motivation I need to get to bed on time. I workout in the morning before work. So I figure out what time I need to wake up to be in the shower when I need to, and then I use the Sleep Coach to determine when I need to get in bed.
- Avoiding a nap in the afternoon or evening. Consistent bedtime and routine. Avoid alcohol through the week (and most weekends).
Supplement and Nutrition Tips: Improve Sleep Quality with Diet
- Eat quality carbs before bed. Limit liquid consumption.
- I take melatonin and ZMAs every night.
- CBD+ recovery balm and LUSH sleepy lotion.
- Hydration, book reading, chamomile tea.
- Sometimes I will use a turmeric based tea before bed.
- I get all my meal prep for the next day done, make sure I eat all my meals on time, and make sure I have the adequate time to wind down and stick to my bedtime routine stress free.
Bonus Pet Tips: Get a Dog
- Snuggling my dog.
- Walking the dogs about an hour before bed.
Stay tuned for much more, and start getting to work on putting these sleep tips into action. We’d also like to hear from YOU! Take our sleep survey and learn about how you stack up against our top sleepers in the weeks ahead.