YouTuber and junior doctor Ali Abdaal makes content in which he shares his tips and hacks that he has found helpful in studying, at work, and at home. In a recent video entitled Why I’m Never Tired, he breaks down the six tips that he follows every day to maximize his chances of getting a good night’s sleep, ensuring that he wakes up well-rested and stays that way all day long.
Perhaps most importantly, he has stopped taking his phone to bed with him, and instead reads for 20 minutes or so before going to sleep. “I’d have that bright light in my face, I’d be scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, it was absolutely terrible,” he says. “This is probably the most game-changing thing that I’ve done for my sleep. I now have the phone across the room from me, wirelessly charging.”
For similar reasons, Abdaal invested in a physical alarm clock. “I found that when I used to have the alarm on my phone, even if the phone was across the room from me, it was way too easy for me to be like ‘hey Siri, alarm off.'” He also purchased a set of blackout curtains for his bedroom, which he calls “one of the most bang-for-your-buck things you can do to massively increase the quality of your sleep.”
Based on findings in the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, Abdaal started regulating the temperature of his bedroom, setting it to 19 degrees Celsius, which is a lot cooler than room temperature, but which has been cited as optimal when the body’s core temperature begins to drop during sleep.
When it comes to things he does during the day to help promote a restful sleep, Abdaal has cut out coffee any time after 2 pm. “Caffeine stays in the bloodstream for absolutely ages, and however we might think that we are immune to the effects of caffeine, we are not,” he says. “It does operate on the neurotransmitters in the brain in various different ways, and it basically stops us from sleeping, or if we do fall asleep, it stops us from sleeping well.
And finally, Abdaal practices the “pilot’s strategy” for falling asleep in under two minutes. While lying in bed, the aim is to relax all of your facial muscles. Then, you move on to relaxing your leg muscles. “If I haven’t fallen asleep by then, which I usually have… I try to relax my arms, my fingers, elbows, shoulders,” he says. “Once everything is relaxed, I focus on breathing in and out.”
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