Over the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to improve the quality of my sleep. It wasn’t that I was not getting good sleep, I just felt if I was going to spend 6 to 7 hours a day doing something, I might as well do it well, and also try to minimize the amount of time I needed to spend unconscious. The following are the things that I have tried, and my review of them.


Darken The Room

I used to find that the ambient light from outside, even at night, made it harder to fall asleep. Additionally, the light from outside as the sun came up, would often wake me up well before I wanted to wake, making it hard for me to get back to sleep.

The easiest and cheapest method I found, was to simply buy an eye mask. I purchased this one, and really liked it. However, the best one is simply the one you find to be the most comfortable and the least invasive, while staying on your face throughout the night.

A more expensive option is blackout curtains or blinds. You probably want some window covering anyway, so it makes sense to pay extra for the blackout version of those blinds. If you have some odd shaped windows, or small ones that don’t fit blinds, lining them with tin foil, does a great job of keeping all light out. I recommend that if you go the foil route, that you put a layer of white paper on the outside so that your neighbors don’t think you’re a drug dealer.

At the time, I thought this was the most effective method to increasing the quality of my sleep for the least effort and cost.


Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket is a blanket with small pouches sewn in it. Glass beads or other small things are inserted into those pouches and generally make the blanket weigh about 20 pounds. The pouches ensure that all the weight doesn’t shift to one side of the blanket at night. There are many brands at Amazon, and I found most 20 pound blankets to run about $100.

Overall, I really enjoy my blanket. The added weight is comforting, and seems to prevent me from moving around at night. However, I didn’t see much improvement in my sleep quality. I like it a lot, and continue to use it every night, I highly recommend it as something I love…but I’m not so sure it really improved my sleep quality. If you get one, I recommend getting the heaviest one that you can find. They often recommend that you get one about 10% of your body weight, but I found over time I would prefer one that was even heavier. (of course, it may be because I am fat)



I tend to find I sleep better if I run a mile or two every day. (or chase younger people around on the Ultimate field). I’m pretty sure this is something that most people recommend, so I won’t go into more details, but just note that it works for me.


No Caffeine (after 5 PM)

I don’t know how much this matters. I once went to a video game convention, and they gave me a free energy drink. I drank it late at night when I was really thirsty, and didn’t go to sleep until 5 AM. Since then I’ve tried not to drink any caffeine late at night.


Sleep Apnea and Surgery

This was by far the most effective method of improving my sleep, and also the most expensive, though insurance does cover it. This will likely max your deductible especially if you need surgery. If costs are a concern to you, I recommend either doing this after another expensive medical procedure when your deductible is maxed, or doing these tests/procedure at the beginning of the year, so that your deductible is maxed for the rest of the year. Note that I am not an expert on Health Insurance. It is likely my advice does not apply directly to whatever your Insurance plan is.

About a year ago, I was curious if I could get my sleep scientifically tested, to see if there were any improvements to be made. Both my parents had taken Sleep tests, and had moved to CPAP machines, so I figured I would try it as well. I took a take home test and was diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep apnea. Apparently I was having my sleep interrupted 15 times an hour (the normal is 5). Also my oxygen levels would dip to 80% at times (normal is 90%).

The doctor took one look up my nose, and immediately noticed I had a deviated septum, and apparently “large turbinates”. I had suffered no injury to my nose, but apparently I was just born that way. Getting the surgery to fix my nose, has enabled me to breathe much easier at night. I would often find my throat and mouth dry throughout the night, as I would constantly be breathing through my mouth. I never realized that what I was experiencing wasn’t normal until I had my nose fixed. The most obvious symptoms I experienced, were dry mouth in the morning, air only coming out of one nostril, and boogers only showing up in one side of my nose.

Getting a CPAP machine has also been a huge difference. Previously, I would wake up a few times a night, and then go back to sleep. Usually, I would notice this when I would be able to remember several dreams I had when I eventually woke up in the morning. After using the CPAP machine, I fall asleep at night, wake up once about 5 hours after I fall asleep, then not again until I wake up for the morning. Overall I find that getting 6 to 7 hours a night is enough for me now, and I need less naps during the day.

Additionally, like the comic, I can sleep under the covers and still breathe. Which doesn’t come in handy for Monsters, but does come in handy when your kids burst into your room on Saturday morning and turn all the lights on.

If anybody else has any sleep tips or suggestions, I’d be great if you could share them with everyone in the comments.