This is a summary of the Tim Ferriss Show episode where Tim puts together some of the best tips for a good nights sleep from some of his guests.

Key Takeaways

All it takes is a small set of changes, a bedtime routine, and good sleep hygiene to vastly improve your sleep. As we saw from the Joe Rogan episode with Matthew Walker, the author of the book Why We Sleep, you can attribute of a lot of people’s issues to a lack of proper sleep.

Here is a list of tips from Tim and his guests and their methods of improving sleep.

Tim Ferriss
  • Use a white noise machine that is even part of some high-end hotel rooms.
  • Sleep in a room as cold as you can tolerate. Your ideal temperature will vary to others.
  • You can mitigate symptoms of manic depression by sleeping before 11pm. This also applies to anxiety and general stability.
  • Feels the best physically when he sleeps eight hours.
  • Feels the best mentally with seven and a half hours.

Charles Poliquin
  • Takes Magnesium L Threonate before bed. According to Charles, of all the different types of Magnesium, this is the best suited for sleep.
  • Takes 2g of L-Theanine.
  • Says you cannot prioritize between food, sleep, and exercise. You need all three.

Mike Birbiglia
  • Uses his Fitbit to track his sleep. Calls it his very own sleep study, since he suffers from REM sleep disorder.
  • Listens to the Sleep with Me podcast as part of his wind down routine.
  • Avoids social media at night.
  • Writes in his journal.

These are my notes for the interview with Why We Sleep author Matthew Walker and Joe Rogan in show #1109 of The Joe Rogan Experience.

Key Takeaways

We need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Less than six hours of sleep affects your energy, time to exhaustion, chance of injury, and ultimately shortens your lifespan. Temperature, regularity (going to bed the same time every night), diet, and darkness are the most important for deep restful sleep.

“Sleep is the elixir of life. It is the most widely available and democratic powerful healthcare system I could ever possibly imagine.”


The central theme of the podcast is around the importance of sleep and how much a lack can affect our health. He says that all stages of sleep are important, even though there is a focus on deep and REM sleep stages. “Mother nature wouldn’t waste time putting you into a state that wasn’t necessary”

The effects of a lack of sleep on your health

When you sleep six hours or less:

  • Time to physical exhaustion drops by 30%
  • There is a higher risk of physical injury
  • Lower peak muscular strength
  • Lower vertical jump height
  • Ability of your lungs to inhale oxygen decreases
  • Increases risk of all cause mortality
  • Increases risk of bowel, prostrate, and breast cancer
  • Drop in cognitive performance

Insufficient sleep and weight gain

Lack of sleep plays a big part in weight gain, with negative effects on the hormones that control appetite and hunger. On average, people sleeping only four to five hours a night will eat 200 to 300 calories more per day. Often, you can reverse weight gain by fixing your sleep.

Will naps help recover sleep?

You cannot make up for lost sleep with daytime naps. “Sleep is not like a bank. We can’t accumulate a debt and hope to pay it off on the weekend”. This is a recent phenomenon and there is no evolutionary protection for lost sleep.

Lack of sleep and testosterone

Men who sleep only five to six hours a night will have the testosterone levels of people six to ten years older. The older you are, the worse this will play out, since testosterone levels have a significant bearing on energy levels, muscle gain and retention etc.

  • “Sleep is the elixir of life. It is the most widely available and democratic powerful healthcare system I could ever possibly imagine.”
  • “Mother nature wouldn’t waste time putting you into a state that wasn’t necessary”
  • “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice with a night of sleep makes perfect.”
  • “Sleep is the greatest legal performance enhancing drug that most people are probably neglecting”
  • “We are a dark deprived society in this modern era”
  • “Don’t go to bed too full, and don’t go to bed too hungry”

One interesting thing I learnt from the Zero fasting app are the different zones or stages of intermittent fasting. These are my notes on the Zero Fasting Zones.


0-4 hours

  • Breakdown of food into glucose, amino and fatty acids.
  • During this phase your primary source of energy will be from your last meal.
  • Leptin increases and Ghrelin decreases.
  • Insulin then moves the nutrients from the above breakdown to be stored or used as energy.

By the end of the zone, your glucose and insulin levels will return to the levels before your meal. The fewer carbs consumed in your in your last meal, the sooner you will exit this zone and into the next.


4-16 hours

  • Your primary fuel source will still be glucose.
  • Glucose levels will continue to drop.
  • Insulin release should be low.
  • Glucagon starts to rise and triggers liver glycogen breakdown.
  • mTOR suppression allows the start of autophagy.

Once your glycogen stores get low, your body will start to use stored fat and ketones to make up the difference. The less glycogen you have stored, the faster you will switch over to using stored fat. As your body exits the anabolic state and into the catabolic state you open yourself up to a much higher rate of autophagy.

Fat Burning

16-24 hours

  • As the glycogen stores near depletion, glucose from gluconeogenesis begins.
  • Lipolysis breaks down your fat stores.
  • Fatty acids are then used for energy.
  • Increase in autophagy
  • The live makes ketones from excess energy produced from fatty acids.

Your brain still needs glucose to function, so your body converts non-carbohydrate sources into glucose. The rest of your body switches to fat for your energy needs. If weight loss is your primary goal, you want to get into this zone as soon as possible. The longer you are in this zone, the more fat you will burn.


24-72 hours

  • This is a multiday fast.
  • Liver glycogen is no longer a fuel source for your body.
  • Gluconeogenesis has reached its peak and drops off.
  • Ketones increase.

These are summary notes from the above YouTube video.

  • How much sleep you need is basically a genetic trait.
  • You need the exact how much sleep for you, it is a very individual sleep need.
  • How to figure out how much sleep need:
    • Average sleep cycle is 90 minutes. Each person has five sleep cycles which is 7.5 hours. Move your bed time until you hit the time you need to wake up at. If you are waking up too early, then you are sleeping too early. For me it looks like I need 7.5 hours based on sleep logs. The sleep cycle time can have individual differences. Sometimes people are night owls and need to get that sleep while sleeping later.
  • Michael’s routine
    • 15 minutes of sunlight
      • Morning sunlight has a frequency that stops melatonin production which is why people wake up and need the sunlight in the morning.
    • Workout at 10am based on his chronotype
    • Glass of water
  • What are the most important things they recommend?
    • Get the amount of sleep you need for your lifestyle.
    • Know your chronotype to determine what time brackets might work best for you.

These are my notes from the 5 Tricks to Make Intermittent Fasting Work Faster video on YouTube by Dr. Berg.


Five useful tips on accelerating your fast and making the most of it. The tip on Potassium is probably the most interesting one of the five and the one I most likely never read before.


  1. Increase potassium intake. Potassium is most important mineral in relation to insulin. Weight loss comes with fixing insulin issues. 4700mg of potassium is the daily requirement and you need a lot of vegetables to make that up. An electrolyte powder might help.
  2. Do not overeat during the feeding window. A salad doesn’t spike insulin compared to other meals. For weight loss, keep your insulin as low as possible.
  3. Do it (fasting) gradually. Especially if you have blood sugar issues. Don’t go straight into 20 hour fasts, start slow and increase gradually. You could for example follow this progression:
    1. Three meals a day, no snacks.
    2. Two meals a day.
    3. Then shrink the eating window gradually.
  4. Extra sleep. Cortisol goes up when you are not getting enough sleep. Keep stress as low as possible, especially if weight loss is your primary concern.
  5. HIIT – Intense exercise, especially early in the morning can empty your glycogen stores and send you into the later stages of fasting faster. Short and sweet is what you are looking for when it comes to HIIT.

This is a collection of notes and questions/answers on time restricted feeding, also popularly known as intermittent fasting, from Dr. Peter Attia. Most of these questions and answers are from Peter’s videos, his podcast (The Drive), and the Zero fasting app by Kevin Rose.

How to use a 16:8 fast (or other length of fast) for weight loss?

  • It all comes down to what is eaten during the eating phase. It is a trick question. In some cases you can actually gain weight. It all boils down to what you do, and what you eat, during the feeding window.
  • The biggest mistake is that people think that because they are fasting, is that they can eat whatever they want. Which is not true for most people. Some people will get away with it, based on their activity and exercise, but the vast majority of people will not.
  • Stick to Peter’s three framework of CR, DR, and TR. Pull one of those levers all the time, two often, and sometimes all three. You don’t really need fasting to lose weight if you pull CR and DR.

Which fasting zone is best for exercise?

  • You can and should exercise during all zones of the fast. The performance will very depending on which zone. Some workouts will not be appropriate for some zones.
  • Trying to put on muscle mass will be tough in a catabolic state. You should be doing it in a anabolic zone.
  • Can you use exercise to accelerate fasting states? with high intensity workouts you can quickly deplete glycogen and take you to the next zone faster.
  • In a longer fast, high intensity training will suffer. Workouts that are glycolytic will suffer after depletion.
  • In a shorter fast, If the goal is to preserve or gain lean mass, workout before the refeed. The drawback is that you will feel crappy the longer the fast.
  • If you want to preserve lean mass and want to lose weight, you do the workout in the morning during the fast, probably in the morning. You accelerate the catabolic state. You will generate enough net leucine to preserve muscle tissue but you wont gain muscle.

When does your body burn fat?

  • Fat oxidation is what we call fat burning. It is the extraction of energy from fat.
  • If you want fat loss, fat oxidation is essential. You need net fat loss. You need to have more fat leaving the cell than there is coming in.
  • Can you lose fat before hitting hour 16 of a fast? absolutely.
  • You can accelerate the fasting window by keeping your insulin level is low during the feeding window by keeping carbs low. Managing stress. Sleeping well. Exercising to manage that. This way when you are eating you are not undoing what you did during the fast by changing the metabolic environment.

Would a daily 18 hour fast slow down the metabolism?

  • This describes the basal metabolic rate, which is supposed to support the body at rest. Which takes more energy than you realize.
  • There are studies that show that there is no reduction in the BMR as a result of TRF. Longer fasts show a transient reduction in the BMR but it returns after refeed.