Regarding Sleep

The Need for Sleep

Recorded on December 29th, 2016

Ignore for now how I’m up way too late and robbing myself of the sleep I know I need. I saw this thread from @UrbnHealthNP on Twitter today and I saved it in a bunch of ways so I’ll always have a copy:


Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): A really odd feeling to read about the sudden deaths of so many 50 and 60 year olds while having a patient roster full of 90 year olds.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): I don’t know anyone’s medical history but one thing I do know is stress is the precursor of every disease. Cellular stress. Mental stress.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): I tell people all the time, there’s a whole LOT that doesn’t show up in the numbers (lab reports, blood pressure etc) until it’s too late.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Stress is a silent killer. If people do absolutely nothing else in 2017, mitigating their stress would be more than enough.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): And what’s crazy to me is that people wear stress and that “hustle/grind…I’m so busy” like a badge of honor. Don’t believe the hype.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Nothing sexy about the cellular stress of insomnia all for the sake of hustling and grinding. Nope. Nothing.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): My goal is not to get more done but to have less to do. Productivity through rest, nutrition, and good, radical self care is my playbook.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): And here’s the other thing: just because you’ve always done a thing doesn’t mean it was always the right thing to do.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Just because you’ve always “survived” on four hours of sleep doesn’t mean it was always the best thing to do at the cellular level.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): There’s a thing called “stages of sleep.” Best to know what that’s all about & find out whether you’re really sleeping (ie resting) at night

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Folks have NO idea what an assault it is to their entire system, at the cellular level, to have night after night of no real sleep.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): By the time stress shows up in your numbers - blood pressure, labs, weight, etc - the cellular level assault has already taken place.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): And this is why, from my perspective, every single clinic visit should include a discussion abt how the person is coping with stress.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Eliminate stress? Not gonna happen. Stress is a part of life. For everyone. All the time. The question is how are you coping.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Coping: managing, mitigating, warding off, setting healthy boundaries, acknowledging limits, setting realistic expectations.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): And a word about the very last one: realistic expectations. I find that to be one of the main sources of personal stress.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Large majority of us are literally doing too damn much. Too much for too many with too little. And running on fumes.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Boundaries work great for other people. But what about the boundaries we need to be setting for ourselves, like a decent night’s rest?

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): What about the boundary of health as the very FIRST wealth?

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Real talk: being downright honest about your stress and learning how to cope with it is literally money in the bank.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Do NOT normalize the sudden deaths of 50 and 60 year olds when folks are out here playing tennis in their 80s and 90s.

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Poor Sleep May Be Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease http://ln.is/SQ5w5

Angel, NP
(@UrbnHealthNP): Lack of Deep Sleep May Set The Stage for Alzheimer’s Disease http://ln.is/KEgDO via @NPR

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App Now Uses the Mic to Monitor Your Sleep

Recorded on April 29th, 2016

Yay! I tried the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app back when you had to put your phone under your bed’s fitted sheet to track your movement and sleep quality at night. At some point since those days, they changed the app to use the iPhone mic instead, and now you just put the phone face down on your nightstand with the bottom mic pointed at you. I’m quite excited to try this tonight. The help screen on their app even says they recommend using the mic over the true-motion detection method.

Thanks, of course, to Merlin Mann on Back to Work #269 for the heads-up about that new feature.

screenshot from Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app

Get f.lux to Save Your Sleep

Recorded on February 18th, 2016

photo of f.lux on MacBook [Top is the regular MacBook screen. Bottom is with f.lux turned on. I swear this looks better in person.]

f.lux1 is a free utility that runs in the background on Mac, Windows or Linux to reduce the amount of computer-screen blue light bombarding your eyes during non-daylight hours. The theory is that you want the light temperature of your screen to match the color from the sun as it shifts during the day and into the evening, getting warmer and less and less blue. Doing this is supposed to make your body feel less like it’s supposed to be wide awake during the night, and make for an easier transition to sleep. The best thing would probably be to stay off the computer entirely, but if you’re going to use it, you may as well be nice to your eyes and brain.

f.lux sunset settings

There are many more options than this. f.lux can set everything for you automatically based on what time the sun usually sets in your location. You can tweak the times and color temperatures, but I’m still using the recommended colors setting and I love it.

It looks pretty crazy the first time you try it, especially if you see it for the first time late at night when it’s practically orange. But it’s worth sticking with. After a few minutes of trying it the other night, I had completely adjusted to it. I didn’t realize how easy it was on my eyes until I temporarily disabled f.lux for a few seconds, and it felt like someone flashed a fluorescent light in my eyes. I turned it right back on and felt relief.

You wouldn’t want to use this when you’re doing design work or processing photos in Lightroom. For things where the colors and light levels have to be normal, there’s an option to disable f.lux for an hour, until sunrise, or for specific apps. And there are also options for things like Movie Mode where the screen will look a bit more normal.

I buy the research that suggests that you’ll sleep better if you use f.lux. I notice that I feel almost drowsy when I’m using the computer with it on. I don’t think I can go back to not using it at night.


  1. The lowercase “f” in the name drives me crazy.