Interventions to Improve Sleep

I’m getting back into self-experimentation after being distracted for a while from starting a new job.

This will be my research log for studies I’m doing on sleep. I post incremental updates at and will collate/organize them here for people who want to follow along.

Completed Studies:

  • Effect of melatonin on sleep duration (blinded, pre-registered)
    • Pre-registration, extension
    • Report
    • Summary of Conclusions:
      • Sleep measurements from Apple Watch don’t correlate with manually recorded times asleep.
      • Contemporaneous recording of waking disrupted my sleep, leading to more recalled wake-ups and possibly increased fatigue
      • Melatonin had no observable effect on sleep duration or any other metric examined. It may have an effect that was too small to be observed. However, if true, that’s too small to be of interest/use to me.


  • Does anyone have any suggestions for other supplements or interventions for me to try?
  • I’m also always looking for collaborators for future experiments. If you’re interested in collaborating on scientifically rigorous self-experiments with foods, nootropics, sleep aids, or anything else, let me know.
1 Like

Hi Steve,
It may be that you body is producing enough melatonin that the added amount doesn’t change your sleep.
Have you looked at the effects of blue light on reducing sleep quality with a possible extension that if you do detect changes then supplemental melatonin can reverse some of the negative effects of blue light before bedtime.

I haven’t quantitatively studied the effect of blue light, but I set my electronics to minimize blue light 90 minutes before I go to sleep and turn off screens entirely 30 minutes before bed time.

Hello, thanks for sharing. You may try find correlations / build linear regression models with objective/subjective sleep metrics versus:

  1. Bedtime. I’ve already did some analysis of EEG derived hypnogram and found my optimal bedtime.
  2. Vitamin D supplementation and timing. Seth Roberts, Gwern Barren did some self experiments
  3. Daily steps count / train load
  4. Food - kcal, weight etc
  5. mood
  6. if you have any EEG derived hypnogram you may try to check how certain things affect your REM or DEEP sleep. Like pink noise or nbacking before bed.
  7. caffeine intake. you may find maximal dose and timing, which not affect your sleep.

Right now i’m doing some nbacking and spaced repetition before sleep to check if it increase my REM sleep.

Just read through your studies. Really nice work!

I like the suggestion of doing a more detailed regression analysis from my sleep data. I’ve been manually recording sleep to go along with my watch data for just shy of two months. I think I’ll let that go a few more weeks and then do an analysis.

Just found how caffeine ruins my sleep. It might be important to check, experiment shouldn’t be too hard.
In that case its important not only look for things which can improve sleep but also find out what make it worse.

I don’t eat or drink anything with caffeine, but definitely worth testing if you do.

There are other adenosine receptors antagonists which acts in same way. Mostly in cocoa and tea

Hi Max,
When you did the bedtime optimization, did you wake up each morning with or without an alarm? Did the time period overlap with the nights you were tracking caffeine? Does decreasing caffeine change your optimal bedtime?

No alarm. There were a few nights when i’ve tried Dreem 2 smart alarm feature, but almost all days i’ve woke up naturally.
Also i’ve used sleep mask to make sure morning sun do not disturb my sleep and foam earplugs which was cut with scissors to fit my ears without pressure.

Yes, that was the same timeframe. I’m planning to model TST ~ caffeine + bedtime to distinct effects. But since i’m trying to have strict schedule around ~22:00, i dont think that caffeine influenced that time.
I’ve checked for correlation between caffeine and bedtime using bootstrap and didnt found it, CI is [-0.08,0.23] which crossing 0 with n=146

(caffeine is y, bedtime is x, in seconds from 00:00)

As you can see above, i havent found correlation between caffeine and bedtime start. There were enough low caffeine days but scatterplot didnt reveals a connection…
Right now i’m lowering my dose and will continue to monitor my sleep, but Dreem 2 after about 1 year of use is dying on me and i cant find casual alternative to precisely track my sleep (eeg)

Also it’s worth noting, that i start my preparations ~1 hour before sleep: - dim the light, wear blue glasses, read ebook and doing something calm & relax for most of days.

Cool. I just checked dreem 2 is sold out in the US.

there are some on ebay and in AU resmed store. I’m trying to buy second, but havent yet. Hypnodyne ZMax also looks solid.

I’ve did extended analysis of which factors influence my sleep, if somebody interested details is here
In short: caffeine, bedtime start, sickness, vitamin D3 and negative emotions statistically significantly and independently influence my sleep. I’ll lower my caffeine intake, will go sleep earlier, will take D3 every other morning, and looking for ways to reduce my stress.

1 Like