Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson

Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson

Usually, we symbolize sleep as a sign of laziness but it’s not 100% true. It is required for our body to have quality sleep to perform better and stay healthy. In this read, we are going to uncover how to get better sleep and be more efficient from the book Sleep Smarter.


Mock book image created for blog.

The actual book cover is different.

About the author

Sleep Smarter is the book published in 2014, written by Shawn Stevenson. He is covering 21 essential strategies to sleep your way to a better Body, better Health, and bigger success.

Shawn Stevenson is an author, keynote speaker and podcaster. He made his name in Health world and have had interviews published by magazines like Men’s Health, Muscle & Fitness, Entrepreneur and women’s health.

Book overview

In this read, we will be covering some of the steps for getting good sleep and the benefits of sleeping from the book “Sleep Smarter“. After reading this blog, you will be surprised to know how much impact sleep has on our productivity and health.


This book is an ideal read for you if you want to take your wellness and energy on the next level. It will also help you to improve the quality of your sleep. In this book, Shawn will take you through easy read packed with facts, studies and scientific insights.

You will come to know how much impact sleep has on your day to day life after reading this book. You will also realize if you improve the quality of your sleep, every aspect of your life improves.


Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep.

– Mesut Barazany


1 | Sleep is valuable

You need to understand the importance of sleep for yourself. Sleep is not just about closing your eyes. It’s an integrated and hidden aspect that is directly affecting your mental, physical and emotional states.

The author explains lack of sleep can lead to depression, obesity and immune deficiencies. We don’t think of it too much but sleep has a direct impact on our ability to perform any task.

We often find ourself very busy doing work or jobs and sometimes we think that less sleep means more time to work or to complete tasks.

It’s not good to prioritize other things than sleep. It’s affecting our strength and capabilities to work efficiently if we don’t have quality sleep.


If you giving more importance to other things than sleep, you will find yourself burn-out, stressed, slower and your creativity will suffer as well.

Based on the research, it has been proved that if you are not taking sufficient and quality sleep, you are prone to make 20% more mistakes in your work or task. Indirectly, it’s resulting in more work and less sleep.


Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I’m reborn.

– Mahatma Gandhi


On a scientific node, sleep directly correlates to the amount of glucose in your brain. If you are not taking sufficient sleep that is required for you, your glucose level tends to get reduced.

When you are finding yourself eating sweet foods in the night or the afternoon often that means your body is telling you to consume more glucose and you were having a lack of sleep.

In case you have a big project to work on and the deadline is looming. Focus on time management to get that job done but do not compromise with your sleep.

2 | Sunshine

The author also empathises on getting out and experience more sunshine hours.

Science explains that sunlight gives necessary signals to our body and hormones that encourage us to awake. It’s very much important for us to experience natural sunlight.

Sunlight assists in the regulation of your body clock and also help to create an optimum level of hormones.


Have you ever heard of Melatonin before? It’s a magical thing that helps to get sleep. It’s a hormone that is created by our body and encourages sleep.

If you are working in a day instead of night or evening to get more sunlight exposure, then you are moving towards creating an optimum body clock and even better sleep.

To boost your productivity and better sleep, increase your body exposure to sunlight. Especially, 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM is recommended time.

3 | No screens at bedtime

We live in a highly technological world. I remember when I was a kid, we only had a television and radio for entertainment that was again with a very limited set of channels.

Nowadays, we have so many alternatives available to keep ourself busy for all-day. The only problem with these alternatives is they are available to us via screens of mobile, tablets, televisions or computers.

I understand it is very hard to keep yourself away from screens but sometimes we spend a lot of time in front of the screens for no reasons.

What is a thing that you do before bedtime every night?

I’m sure many of us are habitual to stare at screens (especially mobile phone) for youtube, Netflix or streaming media.

Lights coming out of these screens are not only damaging our eyes but also our sleep cycles too. Devices emit a blue light which affects the melatonin in our body. It will keep you awake and you will find it harder to fall asleep.


No laptop or mobile phone or television.

Try to avoid screens at least for an hour before sleep. You can spend your time to read a book instead which you help you get a night of better sleep and knowledge too.

4| Caffeine curfews

According to research, most of us are consuming either coffee or tea first thing in the morning. That is why caffeine is our go-to first thing in the morning.

Concerning fact is when we get involved in our daily routine, we rely on caffeine indirectly throughout the day.


It is important to understand that caffeine is a powerful stimulant. It helps you get energize quickly to perform better.

If you are consuming caffeine within 6-8 hours of your bedtime then it will be troublesome for your sleep. You will not experience this implication directly but it will be going to affect your quality of sleep.

You need to set up a curfew with discipline for yourself. If you are going to your bed by 11:00 PM to sleep then your last coffee or tea should be no longer than 3:00 PM. You need to maintain 8 hours of curfew for caffeine before your bedtime.

You need to set up a curfew with discipline for yourself. If you are going to your bed by 11:00 PM to sleep then your last coffee or tea should be no longer than 3:00 PM. You need to maintain 8 hours of curfew for caffeine before your bedtime.

Please note that coffee or tea is not only a source of caffeine. Caffeine can be supplied to our body by chocolates and energy drinks too. Even cold and flu medication contains caffeine.

Set a caffeine curfew in the afternoon around 2 or 3 PM. Caffeine has a half-life of 8 hours.

200 MG caffeine becomes 100 MG after 8 hours and becomes 50 MG again after the next 8 hours.

Thus be careful if you are consuming caffeine and facing problems with sleep. You can surely give it a try to implement a caffeine curfew and I hope you will see better sleep results by this approach.

5 | Optimum temperature

You probably might have experienced how difficult it is to sleep if you are feeling hot or sweaty on the bed. You keep switching your positions on the bed trying to find a cool patch.

Temperature is playing a vital role in getting better sleep and thermoregulation has a big impact on your sleep cycle.

Your body should be well aware to drop its optimum temperature before you go to bed. If surroundings or body is hot then it will be challenging to drop the temperature for your body by its own.

Make sure to have a cool environment in your room to help your body to drop the temperature when you are about to sleep. If you are using air conditions then make sure not to keep it too much cold.

You can also take a bath before an hour to sleep. It will help your body in the process of dropping the temperature to its optimal level.

6 | Bedtime

It’s difficult to sleep at a fixed time. However, it very easy to stay up late watching televisions, movies or social network sites.

When you put yourself staring at screens at night, you won’t be able to follow the sleep cycle properly. You are so involved in watching stuff on the screens that you won’t even recognize the time that is passing and you spend all night unknowingly without sleep.

Though you wasted your night time and have a short sleep, you have to wake up the next day to continue your routine work to earn your bread and butter. In the end, you feel tired, stressed and unable to focus on work the next day. This is happening as you had compromised your bedtime with other things than sleep.

Sleeping on fixed time daily will help you improve the quality of your sleep dramatically. You know that 10 PM to 2 AM is considered as a “Magic window” of sleep.

It has been scientifically proved that in this timezone, your hormone secretion and recovery is doing it’s best work.

Let’s understand this by an example.

  • John is only sleeping for 4 hours that is from 10 PM to 2 PM.
  • Alex is sleeping taking 6 hours sleep but from 2 PM to 8 AM.

Who do you think is taking better sleep?

John is following a magic window of sleep and taking benefits of quality sleep than Alex.

If you don’t go to sleep until 10 PM then your body gets a second window and try to do something apart from sleep. If you are awake after 10, melatonin starts to release in your body and makes getting to sleep harder.

Try your best to be asleep by 10 PM.

7 | Magical magnesium

Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral which has numerous benefits to the human body.

It helps in 

  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Blood circulation improvement
  • Pain reduction
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Reduce overall stress level

When magnesium enters into the human body, it starts to wok on multiple body parts and get utilized.

A research survey has shown that around 80% of people have a magnesium deficiency.

Your body gets extra magnesium by bath salts or body salts. This reduces your stress and encourages better sleep to your body.

8 | Sleep sanctuary

I have people often using their bedroom as a multipurpose room. They tend to have parties there or do work office work or some time use it to have a meal on the bed.

These activities in your bedroom are indirectly affecting your sleeping environment.

The bedroom should be used only for two things.

  1. Spending family time with partners or kids
  2. For sleeping

You should also consider the source of fresh air to your bedroom. If you don’t have fresh air passing in your bedroom daily, the air loses their negative charge.

We want as many as negative ions as it helps us to energize better.

I suggest you have at least one house plant in your bedroom and keep your work stress out of your bedroom.

Make your bedroom a relaxing place where the moment you walk in, it helps you serve it’s purpose.

9 | The Blackout

Why do we sleep at night?

There is a reason why we all tend to feel sleepy in the night as we are evolved to follow that pattern. We are naturally wired to sleep in the dark.


Any source of light can affect your quality of sleep. This is not something which you can fix by wearing eye masks while sleeping.

Light can penetrate your skin. If sunlight is coming in your bedroom then you should fix it by use of blackout curtains. Blackout curtains are a great way of getting rid of light pollution while sleeping.

Switch off unnecessary electric lights and use only one dim source light in your bedroom.

10 | Train yourself for better sleep

Sleep is a process not only for rest but also for the recovery of our body.

Due to physical work or exercise, your body muscles and tissues tend to get damaged. Sleep is designed to repair your body.

Those who do intense physical work or exercise, they need a high amount of hormones for recovery and repairing.

Author empathises here to do exercise in the morning instead of evening or night. If you are doing exercise after an afternoon, your body doesn’t get enough time to reduce core temperature.


As stated in #5 above, your body needs to be on optimal cool temperature to have a night of quality sleep.

11 | What are you eating?

Interestingly, there is one more factor that unknowingly affects sleep that is your weight.

If your weight is more than what it should be according to your height and age then you may find that your sleep is of lower quality.

Extra weight contributes stress to your organs, endorphins and nervous system which indirectly results in low quality of sleep.

You know that there is a hormone called “Cortisol” (The anti-sleep hormone) which is more common in high weight people’s body.

To reduce the level of this hormone, you should focus on quality nutrition which consists of a balance of fats, protein and carbohydrates at each meal.


Too many carbs will affect your insulin level. Focus on quality fats and proteins for your optimal health. Try to avoid processed food and consume whole food.

Avoid having food, especially carbs before bed.


Sleep is the best meditation

– Dalai Lama


12 | How much do you booze?


Many people link drinking alcohol before bed helps them to sleep faster and better however that is a myth.

The speed at which you fall asleep does not correlate to the quality of your sleep. Your brain and body don’t completely turn off when you have been drinking.

If you are boozing then wrap it up with some time before sleep. To be specific at least 4 hours before.

Also, make sure that you drink plenty of water before you start boozing.


  • Get sunshine during the day.
  • Don’t look at the screens before sleep.
  • No caffeine 7-8 hours before bed.
  • Be cool, sleep better.
  • Try to sleep between 10 PM to 2:00 AM.
  • Don’t use your bedroom as a multipurpose room.
  • Don’t be in fear of darkness, it is required for quality of sleep.
  • Exercise in the morning
  • Avoid booze at least before 4 hours to bed

A well spent day brings happy sleep

– Leonardo de Vinci


In this read, I have summarized my 12 rules from this book. There are more 9 rules and suggestion the author have mentioned beautifully in the book “Sleep smarter”.

This will help you to get better sleep and indirectly better productivity. I recommend you to check out all pages and all 21 strategies, the author has mentioned in the book if you are facing issues with your sleep.

Until next time, Never stop reading…

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