The Science of a Good Night's Sleep

05.12.2022 - By The Science of Happiness

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Do you struggle with sleep? This week Drew Ackerman of Sleep with Me podcast tries tips for a good night's sleep, and we explore why it's so important to our well-being.

Episode summary:

A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by, and beating yourself up over not sleeping enough will only make it worse. On this episode of The Science of Happiness, the host of Sleep With Me podcast Drew Ackerman joins us to try science-backed tips for finding your natural sleep rhythm. Drew, also known as “Dearest Scooter,” talks about his history with insomnia and sleep anxiety, sleep hygiene, and his philosophy on bringing more self-compassion into his approach to trying to fall asleep. Then we hear from sleep scientist Eti Ben Simon about how sleep affects your social life.


Here are four tips to help you sleep from Dr. Eti Ben Simon.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine after 2 p.m. to unmask your true biological sleep needs.
Keep lights dim in the evening and limit access to LED lights after 9 p.m.
Go to sleep as soon as you feel tired (even if you're in the middle of something). This will help you figure out the earliest window it is physiologically possible for you to fall asleep.
Do not use an alarm clock to wake up.

Try a version of this practice with the sleep tips in this article by expert Eti Ben Simon:

Today’s guests:

Drew Ackerman You might know Drew as his alias, “Dearest Scooter*,”* the host of Sleep with Me podcast. Drew struggles with bedtime worries and has a history of insomnia himself, but he’s great at helping others sleep. Sleep with Me is one of the most listened-to sleep podcasts. On each episode, “Scooter” lulls listeners off to dreamland with meandering bedtime stories intended to lose your interest.

Listen to Sleep With Me Podcast:

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Eti Ben Simon is a sleep scientist and postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, where she works at Matthew Walkers’ Center for Human Sleep Science.

Learn more about Eti and her work:

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Resources for A Good Night’s Sleep

Psychology Today - What’s Your Sleep Type? Two forces that dictate our sleep, by Eti Ben Simon:

Matthew Walker’s 11 Tips for Improving Sleep Quality:

TED - Sleeping with Science:

Harvard Health - 8 Tips to Get a Good Night’s Sleep:

BBC - Why Do We Sleep?

More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

Four Surprising Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep:

How Mindfulness Improves Sleep:

Your Sleep Tonight Changes How You React to Stress Tomorrow:

Tell us about your experiences and struggles with falling asleep by emailing us at [email protected] or using the hashtag #happinesspod.

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