Since apparently none of my friends know how to sleep, and sleep happens to be my favorite thing in the whole wide world, here are some non-scientific guidelines.
– Make your room as dark as possible and block out as much noise as you can. You may think that it’s not bothering you but it reduces quality of sleep (you will sleep lighter and you may be waking up a bunch of times during the night without you realizing it)
– 8.5 to 9 hours seems to be the peak efficiency amount. If you sleep more you will be sluggish the next day. If you sleep less you will be stupider (from my experience and from anecdotal evidence of watching other people try to solve complex problems on less sleep, if your work is very repetitive then you’ll be fine with closer to 7 hours).
– Catching up on sleep works, it tends to be a little better than 1:1 efficiency (i.e. if you sleep 3 hours less the day before, you will feel fine after catching up on a little more than half that; of course that doesn’t change the fact that you felt like shit the whole previous day)
– You need to tell your mind to shut off. Ideally you clear your mind of everything — no thoughts whatsoever, just focus on your breathing and how your body feels. If you can’t do that, then try to turn off the verbal area of your brain and think only in images. Play back events that happened during the day or just try to imagine different places and things, but don’t use words and don’t replay conversations.
– Coffee takes like 8 hours to get out of your system, do the math
– One or two drinks is fine, if you go any more than that your sleep onset latency will fall but quality and duration will also and it’s not worth it
– Marijuana is good in all ways