This is a discussion of the facts and ideas in my previous post. In summary, several observations, involving both me and others, suggest that a few tablespoons of oil (at least olive oil, sesame oil, and flaxseed oil) in the evening improve sleep.
I’m not yet sure of this conclusion, even for myself. But several things are already worth pointing out:
1. It took several facts to change my mind (I originally thought the sleep improvement was due to omega-3 fat and had nothing to do with when I ingested it) but it did happen. Strangely enough, it happened when I was studying something else: The effect of omega-3 on my balance. I switched the time I drank flaxseed oil from 10 pm to 10 am to see if this affected my balance. (I don’t yet know the answer.)
2. The conclusion that a few tablespoons of fat late in the evening improves sleep is remarkably isolated. I have never read anything similar in the scientific or self-help literature. Most of my self-experimental conclusions, however odd they may strike outsiders (such as my recommendation to skip breakfast), are supported by many mainstream scientific results. (The breakfast conclusion, for example, is supported by dozens of studies of anticipatory activity in animals.)
3. It’s a big effect — one more hour of sleep per night. No wonder most Shangri-La dieters noticed it.
4. The long-term records of my sleep, which I had kept for no particular reason, came in handy. They made it clear that something had recently caused me to sleep longer each night. Which implied that it couldn’t be fat per se that caused the improvement — I’d been drinking ELOO (extra-light olive oil) for the past two years. The term self-experimentation doesn’t obviously encompass keeping such long-term records; they are better suggested by the term self-observation or even numerical self-observation. But whatever the term, they don’t have an obvious correlate in more conventional science. Experiments with yourself as the subject are just conventional experiments writ small and personal, you could say. But there is no part of conventional science that tracks people closely year after year. It makes scientific sense; it would be a way of getting new ideas. You might track 100 people (say). When someone’s health markers got suddenly better or worse you would investigate. This could be done; it isn’t.