Archive for the 'honey & sleep' Category

Assorted Links

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
  • how to self-experiment with resistant starch. See comments.
  • A list of health benefits of honey says nothing about sleep
  • Someone says “I told you so” about the demise of Better Place, the Israeli car-battery-swap company. Better Place raised an insane amount of money, something like $1 billion.
  • Behind the New York Times series on health care costs. “The social media team analyzed the remarks and discovered that there were deep frustrations about the cost of inhalers and medications for asthma, the most common chronic condition affecting people of all ages.” There should be deep frustration that anyone still has asthma. The notion that figuring out what causes asthma is possible — and will cost about a million times less than continuing to buy inhalers and medicine — has not occurred to enough people.

Thanks to Tuck.

Bedtime Honey and Motivation

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

A friend writes:

The honey has been the biggest improvement in my life in several years. It’s not just the energy, I think I’m more motivated to do things.

I started the honey with 1 tablespoon, but like others who commented, I had some trouble getting to sleep, so I reduced the dose to about 2 teaspoons. I take the honey about 15 minutes before bedtime, and I have not missed a dose since starting.

The first morning after the honey I felt much more alert and rested. I had no trouble getting out of bed even on 5 hours sleep at around 6:30 – 7:00 AM PDT.

The motivation that has come since starting the honey doesn’t feel primarily psychological. It doesn’t wax and wane or change in response to events. It feels raw (no pun intended), more like a drive.

The motivation improvement (that might be due to honey) seemed to begin a few weeks after I started it. The main aspect of the motivation is that I feel impelled to do things. This feeling lasts all day. It’s not a manic feeling, because I still have priorities, and I can bail out of a task if I’m not making progress.

I noticed a similar change. After I started the bedtime honey, it became easier to do everything. Not a big change, but noticeable. When it started is hard to say.

Why Do Sweet Foods Taste Good? The Importance of a Simple Observation

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Stuart King writes:

I was very hungry today at dinner and the thought of sweet food wasn’t appealing at all, but after filling up on some rice, chicken and coconut cream curry I immediately had ice cream and chocolate slice [= what Americans call a brownie], which had had no appeal 15 minutes or so before!

An everyday observation that anyone can make. Studies have shown what Stuart noticed: When you are hungry sweet foods are unappealing. This is why dessert is eaten after the rest of the meal.

The main way that psychologists explain an experimental effect — choose between explanations — is by finding out what makes the effect larger or smaller. For example, discovery of what makes learning more or less (what increases or decreases the effect of one learning trial) is the main way psychologists have chosen among different theories of learning. Different theories predict different interactions.

Why do we like sweet foods? The usual answers are that sweet foods are a “good source of energy” and they provide “quick energy”. But these explanations do nothing to explain what Stuart noticed. If sugar is a good (= better than average) source of energy, we should eat it before other foods (average sources of energy) when we are hungry (hunger signals lack of energy). The opposite is true. You may not want to call it a “contradiction” but there is no doubt the conventional view does not explain what Stuart noticed. Of course many nutrition experts, such as Weston Price, are/were entirely sure sugar is unhealthy.

As a tool for choosing among theories, Stuart’s observation is especially good because (a) it is very large (sweets go from unappealing to appealing) and (b) paradoxical (eating calories should make all calorie sources less appealing).

If you have been reading this blog, you know I explain Stuart’s observation by assuming that we need sugar in the evening to sleep well. Sugar (sucrose, fructose, glucose) eaten in the evening increases blood glucose, which increases glycogen. During sleep, glycogen becomes glucose, which the brain needs to work properly. Evolution shaped us to like sweet foods after a meal so that we will eat them closer to when we sleep. (The value of replenishing glycogen close to bedtime also explains why we eat sweet foods after dinner more than after breakfast or lunch.)

I can’t think of another case where what experts say is so out of line with what’s easily observed. For example, I’m sure cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease, but there is no everyday observation that supports my belief.

I can’t think of another case where what experts say is so out of line with what’s easily observed. For example, I’m sure cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease, but there is no everyday observation that supports my belief.

If sugar is helpful for sleep, why is it associated with diabetes? My guess is that sugar is almost always consumed in foods that taste exactly the same each time — what in The Shangri-La Diet I called ditto foods. For example, soft drinks. Ditto foods with sugar, because they have a strong precise CS (smell) and a strong fast US (calorie signal), produce an especially strong smell-calorie association. Such an association raises the body fat set point, thus causing obesity. Obesity causes diabetes. It’s also possible that eating sugar during the day — at the wrong time — hurts sleep. Maybe sugar during the day raises insulin and thus reduces the conversion of sugar to glycogen. Less glycogen causes bad sleep, bad sleep causes diabetes. My blood sugar levels clearly improved when I started eating sweets in the evening — opposite to what the sugar-diabetes link would predict.

The Wisdom of Google: “Dessert”, “Honey” and “Fruit” Closer to “Dinner” than “Breakfast” or “Lunch”

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

I have blogged many times that bedtime honey improves sleep. I learned this from Stuart King, an Australian musician. He also pointed out we eat dessert with dinner more than with other meals. which others who have described the honey effect have not said. The dessert observation suggests that other sweets, not just honey, improve sleep. After I repeated the dessert observation, a friend said I of all people should know it isn’t universal. The Chinese don’t eat dessert, she said. Yes, I said, but where I lived in Beijing there seemed to be lots of sweets eaten in the evening, and lots of street vendors selling fruit in the evening. (more…)

Assorted Links

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Thanks to Phil Alexander, Joseph B. and John Batzel

The Turning Point in My Self-Experimentation

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Several people have said that bedtime honey made them wake up too early. For example:

No effect for me, worse for my wife (hours of wakefulness in the middle of the night after a few hours of sleep)

The commenter said this meant it wasn’t working.

My view is different. To me, this experience suggests that there is something safe, cheap and practical (honey) that has a powerful and non-intuitive effect on sleep. Finding something like that is extremely hard. (Drug companies have spent billions of dollars trying to do this, with far worse results.) It isn’t easy or obvious or trivial to learn how to use that powerful force to produce improvement rather than harm (“hours of wakefulness in the middle of the night”), but I am sure it is possible.

My first important use of self-experimentation was in graduate school. I discovered that one of the medicines my dermatologist had prescribed for my acne wasn’t working. The notion that a prescribed medicine didn’t work is useful, but not shocking. This success was enough to launch me into self-experimentation to improve my sleep — specifically, to reduce early awakening. This turned out to be very hard.

After ten years of trial and error (all error), I discovered something that made my early awakening reliably worse. I was thrilled. After ten years, something finally made a difference, albeit in the wrong direction. It was a turning point. I did many experiments and finally figured out that any breakfast made my sleep worse. This was far more progress than finding out that a prescribed medicine didn’t work. It was progress because (a) nutrition experts usually said that breakfast was “the most important meal of the day”. My discovery flatly contradicted that. I became a lot more skeptical of experts, a view that has served me well. (b) Eliminating breakfast greatly reduced early awakening, and (c) the discovery showed that self-experimentation could do better than expert advice in surprising ways. My interesting self-experimentation began with the discovery of something that made my sleep worse.

I too have found that although I am sleeping much better, bedtime honey and other evening sugars have also made me wake up too early more often. I too need to learn how to better use this new knowledge.

Which Ideas of this Blog are the Most Useful?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

“Your writing has dramatically improved my health in a number of ways,” a reader said. I asked for details. He replied:

I’ve tried most of your health interventions. The first was SLD. Overall, I lost about 90 lbs. Roughly half of this was from a more traditional diet of eating whole foods esp. vegetables and exercise. I had plateaued until I discovered SLD and lost the rest. I added flax oil, butter and homemade kefir to my taste free meal over time. The butter helped me lose more weight. At the same calories, the saturated fat was somehow more filling. Initially the butter made me happier but that wore off after a few months. My HDLs and triglyceride levels are better than when I was training for a marathon and not eating this stuff. The flax oil has improved my gum health. I can’t really see a direct result from the kefir. I’m more eating it on faith. I skinned my knees quite badly a while ago. My wife commented on how quickly I healed. So maybe the kefir and other items are helping me heal faster. (more…)

Carbohydrate Near Bedtime Improves Sleep, Say Two Books

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Janet Rosenbaum, a professor of epidemiology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, writes:

Has anyone mentioned the connection between the honey/banana before bedtime and the advice to have an ounce of simple carbohydrate without protein before bedtime? There have been at least two books on this idea: Potatoes, not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons and The Serotonin Power Diet by Judith Wurtman. The first book suggests a small baked potato and bans alcohol and sugar during the day. The second book allows an ounce of any carbs such as pretzels. The proposed mechanism is that eating protein during the day, and carbs before bed without protein increases serotonin production over night, and my own experience is that it improves sleep and creates more vivid dreams.

I cannot easily get the Serotonin book here in Beijing but I found this related to the Potatoes book:

Now that you are having three meals a day at regular intervals, let’s add Mr. Spud to your routine. Have a potato (with its skin) every night three hours after dinner. It will help your body raise your serotonin level and make you feel more confident, competent, creative and optimistic. You can eat your potato baked, mashed, roasted, cut into oven fries or grated into hash browns. Just be sure you eat the skin. And you can top it with anything you like except foods that contain a protein. (Protein eaten along with the potato at bedtime will interfere with your serotonin-making process.) Good toppings are butter, salsa, mustard, spices, or olive oil. Toppings you should NOT use are cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, or cream of chicken soup.

I found when I ate honey with cheese the sleep-improvement effect of the honey was much reduced, in agreement with what is said here about avoiding cheese.

Here’s what happened when one person tried this. I am quoting only the parts about sleep:

[Day 1] I had the infamous potato at the recommended time. That potato really kept me up. I barely slept. What was this about her saying that a potato helps you get a good night’s sleep? But I’m willing to give it some time. I never get a good night’s sleep so it will be nice to see what that’s like again.

[Day 2] This night, I could not sleep at ALL. I was up till around 4 am. How can a little potato keep a person up so much?

[Day 3] I finally had that promised sleep that the author was talking about. WOW. I haven’t ever felt quite like this before.

[Day 4] A blissful night’s sleep.

[Day 9] Those potatoes really work on making one’s sleep much better.

[Day 23] I am not eating potatoes at night most of the time, which is part of the PNP [Potatoes Not Prozac] diet, but not something that you start from the beginning. [Nothing about sleep.]

Maybe she stopped the bedtime potato because she wanted to lose weight faster.

A potato near bedtime will surely increase blood glucose during sleep, supporting the idea that a better supply of blood glucose is what improves sleep.  Presumably it’s important to do this without (a) triggering too much insulin production or (b) increasing brain activity so much you wake up. Whether glycogen, in the liver or elsewhere, has anything to do with this I have no idea. Glycogen is one source of new glucose as the brain burns thru blood glucose but another is not yet digested carbohydrate in what you’ve recently eaten (e.g., potato).

 

Donald Knuth and Dessert: A Heretic

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

I claim we eat dessert after dinner — separating high-sugar foods from other foods — so that we are more likely to get sugar near bedtime. We need sugar near bedtime to sleep well, I suspect. Donald Knuth, the computer scientist, seems to disagree:

Donald Knuth came on time [to dinner at a Stanford dorm] and started his dinner with dessert. Only after he finished the cake he proceeded to the salad. He explained that order of courses by not being consistent.

Perhaps he’s been reading Taleb, who stresses the value of randomness. I would have been more impressed had he eaten the cake at the same time as the rest of the meal.

“Bedtime Honey is a Godsend”

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

A reader writes:

The bedtime honey treatment has been a godsend for me. I had been sleepless for several months when you first wrote about the honey, waking up many times every night and staying awake for long periods. I immediately began trying the honey, and the first night, though I still woke up a few times, I had dreams for the first time in ages. After a couple more nights I was sleeping all night. I usually wake up once a night for one reason or another, but wonderfully, get back to sleep which was impossible for so long before the honey. Sleep deprivation is so miserable, I cannot thank you enough!

In case you haven’t tried it. What did I blog about before? I can’t remember.

Assorted Links

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Thanks to Edward Edmonds and Bert Sutherland.

Bedtime Honey and Sleep: Different Kinds and Amounts of Honey

Monday, January 6th, 2014

A reader named Sam, an engineer in Irving, Texas, writes:

I am a long time reader of your blog. Based upon your writings, I have taken Vitamin D in the morning and Magnesium Glycinate powder at night for over a year. Both have helped. So I do not have any sleep issues that needed to be addressed. I took the honey only to see if it would make any further difference. I was a bit wary to begin with as I do not usually consume honey. I have had a mild allergy to eating honey until at least several years ago. Even a teaspoon of honey would within an hour give me abdominal cramps that would last for an hour or more. (more…)

Interview with Mike McInnes, Author of The Honey Diet

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Mike McInnes is a retired Scottish pharmacist and the author of The Honey Diet, published today. This book interests me because it advocates eating honey at bedtime.

Could you summarize the book?

It’s based on two ideas — that modern obesity is driven by two main factors. First, overconsumption of carbohydrates and sugars. Second, poor quality sleep. The medical profession has been saying that the cause of obesity is fat. We’ve known since the 19th century that it is carbohydrates, not fat. Poor quality sleep drives up stress hormones and appetite hormones. (more…)

The Year in Personal Science: 2013

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Here are some especially notable results (most notable first).

Other People’s

1. Bedtime honey greatly improved sleep. Stuart King found this after many other things had failed to help him. He got the idea from Dave Asprey, who got it from The Honey Revolution (2009) by Ron Kessenden and Mike McInnes, but Stuart made by far the best case that the effect was important and determined some boundary conditions (e.g., don’t eat a lot of sugar during the day). The improvement is so big and easy (honey tastes good) that it’s quite possible this is why evolution shaped us to enjoy sweets after dinner — to improve sleep. In the future, I believe, it will be understood that sugars (at the right times in the right amounts) are a necessary nutrient — exactly the opposite of what all nutrition experts, including paleo ones and Weston Price, say. When this stunning reversal will happen I don’t know — but no one will have foretold it more than Stuart. (more…)

Sleep and Bedtime Honey: More About Strength Improvement

Monday, December 30th, 2013

In my first post about the use of bedtime honey to improve sleep, I included a graph that showed my legs suddenly got much stronger when I started the honey. I measured how long I could stand on one leg (bent). I had been doing this four times per day (left leg twice, right leg twice) for a long time to sleep better.

A reader of this blog named Nile McAdams found bedtime honey caused him to get stronger, too. He measured arm strength.

Soon after my legs got much stronger I reduced my one-leg standing from four/day to two/day to save time. The improvement stopped, but the gains persisted:

 photo 2i013-12-30onelegstandingimprovedbybedtimehoney_zps94da9fcb.jpeg

Note the logarithmic y axis. Each point is a different day, an average of the first left leg stand and the first right leg stand of that day.

The graph shows I am much stronger with half as much effort. As I said, the strength improvement has also been easy to notice in everyday activities, including walking, stair climbing (I live on the top floor of a six-floor walkup) and bike riding.

I have been unable to find research that shows a similar effect. Judging by a 2010 textbook, exercise physiologists don’t know about it.

Frontlines of Personal Science: Confirmation of After Dinner Sweets Effect

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

During the last week I have looked into the possibility that my sleep can be further improved — in addition to the bedtime honey improvement — by eating a similar amount of sugar (fructose and glucose) a few hours before bedtime. After I accidentally slept better than usual (or even better than usual), I tried to determine why. Several things had been unusual the day before. Two tests (here and here) pointed to the sugar (honey or banana) a few hours before bedtime.

Last night (Christmas Eve) I tried again. I ate a banana (132 g, peeled) about 3 hours (7 pm) before I fell asleep (10 pm). I fell asleep within a minute and woke up, after an apparently dreamless night, feeling perfectly rested. On my 0-100 percentage scale (100% = completely rested, no detectable tiredness), which I have been using for about 8 years, it was the first ever 100%.  I had slept about 6 hours, a good amount of time.

To celebrate, I had a cup of black tea. I didn’t need it to wake up but I like the taste. I reflected that countless people had drunk tea or coffee to wake up. I had found a better way.

Discovery that an hours-before-bedtime sweet improves sleep (in addition to bedtime honey — that’s what’s interesting) is significant not just for the obvious practical reason (better sleep) but also because it is the confirmation of a prediction. After I slept unusually well, I thought of six possible reasons. The notion that sugar improves sleep pointed to one of them. The results of every test I’ve done (three nights) have agreed with that prediction. I believe the only real test of a theory (such as an explanation) is whether it makes correct predictions — especially, whether it leads to the discovery of new cause-effect relationships. Many things people say haven’t passed that test. An example is weight control. That low-carb diets cause weight loss has been known since the 1800s. Many explanations have been proposed; not one has made correct predictions, as far as I know. In contrast, my theory of weight control led me to three new ways to lose weight (sushi, low-glycemic foods, and fructose water).

I doubt it’s a placebo effect because the sleep improvement has happened whether I expect it or not. A commenter named Paolo Paiva, after reading my posts about this, realized something similar had happened to him:

Today I told my wife how deep I had slept and connected it to the 1 tbspoon of honey and 1 tbspoon of apple cider vinegar mixed with half a cup of water before bed (it tastes really good). Then I saw this post and remembered that yesterday I had had banana flour pancakes topped with honey 3 hours before bedtime!

Thanks, Paolo. May you continue to sleep well. May the rest of you sleep equally well.

Merry Christmas!

Bedtime Honey Helps an Autistic Boy Sleep

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

A reader writes:

My eight-year-old son has autism, on the serious end of the spectrum, with equally serious sleep troubles. A month ago I tried giving honey at bedtime after reading about it on your blog. It has made a tremendous difference.

My son has had trouble sleeping since he was a toddler. Since age four he has seen a pediatric neurologist who is also a sleep disorder specialist. With the doctor’s guidance we have tried different over-the-counter and prescription-drug approaches, but none has given him regular sleep, and the side effects from the drugs make increasing dosages risky.

His basic problem is not insomnia (a general inability to sleep) but rather delayed sleep phase disorder. He could sleep fine from the wee hours of the morning to noon. But whenever we managed to advance sleep onset [= get him to fall asleep earlier], he would wake up early. It was hard when we struggled to get him to sleep by midnight and then struggled to wake him at 7:00 a.m. for school. But it was even harder when he would fall asleep at 9:00 p.m., then wake up at 4:30 a.m., often falling back to sleep at 6:30 a.m, just in time for us to wake him at 7:00 a.m.. It’s not safe for him to be awake on his own for hours, and he was desperate to go back to sleep until about 9:00 a.m.

Since we started giving him a teaspoon of honey at bedtime he has slept through the night. We still have to give him meds to go to sleep between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., but once he’s asleep he stays asleep all night until we wake him at 7:00 a.m. The one night, early on, when we forgot to give him honey, he woke up just as he used to.

One factor that may make honey particularly effective for my son is that we’ve been eating a low-carbohydrate paleo diet for the past two years (because it helps his autism symptoms). Before that he was an extremely picky eater who preferred baked goods, milk, and cheese. With high-glycemic foods all day long a teaspoon of honey at bedtime might not have had much effect.

This is the best my son has slept in his life, and it has been a huge improvement in his and our family’s lives. Before the past month, the last time my son had gotten three good nights of sleep in a row was because he’d had a concussion.

Front Lines of Personal Science: More Progress on Sleep

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

To recap: Three days ago I slept extremely well, better than usual. I wondered why. What had made the difference? That day (the day before the night I slept so well) had been different from previous days in at least five ways (e.g., chocolate, new brand of honey). I repeated four of them, and did not sleep better than usual. That suggested the remaining difference — I had eaten yogurt, blueberries (125 g) and honey (8 g?) a few hours before bedtime — was responsible. (Every night I had 1 tablespoon — 20 g — honey at bedtime. It wasn’t that.) Then I repeated all five elements, including yogurt, blueberries (125 g) and honey (14 g) two hours before bedtime. I woke up wired (jittery). Very rested, but wired, which wasn’t pleasant. Too much sugar, perhaps.

The next night I had a banana roughly two hours before bedtime. (In addition, I repeat, to 1 tablespoon honey at bedtime.)  A banana has about 6 g glucose, 6 g fructose, and 3 g sucrose, similar to 1 tablespoon honey. I had a strong craving for something sweet at that time, which was new to me — I almost never eat dessert. In the evening I had more brain power than usual. Yet at bedtime I fell asleep quickly, in about a minute. 

The next morning I woke up and felt great. Almost perfectly rested, neither tired nor wired. Even though I’d only slept 4.7 hours, a bit low for me. It really was the yogurt, blueberries and honey — almost surely their sugar, which is almost all they have in common with a banana — that had made me sleep so well.

Conclusion: For the best sleep, have sugar after dinner and sugar at bedtime. By sugar I mean a glucose/fructose mixture but for all I know sucrose would work, too.

Front Lines of Personal Science: Progress on Why I Slept So Well

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

A few days ago I noted that I had slept unusually well. I wondered why. The previous day had been unusual in five ways (yogurt blueberries and honey 2 hours before bedtime, only one blackout curtain, chocolate, unusual timing of morning faces, new brand of honey). Was one of them responsible? Or was it random variation?

The next day I repeated four of the five unusual things: only one blackout curtain, chocolate, unusual timing of morning faces, new brand of honey. Result: I did not sleep unusually well. This pointed to either yogurt blueberries and honey or random variation as the explanation. Those happened to be the explanations I had considered most plausible (yogurt blueberries and honey) and least plausible (random variation).

Yesterday I repeated all five of the unusual things. Yesterday evening it took longer than usual to fall asleep. Usually I fall asleep within a minute, but this time it took about 4 minutes. As I was lying there, I attributed the long latency to lack of exercise that day. In the morning, for the first time in my whole life, I woke up what a friend called “full of jitters”. Very rested, yes, but also too much energy. As if I’d had too much caffeine. Usually I have a cup of black tea first thing in the morning. I started to make one and realized it would make things worse, not better. As I said, this has never happened before.

So it was the yogurt blueberries and honey. The first time I had it I had added the honey just for sweetener and hadn’t measured it. The second time I did measure the honey — 14 g, about 2 teaspoons. Probably more than I had used the first time, which may explain the different results (1st time: very rested, 2nd time: very rested and jittery). Both times I ate 125 g blueberries, which has 12 g sugar (half glucose, half fructose). I doubt the yogurt (homemade, no sugar added) matters.

Perhaps the best dose (for me) will turn out to be one teaspoon honey 2 hours before bedtime and one tablespoon of honey at bedtime. I had tried taking more than one tablespoon of honey at bedtime; it seemed to produce the same effect as one tablespoon.

I want to test with and without blueberries, of course, and different amounts of honey 2 hours before bedtime. If honey alone is powerful, then I will test different forms of sugar. I don’t want to be at the mercy of differences between brands of honey, although honey is very convenient.

Let’s say it turns out to be the sugar in honey that produces these big improvements in sleep. Then it will turn out that the nutritionists of the world have been even more wrong about sugar than they were about saturated fat. All the data is not yet in, let me repeat. But the data so far unquestionably point in a surprising direction. It is entirely possible that sugar — in the right amounts at the right times of day — will turn out to be the greatest health food of all.

Which would explain what has never been well-explained: why we like it so much.

Front Lines of Personal Science: Why Did I Sleep So Well?

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Last night I slept great. I woke up feeling very rested. I can remember only three situations when I woke up feeling more refreshed. (a) On a certain camping trip. (b) When I was on my feet for ten hours. (c) After eating a lot of pork fat. I cannot simulate camping trips, and standing ten hours/day was very hard. The pork-fat effect was repeatable, in the sense that I slept better after eating pork fat, but I never ate that much pork fat again. It was too much.

Why did I sleep so well? I can think of several possible reasons.

1. Random noise. Let’s say there are 20 factors that affect my sleep and they just happened to all line up in a good direction.

Another set of possible reasons derive from what was unusual about yesterday. I can think of five things:

2. I had yogurt and blueberries and honey about 6:30 pm. (In addition to 1 tablespoon honey at bedtime.)

3. I forgot to hang a blackout curtain that darkens my bedroom. Usually I hang two. Last night, by mistake, only one.

4. I started eating dark chocolate daily two days ago. Maybe the good stuff in it (the flavones) accumulates in the brain so that the good effects get larger day by day.

5. I watched faces in the morning a half-hour later than usual. Usually I start watching them at 6:00 am. Yesterday I started at 6:30 am. I had forgotten about this difference until I looked at my records.

6. I switched to a new brand of honey (from a German brand to a Canadian one).

#1 is unlikely. #2 vaguely corresponds to the idea that honey helps us sleep because it supplies energy. Maybe honey at 6:30 fills up the liver (with glycogen) and honey at bedtime goes into the blood. But I’ve eaten plenty of meals at 6:30 without any obvious effect. Maybe they were too low-carb. I don’t know if making my room very very dark (two curtains) is better than making my room dark (one curtain) but there is no obvious reason making my bedroom less dark would improve sleep (#3).  I have never heard anyone say chocolate (#4) improved their sleep. Morning faces did improve sleep but the mood improvement was much more obvious (#5). I’ve tried several brands of honey; there was no obvious difference between them, arguing against #6.

As the day wore on I found myself in a good mood but not a great mood, arguing against #5.

I’d say #2 is the most plausible, the rest less plausible, with #1 the least plausible. But I will test all of them.

More (a day later) I did #3 (only one curtain), #4 (chocolate), #5 (later faces), and #6 (new honey) again. I did not sleep exceptionally well. That makes #1 and #2 more plausible.