Seth Roberts

RIP, Seth Roberts

I am very saddened to learn of Seth Roberts untimely death on April 26th 2014. Unlike many of the people listed below, I did not know Seth personally, that is, I never met him in real life.

Online, however, Seth actually took the time to contact me a couple of months ago when I had cited him in a post recommending honey before bedtime on this blog. He was very interested in knowing more about my experiments, and I found it a great honor that someone as accomplished as him would take the time to contact random strangers with few proven credentials for advice.

Back then, and to this day, this says a lot to me about what kind of person Seth must have been to the people who really knew him.  It is not every day that you meet someone who treats everyone, from every walk of life, equally. I don’t, if I must be completely honest, and I don’t think I have ever met anyone who truly does yet.

But Seth absolutely seemed to me like someone interested in getting to know everyone on equal terms. At least the few email correspondences I had with him leads me to think so.  He was also someone with unconventional ideas about how to hack life. I have experimented with many of his ideas myself, and will continue to live my life in the same vein that I imagine Seth did.

I don’t have a category on my site that matches news like these, so I am putting the post under spirituality. I do this because Seth was, although unknowingly,  a spiritual teacher  of sorts of mine – understood in the sense that to me being spiritual means being able to look outside the box of conventionality. Seth obviously did, and I will spend the rest of my life trying to do so too.

If you do not know who Seth was, take a look at his blog. Although he won’t be able to contribute to our collective knowledge further, his blog as well as his book are still very valuable resources for those interested in self-experimentation and in lifehacking.  I will leave you with links to posts by people who actually knew Seth well. (Borrowed from Tucker Max).

Tucker Max

John Durant

Richard Nikoley

Ryan Holiday

Ben Casnocha

Nassim Taleb

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Why a Tablespoon of Honey Before Bedtime will Improve your Sleep

Taking the advice of Seth Roberts, who wrote a much more extensive post on the subject, I began taking a tablespoon of honey every day before bedtime, about two weeks ago.

At first, I was quite skeptical about the idea. My understanding was – and still is – that too much sugar (especially refined sugar) will cause havoc to your blood sugar levels, and that eating just before bed will upset your stomach, and thus have negative effects on the quality of your sleep.

This short article does a good job explaining why honey before bed might just be a very good idea. Basically, the human liver stores about 8 hours of glycogen (a form of energy storage)  necessary for proper brain function. If the last time you eat before bedtime is at six, your brain will release the steroid hormone cortisol at 2 am (8 hours later). If you are out of glycogen storage in your body, the cortisol will melt muscle tissue and convert it into glycogen. This process causes your heart to beat faster and will raise your blood sugar levels abruptly. Not a good recipe for a good nights sleep!

Since eating before bed causes the digestive machinery in the body to go hard at work, it will be a bad idea to get our glycogen from processed foods or any substantial amount of food at all. Based on the same reasoning as Seth Roberts applies (keeping blood sugar levels at optimal levels) Tim Ferriss recommends eating something rich on proteins and fat before bed. His suggestion is peanut butter, which might also be worth trying out.

The reason why honey works wonders is because it is half glucose, half fructose. Glucose enters the blood rather quickly while fructose takes a bit longer, therefore ensuring that your blood sugar levels will stay steady over the night period of 6-7 hours where you won’t consume anything else that can provide your brain with the energy it needs.

This advice made a real difference in my life so I hope you will try it out as well. And if you do, please get back to me with your experiences with honey before bedtime!

Note: It doesn’t have to be a table spoon. A tea spoon can be fine as well, depending on the individual. They key is always to experiment, to find out what suits you the most.

Main source: Seth Roberts blog

Other sources: 2007 study, 2010 study, 2012 study

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