Sleep Hacks for Songwriters, Music Executives (and Everyone Else Too)

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash image has been edited

Hey there you night owl, yes, you. You’re probably reading this post sometime after midnight which isn’t much of a surprise since you’re the type of species that tends to be more of a night dweller — and hey, most highly intelligent people are known for burning through the midnight oil, so I get it.

And you know … after so many years of doing the “grind,” you know, that part of your career where you’re making it all happen, going for it … maybe working a full time job during the day, writing your songs at night, pulling double or triple songwriting sessions, finishing that urgent deadline mix, yadda yadda we find ourselves in that zone more than what we want to.

And for a long time, the unfunny thing in my own experience…is I felt heroic about cramming in as much as I could in a twenty four hour period. “Hey, Benjamin … how’s it going?” Me: “Crazy…I’ve only slept for 90 minutes last night.” Like, hey isn’t this cool how passionate I am to make it … I’m working myself to death. But you know what? It appears that there’s nothing cool about that.

big eyes

But get this, even if you tried to set aside time to sleep you still wouldn’t be getting the quality sleep that you need. And QUALITY sleep is 100% crucial. It’s the #1 health and backbone of your mental, creative and physical state that you need to take care of. Without proper sleep consider yourself pretty much screwed. So let’s stop thinking that sleep is a waste of time.

Don’t quote me on this but I think songwriters, producers, mixers can often be at the forefront of not getting quality sleep. This is not just because of the demands of our industry (the workload and late hours), but because most of us are looking at computer screens all day and often we’re on way too long after the sun goes down. Yes, light plays a huge factor and influences on how sleepy we feel (more on that below) . As you’re about to find out, sleep deprivation is bad for you … like potentially terminally bad long term.

Stewie, Family Guy


So, as some of you may know, I’m active in the biohacking community (look up Dave Asprey, Tim Ferris, Ben Greenfield, etc)…where “biohacking” is basically the process of deconstructing health and biology and getting better results by using new methods and measuring results.

I really started paying big attention to sleep 3-4 years ago and took a deep dive.

So if you’re still with me here…you probably are asking…”How can I improve my sleep?” But also please note: This question should NOT be “Hey what are the best sleeping medications?” You don’t need that (in my opinion).

So voila…this is how I’ve experimented and changed my sleeping habits to improve my overall sleep quality and health. This is what worked for me and are suggestions based on the research I’ve done on myself so results are going to be different for everyone.

Morning Routine:

  • Once the morning comes around, Jack Kruse (see video below), an amazing biohacker and neurosurgeon suggests to get 20 min of direct sunlight on as much skin exposure as possible – NO sunscreen. This is also a KEY part of circadian rhythm reset. The hours of 9am-12pm are the best hours for the right UV. Personally, I do this along with TM (transcendental meditation) for 20 minutes in the morning for a “2 for 1” health multi tasking.
  • I also take 5,000 IU of Vitamin D (essentially this tells you body, “Hey you! The sun is up!”
  • Gratitude Diary – check out the “Self Journal” – it’s fantastic. It will set your day in a positive direction and focus.

Evening/Before Bed Routine:

Circadian Rhythms

I mentioned above, but if you want to learn more about circadian rhythms and how modern technology is screwing you over, grab yourself a coffee because you’re going to want to stay up to watch this piece by Dr. Jack Kruse on circadian rhythm. It’s just over two hours but it’s fascinating!

Based off this above presentation, you’ll probably want to immediately get the Flux app for your computer and phone…it will dim your computer screen as the sun goes down and eliminate the blue light. But the biohackers I know keep it turned on all the time and have the maximum blue light blocked in the settings 24/7.

Sleeping Environment

Put more time into the conditions of where you sleep…and you’ll change your life.

  • When it’s time to zonk out, make your bedroom like a cave, meaning absolutely no light, dark out your room, put electrical tape over any LEDs (which is probably a good hack for when you’re on tour or traveling … how many hotel rooms have annoying LED and blinking lights … most all of them!)
  • Optimal sleeping weather is 65 degrees (cave sleeping weather).
  • I also turn off the power completely to my bedroom with the circuit breaker to stop any dirty electricity from coming in. Yes, dirty electricity is a real thing
  • Turn off any wireless routers before you go to sleep. As a society we are getting doused to the MAX with EMF (electromagnetic frequencies)…our bodies were not designed for this. Check out this amazing PodCast from Dr. Mercola on the dangers of EMF and how it affects sleep.

For those looking to go overboard (No, not you, Goldie Hawn and Jack Russell):

  • You can also try a biometric / sleep tracker like the OURA ring which I use and helps measure your sleep results (and most importantly quality of sleep) and see what impact the changes you make are having on your biology:
  • Get a Magnetico sleep pad that re-establishes a magnetic field around you when you’re sleep and helps repair DNA (apparently). You see, the earth has lost a bunch of it’s magnetic field…putting a magnetic field around you will help your body repair. The science is here and here.
  • EMF / WiFi proof your bedroom with things like a faraday canopy (, but it’s kinda pricey. You may or may not be running out to buy one, but the point here is you can do all of the above on the WiFi and EMF side personally, but if you have 4 neighbors that have high powered routers you’re still getting signal on you. There must be a solution for that somewhere.

Don’t take my word for it, but my hunch is that (and from what I’ve heard) most people stop taking sleep meds after getting some of these key things in place.

man taking pills

Another key piece to check out is Ben Greenfield’s podcast with Dr. Mercola. Ben is a health consultant of mine and this is perhaps one of the most interesting pieces he’s put out.

Killing Fat Cells, Fixing Mitochondria, Growing Superfoods & More: The Official, Much-Anticipated, Mind-Blowing, Geeked-Out Podcast With Dr. Mercola.

And … this last piece is especially important to all of you because you spend so much time in a studio and you’re being exposed to tons of EMF and WiFi, cellular signal, wireless keyboards/mouses, etc. Now, if we think that this is all true … WiFi, EMF and how it’s affecting us in an unhealthy way … it’s going to be crazy news when the word really gets out. FYI, cellular phones are listed by WHO (world health organization) as a Class 2 carcinogen. Anyways, here’s the full post.

Surely by now, you understand the key role that sleep plays in our life. As of today you can start applying some of the suggestions listed above, or at the very least learn more about the harm of sleep deprivation with the media references just listed. So what are you waiting for?! Oh, let me guess…you can’t get out of bed. And maybe that’s a good thing.

let me sleep FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

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About the Author

The Author of “How Do I Get A Record Deal? Sign Yourself!”

My career in music publishing extends over 25 years, including BMG Music (bought by Universal) and EMI Music Publishing (bought by Sony), as well as the 1st U.S. employee of Kobalt Music Publishing, where he helped build the roster over 10 years as Executive VP of Creative.

Benjamin is currently heading up his own publishing company, Brill Building, as well as label and music filter, We Are: The Guard. Benjamin’s signings range from Ryan Tedder, Kelly Clarkson, The Lumineers, Grimes, Savan Kotecha, OneRepublic, SOPHIE, Ariel Rechtshaid, Greg Kurstin, Tiesto, Kid Cudi, TOKiMONSTA, TR/ST, Cut Copy, Big Freedia, Lindy Robbins, Peaches and yes, even Steel Panther. His specialty in the music business is early artist, writer and writer/producer development.

post author Benjamin Groff

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