LSD Experiment #6: The Results

30. April 2017

This experiment was supposed to take two months to complete. It took four. Two and four are different numbers. What the hell happened…

That’s not important. What’s important is that, while it lasted twice as long as I expected, I’m pretty excited about the data I was able to gather. In the off chance that you forgot what LSD #6 was about, the focus of this experiment was determining the effect that different practices/strategies have on my sleep quality.

Before I present the results, I should highlight a minor wrench that was thrown into my experimental-works at the outset of LSD #6. I was intending to use the “Sleep Score” that the Jawbone UP3 calculates as the primary evaluation metric. Well, it turns out that a “Sleep Score” isn’t really a thing with the UP3.

WTF, Jawbone?

So, with my back against the wall, I did what any socially competent, fun-to-be-around, very cool guy would do – I created an algorithm (using information that the UP3 provided) to calculate my own sleep efficiency metric: Markie’s Sleep Champion Number (MSCN).

Feast your eyes on these fascinating results:

Variable Markie’s Sleep Champion Number
Pre-Experiment Benchmark 68
Sleep Mask 77
Ear Plugs 70
Sleep Mask + Ear Plugs 74
No Calories w/in 2 Hours of Sleep 79
No Caffeine 73
Herbal Tea w/in 1 Hour of Sleep 81
Reading Until Point of Sleep 79
No Screens w/in 1 Hour of Sleep 90


Damn! This is incredible! Surely I’ll win a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism or at least a Grammy for this shit.

After digesting these results, you might be thinking that incorporating each one of these practices into my life is a no-brainer because they all generated higher MSCNs than my Pre-Experiment Benchmark.

But I say not so fast. Tap the breaks. Slow down.

There is a cost associated to incorporating each of these into my everyday life – with some costs being greater than others. The clearest example is the sub-experiment where I ditched caffeine – which resulted in a 7% increase in MSCN. Is that really worth giving up coffee – one of my top twelve favorite beverages? Markie says no.

Similarly, not looking at screens within an hour of going to bed also carries a significant cost. What happens when the Blackhawks (RIP) have a puck-drop after 8PM? What if I remember that I need to send an important email to my boss at 10:30PM? What if I get a late night hankering for some cookies or lobster but need to look up my favorite recipe online?

I’m not committed to saying that I’ll never look at a screen after 10PM (sleepytime is usually around 11 for little Markie), but I’ll do my best to make this part of my routine as a 32% increase in MSCN isn’t anything to sneeze at.

The next step in my journey to becoming the undisputed sleep champion is to combine strategies that yielded positive results when tested independently. I think it makes sense to start with the two highest performing variables so my next sub-experiment will be ignoring screens and drinking herbal tea when bedtime is near.

I won’t publish any articles on these combination sub-experiments because this LSD has gone on for long enough. If you’re interested in the results, leave a comment or reach out on Twitter and I’ll be thrilled to share them with y’all!

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