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Stop Drinking Before Bed

I like my doctor because he's straight to the point and will answer any of my questions. He's not what most people call "nice."

Last time I had a physical I told him my only concern is that I have to wake up to pee in the middle of the night more often than I'd like. Is there anything wrong with me? Is this an indicator of anything more serious?

He looked over my chart and said that there's nothing in my record that indicates anything to worry about. The bloodwork they'd do that day would let him know if anything serious was wrong now.

Then he asked, "Do you drink before bed?"

"I almost never drink alcohol. That's not an issue."

"I didn't say alcohol. Do you drink anything, including water, within a few hours of bed?"

I explained that of course I do. After all, I'm a dedicated fan of liquids at all hours.

"That's almost definitely it. Stop drinking a few hours before bed. You won't have to wake up to pee."

I don't think I did a good job of hiding my disgust. Only an idiot would give me such an idiotic answer to such a serious question.

He didn't care about the face I'm sure I was making. He asked me if I had any other questions. I didn't.

Anyway, he was right.

I stopped drinking water after bed, and I stopped having to wake up to pee.

I listened to Tim Ferriss talk to a fancy performance coach about balancing sleep and hydration on Ferriss's podcast. The coach, Andy Galpin, said:

"And so some of the biggest wins we’ve had and from a coaching perspective is actually reducing water intake... I’m laughing because we’ve had a number of people, and they come in, and they are sure they have a sleep disorder or something or else... But just, the easy solution there is pay attention to a couple of things. Number one, how much water you’re actually drinking at night in the two hours, three hours before [bed]."

World champion athletes pay Galpin an arm and leg for his advice. He runs a sleep lab. His top piece of advice to get better sleep is to stop drinking water before bed!

I'm never sure if the real credit for this piece of wisdom goes to Woody Allen or Charlie Munger, but it's like the old joke:

"I'm not afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

That's Woody. Munger's version goes:

"All I want to know is where I'm going to die so I'll never go there."

My doctor, Woody Allen, and Charlie Munger (three unlikely bedfellows if there ever were) all have the same point:

Learn the most common pitfalls in whatever you want to do, and avoid them. Because it's easier not to be a moron than it is to be a genius.

When you're stuck, ask a smart outside observer what's the most obvious way you're screwing up. Really listen. Then stop doing it.

When you're working on something creative, focus relentlessly on cutting out all the bad stuff. The good stuff will reveal itself and seem better than when it was swimming in crap.

Most of the time, there's an obvious solution to our problems if we can stop doing something dumb. Try asking yourself, "Am I drinking before bed?"

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