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Try Riz Ahmed’s hack for getting a good night’s sleep

The actor, rapper, producer, and activist has a simple trick for fending off insomnia.

Try Riz Ahmed’s hack for getting a good night’s sleep
[Source photos: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images; Szabo Viktor/Unsplash]

Riz Ahmed has a great hack for getting a good night’s sleep—though it is tough to pull off in rainy locales like his native London. The actor, rapper, producer, and activist says he recently tried going outside for a daily dose of natural light first thing in the morning and another hit at sunset. It is a practice he picked up from neurologist Andrew Huberman’s Huberman Lab podcast. Huberman, an associate professor at Stanford University, says that morning sunlight—not artificial light—helps release cortisol, a hormone that can act as a wake-up call. Evening light can help set one’s levels of melatonin, a hormone associated with sleep.

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“I tried that for a bit when I was in California. I gotta say, it worked for me,” Ahmed says, adding, “Getting outdoors, as soon as I got up . . . that’s not a very enticing prospect most of the year in the U.K.”

When he has trouble sleeping, he admits, it is often because he veered off his daily routine. “I didn’t exercise. I didn’t meditate. I didn’t [write in my] journal.”

Rather than toss and turn in frustration, Ahmed says he has come to terms with the occasional sleepless night. “I’m kind of making peace with it as [an occurance] a couple of nights a month,” he says. “Maybe a way forward is an acceptance of that.”

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Read more about Riz Ahmed’s productivity secrets, and check out Fast Company‘s Winter Issue cover story, which explores how Ahmed is working to increase Muslim representation in film.

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