Episode Number 240 / January 5, 2024

5 Tips To Sleep Better ft. Wakefit Founder I Ankit Garg I Neon Show

47 Minutes

Episode Number 240 / January 5, 2024

5 Tips To Sleep Better ft. Wakefit Founder I Ankit Garg I Neon Show

47 Minutes
Listen on

About the Episode

This week’s episode is about 5 Tips To Sleep Better where we discuss the important tips required to get a good night’s sleep as we welcome Ankit Garg, co-founder of Wakefit, to the Neon Show!

Why Do Indians Sleep So Poorly?

Misconceptions Indians Have About Sleep!

Will Quality Of Sleep Get Better Or Worsen In 10 Years?

All these JUICY topics and more in this EYE-OPENING conversation about sleep cycles in a country like India. A deep dive into why India’s ambitious goals come at a loggerhead with the amount of sleep it gets… Tune in NOW!

Watch all other episodes on The Neon Podcast – Neon

Or view it on our YouTube Channel at The Neon Show – YouTube


Ankit Garg 00:00

People, by the way, realise this importance of sleep when they don’t get up really nice in the morning. For example, if they don’t wake up and they’re yawning, let’s say. They feel like something is off. Remove all the wall clocks in your house. If you are watching time before you go to bed, you’re not going to have good quality sleep because your mind is already calibrated that it’s already 11 o’clock or 12 o’clock. I’m already late, which means the mind has already declared that you’re going to have a sleepless night even if you sleep for 7 hours. Alarms are the worst thing to have in your life. You can watch probably another half an hour of Netflix and wake up maybe a little early, but I think the alarm just disrupts you. We used to sell almost two pillows per mattress earlier. Now the average is four. On almost every mattress you will find four pillows for a double bed mattress compared to two pillows otherwise, which means that people like to not only put pillows below their neck, but between their thighs, below their hands, so I think people just (inaudible) playing with the pillows. If you go and ask my uncles and aunts they still live in tier-2, tier-3 towns. (Speaks in Hindi) They would say ‘The best mattress is the one that is the hardest.’ (chuckles) But that’s not true. You don’t give rest to your body, your brain, your muscles and everything… At some point in time it is going to hurt you.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 01:10

Hi this is Siddhartha Ahluwalia and welcome to The Neon Show. Our team at Neon wishes all of you a very Happy New Year! 2023 was the most successful year here at Neon, but this is just the start, as we are only 10,000 subscribers away from 100,000. We’ll need your support now more than ever. So here’s hoping 2024 is our best year and let’s get the show started. Please, please subscribe to Neon (The Neon Show) on YouTube.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 01:38

Around 55% of Indians aren’t getting enough sleep, or less than six hours of sleep every day. Our guest and his company have aimed to provide sleep solutions to solve exactly that. From being jobless to building an 800 crore revenue D2C brand in financial year 2023. It’s my pleasure to welcome Wakefit founder Ankit Garg on The Neon Show. I would also like to thank our sponsors, Prime Venture Partners for sponsoring The Neon Show. Hope you enjoy it.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 02:13

Are you the largest mattress producer in the country now?


Ankit Garg 02:15

Not really. I think we would be probably the second or the third largest in India.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 02:23

Coming back to you know, sleep and India. India is a country which is the second most sleep deprived country in the world where 57% of the Indians don’t get enough sleep. What’s your take on that?


Ankit Garg 02:36

See, I think this is the real India right? I mean, when I say real India, what I mean is that there’s something cooking. There’s a lot of undercurrent going on in India, right? So everybody’s waking up in the morning with a lot of energy to make money for that day. Or let’s say build a future for themselves or build a really large career or do a startup. Like everybody’s an entrepreneur in India, right, by heart? Like if we go by the statistics. Almost— there is a very tiny amount of the population who’s working as an employee. Getting a monthly salary check. But last year, a lot of Indians were entrepreneurs. Like if it goes in the blood of India. So, I think as an entrepreneur, you’re always awake. While you’re sleeping, you’re always awake. The more the amount of time you get to pursue what you want to achieve in your dream is the most valuable part. Sleep is always compromised because that’s the easiest part to do right? For example, if you want to watch a movie, you want to spend time on Netflix, YouTube, with your kids, with your family, travel stuff, right. The easiest part, which is compromised, is sleep. And I think this is okay. This is fine. This is how… You know, if you have aspirations, you start compromising and look at all the flights that people take for travelling towards the world. I think recently a lot of family members and a couple of my friends are going there. Everybody complains saying you know what, all the flights outside India are all in the night. And they were all okay, because they saved the day because they want to travel more. So I feel there’s nothing wrong in it but it’s just that if people start… And people, by the way, realise this importance of sleep, when they don’t get up really nice in the morning. For example, if they don’t wake up, and they’re yawning, let’s say right? They feel something is off. Let’s say if they are, you know, eating their food, they’re talking to the family and stuff, the quality is not coming out in the conversation. They realise that they’ve not slept well. They walk into the office late because they wake up late in the morning. They went to the college late, they couldn’t attend the first lecture, just because they— So everybody realises the importance of sleep, but I think it is the easiest thing to give up. So there’s nothing wrong in it. We feel that if you realise it, you will eventually know the importance of it and hence, start working towards it. So we practically believe that, at age of 20-30, it’s probably okay but later as you go into a journey of becoming 40s or 50s, I think sleep becomes an inevitable part.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 04:56

And if you see right for Gen Z of India today, the folks between 18 to 25 or even 16 to 25… As you said, India has been the highest ever aspirational today, right, in the history of independent India for the last 75 years. And the one thing they are compromising is sleep. So, you know this, the hustle culture, the hustle porn is there, we sleep for four hours. Do four hour jobs in a day, make side incomes, this and that. But eventually, how does it all add up to a folk with, you know, between 18 to 25? Especially talking about them?


Ankit Garg 05:32

Yeah, this is so true. In fact, this was a reason why we did the Sleep Internship Programme because we wanted to really create a meme out of it in a way when we said you know, what, we will challenge you, we’ll give you a lakh rupee if you if you can sleep eight hours straight without a disturbance, right? And when we did this, actually, people found it very difficult to sleep eight hours straight. Right? So, we wanted to give this message to people on a very serious note that , today, you might be okay, compromising it. But there are gonna be repercussions, your amount of focus that you can give to the things that you’re working on. In fact, especially when you’re a kid, and you’re studying in a college, or going through your class 10th or class 12th, well, you need a lot of focus on your studies. In fact, throughout your career, when you’re working on any project in your college, you’re working in a company, you have to work on certain things, there are timelines and stuff, if the focus is on the quality, the focus is poor, I think there’ll be repercussions of it. So we believe that, you know, the way that Gen Z is living today or aspiring towards it is not a very healthy thing. While they realise that, you know, it’s an easy thing to give off. But I think sooner or later people will realise the importance of sleep.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 06:40

Right, the globally, the spend on preventive health care is at the highest in the 2020s. And probably it’ll increase in 2030. Right? Better diet, people are focusing on better nutrition, better devices to track your health, and most spend on gym and home equipment. But the quality of the sleep has gone down. Do you want to stretch more broadly on that, why is it happening? The people are focused on health, but the quality of sleep is going down?


Ankit Garg 07:08

Yeah, but I think See, everybody, I think at least what we realise is that, you know, we all come from a generation where parents have worked till the age of 60,65-70s. And till the last day they have been dependent on they’re like, for example, my childhood, my parents come from a government, you know, service background, you know, the, the future was depended on to say, you know, what we’re gonna after 60, after retirement, we’re gonna get that incentive right from the government, every month, and that’s how they’re gonna survive. So I feel like, you know, the way that we’ve grown up, we’ve always seen that the life is when we have seen our parents or people around us and we have got exposure to this Netflix and you know, the Western world, we realised that the quality of life is in in a certain age only, right? And that quality of the life is actually linked to exposure, you know, exposing yourself more to what is available in the world, what more content you can watch, how much more new things that you can, you know, avail, what more new excitings. While, I remember my time when I was maybe 18-20, I think the only thing was how to survive, how to get to let’s say, you know, get a government job, how to, let’s say, look at a 60(Inaudible),when I should be able to have a family, build a home for myself. I think those aspirations are given today, people have moved on from saying, You know what, I don’t want a basic home, I need a very nice home, I want to change it every five years. In fact, when we sell furniture to our customers, the common question that we used to get is, will it last for about 20 years?(Speaks in Hindi). Now people are saying it’s gonna last till 5 years right?(Speaks in Hindi) What this means is that people are moved on to, you know, owning things because of the way that the parents live, no limit for life and stuff like that. I think people want to move on. So I think it’s pretty much where they’re, you know, they expect more from life now.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 08:45

So, can you share more insights on how the Indian consumer has changed? Today?


Ankit Garg 08:51

Oh, yeah, I I think a lot of things have changed, especially from, you know, some of the things like for example, if I was to buy a mattress, about seven, eight years ago, I would probably, you know, ask my uncle or an aunt, or my friend, that, you bought a mattress so, how’s the mattress? tell me about it, and they would tell me, you know, go to that Sharmaji’s store, and this is the brand and you go for it right? That conversation used to happen about 10 years ago, right? Now, today’s conversation is, again, I’ll talk to my parents or my, you know, friends or family, they’ll tell me, you know, maybe buy this mattress or try this brand and go to that store. But I’m a much more informed and educated customer today. So what I would do is that I’ll go and read about that brand, probably go through a couple of YouTube videos, go through a couple of reviews on Amazon, Flipkart and Google and stuff, right. And then I’ll see a lot of competition brands. So the amount of time that I’m going to spend to evaluate a particular product category is humongous, and the obvious reason is that the internet has exposed almost everything in front of you. It’s the amount of time that you believe you should spend, as a function of how much more you want to get educated to learn about the product category, right? So I think This one perspective of consuming more and making a very informed choice has evolved like anything. Today people… the reason that today there are so many B2C startups, I believe, is because people believe that there’s some startup offering something that they need. Earlier, nobody would buy a startup because they didn’t know what to buy, And how to buy, what to value, what to not value, I think that fundamental changes happen, number one, number two, I feel that you know, just because the Internet has become so accessible to people, there are just so many choices. And in every choice, there’s a value company, there’s a premium product, there’s a product, which is smart, there is an IoT, there’s just too much stuff, right? So you as a consumer now have a lot more choice. Earlier, you would go to a market saying, I want a mattress. Today you’ll be like, I want the mattress that has Spring and Memory Foam(Speaks in Hindi) or I want a latex mattress because I feel natural. I like natural. I don’t want toxic chemicals in my mattress and stuff like that, right? So people are going beyond saying mattress, to all the way saying I need an Orthopaedic Memory Foam mattress. And they explicitly call it outright, which means they’re much more informed. They have a lot more options. And third point is that they get access to somebody who’s manufacturing deep down in tier three town and selling it, you know, to a town like Bangalore, you look at the Shark Tank. I think some of those videos were really nice. That lady who came with Achar(Pickle) and we have been tracking them, they do humongous sales’s. They’re selling lakhs and lakhs, you know those tins of Achar’s, and they all cook somewhere in tier three, tier four towns of India. So that’s the real India right, you get more options, you get direct access to the manufacturer, you’re gonna evaluate much more and then take a very informed choice when doing it. So I think these are very fundamental, the full change of behaviour in terms of making a choice compared to what used to happen 10 years ago.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 11:50

And you yourself, I believe, come from a tier 3 town?


Ankit Garg 11:53

I’m from a tier two town.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 11:57

Can you share what about your childhood couple of memories that propelled you into a career of making people sleep better?


Ankit Garg 12:07

Yeah, I think sleeping better was an outcome. But I’ll tell you where it got triggered. Right. The problem that I was trying to fix was a function of some of the things that happened in my life when I was growing up as a kid, right? So we obviously come from very humble background, because father was working for BSNL we had a limited salary option, you know—


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 12:27

Which city? Lucknow?


Ankit Garg 12:29

Agra. So we came from Agra, then of course Mathura, Aligarh and Allahabad. And all of these cities is where we travelled during my childhood. I think we learned this value for money as a concept, right? Even if there is a one litre of milk, how do you make sure everybody’s fed and, you know, choices are being met in a sustainable way, of you know, figuring out. That is number one, that is one character development that happened. Number two is you started valuing trust in advice. Like, if somebody were to tell you, you know, beta, you should go and prepare for an IoT exam, you would believe in Him. And then you start figuring out and read about and then figure out, you know, what this makes sense. So there was a natural instinct to believe in what somebody’s telling you to like, nobody would just fool you out of the (Inaudible). So this was another fundamental that got worked out. And the third was that, Whenever, because we had tiny amount of money, if we go with a tiny amount of money to buy something, and if we get fooled up, we would be the most anxious customer on the world, like, we would just, you know, go back to him, fight with him return this product and get the money back. No, it goes, it comes at whatever cost, we’ll just go fight for that Penny, because I’ve spent that money right? Now, those fundamental things instilled a culture in me that culture was, you know, the outline of some of those things is, ‘Nobody can fool me, so I should not fool anybody’. I should, if I’m paying money, I should get value. Similarly, if somebody is paying, you know, money, they should get value for their product, and things like that. So I think that’s where we realise that you know what, in India, a lot of products are sold by traders. When I say traders, traders are generally the product that you know, products manufactured in China, as many Vietnam wherever, and imported in India, and somebody is just importing bulk in container, giving it to a retailer and retailers selling it to someone else, essentially, the whole supply chain, nobody’s adding value other than transferring inventory from (A place to B), ( B to C), (C to D), and all of them are making money. Especially in the mattress industry, I realised a lot of matters were not being imported. But this was a very inefficient supply chain. And this is coming from some of the anecdotal experience of myself when I went to buy a mattress for myself. I worked for a chemical company, so I knew what the cost of the mattress, raw material that goes inside? I realised that if x rupees was the price of raw material, they were selling me at 4x. And I was like, How is it possible in this world, that the company should be ideally making 50% of EBITDA margins. Because if you were to sell at 4x, right, and when we look at those numbers, we realise that nobody’s making that kind of money, which means something’s wrong. And when we went deeper we realised you know what the select exact same things are happening. One, people were being fooled in the shops by the salesman who tell, take this one or take that one(Speaks in Hindi) only why because they would make more cuts on selling some products because that brand was giving—


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 15:14

Not to give value incentive was I make money—


Ankit Garg 15:17

I make money that is one second is you are the customer who would not make an informed choice because you don’t know the subject, you will depend on a salesman so the trust was broken, sales men was selling you things first of all costlier second, whatever he wants to sell off, instead of believing on learning my body problems learning what I’m going through, what is the problem I want to solve and stuff like that.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 15:35

Nobody. 10 years ago, nobody used to discuss any back problems.


Ankit Garg 15:37

Yeah, normally they would just buy, and if there was a back problem they’ll say like after one month it might go away(Speaks in Hindi), stuff like that right? So I think when I realised this fundamental gap, and the reason why this gap existed, then I realised that you know, it’s a lottery ticket. Yeah, let’s try it on, and then that’s how it happened.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 15:53

Amazing. You know, people discuss the diet and exercise of people like Virat Kohli, nobody asked them about their sleep regime.


Ankit Garg 16:01

You’re right. But see, it’s not fancy. I think—


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 16:06

Sleep is simple.


Ankit Garg 16:07

Sleep is simple. So the the point is that, you know, the moment people so if you talk and go to sleep, you know, people who have Sleep apnea, Insomnia,(Sleep Disorders) they’re not getting to sleep, they wake up early in the night, or early in the morning, they’re snoring a lot more, nobody can sleep around them. You talk to those people, they would value sleep like anything, right? So the problem is sleep, or disorders in sleep, are only experienced when you experience it. The you value the problem in the sleep when you experience it, right. And unless you do it, you would most likely cut it. It’s like a cigarette. You smoke it to the death. Only when you realise oh you know what I got a stroke and the doctor tell you, boss you’re done, is when you say okay its a bad thing to do it. I think sleep is something like this. This is a slow killer. If you don’t give rest to your body, your brain, your muscles and everything. I think at some point in time its gonna hurt you.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 17:01

Do you think we should start discussing the sleep patterns that highest performers across business and sports have?


Ankit Garg 17:13

We have not studied this specifically amongst the sports. But we have seen this set you know all the men we spoke with some of the coaches of Indian cricket team or you know, a badminton we met some of the people in Mumbai and we were having this brief chat they said in the training schedule of all the athletes it is mandatory that they sleep at least x number of hours for sure. That to uninterrupted sleep, when they define what they say, the lighting in the room should be this much, the kind of a mattress should be this much. And you should go to bed at this time, wake up by this time and stuff like that. So I think all the athletes and the coaches and trainers understand the value of sleep and they instil it in the course, when they are training them for the bigger game. But nobody has defined saying you know what? X number of sleep is equal to Y amount of athletics.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 18:01

Why? Why are we not speaking about it? It’s such an important thing?


Ankit Garg 18:08

Yeah, I think as I said it, it comes free—


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 18:13

(Chuckles)You don’t have to spend any money—


Ankit Garg 18:13

(Chuckles) You don’t have to spend it. And you can cut it and you still live with it. So it’s a very simple phenomena that unless you experience it consciously, you know everyday that if you’ve not slept well today, you know, your whole day is a little bit cloudy, your head is cloudy, your body is not moving at the speed and anxiety, right? So you realise it, but nobody’s going to the body just unless you experience it, like a doctor telling you, you will realise it.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 18:39

Can you share more about the demographics divide of Indian sleep? Which city sleeps best? Which Tier Two or tier three towns sleep the best? Any data that you have?


Ankit Garg 18:49

So we have data on not specific towns, but I think that we’ve seen that, you know, people in tier two and tier three towns specifically, generally because I think there’s a lack of electricity in those towns. And by force people go to sleep at eight o’clock, nine o’clock because they can’t do anything. You’re right. In fact, we have some of the employees who are working out in Jodhpur. And they live about 10 kilometres from Jodhpur, Jodhpur is in Rajasthan. Now that place light is not there after 6pm and the sunsets about 5pm and 6pm. Somewhere in between, by force asleep at 8pm. And they woke up at 4pm. So I think it’s probably you know a force which is telling any Tier one, Tier two,three town that you know, go to sleep, but otherwise, look across anywhere. The easiest thing that people want to cut in their life asleep. And it just goes across. And only people who realise the quality of sleep or those who have friends and families suffering because of this, or probably athletes or coaches who have told them you know, maybe it’s quite important. By the way, now I remember this, when I used to prepare for my 10th, 11th and 12th Exam. And I would wake up till two o’clock, one o’clock, you know, doing all those pencil diaries, notes test and all. My parents would wake up every two or three hours in some ways, and say son, ‘Six hours of sleep are necessary'(Speaks in Hindi), they would also cut it say, You know what, they will not say eight hours, they would say six hours, but they’ll say, ‘Six hours of sleep are necessary'(Speaks in Hindi). So everybody’s conscious. But this is squeezing it a little bit more as they get comfortable about it.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 20:27

I think you’re right, this habit to cut sleep gets from the days we were students, right, because let’s study one hour more by compromising sleep. And then, you know, in college people goes days without sleep, it becomes a fashion. And then in the working world, people take pride in 12 to 14 hour days, 18 hour days.


Ankit Garg 20:48

In fact, there was a tweet from Elon Musk. He said some straight 72 hours he has not slept. And people are like, wow, they were celebrating.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 20:57

The other thing is right. You’re promoting better sleep through a mattress. But you also talk about the other aspects of sleep because the mattress, I believe, is one variable. For it, what are the other things that you think are needed? For really good sleep?


Ankit Garg 21:17

See is quite interesting. Because I think we spend a daily time to invest, you know, I think the number of hours that our consumers are going to give to our mattress are not going to increase, we realise this. So I think the ambition of the Wakefit company is to make sure that within those number of hours, how do we give them the most quality amount of sleep that we can get right. And there are certain things that we can offer as an advice today in products in future and today that we’re offering some of them, I’ll tell you some interesting learnings that we have had, we learned that, that if you sleep before, a certain point in time, which is about 9 o’clock or 10 o’clock, your quality of sleep is much, much better. Compared to if you sleep at 12 o’clock or 1 o’clock. Irrespective whether you’re sleeping for eight hours or nine hours and hours. I think this is one of the points. So we would advise always, go to your bed at about 10 o’clock. Second, don’t watch movies, like a sci-fi movies, or thriller movies or drama movies or something which gets your nerves, something which troubles you, in fact, scary movies(Speas in Hindi), you don’t watch them. If you watch them, you’re not going to get a good quality sleep for sure. Third is if you want to have a fight with your spouse, have it before 4pm (Laughing)… If you want to have it, you have it before 4pm Because if you have it after that, I’m dead sure, we have the research on it, you’re not going to have good quality sleep. Number four point is remove all the wall clocks in your house. If you are watching time before you go to bed, you’re not going to have good quality sleep because your mind is already calibrated. That is, it’s already 11 o’clock or 12 o’clock am already late, which means the mind has already declared that you’re going to have a sleepless night even if you sleep for 7 hours. So remove the wall clocks. That’s another piece of advice. Fifth advice would be eat your food if possible by six o’clock worst case seven o’clock. Don’t eat anything after six or 7pm. You’re going to have a fantastic amount of sleep. The seventh or eighth advice: if you like certain things in your life for example, you like ‘Friends’ you remember ‘Friends’, you like ‘Friends’ show, you like the movie ‘Dil To Pagal Hai’, you like some songs that you love. Just hear them or watch them for 30 minutes-15 minutes, look at one episode of Friends, the quality of the sleep is going to be amazing because you will sleep with a lot of nerves to calm down your mind. Your mental psyche is very calm, you’re stable, everything is settled. So I think these are some of the things which have an effect. Let’s see the bedroom right now in the bedroom. Always sleep with dim lights, make sure that you’re not having a light, which disturbs your eye because the moment it hits the eye your mind starts, you know gets activated again, number one. Number two, if you want to set up an alarm clock, try to sleep at least for six, seven hours before the alarm clock goes on. Don’t try to get the alarm clock because the alarm clock can get you at a very wrong time of the sleep time, because in the sleep you know right, there is REM sleep, there’s a deep sleep, there’s snoring sleep, blah, blah, blah. So if your alarm clock is disturbing the deepest amount of your sleep, even eight hours of sleep is going to be very bad. So I think, think very carefully when you’re doing this. Right. The moisture in your room. Try to keep it as much as if you get your oxygen very easily. Because in the night when you’re sleeping, your heartbeats are very calm and your body is fully calm. So you would want to inhale oxygen easily. So try to keep the nose clean. Try to make sure that you know there’s decent moisture in the room. And obviously temperature is known to everybody, because I think everybody realises if you keep it very cool, you are going to go to the bathroom. Don’t wake up in the night to go to the bathroom, keep the temperature optimum. I think these are some of the good healthy ways to keep yourself away from nightmares.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 25:14

Have you read the book, “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker?


Ankit Garg 25:18

Yeah, I have read it!


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 25:19

How would you summarise this book to a 10 year old kid? You know why it’s just so important?


Ankit Garg 25:27

Yeah, see, if you want to live, I think if you, if you read this book, you would realise that there’s just so much happening in your brain, when you’re sleeping, when you’re awake, when you’re about to get to sleep, there’s just so many things, if you read it, you probably will not be able to sleep. Because there’s so much written in it. I think the advice would be, first of all, not read that book(Laughing together). That is fun. But second is, believe it or not, I think scientists still don’t know how to control the quality of sleep. It’s, it’s a function of so many things in your particular life that, what you went throughout the day, in your, in your school, with your teacher, with your friends at a, you know, game at cricket, or football, or the music that you played with your friends, I think it’s a function of so many things happened during that day, that defines the quality of the sleep that you’re gonna get, I would advise, go and do it at the max, do whatever you love, you do it at the Max and I think everything will fall in place. And if you want to go by the book, maybe then you will realise there are just too many things and, and there was a line, if I remember correctly, it said, ‘If you read this, and if you know what matters to good quality sleep, you will actually never get good quality sleep, because you will be so conscious that you will disturb your own sleep’. So your mind knows everything. Maybe you know, just enjoy have fun. But just do more and get to sleep as early as possible.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 26:59

And there are now an industry that is trying to at least make the developed world sleep better. They are rings they are I don’t know how many gadgets, their mattresses with, you know, temperature control, to talk about that. Right?


Ankit Garg 27:20

Yeah, I think. See, it’s important for all of us, when we wear those watches and rings. And you know, your gadgets are telling you that, you know, how did your last night go?(Inaudible) How, well the quality of sleep you had, how’s your heart rate? How was your oxygen content? How was the rhythm and stuff like that? Right? While it’s I think they’re at least bringing or surfacing the problems that you might already be encountering. While you’re telling you can always measure a sleep score with your companion who is sitting next to you in your office, in your school, you can just you know, talk about it, what’s happening around it. So it’s very important. But we believe that it only tells you what happened last time, and actually makes you. More anxious— More anxious and fearful. So it’s a business of creating more fear. So you want to measure it, because you might be feeling that you have the worst quality of sleep, and you buy it and you buy it and you get even worse quality of sleep? Right? So we feel that you know, the gadgets are built for not this outcome, but to actually make you aware of what all you can do to improve your sleep. And you can measure it right. And this is where I was trying to give an example. In fact, I would like to really call it out. If you are having a gadget which can measure the quality of sleep, try doing some experiments that I told you probably keep, you know different amounts of lighting in the room. Sleep at 9 o’clock sleep at 11 o’clock. You know, eat food at six o’clock, eat food at 10 o’clock, and watch a movie which is a horror movie or watch a very nice movie. Try all of this and then you will realise the quality of sleep. I think use of the gadget to actually improve the quality of life is supremely important. But if you’re just wearing it, it’s because fashion I think is going to degrade the quality of sleep.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 29:14

And you think the next 10 years or the quality of sleep is going to degrade further for the world or us for India.


Ankit Garg 29:21

Oh I don’t think so. I’ll tell you why. Because I think everybody’s health conscious. There’s just so many stories around us. People are not able to live beyond their 50s or 60s. You know friends and families you get to know like on a quick WhatsApp, somebody died off you get to know right so everybody’s anxious. And there are stories all across you know, this guy died at 40, this girl died at 30, Something happened to him at 45, 15 year old boy got sugar and stuff like that so many things are familiar you get access to information. So I think by nature of this, everybody’s conscious, everybody’s conscious of what is happening around them. And hence by nature of it. You see a lot of Indians going to gyms, waking up in the morning doing yoga, going for a run, going for a jog. You see, I think if we could measure the size of every size of tummy in India, I’m sure it would have reduced in the last few years. But I feel I think people are gonna get more, more and more aware of themselves, what’s happening to the body, and I feel that people realise this, and they will definitely improve, because they can now measure, you know, how is their health, especially by wearing those smart wearable watches.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 30:28

So for those of the audience that haven’t, because they’re listening to the podcast means that they are already conscious of the quality of their sleep. If you want to tell them about the science that you mentioned about the REM, what are the various phases of sleep? Right?


Ankit Garg 30:43

Yep. So see, generally, a person in a seven to eight hours of sleep goes to three to four cycles of sleep. Now each cycle has REM sleep, it’s called Rapid Eye Movement. So I’ll tell you something, it’s also funny, okay, you can notice this, maybe when you go back to your home, if you have, you know, anybody sleeping along with you, let them go to sleep. The first stage in people’s life, when they go to bed, and they are about to go to sleep is called REM. This is for Rapid Eye Movement. What happens in this is, when your eyes are closed, your eyeballs are constantly moving left, right, centre, you will notice them you know, when they’re just about to get into sleep is called Rapid Eye Movement, eyes moving constantly, you know all of that. Now, this phase is about 40 to 50 minutes, depending on what you went through or throughout the day, at what time you go to sleep, so many factors are there, then the next phase comes is deep sleep, this deep sleep is the highest quality of sleep that one gets. And this only lasts for about 10 minutes, 15 minutes in each cycle. In each cycle, you will have (REM sleep, Deep sleep), then you will get again (REM sleep, deep sleep),( REM, deep sleep). So you’ll have three to four days, I guess, if you get three to four cycles, highest quality of sleep, you’ll get the amount of deep sleep that reflects the amount of good quality sleep that you’ve had. So try to improve your good quality sleep as much as possible. Number four, try to not wake up during those deep sleep hours. So what happens is when you are in deep sleep, and suddenly you wake up, you’re going to be very, very unhappy, your body will tell you that I’m very unhappy that I woke up at a point in time where it was very deep in my sleep. And as a recovery is one of the most poor. So try to make sure when you know and obviously nobody can do it. But you know everybody in nature by nature of it, if you wake up, naturally, you will always wake up in REM sleep not at Deep sleep. So try to you know, remove alarms, try to avoid disturbance, at least have three to four seconds of life. I think that’s good enough.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 32:46

Have you explored the role of exercise in sleep?


Ankit Garg 32:54

We are particularly not able to make any connection saying you know what, if you exercise of this quality, then you’re gonna get this quality of sleep. And obviously, it’s a part of being healthy, you know, being healthy living, but I don’t have scientific evidence for it. But I’m sure it must be related to it.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 33:16

Let’s say for example, that one of the factors in I don’t know whether it’s because it gets quoted quite often. And it’s by Andrew David Huberman (American neuroscientist) who is one of the leading authorities on health now in the world that ‘Drinking affects sleep, any kind of alcohol’.


Ankit Garg 33:31

Oh, yeah. So I think this is a very classical case, it’s like there are clear examples of this. You can also try this by the way, if you drink before sleep, and if you’re drinking hard liquor, or if you’re drinking beer, your sleep cycles are gonna be very erratic. And I think most of it goes because of what is happening inside your stomach, you’re very dry, and then you will drink water, then you go to the loo(Washroom). So you will constantly break the cycles that Deep sleep, REM cycles, and hence, the recovery in that period is the lowest. And that’s why a lot of people, a lot of us have this hangover because we are not able to sleep.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 34:07

So you’re saying the hangover is because of the body where it should have been addressed. Is that most active when you drink—


Ankit Garg 34:12

It’s restless, basically restless. So you’re basically very dry inside. And because you’re dry, your body’s awake and you’re trying to look for water but because you’re just too tired, you’re not waking up. So, you’re not sleeping at all.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 34:30

It can be also because the liver is continuously trying to fight to push out.


Ankit Garg 34:35

Yeah. That’s obviously happening.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 34:39

This is very interesting that you know, now we are able to discuss sleep. This podcast wouldn’t have happened 10 years ago. So we are at a point in time, where this timing makes so much sense. And if you can tell right, what are some common misconceptions that Indians have about the sleep cycle? like when you talk to people they say like, it is like this and you correct them by saying(Speaks in Hindi) this is scientific. (Chuckles) Mainly the parents generation,


Ankit Garg 35:08

One of the misconceptions that we heard is that, ‘If you’re having a dream early in the morning, and if you wake up at four o’clock, you will remember your dream’. Or if you remember your dreams, and you mean that you have a very good quality of sleep, I think that’s a full misconception. You generally, you know, go to your dreams, and then you’re in the REM cycle. And, and the reason I think there’s a, there’s a reason why you I’m trying to clarify on you know why some of the people don’t remember the dream, because in your REM cycle is when you watch the dream. And generally you wake up in that cycle. So when you wake up in that cycle, and you’re dreaming, Dream generally is in the middle of it, right? And you wake up, you don’t recall anything, because REM is a poor body of sleep. Nobody watches in deep, right. So if you’re about to get into deep, then you fully remember the REM cycle, and hence you remember the dream. Right? So it’s got nothing to do about whether you wake up at four or five, I think it’s just about the cycle. It’s very natural that some of the time, you’ll be lucky to fall into that phase of deep sleep and remember a dream in the REM cycle.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 36:13

I think that another thing is that the word called alarm is a very industry that was created, which was not necessary. Yes. Yes. If people slept on time, they would have woken up on time. And I think alarm is one of the causes of the sleep crisis.


Ankit Garg 36:33

Oh yeah, for sure. I think alarms. Alarms are the worst thing to have in your life. You can watch probably another half an hour of Netflix and wake up maybe a little early. But I think the alarm just disrupts you. And most likely disruptive in a deep cycle. Yeah, and if you get disturbed in a deep cycle, that whole cycle of REM deep is gone. Which means the quality of the score is going to be horrible. If you’re using an alarm.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 36:57

Because the body’s natural alarm, right? Body will wake you up when it is fully rested.


Ankit Garg 37:02

There is a Body clock. In fact, the reason that I’d said in the previous conversation is don’t watch the time in the night before you go to bed, because the moment you tell your mind that the time right now is 11 o’clock, the mind clock starts working. You tell your mind you want to wake up at four o’clock and if you’re a conscious person, the mind will automatically wake you up I think all of us would have experienced this at some point in time at this I feel that you know this is the power I have, if I go to my bed at 10 o’clock and I look at my watch at 10 o’clock and I tell myself Ankit, You have to wake up at five o’clock. 99% I’ll wake up at five o’clock because my mind is constantly working on calibrating what is the time right now. Hence it is advised to not watch time before going to sleep.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 37:44

That’s why you said that if you do that and if mine knows that it has to wake up at a certain time, it has slept a certain time. The mind and your body clock get into a fight with each other? Correct. And actually they should be in sync for a good quality of sleep and ultimately life


Ankit Garg 38:00

You can actually trick your mind, you know that? This is also interesting. You sleep for five hours. Your recovery in the morning is going to be almost equal to sleeping in six hours. If you can trick your mind and train your mind, don’t tell him how many hours you slept okay? If you know and by the way you can tell in the morning that maybe I slept for so many hours. Because you’re wearing a ring let’s say or you’re wearing a watch the watch can tell you let’s say you slept for so many hours after you’ve slept there’s nothing that a mind can do to the body. But if your mind knows before going to sleep I think it’s not disturb you a lot more.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 38:36

And you think the neck pillow industry is also a Placebo effect that got created that pillows were never needed right? I don’t remember that the ancients used to have a pillow and now there are so many.


Ankit Garg 38:49

I think that is a fundamental change now, earlier we go by the data. We used to sell almost two pillows per mattress earlier. Now the average is four on almost every mattress you will find four pillows for a double bed mattress compared to two pillows earlier. Which means that people like to not only put pillows below their neck, but between their thighs below their hands(Laughing). So I think people are just playing with the pillows. Definitely the consumption of pillows has been going on


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 39:17

And there is no relationship between a pillow and a good sleep?


Ankit Garg 39:19

Oh no, there’s no relationship, other than keeping the spine in check your these cords. Generally people who tend to, you know have, there are two things with pillows. One is if your neck is a little bit elevated, the blood flow is better off into your brain. So I think if you’re just flat, maybe the liquid whatever there’s in the stomach, they’ll go a little bit up and the quality of the blood flow is not that good. But if your bed is lifted, I think the blood flow is better number one number two, that the spine is also aligned using a pillow because a pillow is generally very moldable when a mould was very soft, it takes a shape the way that you want to sleep it just fills in the cavity. So it helps you keep your spine straight. So it’s I think good to use a thin pillow, not a very thick pillow or zero pillow, it’s good to use a thin pillow.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 40:05

But let’s say in Japan, the culture is that they lie on a wooden, wooden bed without a pillow. Have you studied that?


Ankit Garg 40:17

We have heard about it. But we don’t believe that’s a good quality because I think there’s a misconception. In fact, If you go and ask my uncles and aunts who still live in tier-2, tier-3 towns, they would say, ” The best mattress is the one that is the hardest.'(Speaks in Hindi)(Chuckles) But that’s not true. I think. Just because they’ve been sleeping on this, your body is so great, right? God has made us so nice that you sleep on this table. In fact, for let’s say, 21 days straight 22nd, you will say this is the best product to sleep on. The body is built that way, but it’s really hurting you because kids, like if you know very hard, are sleeping on it. Wherever your body is lying because our body’s not straight, right? It’s not a plane thing. It is all curvaceous, and all the different places right, wherever the weight of the mass of the body is, it will just accumulate that blood, put the pressure when you wake up in the morning, you will be happy in there. So I think there are a lot of misconceptions about it. We personally don’t believe while we have not studied that, you know that the Japanese way is a good way to sleep.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 41:19

And earlier, people used to have, you know, those 2000 rupees mattresses which are made up of cotton and unruly, or you think people are going to do away with that. Because Wakefit in particular, you have been working with a mission of making mattresses cheaper.

Ankit Garg 41:35

Yeah, see, it goes by the amount of consciousness, you have to go towards the quality of sleep that you want. Right, it’s all a function of it. For example, if you’re conscious and let’s say you have 100 crores in your bank account, right and you value the quality of home that you live in, you will buy probably a great bungalow and 20, 30, 40 crore rupees you will buy, if you value car, you will buy maybe a crore rupees car one after two years. But even if you don’t value sleep, you will buy a ₹2000 mattress. So I think it’s a function of how you as a person realised that the sleep is the quality of sleep is playing important in life, if somebody is able to link that, you know what, in fact, you know, there are some of the learnings I would like to highlight this the weight loss is also linked to amount of sleep that you’re taking. Because your machine is also burning the midnight when you’re sleeping, right everybody knows that more and more calories are burned when you’re sleeping and your organs are rising and stuff like that right. So, the more you sleep, the more weightless you are. So, the moment you realise you know you have to be more healthy, you need to be more nimble, you need to move fast, very exerting throughout the day, you want to be the best every day, then people realise the quality of sleep. And then that is when they will start researching what is good for them. And that is where they will start upgrading from that 2000 to something but I believe fundamentally nobody’s gonna change unless they value it, it goes by the fact that you know even if you have 100 Crore,then also you will not spend money on it.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 43:16

So, you know, we discussed how India’s aspiration is killing its sleep. But, you know, we are discussing this podcast and you were doing sleep internships and many other social experiments. And I think your marketing is entirely based on those. You were not saying buy our Wakefit mattress. You’re entirely in your marketing saying sleep better. Right. So, Indians are putting more focus on are discussing in their home and are discussing their work about sleep this generation, while at the same time, you know, they are going away from prioritising less than sleep. This is very at loggerheads with each other.


Ankit Garg 43:53

Yeah. No, you’re right. But there’s no outcome to it. Right. So I think as a company, you have a limited choice. The customer wants to spend a lesser amount of time on the mattress, and they have to take the most out of that time that they’re sleeping. So I think that’s where innovation comes in. That’s where everybody in the industry is forced to, within the limited time of, you know, sleeping time, how are you still going to give them what they could without compromising on the time. I think that’s where innovation comes in. A lot of people like us startups, especially in the US using lot’s of smart mattresses, tech mattresses, people are doing all sorts of wonders to make sure that you know this limited finite time of sleep, you should be able to upgrade their life.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 44:34

I think because in the US people can afford to spend more on medicine. Like there are 14 million millionaires out of the 300 million population in the US, like $40 million millionaires now they’re buying medicines which can temperature control the mattress.


Ankit Garg 44:48

Yes, we heard about it people are able to afford these. These matters come at a cost of about $2000-$2,500 or $3,000. Maybe you know they are so costly. I think in India, people would have to create alternatives. That’s what we call Jugaad(Makeshift), right? Indians are very good at doing jugaad, I’m sure somebody must be trying to figure out an alternative which can still keep them cool, which is available at an affordable price.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 45:17

Right now I want to ask you, right, you speak so much about better sleep, right? How do you lead by example on that, right? What’s your own schedule? Like? Because you are an entrepreneur, and it’s tough for you to prioritise sleep?


Ankit Garg 45:32

Yeah, no, I think I would be the worst example of this. In fact, this is an irony. The person who’s trying to sell sleep is not sleeping. I think my sleep is my God’s gift. I’m able, I think I have this gift from God the moment I go to bed. It just takes me a minute.


Siddhartha Ahluwalia 45:53

And what time do you go to bed?


Ankit Garg 45:55

Generally, I would go to bed about 10:00-10:15. But I tell myself that I want to wake up at five. I wake up at five, okay, which means that my mind is not at rest. So I think I’m just trying to figure out how to get to the 7 hours of great quality sleep without getting disturbed. But I’m on the way to become an evangelist saying you know what, I have achieved it.

Siddhartha Ahluwalia 46:18

So thanks a lot Ankit! It’s been such a pleasure talking to you again on The Neon Show. This time, we discussed a lot about how to live a better quality of life through a better quality of sleep. I think our audience will enjoy it a lot because this is the core of what they do for six to eight hours a day.


Ankit Garg 46:37

Thank you for giving me this opportunity. Thanks.

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