1. Sleep with the curtains open. Wake up with sunrise.
2. Immediately exercise outside. It could be anything, walking, running, swimming, biking, calestetics, just as long as its outside.
3. At sundown, turn off all electronics. Using pencil, paper, and a 40 watt bulb, refactor your code, do design work and the next day's plans. If you feel like you haven't gotten enough work done on your computer before sundown, then spend less time screwing around. (Then again, if you refactored and planned properly the night before, this problem begins to disappear.)
4. Go to sleep 8 hours (or whatever you require) before sunrise.
BONUS: Get a dog, cat, or child. Although these aren't free, they'll make sure you're up at sunrise.
Been doing this for years. I may not have DSPS, but this does the same thing as OP's approach for $520.99 less.
I can do all these things and yes, I achieve 8 hours of good sleep when I do. The problem is that it requires extraordinary effort to keep up, you can't shake off the unnatural feeling that you're living on someone else's schedule and (ultimately) you are not as creative, explosive, productive and even happy as you are when you fall asleep at 3am and wake up at 11. I've done a few months of your normal routine and it sucked. Sure I felt rested and in sync with others, but everything great I've built in life had happened between 10pm and 4 in the morning.
I am firmly convinced that I am not biologically "wired" to going to sleep at 11pm like a robot, simply because someone turned of the lights. I get this intense long-lasting spike of energy when the sun goes down. Every time I switch to a regular people schedule I start missing that feeling and my productivity suffers a big deal.
Here is what I do: I enjoy my lifestyle. It feels great to be awake when the time slows down and the city finally comes to a stop, I've tried waking up really early (someone said it feels the same) but not - not even close. This precious time offers me relief, relief from the pressures of modern life, our rat race of schedules, mortgage payments, poor sales and shrinking savings. It's so much easier to concentrate on a problem at hand.
Unfortunately, waking up at 11 is not an option, have a normal nine-fiver'er, and what I usually do is catch up on the weekend. I used to feel like a bum, waking up past noon during the weekends, but I have come to realize that is the only way I function. If I don't get my beauty sleep in the weekend, I get extremely tired the week after and I still can't fall asleep! So I am tired during the day and restless at night...its paintful, like an itch that won't go away and doesn't get relived by scratching.
Worse, as a company founder it can be very difficult living on that schedule. A frightening amount of life occurs before 9AM for most people.
I don't really have an answer... I struggle with my sleeping habits every day. I do know that I'd really like to be on a sun centric schedule, however.
Wow, I just found that this is a disease. I always thought that it was my life style choice at school and now at the startup. I guess not.
Trying out f.lux now
I had the worst problem with getting up in the morning while living in Seattle. Since I moved to San Francisco, the problem has largely abated. I'm still most productive during the evening, but at least here I can control my schedule.
The big difference is that the original author refuses to shut off his TV, computer, and phone at night.
Living in Sweden
I used to have a lot of problems going to sleep but since children it's a thing of the past. I still struggle with getting to bed on time (he says, posting at HN when should be going to bed)
I started waking up with the sun every day. It's still a bit of a problem on cloudy days, but it feels a more natural way to function than all the gadgets.
In the perfect setting, there is darkness outside at night and lots of natural light in the morning. I had that experience at summer camp, where there were no street lights and everyone had to be quiet by a certain time. The mountain air was refreshing and I would be up with the sunrise naturally.
Living in San Francisco, I now know that this utopia is reserved for vacations. In the city, the biggest problem with opening up the blinds is the street light at night. Or the fog gets in the way or I have to get up before the sun rises or the sun doesn't hit my window perfectly during winter months, etc. I set up all these gadgets for all the times I can't get light in the morning naturally, which seems to be 90+% of my life.
I would be much happier to live like I did as an 18 year old at summer camp. I would also be happier if I did yoga everyday, ate organically, exercised everyday, read more than I watched TV, etc. In the meantime...
I keep imagining a nighttime bedroom temperature control based on a PID and a servo attached to my window-- would probably be too loud (esp with the required torque) to work while I'm sleeping, but a guy can dream, right? Maybe with some louvers...
Maybe not. What if the window opened over a period of 2-3 minutes? You would also have a more stable system.
it turns out there is a whole market segment for motorized blinds-- but all quite pricey and mostly focused on industrial applications.
How much would people pay for a low-cost kit to work with existing blinds? Will add these to my consumer products idea list the next time I meet with my product-development/manufacturing friends...
My first job out of college was a start-up in the financial industry; strolling in at 11am was highly looked down upon, and so ended my budding career as a finance whore.
Added: One of my responsibilities was to make sure my brothers got up in time for school. I can tell you from experience, that if you have someone to help, ice water is a great motivator to get out of bed.
He was mad, as he pulled a double shift because of that, but hey...beauty sleep :D
There's also some past health problems I've had which sometimes leaves me really light-headed when I stand up in the morning, so my options upon hitting the alarm are to lose vision and nearly pass out, or hurry to lay back down.
Also, keep in mind that due to the strange sleep schedule, 8am classes commonly mean I get less than 5 hours of sleep. Try getting 3-4 hours of sleep per night (or less, if I've had a project) for a week, and see how well you wake up to your alarm clock. Now sleep in on the weekend to try to make up for the deficit, and continue this for a few years. Alarm clocks just don't cut it.
Waking up with the sun is a slow process, whereas an audible alarm is abrupt.
Yesterday I woke up much earlier than I'd like (via alarm clock) in the hope of being tired enough to get to sleep before midnight last night. I struggled to concentrate and keep my eyes focused all day, but I was still awake until 3am.
I hate spending 12 hours in bed and get up feeling like I've had 6 hours of actual sleep. It's hard to understand if you don't have this problem yourself.
Here's my review of the Zeo: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1358589
I discovered melatonin after finally coming across the DSPS wikipedia article and realizing that it was describing me exactly. I initially started off with 3mg of melatonin about an hour before bedtime and that was waaay too much for me. I ended up sleeping most of the next day. After some trial and error I found that 1mg works perfect for me.
Now that I've been on a more 'normal' schedule for several months, I take it for granted. But when I first discovered that I wouldn't have to be a severe night owl for the rest of my life - it was a joyous revelation.
The hardest thing about DSPS for me was the loneliness at night. I could not go to sleep naturally until 4am at the earliest usually - and that left many hours when most things were closed and most friends were asleep. I feel much healthier now especially due to my improved social life with my new schedule.
While there were some benefits to DSPS - like beautiful 3am runs around San Francisco when everything's asleep and some great 'flow' time for programming, ultimately solving this problem has been a huge improvement in my life.
And here are some google answer from 2007 listing researches on possible adverse effects of melatonin: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=284734
What's your source for this assertion?
However with some googling it seems the only research that has been done specifically with melatonin where memory loss was shown was in animal studies (gerbils and zebrafish)
I was once convinced I was on the set of the Goonies, because my comforter happened to look like a cave. I've only seen bits and pieces of that movie, so I have no idea why I hallucinated about it. I told someone "this lady needs to sell some chickens" because I saw a woman in the middle of my room selling chickens. I saw pixies dancing in the middle of my room. I saw a little girl, about the height of the toilet, that was sucked behind it as I approached. I also called or texted a number of people and told them a bunch of things that made absolutely no sense. Things like "I don't trust you. You might read my books." Or telling them I was flying and how much I loved them. I have a subtle recollection of the latter, absolutely none of the former. I never had a "bad trip", in that I never experienced anything that made me fearful or feel bad. It was all very euphoric, but, from my understanding, this isn't true for everyone.
If you're into the whole recreational drug thing, I can't say that Ambien is a bad choice as a hallucinogen. The hangovers were mild, and only came about from large doses (~30mg). I never took it for that purpose, but I realize there are people (not necessarily here) that might be interested. As far as using it as a sleep aid, I wouldn't suggest anyone go near the stuff. It's great the first few times you take it, but the tolerance sets on rather quickly. I ended up just hallucinating until the time I would normally fall asleep. I never became dependent, but it seems that addiction isn't necessarily uncommon for those that take it for long periods of time. If you are having trouble sleeping, try melatonin supplements and light therapy. Melatonin doesn't work for everyone, but, honestly, I'd rather have a few nights where I'm unable to sleep than the hangovers and hallucinations I got from Ambien.
TL;DR: Ambien makes for a really shitty sleep-aid.
I find having a significant other helps a lot as well; I'm more likely to go to bed on time because I don't want to disturb them by turning in late.
- working midnight to morning in dead silence
- sleeping through an overly hot day
- watching sunset, then watching sunrise
- being temporarily timezone-synchronized to friends halfway across the globe
- viewing people's absurdly high energy levels in the morning, while you are already sleepy
- being questioned by police for being outside at 3 AM, on your own property
Specifically "viewing people's absurdly high energy levels in the morning, while you are already sleepy" has been frustrating. And as they are winding down and burned out come 4pm or later when I'm speeding up reaching my highest productivity.
Add to the list:
- Remember what happened at that party last night
- Volunteer to drive the "late" shift on trips
- Watch the server and provide customer support from midnight - 6pm
- Finish that feature when everyone else can barely function and things still need to get done
- Know every late night restaurant, coffee shop, bar and convenience store. And when they stop serving food, close and open.
Is there any advantage over using the (RGB) color settings of your monitor?
Additionally, I used to live in a basement with bad lighting and so I would go to bed at 3am and get up around 10am when the sun would finally shine in my room. About two weeks ago I moved into an apartment with plenty of natural light and I've been getting up at 7am and going to bed at midnight, as well as feeling significantly better and more alert overall
My dad had a bunch of old X10 automation stuff laying around which I used to rig all of the lights in my room (a light switch unit for the overhead lights and a wall-wart style unit for my reading light) for remote control. Same with the stereo.
Then I programmed the control unit to fade in the lights in the morning and eventually power on the stereo which was looping an ocean sounds file I'd found somewhere. I came to really enjoy waking up in that way. I would have preferred natural light, but with Alaskan summers I needed room darkening blinds, and I didn't have a trivial way to automate those.
The whole project took about an hour and didn't cost me anything. The X10 stuff is pretty cheap now, but there is also a lot of much higher quality automation equipment available very cheap these days.
"- Do you love quiet mornings and active evenings?
- Do you feel life is too short for traffic jams?
- Are you at your most productive after 10 am?
Then you might be a B-Person"
I used to wake up insanely late on weekends (12ish), but this set everything straight; we can finally enjoy our weekends and go places.
Not saying this will work for everyone, but treating it as a romantic "together" activity made it something we stuck to.
I had to laugh at noon being considered "insanely late". :)
I currently get a ton of natural light in the morning, plus I have a light box I turn on for 30 minutes while I drink my coffee and do my first work of the day. By 9amm, I'm usually out he door for my walk to work in the sunshine - which is when I think my body really wakes up. I bet if I went for a walk to get a cup of coffee at 7am instead I'd get the benefit and reset my circadian rhythm earlier.
But falling asleep is the main problem for me actually, I try to go to bed by 11:30pm but I find I am still not able to dose off until around 1am (which used to be my normal bed time), so what ends up happening is that over the course of the week I become mildly sleep deprived. I notice this less of an issue on the weekends, and after reading this post I think this is probably because I don't end my day with my laptop/iPad in bed.
Anyone know if there is something like f.lux for the iPad? Guessing not, since it would need to run in the background...
Thanks for the useful post
Then again, so does the iPad.
1. The biggest change that needs to be made, is to have genuine respect for nature's cycles. That is the mindset needs to change from "We can sleep/wake whenever we want" to "Aligning oneself with natures rhythms". All animals and plants do it, except human beings.
2. When looking for apartment, look for apartment which lets more of sunlight in. So bedroom should have window/s which lets lot of light in on to the bed (of course it can be controlled with a blind).
2. Even during day time, instead of artificial lights, see if sunlight from windows can be used.
3. Minimize use of monitor(meaning staring at monitor) past 9PM and ideally best to sleep by 10PM. Consistently. Once the pattern is established, your body automatically falls sleep easily around these times.And, with this patten, early morning hours (6AM to 9AM) provide freshest of mind. It is about quality of wakeful hours and not quantity.
I've found this to not only provide the best quality of sleep but great clarity of mind and improvement in health.
I didn't spend the $520.99 but I did install F.Lux on my computers and this works REALLY well.
I have been sleeping around 11pm every night and wake up around 7am. I also work out around 6 and eat dinner after which probably aids in the wearing down of my body.
This is mostly due to F.Lux cause I am on the computer till about 5 minutes before I fall asleep.
Falling asleep after taking melatonin in interesting feeling. Your breath slows down and it gets shallower. It seems that there are some symptoms of genuinely falling asleep but not all of them. Probably because serotonin mentioned in the article is still high (or something). Funny thing that you don't feel drugged. You feel just physical symptoms of falling asleep not the mental ones. You can easily overcome pill you took and perform any task at almost unhampered performance. Even pull all-nighter despite the pill. But if you go to sleep half an hour after the pill you will fall asleep.
520$ buys you 7 year supply of every day melatonin
I read an article in -- I think -- NYTimes, maybe a year ago, about melatonin. It revolved around a study which found that the typical 5mg dose of melatonin causes the body to build a resistance very quickly. They found that 300 micrograms had the same effect on sleepiness, but didn't cause the body to adapt.
I've been taking 300mcg doses (Nature Valley, I think) most nights for the last few months and my sleep has been more sound and my dreams much more entertaining and memorable.
Edit: updated 3mcg to 300mcg because I was an idiot.
Nothing is as important, though, as keeping all sources of light out of your bedroom during the hours you're trying to sleep.
The light adjustment thing works, though, it's just that up north (this being Trondheim, Norway - not that far north, but far enough) you have to enforce by using dark curtains, or even aluminium foil taped on the window. Just wish I had any. The joys of living in student housing - less choice in curtains. So I've gotten used to sleeping even in daylight, since it usually turns up in my room at 3:30 in the morning :P
Note how there is no twilight ending or starting time.
I thought once I had paid my dues, done the all-nighters, and succeeded that I wouldn't fall back into the grips of insomnia. Now, almost a decade and a new venture later, I'm back at it. I've seen 4:30 AM for many consecutive months. It doesn't feel as easy as it used to, and I'm beginning to think that it's really not healthy.
I notice that I'm often tired and ready to sleep around 9:00 PM. If I find myself in a dark place (movie date or something), I'll pass out. Quite embarrassing. But once I'm "over the hump" I'm good for another 8 hours or so.
I started exercising daily and meditating at least half an hour a day and now I sleep like a baby. Sometimes it takes a couple hours of reading, but its not a severe problem for me anymore. Exercise or meditation alone didn't do it. Together they give me physical tiredness and mental quiet, which means sleep.
Its amazing what physical/mental upkeep will do for you. That being said... I just install F.lux and may try some of this other stuff too!
YMMV of course but do take care :)
Do what you enjoy doing before bedtime in the morning - but after your most interesting meeting of the day first over coffee or breakfast. This has helped me get through the day and reset (at least for the next weekday or two).
Will someone please provide a solution to this problem...I, for one, would be willing to pay for it.
Also you could check out BluBlocker sunglasses which can be gotten cheap on eBay. But, I'm not sure if they will work for what you want.
The light thing does work though. There are studies backing it and I've tried it and it definitely works.
One funny thing about one of those studies. They somehow found "evidence" that light on the inside of elbow (I think its called the cubital tunnel area) had the same effect on circadian rhythms, but I think this was later disproven.
Besides that, I've found myself growing ever more sensitive to lighting, natural or otherwise. The 'fluorescent sunshine' from the overhead fixtures typical to most office environments is a definite demotivator. Likewise, I usually remove those ubiquitous, vinyl miniblinds from any new apartment and replace them with Chinese-style roll-up blinds with opaque fabric to allow in natural light.
Edit: russell_h actually did something of the sort - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1409313
Not that I want to ruin your fun or anything. :)
(and the "3 Guinness" method has its flaws in the long run.)
However, when I do go to bed, I fall immediately asleep for 5 or 6 hours and I'm pretty awake and alert in the mornings generally.
Great article, and gives me some ideas for if I ever have to adjust to 'normal' hours.
I read about this melatonin-suppressing blue light theory recently. It seems very plausible to me, since I have the tendency to stay up arbitrarily late doing absolutely nothing productive on the computer. I thought it would be brilliant to modify the display settings to ramp down the blue light after a certain time.
This struck me as such a novel approach to the issue that it never even occurred to me that such an application might already exist! I also didn't know that so many other people had the same general set of problems with sleeping.