Usually, I get so infatuated with a script I'm writing, a new program I discovered, a bug that I need to resolve, a book that I'm reading, some concept that I'm thinking of, that my mind just keeps on being active, and wants to keep working. It's the worst when I'm working on my computer, due to the blue light (I've started wearing yellow sunglasses to minimize the effect), while it's a bit better when I'm reading or listening to music or thinking.
In any case, this is a great article. I feel like small amounts of sleep has been the greatest inhibitor of my performance in... anything really. Being dumb and young I felt like I could still function correctly, but I really started noticing that I had better tournament results when actually sleeping 8 hours, while my results on all other days were lackluster. I read up on a lot of things and convinced myself that sleeping enough is essential. I still slip up and don't even go on my bed at the right times, my sleep schedule goes all over the place for a lot of different reasons, but I'm really trying. I feel like I might need to seek some professional help on this, but I'll still take it as far as possible before that.
Now, I have an exercise routine in the mornings. I wake up with my 2 daughters (both under 3) at ~7am and immediately setup for a 30min workout video. The kids love routine, so they adapted very easily. I make breakfast after cooling down, my wife is able to have a peaceful shower, then around 9am she takes over. I think that moment to herself in the morning helps her to reset for another crazy day.
Now I hit the shower and my mind now starts to lock in. I start creating a mental agenda of what I need to get done. Feeling rejuvenated, I hit the ground running. Creativity and focus now flow naturally throughout the day. I usually feel super productive and accomplished by dinner time. It is easy to let go and be ready to join the family. Sometimes I continue working through dinner, but no screens after 10pm has given me massive productivity gains.
A few things helped me. First, I started logging my sleep. It helped me analyze how much sleep I was really getting. Second, this sounds simplistic, but I first fixed the waking time. Irrespective of the time I sleep, I started waking up at the exact same time everyday. And finally, I stopping using all gadgets at least for 2 hours before my sleep time.
I see a marked improvement in the quality of my sleep these days. Hope you beat your problem too.
1. What do you do if in a situation where you'll get a low amount of sleep. Nap mid day?
2. What about social stuff? I'd love to get up at 8 am most days, but then any social event in the evening throws that off.
Naps might fix the latter, but I have trouble napping due to onset insomnia. Unless I'm extremelt fatigued.
Ours gets me up between 6 and 7am every day. If I'm up late the night before I just end up going to be super early the next day and things even out.
It also helps to have a meal as soon as you get up. And meal is anything with calories in it. I.e. a cabbage leaf is fine.
This helps reset your circadian rhythm (great for jetlag too).
What do you do with social events etc though. Nap? Just be tired? If they're 1-2x per week I guess I'd need a later fixed time.
No, you pick something you want permanent and just do it.
Eating early after waking is helpful. I drink tea with L-Theanine before bed and reduce blue light. I take melatonin when I really need it, which is rare.
I'm not naturally an early riser.
> What do you do with social events etc though. Nap?
I eat low carb, I drink a lot of water and I exercise. Makes it a lot harder to be too tired to function. Only 4 hours of sleep? That's tough, rework your day to only do non creative things that don't require too much thinking. Admin, emails etc.
I also have a 10 month old which helps me avoid social situations that are not valuable.
When doing heavy weight training, it's more or less a necessity.
(No kid at this point, I'm sure that will change things once I do have once)
Right now, I'm sleep training a baby, so less. My goal is 7 hours and I really enjoy 8. And I can get this consistently.
> When doing heavy weight training, it's more or less a necessity.
I've been a gym rat for many years and I can attest to this. Not enough sleep and your tanks are empty, no power.
> (No kid at this point, I'm sure that will change things once I do have once)
Kids make you focus. You cut out things you wasted time on and you're back to where you were. Less time wasty, more family and relationship. Works out well.
After reading this again. Yes, the goal is a habit that puts you into a rhythm. The place you want to be is to not need an alarm to wake up and to wake up with light (natural or not). Now I like sleeping too much for this to work. I'll happily stay in bed for 10 hours. More than that and my body starts hurting...
( Artificial: http://www.usa.philips.com/c-m-li/light-therapy/wake-up-ligh... )
I don't need "punishment" for something I want to do (stay out on Friday)
i also want to add thats its better to get 6 hours of deep sleep then trying to sleep and basically awake whole night.
and best tip to get tired is to wake up early and do some exercise during the day.
also eat at the same times every day.
Are you me?
And why don't you?
Thinking of it along those lines - valuing quality over quantity - helped encourage me to create a fixed sleeping schedule.
One other thing that helps - do things in stretches. 4 hours of slaying dragons once a week is a lot more fun than half an hour 7 times a week.
I'm glad I'm not alone in this. On a stable, moderate sleep deficit (often 6 hours, like you), I feel ok. I'm used to it, I'm not exhausted, it's alright. I pay in attentiveness and memory, but it's bearable.
As I start to dig out, I feel like shit. I don't know if it's the changing schedule or some 'expectation' from my body of actually good sleep, but I feel groggy, distractable, and generally useless. It takes many days of consistent recovery (often ~9 hours) to shake that off, and only a few days of error to fall back into the routine.
I'll try to go to sleep at 22:30 this week to see if I feel different.
A simple, funny example: I always thought I was prone to getting songs stuck in my head. It turns out I'm not unless I'm sleep deprived, but that was such a constant state that I never knew there was an alternative.
So, what do we do?!
A lot of life org problems are good candidates for solving through scheduling ...
At any rate, I find reading using the Kindle app on my OLED device (S8+ or S2 tab) with bluelight filter enabled (native filter on S8, app on S2 tab) with lowest brightness (white text/black background) to be great.
I'll start off with a bit of sci-fi, and if it gets too exciting I'll then switch to something less exciting - e.g. continue my work on the blue book (DDD) or something like that. ;)
Lifting weights in the gym also helps (e.g. 5x5 stronglifts), and not just for sleep either.
Please don't wait. It took me years to get help, and sleep is very easy to fix with such a tiny amount of medical care. The doctor literally gave me a look like "You've tried to live with this for a decade instead of spending $40 and a couple hours to fix it at any point during that time?", gave me a prescription for a simple sleep aid, and told me to call him if that didn't work within a week or two.
It could be that in your case, as in mine also, sleep schedule problems are masking something more important, like apnea, mood disorders, ADHD, or other issues. There's really no reason to suffer needlessly out of some misplaced sense of heroism.
I just keep pounding caffeine and it really doesn't bug me. I'm sure my performance in just about everything has dropped significantly, but eh, I'm in a fairly secure situation now, so I feel like value out of my life vs performance in tasks I don't really like that much... I'll take the value usually.
I really need to unwind before bed, and if I don't get that time to turn off my brain, I'll be up all night. So I stay up late until I feel ready for bed, but I'm screwed either way at that point.
Getting life in your way often seems to be way worse.
Might sound stupid but I guess after a while of thought-speeding my brain gets bored and calm down. Works for me at least.
Also no coffee after 4PM.
We begin to steady and stabilize the mind by counting the breath. We practice by counting each inhalation and each exhalation, beginning with one and counting up to ten. Inhale — at the end of the inhalation, count one. Exhale — at the end of the exhalation, count two. When you get to ten, come back to one and start all over. The only agreement that you make with yourself in this process is that if your mind begins to wander — if you become aware that what you’re doing is chasing thoughts – you will look at the thought, acknowledge it, and then deliberately and consciously let it go and begin the count again at one.
It eventually stills the mind and will help you, or at least me (the few times I have trouble falling asleep), to wander into zzzzz land.
I does still the mind, but I have a problem that it makes me even more awake. A couple of times I tried that I ended up going back to my laptop and working through the night because I felt like I gained so much energy.
Then skip the counting and just focus on your breathing (shikantaza). If that also is too much to focus on, do it for 20 minutes or so and then just try to sleep the regular way. Hopefully your brain wont be monkey minding as much as it did before the excercise.
I want to stress that this is not zazen — when doing zazen you should not fall asleep — but a method that I think can be useful also when we try to fall asleep.
If you are on Linux you should have a look at Redshift. It allows you to adjust color temperature and brightness via command line. During daytime I put more blue and brightness into the screen, depending on the weather outside (5000K-6500K, 70%-100% brightness). I do this once when I start working. When it gets dark outside I turn the values down to something like 3000K-4000K and 50%-70% brightness, depending on the amount of light inside the room. This relaxes your eyes and puts you in a better (less tensive) mood, especially at night. Redshift really became essential to me.
Almost everything else, Flux: https://justgetflux.com/
Redshift seems to be the top choice for Linux users though, because f.lux lacks some basic features (like being able to turn it on during daylight hours). The trade-off is that f.lux is easier to install and has a smaller footprint.
Also worth noting is that Redshift is FOSS, and f.lux is not (though there are forks on githib, so I must be missing something).
I eliminated blue light (mostly) after 8:00 and it help slightly but within the margin of error.
I then added 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation everyday at lunch. Nothing wooy just mindfulness.
Within 2 weeks i was naturally getting tired around 10:00 and able to fall asleep in less than five minutes.
Quit meditating (because its a pia to find the time, it shouldnt' be but it is) and sleep problems returned.
I didn't even attribute my sleep improvement to the daily practice until i noticed my sleep was all messed up again.
It works and its just 15 minutes. People's millage may very but it was life changing for me.
Are you fast paced in general? It is my experience that mindfulness enables the brain to put things away easier throughout the day, but it is really difficult the first week or so, because you actively have to let thoughts fly away.
Maybe you could try to shift your tasks to fit a similar schedule. Use the evenings for thinking, reflecting, planning and theoretic concepts, preferably with some music, while executing those thoughts and ideas in the morning.
Love that, no lazy journalism, no ridiculous claims. Just the facts and some possible implications.
Not exactly on the same level as "When Your Child Is a Psychopath" or "My Family's Slave" (two very recent and exceptionally great articles from The Atlantic).
I wonder how many other people did similar things as a kid and turned out completely ordinary.
It seems to me that you had bursts of violence because you felt hurt yourself and needed to make things 'right', not just because you found joy in harming others.
I also have a really low resting heart rate, around 40 beats per minute.
What you didn't mention in your original post was that you'd done most of those things out of retaliation - not premeditated. That's a major difference from being a psychopath.
However, I think my situation is much less severe - I've never caused anyone any more than bruises (nor had blackouts), I would certainly say that the anger I have is a mental health issue. Not at a criminal level, but certainly at a level that can cause problems with work/life relationships.
I've went to see a therapist for about a year and it's really unbelievably helpful.
I wish going to see a psychotherapist was as easy for people to do as going to see a physiotherapist.
I've never seen a therapist, and don't know what anger does to you, but for me it's not a mental health issue.
Part of it I'm sure is that I don't bottle anything up any more, and the other is that I'm not a kid and being picked on is just laughable. I think knowing that it's okay to be angry, that it is a normal thing that is perfectly okay, was probably the biggest revelation.
The people you spend most of your time with and your therapist might have a different opinion of you than yourself.
The two examples you list are personal essays/confessions
Ten times a day must thou overcome thyself: that causeth wholesome weariness, and is poppy to the soul.
Ten times must thou reconcile again with thyself; for overcoming is bitterness, and badly sleep the unreconciled.
Ten truths must thou find during the day; otherwise wilt thou seek truth during the night, and thy soul will have been hungry.
Ten times must thou laugh during the day, and be cheerful; otherwise thy stomach, the father of affliction, will disturb thee in the night.
When night cometh, then take I good care not to summon sleep. It disliketh to be summoned—sleep, the lord of the virtues!
But I think of what I have done and thought during the day. Thus ruminating, patient as a cow, I ask myself: What were thy ten overcomings?
And what were the ten reconciliations, and the ten truths, and the ten laughters with which my heart enjoyed itself?
Thus pondering, and cradled by forty thoughts, it overtaketh me all at once—sleep, the unsummoned, the lord of the virtues.
Sleeping meds, sleep studies, CBT-I, you name it - I've done it.
My ultimate solution ended up being:
- Waking up the same time every single day, no matter how late I stay up. CBT-I had me wake up at 6:30 am every morning, and go to bed at 1 am. After a week of exhaustion, I started falling asleep like a rock. Then my therapist gradually had me go to sleep earlier and earlier until my time-to-sleep was still short and I had few awakenings during the night, but felt refreshed the next day. Turned out to be just around 6.5 hours a night
- No coffee after 3 pm
There are still nights where I have an active mind and have trouble sleeping, but I'll just let it happen without constantly worrying "oh no, I'm not gonna get ___ hours of sleep tonight". Because the minute you try to force yourself to sleep, it's over.
They're not cheap but they fit snugly and tight, plus they last a long time. I got mine from a recommendation from a sound tech frien. There are different kinds with filters, for example to remove the bang from a gunshot or filter out snoring but not the alarm clock or the full plug to cancel all sounds.
While taking the print for the molds I experienced total silence for the first time and enjoyed the slight tinnitus I never noticed I had.
Something like: http://www.earplugstore.com/foearpltrpa2.html
My personal favorites: 3M E-A-R Classic Soft Earplugs
I just chose the pair that dampened the most and irritated the least. These are extremely soft so it's not annoying to lie on one ear. But when they're decompressed they filter so much that the only sound I still hear are my breathing, and my long time friend mister Tinnitus. (I can distinguish 8 or 9 tones and pitches so my tinnitus is really heavy I guess)
I use one pair for about 1 or 2 weeks depending on how much wax is released from my ears. If the plugs get too waxy, I replace the plugs.
These aren't cheap, but they are the best imo.
They have a light coating that makes them "stick" just a little bit in the ear (but not uncomfortably). This closes sound gaps that exist with other plugs and makes them way more effective.
Those things maybe helped to an extent, but they contributed to an overall attitude that sleep was something I could _induce_ if only I did the right things, took the right pills, exercised at the right times, avoided the wrong things.
The thing that really seemed to begin to improve my sleep pattern was meditation. Gradually I've become more comfortable with not falling asleep quickly, which has the funny effect of often allowing the mind to fall sleep quicker. I still follow the conventional behavioral advice, but I think reframing my attitude towards sleep via meditation/mindfulness was really the most important step for me.
I am similarly sensitive to caffeine and also bought some rather pricey but comfy earplugs to silence my other half's incessant and irritating need to breathe.
While my current life circumstances don't allow for it, I am looking forward to the near future when I can sleep in my own room again, in a house quiet enough to not need ear plugs, and with a regular enough working schedule to make the routine easier (plus wearing me out a bit more each day).
- Good sleeping mask that doesn't press on my eyeballs
- Good earplugs
- Not doing anything crazy for a few hours before sleep
- No coffee/caffeine if possible
"One 2014 study of more than 3,000 people in Finland found that the amount of sleep that correlated with the fewest sick days was 7.63 hours a night for women and 7.76 hours for men. So either that is the amount of sleep that keeps people well, or that’s the amount that makes them least likely to lie about being sick when they want to skip work. Or maybe people who were already sick with some chronic condition were sleeping more than that—or less—as a result of their illness. Statistics are tough to interpret."
Contrasted with articles that take one example (a 94-year old making a breakthrough in some field) and directly generalize it ("to be a genius, think like a 94-year-old"), this is a much healthier and saner approach to interpreting statistics.
(I didn't make this example up; it was on hacker news)
On the opposite end of the spectrum, I can't function mentally without caffeine. I tried going off caffeine a few times, and while the withdrawal effects were horrible, they eventually passed and everything felt great except my ability to concentrate on anything. Sadly I can't afford to see a doctor for my ADHD meds. While caffeine helps, it still leaves much to be desired.
Exercise helps immensely, both in terms of sleep and ability to concentrate, but at some point I injured my upper back (rhomboids and rotator cuff muscles), so I can't get the same level of exercise I had before.
Personally if I'm off caffeine for too long the resulting metabolism strangeness takes me out for about a day, but the next time that happens I'm going to try a good amount of water and salt to see if that can combat it. Probably something around 1L/6g salt. Other things to consider with caffeine: adding l-theanine to temper the jitters. [ Search for l-theanine caffeine stack for other information on this. ]
Exercise definitely helps with concentration. I believe that it was only recently "discovered" that the brain is a giant lymph node and the only times it appears to be able to clear the decks of waste are when you're asleep or when you're pumping blood with a good exertion. [ http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v523/n7560/full/nature1... ]
What I found help immensely with regaining my focus and mental clarity after coming off caffeine, and before that methamphetamine 4 days out of 7 for nearly a year, is taking a multi B vitamin plus 1000mcg methylcobalamin (also known as 'Activated B12') sublingually, and 200mg B6 once or twice a day, along with eating fewer sweet things and more protein and raw fats (butter and coconut oil). Plus chiropractic / osteopathic adjustments to deal with my crooked postural habits.
I also find Liquorice root as strong decoction immensely restorative.
That's what has worked for me. N=1 and all that.
Full disclosure: I hold a Diploma in Western Herbal Medicine and an Advanced Diploma in Clinical Nutrition. For what it's worth.
Have you experienced any negative side effects? Any advise on what to be cautious for?
You might be interest in Henry Osiecki's The Nutrient Bible, https://www.bookdepository.com/author/Henry-Osiecki
The placebo effect is powerful.
I highly recommend reading Topol's "The Creative Destruction of Medicine" for more information.
See gwern on vitamin D, which shows it's likely not a placebo, (n=1, of course, but coincides with a lot of not-quite-as-well-executed self experiments from other people)
Iron and/or vitamin B3 (Niacin) make a huge difference for RLS; You'll find some peer reviewed reference for iron, mostly anecdotal for B3 (some better executed than others).
As a general rule, if you eat a variety of foods, some of which are grown naturally and not processed to death, and have decent exposure to the sun, then - no, you don't need vitamins. But among my peers it seems that this rather simple set of requirements is often not satisfied, and vitamin supplements are needed (usually B12, D, and Iron deficits are found for whoever does testing).
It's well proven that Folate during pregnancy significantly reduces the incidents or neural-tube defects.
It's well proven that putting some B vitamins back in the flour after it's milled significantly reduces psychiatric presentations.
Sounds like you've made your mind up though.
It has an odd efficacy curve, if sites like longecity are to be believed. But if that's the case, you may be as well off with way less; like 0.5 to 1mg.
I've cut caffeine completely out of my diet and I'm finding it very difficult to concentrate, theres a fog in my brain which only occasionally lifts (and on those days I get loads done)
I agree with exercise helping immensely, but I don't drink any caffeine so I can't comment on that.
About two weeks after stopping melatonin altogether, I now recall dreams every night. Stopped taking it due to insomnia getting worse and worse and figure I'd see what would happen without it. First week was rough, back to normal after that.
Meaningless anecdote about what is most likely placebo, but I found it a bit interesting. Forgot what it was like to dream every night. Not planning on taking it again.
While I'm on it, they're pretty suppressed. I used to take 10mg of melatonin every night and the effects were the same I'd say, so it doesn't seem to matter on dosage.
Would you care to elaborate on your methods? (What time do you take melatonin, how much and at what time do you take coffee?)
I take a dose within about 1 - 1.5 hours of waking up and another dose half way through the day. I need to start taking the second dose earlier so 1) I don't experience the mid day crash and 2) there's less in my system when I go to bed.
For melatonin I take 3mg about an hour or two before going to bed and another 3mg right before going to bed. Sleep is generally good, but not as much as I would like, which I think is partly due to going to bed too late, thus light entering my room due to insufficient window blackout methods.
Something weird I notice about melatonin is that it helps me get work done just before bed, because my mind thinks less about it and just does it, but this probably isn't the best way to work.
>>"According to our research, the physiological dose of melatonin of about 0.3 milligrams restores sleep in adults over the age of 50," said Wurtman, lead investigator in the study. "The adults who would normally wake up during the second and third thirds of the night were able to sleep through the night with the 0.3 milligram dosage."
The researchers also discovered that the typical health food store dosage of melatonin, which is about three milligrams (or 10 times the dosage in the study), is less effective in treating insomnia. 
Personally, I take about .1 mg every night sublingually.
Veggies include onions, carrots, cabbage, split peas, lentils, and broccoli / collard greens.
Also natural peanut butter and sunflower seeds to varying degrees.
I am 6' 150 lbs and was tired my whole life until I INSISTED I get a sleep study. Turns out I had severe sleep apnea.
In some ways, it's a metaphor for our own lives.
I was able to live on 4-6 hrs of sleep a night all the way up to age 25-28. That's when sleep started becoming a problem.
At age 30, I absolutely need 8 hours of sleep minimum average of sleep, but that average has to be accumulated over the course of a week! That means that a single night of sleeping less and doing strenuous tasks on a linux terminal now takes a toll on me in ways that I have never felt before in my youth.
Full disclaimer: I am a blue collar worker at a non-computer job who physically excerts myself and am very fit as a result of my job. This is part of why sleep is mandatory for me.
The older you get, the more sleep you need and the less alcohol your body can handle. This is a universal truth that people <age 25 have a hard time accepting because everybody has to be a superman of course.
This isn't true. Need for sleep declines with age. Youth masks the effects of poor sleep in the same way it masks poor eating and lack of exercise. But young people need more sleep, not less.
Granted, the office is at walking distance, and I can go there 24/7, but not having a computer at home recently made a huge difference.
Once I go back home, I don't have the temptation of hacking something really quick, which will eventually last longer that expected, and I'll then keep thinking about it all night long.
Verdict? Better sleep. And I can get up earlier. Overall I feel better and more productive, if only because there is a better separation between work (including on OSS projects) and personal life.
One minor piece of anecdotal evidence here. I have done a few 5-6 day sleep deprivation experiments in my life. I've stayed up for 3 days more times than I can count. I also used to regularly sleep every other day for long chunks of time. It's something that I could do much better when I was younger, and I try to avoid this now as I regularly get sick when I don't sleep for extended periods of time nowadays.
Firstly, performance (particularly my short term memory) always suffered. Sometimes if not active, or sitting for long periods of time I'd also get pain in my joints. Typically, when I fall asleep or start feeling tired it's because I enter a small boring, quiet homely environment (i.e. go home, or sit in a quiet room, or watch tv). My secret to staying awake was constant activity like walking around, talking to people, hydrating (water), small snacks, and walking some more, etc.
I feel that the effects of sleep deprivation hit the hardest when I'm not being stimulated physically. As such, I think dragging someone into a lab would have a harsh effect on one's performance. While I think no matter what you will suffer from performance degradation, I would love to see some contrast between performance given different environments/habits.
2) no glowing screens at all after the sun goes down.
3) no glowing screens at all after the sun goes down.
4) very low candle-temperature lighting only after dark. Especially try to keep it out of your direct line of sight.
It'll work, but 1-3 are hard.
Generally, get tired and go to sleep much earlier because you're not hyper-stimulated late into the night by glowing rectangles.
Much better than the native solutions that come with operating systems nowadays
Until ~20 years ago "screen time" was at least mostly limited to a (by modern standards) tiny CRT TV on the other side of the room for most people. Glowing screens filling a big part of one's FOV such a large percentage of the day is a fairly recent thing.
A lot of times I just fall asleep watching something on my laptop which also standing on its side a little away from me (not at full brightness though; but in general I keep my computer screens brightness to moderate). I just close the lid and push it away while falling asleep. Never bothered me really.
I would also recommend using f.lux or similar for your phone. I think it helps quite a bit, and it's the same principle as the candle-temperature lighting for your light bulbs.
Or wear strong blue blocking glasses after the Sun goes down.
2. No electronics, games, and minimal to no blue light 30min to 1hour before sleep.
3. Do not exercise less than 3 hours before sleep. Exception: sex.
4. Coffee and other stimulants before 12pm, not after.
5. Avoid naps longer than 15 minutes day of.
6. Stretch before going to sleep, particularly if you experience minor restless legs or periodic leg movements.
7. Avoid alcohol, will reduce sleep quality.
8. Avoid stimulating TV, conversations or books before sleep.
9. Controversial: Sleep in late if you can. Adequate sleep is more important than consistent sleep rhythm. My opinion only.
3. I used to run at night for almost a year. Around 2-4 hours before sleep and very light dinnner after cooling down and then read a bit or so, or listen to soft/light music and fall asleep like a baby at around ~11PM and wake up at ~7pm (never set any alarms; still don't unless I've to catch an early flight or so). That was my best sleeping routine in a long time and I used to feel so awesome throughout the day. I've known people go for for a walk or so and then fall asleep after dinner.
5. Couldn't agree more. If I fall sleep during day it just pushes my sleeping rhythm off the track like anything. Very short naps (esp. after lunch or heavy lunch are quite nice)
9. That I have noticed in many people. I myself though could never really sleep in late, after college (in college or before I could sleep whenever I had an opportunity or wanted - like a lecture, bus, pillion riding etc - what blissfull times!), except some scenarios on some days that I could never pinpoint the reason for sleeping in late (but I feel exceptionally good on those days). So generally I am wide awake by 6.45-7.15AM no matter how late I fall asleep like an alarm clock :( So I try to fall sleep by 11PM.
Are these points your own observations like I've listed mine or established results from research?
So for us average Americans, 15-19C (59 to 66F) would probably work well, depending on where you live in America.
76F is more reasonable here.
In the summer the A/C bill would be outrageous.
The echo of our internal thoughts darting around as we approach sleep is quite normal. In the absence of TV background noise, the trick would be to not focus or chase or indulge the thoughts but "allow" them to simmer without your involvement, or allow them to pass by without looking at each one in depth; be indifferent from a distance. That's a technique not difficult to master, but is basically how to still your mind and go to sleep.
I hope this post doesn't sound patronizing as that is not my intention at all. I can definitely relate to the frustration you've described, but for other issues. Based on my own anecdotal experience, it's quite unlikely that you've exhausted all the possible solutions. At the very least, you don't have much to lose in trying one new thing.
I found a surprising source of motivation in books about the Eastern Front of WWII. I figure that if Soviet soldiers managed to survive in those circumstances, I can stay calm and collected in much more favorable conditions.
I decided I couldn't live that way, so I worked on breathing techniques like this. After a couple of weeks, I could finally focus on breathing long enough to fall asleep.
I still have nights where it just doesn't work, but it's made a big difference in my life.
That's no fun!
For the commenters below, true. Thanks for the replies all of you.
There have been nights where I had to put on my ANC headphones to get some peace and quiet. (I've heard a good pair of earplugs may work?)
I sleep like a baby with an extremely loud fan roaring in my face, as long as the noise is consistent. Sort of like being in an airplane.
Would you fall asleep with someone whispering in your ear? Earplugs can only reduce the intensity of sounds, but the distracting part is the detail/variation/information in them. Even in a quiet room, putting in earplugs guarantees I will stay awake listening to my own heartbeat and blood flow in excruciating detail. shudder.
A sufficiently loud drone noise, on the other hand, drowns out any of the more variable noises that would keep me awake.
play -n synth 08:00:00 pinknoise
play -n synth brownnoise synth pinknoise mix synth sine amod 0.3 10
Take in-ear earphones, take off the thin rubber plugs on their end. Cut off the earplugs to the size (or 1.5x) of those rubber plugs. Then compress the earplugs to coin-flatness, and punch a thin hole through them 2mm or so. Put them on the earphones. As with earplugs, press them before inserting, then wait a few seconds for them to decompress in your ears.
I've used that in the past before I got Bose active noise cancelling phones. They work basically as good as unpunched earplugs, but you can add white noise or music or whatever on top of that.
Edit: Found that (of course) someone made a video of that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0m_RseMrok
I would definitely try that if I was you :) For reference, I'm currently using them most nights because I'm on exchange and am sharing a dorm room with another guy that snores at night -.-....
Works for me, I live right below my landlord who has an uncarpeted wooden floor with kids, where otherwise I'd have the sound of incessant stomping upstairs as a very reliable daily alarm clock.
Try these. Cheap and can easily be reused for a week even though they are "disposable": http://www.homedepot.com/p/3M-Orange-Disposable-Earplugs-7-P...
I was forced into using them by an inconsiderate neighbor. He kept putting his dog out into the back yard very early every morning ... in response the dog would loudly whine and bark until let back in. Thankfully the dog is long gone.
I as a patient have enough of a problem giving myself into the care of a doctor-in-training, why does s/he have to sleep-deprived on top of not being fully trained? Is this some sort of macho thing, or a "well, I went through this hazing, so you gotta do it, too" kind of thing?
Somebody please enlighten me as to what the point of this seemingly counter-productive practice is!
By thinking I mean things like being excited about an event, going over a conversation, thinking about some code, an idea, things to do tomorrow, errands etc. All things that can be literally dumped onto paper and stored. In my experience I have found that pen and paper work better than typing into a device.
Now, I still seem to wake up multiple times during the night, but it's not because my brain is excited anymore.
The title isn't great - it cautions against common fallacies about aids to sleeping.
Things like this always slightly scare me.
I have been awake consecutively for far longer, and on several occasions. But does that mean I just can - or would I really be risking death each time?
That is not to say that it's at all recommended. I personally absolutely cannot stay awake for more than 20 hours.
Very interesting from Dement's talk is that equilibrium daily average sleep for completely health young adults is 8:15 ± 50min . Most people I meet contest these results and state that they can work optimal with less than 7h25m daily sleep.
I went through a phase a few years ago where I'd fall asleep only to wake up a short time later with mind racing, then be up half the night and tired the next day. This went on for some months and was very annoying.
These videos cured that phase right away. I don't listen to them much anymore but they really worked. It wasn't just staying asleep that was cured, the quality of the sleep seemed much better. Still listen on occasion if having trouble getting in "sleep mode".
Had severe insomnia a few years ago. The video is soothing and the self talk helped calm me down, so even if I didn't sleep I experienced less stress (which helped me sleep).
I read this article 8 hours ago. Now I'm in bed, staring at this screen, typing this comment at 5 AM.
While the differences perceived (which can always be misleading) from sleeping 6 or 8 hours weren't noticeable, if I slept 4-5 for a week my short term memory would suffer, reflexes and split second decision making (think fast passed multiplayer shooters) would also suffer.
But what I noticed was that although the split second decision process would come back after a good night sleep, short memory would take me a whole 3-4 days to come back at its finest.
Obviously this is all what I observed and not to be taken seriously, because as we know observing and understanding oneself is one of the hardest tasks out there.
Just my 2c
slightly related - I seem to remember a study on the performance of hungover people. Hungover people self-reported that they performed worse, but objectively there was no negative change! (edits...or thinking about it some more, maybe the thing was that they had Common Colds)
>Effective sleep habits, like many things, seem to come back to self-awareness.
One of the things I've noticed is that it's really hard to police your own sleep schedule, especially if you aren't aware of the consequences of losing a few hours of sleep. I'm working on a bot that helps you get to bed earlier, and our power users often come to us with a really clear understanding of what happens when they don't get enough sleep (e.g. "I perform way worse on my Army fitness test", "I'm not focused enough to do my side project after work") and still need to set up systems to keep themselves accountable on a daily basis.
That said, I think there's a much larger "zombie population" of the "sixers" described above that isn't getting enough sleep and simply isn't particularly aware of it. From a population health standpoint, the question then becomes: How do we get people to appreciate the effect of getting a full 7-9 hours of sleep when they don't explicitly feel the effects on a daily basis? Not only that, but how do we get them to unwind and prioritize getting good night's sleep at the time of day when willpower is low and Netflix temptations are high.
The CEO of Netflix somewhat flippantly declared sleep their biggest competition, and I think they're crushing the competition right now.
On the bright side there are people who have used our product and seen it make a pretty big difference. The trick was getting them to start with a very unambitious bedtime goal relative to their average bedtime, and gradually make the bedtime earlier week over week until they've dismantled their bad sleep habits.