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When I'm very sleep-deprived, I tend to be better able to focus on the present, and not worry about ambient anxiety-causing topics. My mind has less resources to wander as much as usual. Between that anecdotal experience, and previous stories about sleep deprivation as a treatment for depression, I wonder if there's something to be set about forcing your mind into a single-threaded mode, to avoid the usual distracting worries.



Functioning sleep deprive may feel like you're better at focusing on the present. But I believe that it's your inability to give a crap that helps the most and removes the second-guessing and mind wandering; a similar state of mind can be achieved by physical exhaustion, whether it's at the gym or from a run or a swim. Try that, it's far better than being sleep deprived.


> a similar state of mind can be achieved by physical exhaustion, whether it's at the gym or from a run or a swim. Try that, it's far better than being sleep deprived.

It's not complete physical exhaustion, but a heavy session of lifting weights or cardio certainly clears my mind, helps me to to focus on tasks to completion.


I think this is a blade with two edges. I use to fast once a year and when the body slows down its great for homing on on singular tasks and getting stuff done as everything else is just too much to spend any energy on. However solving complex problems or creative work is usually done in the morning when Im still fresh and able to go outside of the box. In the end it just boils down to what you're trying to get done.


Makes me wonder if there's a methodology of using full energy for creativity, and lower energy for times when more discipline would usually be required. Of course then there is the discipline needed to not fall into distraction traps then.

I've experienced sleep deprived productivity before, but I have found it is hit and miss too.


If I am doing something that requires craft or discipline I prefer to be well rested. When you are sleep deprived and productive remember that it is a high interest loan that you are going to have to pay back someday.

My best creativity is when riding my bike in a relaxing place, in the shower, or what I call the half-sleep trance just before falling asleep.


I don't think productivity while fatigued is good at all. But I do think that when one is tired, it may be possible to be less anxious than usual, since one's mind doesn't get distracted by tangential worries as much as usual.


Yes, but tired from exercise is different from tired from sleep deprivation.


Think of it this way, you probably have a lot more energy to use willpower to keep yourself focused when you are rested vs not. When you are so tired you’re physically incapable of focusing on anything else flow can also work, but sometimes the arrow is aimed wrong


I think this is actually a natural part of a regular joe's working day. It's said in software development that you can only spend about four days on focused work - the creative part you mentioned. The rest is then spent on lower energy tasks, like communications, code cleanup, etc.


I think I saw something about sleep deprivation has been shown to temporarily greatly relieve symptoms of depression for a day to a week or so.

Chronic sleep deprivation has the opposite effect though, so it isn't the most practical.


Out of the symptoms of depression is excessive sleep which messes up your bodies biochemical rhythms, so sleeping less can help with that


Interesting point. I can relate to these experiences, too. In fact, I just learned Rust in the last few months by driving myself harder than usual. I pursued it with relentless determination, ending many days in mental exhaustion.




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