Number one, far and away, is arranging my schedule such that I don't have to set an alarm clock. I did this once in college when I was able to get only late classes, and I do it now since I work for myself (although the kids sometimes wake me up). Any time I can go for a week or more without setting any alarm clock, I feel far more refreshed throughout the day.
Number two, no blue light at night. I went a little nuts with this one, not only getting flux, but I work in the dark at night with the brightness on the monitor at the lowest setting with a blue filter, and I also replaced all the night lights in my house with special night lights that run at 1850K (candlelight). I also installed a second light in bathroom with it's own switch and installed an 1850K LED bulb in it so that I could do my nighttime routine in "candlelight". Basically, after the kids are down, there is no source of blue light anywhere in my house.
These two things seem to have made the most difference. I've done other experiments with temperature control, sleeping position, bedroom darkness, etc. They all seem to make some difference as well, but not nearly as much as those first two things.
It seems like blue light in the evening is not good for human health. I wonder if banning incandescent bulbs will be seen as a horrible health problem caused by an ill informed government. Similar to the anti-fat campaigns of the past that ended up having people eat much more sugar and hydrogenated oils. At least butter was not banned in that case.
Anyone know where one can buy low temp incandescent (like the regular old ones) bulbs of the standard sizes and watts in the US? Maybe they could be sold as a special "full spectrum" bulb and one could get special permission from a doctor to buy them.
> light bulbs using incandescent lighting technology were not banned by the government. More accurately, save for a few exceptions, any lamp failing to meet the energy standards set by EISA in 2007 could no longer be manufactured.
Most health problems are. Obeisity, diabetes certainly. Probably many others can be traced to government guidelines on "healthy" diet.
Um, what? They're still all over the place... the supermarket next to my apartment carries incandescent bulbs, as does the city's Home Depot.
I'm not sure I'd agree that incandescent bulbs are 10x the former price. However, you may be thinking of the Edison style bulbs that are trendy now. One of these bulbs does cost as much as the multi-packs. They also have these in LED style for even higher prices.
Say you have one light bulb running three hours per day (living room, kitchen or office in the evening seems realistic). It uses 20 W more than the LED and using $0.15 per kWh (average rate in California) this gives
20 W* 3h * $0.15/(1000 Wh) * 365 = $3.29 every year
If you regularly use two incandescent bulbs the "more expensive package" paid for itself within a year and gives you brighter light at the same time.
I really think the price/wattage comparison thing needs to be the entire packaging design. I overheard a sales person helping a shopper choosing a generator size by adding up the wattage of all of the devices needed including lights. I turned into the conversation to politely suggest using LEDs for lighting because of the lower wattage requirements. Both the sales person and the shopper were shocked at the difference.
What is the physiological mechanism you suspect makes this matter?
I don't see any real way an LED which is metameric with sunlight would be able to make a difference (except possibly for people with some form of color blindness - who could possibly have different metamer "groups")
How are halogen bulbs?
I knew it was problematic but it is far worse than I ever expected
I can honestly say it's been game changing for me to do this. I just read paper books now, taken a while to get into the habit but my sleep has improved so dramatically since then.
Also, my phone charger lives in the kitchen, so my phone doesn't come to bed with me, also a dramatic improvement.
What is strange about all this is that fluorescents, while not pleasant to use, don't seem to keep my up like devices do. In that I can have one on for 30 minutes before bed and sleep well. Maybe it's not the light but the stimulation that affects us?
I've done that before and it didn't make any difference for me. If I read a book on a screen or on paper before bed, it doesn't seem to matter, as long as the light is 1850K.
How do you know when to go to bed when idling on a device? There is just endless streams of crud to browse, code to write or whatever. Do you need to have a "bed time" or you just end up feeling tired?
What I've noticed about eliminating (most) device use after 7pm is that I'm actually pretty excited to go to sleep around 9:30-10pm because I just end up feeling tired. When I was browsing, consuming social media etc, I just didn't really know when to stop.
Mindfulness helped me reining that in: I learned to listen to my bodily feelings instead of half-consciously shunting them because ooooh shiny compulsive refresh. It worked both ways: I realised sometimes I tried too hard going to bed when I wasn't tired enough (if at all) and I just slept a couple hours tops, then couldn't sleep for the remainder of the night, which just sucks when the end of the next day comes.
Along with practicing mindfulness, the biggest change for me was killing all blue light sources. This had the most dramatic effect of all things.
But the thing that really helps me is the feature in f.lux that is a reverse alarm clock. Starting at midnight, it pops up an alert saying "you're waking up in eight hours". It does that every 1/2 hour, counting down. So at least every 1/2 hour a get a reminder to at least think about going to bed.
Also on this subject, John Ott's books on light are a great read. In the 50s he was doing time-lapse films of plants for Disney and as he noticed his plants growing and blooming differently under different light, became basically obsessed, expanded his experiments to humans and cells and pushed an agenda of light quality that few wanted to hear the rest of his life.
If you are traveling and don't have as much control over the lights, you can get a Zebralight red flood headlamp
The XP-E emitter is pretty old-school tech, but they make great products.
470 lumens: https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/vintage-led-light-b...
250 lumens (and large - G30): https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/g-series-large/led-...
I picked them up at Target on a super sale. Honestly, all the functionality sucks, but since the only thing I do is set it to 1850K and lowest dim level and then leave it, it doesn't matter that everything else sucks about it.
I also picked up so no name LED multicolor night lights at Costco, but one of the "colors" is a yellow that's really close to 1850K.
The Hue seem much better reviewed in terms of their controls.
I often set mine to an almost orange color in the evening.
See the diagram on this page:
Along with melatonin and magnesium (also 1 hour before bed), this has helped my sleep quality greatly.
I wonder if the blue-light problem is the result of its contrast with warm-white 3000K illumination.
There are a lot of feedback loops in your body though, so it's entirely possible that your body produce the protein that triggers the breakdown of melatonin though.
Other theory: you bulbs are blue, but are missing the particular blue that causes meletonin to be broken down by the body.
I have 6500k 92 cri bulbs for most of my lighting and it definitely screws up my sleep cycle if I don't remember to switch to my 3000k area lighting. I have a really flexible schedule so I didn't notice how screwed up my schedule was for a while.
Although it's a different sort of solution, a $5 pair of amber safety goggles is actually all anyone needs to completely kill blue light all evening.
For practical reasons. My wife doesn't like the yellow lights, and she usually goes to bed around the same time as the kids, or at least retires to the room at that time.
My wife was the same at first and was insensitive to my complaints when she would turn on a bright light late in the evening, but since we were focusing on the kid building good sleep routines and discussed our routines, we built the habit. The other night, I was in the bathroom, up past bed-time, and had some need for bright-clear light, and she actually needed to come in and she turned off the bright light — clearly not liking the feeling. So, in my case, after she got used to the routine, without saying anything, she now just naturally gets how uncomfortable it is to stimulate us with bright lights at night.
I'd say: ask your wife to try a month of not just tolerating but working to appreciate the lighting, for the sake of the kids. Talk about how it feels like doing stories by the campfire, etc. and embrace the feeling it has. If after a month, she wants to go back to the bright lights, you'll accept that. … … unless you have higher-priority tensions in your relationship to work on and can't afford pushing this.
This is very good advice. I'm sure it varies from person to person, but anecdotally it seems to be completely natural to have a mid-sleep period of wakefulness (for a bathroom trip if nothing else).
If you start worrying that it will lower the overall quality of your sleep, it definitely will. But if you just go with it, lie still, at most read a book, you will get sleepy again in short order and continue your rest. In fact, personally I (paradoxically) seem to feel more rested on the nights that I had a more noticeable/awake mid-sleep hiatus (and without spending extra time asleep).
YMMV, of course; the point is not to let a completely benign occurrence turn into tossing and turning and watching the clock because you're anxious about getting enough sleep.
I started working at 6:30 this morning, and it's amazing. I watched the sun come up outside the window and I've had almost 3 solid hours of concentration time before the interruptions start.
 This all assumes you do not have some medical condition.
To get your body set to a wake up time, use an alarm clock for a while. As long as you're good about your nighttime light and stimulation habits, you'll find that after a month or two you don't need the alarm anymore.
If you're already using an alarm, then clean up your nighttime habits and see if that helps.
Note: This is all my opinion on reading a lot about this. I'm not a doctor and this stuff only applies to people with otherwise normal health. If you have a sleep disorder, all bets are off.
I've been adjusting my sleep patterns over the last week or two so that I'm getting up earlier (~5am). I started out just using the iOS Alarm Clock, but through the first week or two, it was pretty hit-and-miss. Some mornings I would get up at 5, some mornings I would apparently hit snooze a bunch of times in my groggy fog and not end up getting up until 7. This was happening on a somewhat subconscious level... I wasn't consciously hitting snooze, it was just that by time an alarm actually woke me up enough to realize what time it was, it was closer to 7.
A couple of years ago I had played with Pillow, and started trying it out again this week. The feature where it wakes you within a half hour of your set alarm, when it detects that you're in a lighter phase of sleep... It really seems to be helping. I've nailed the 5am wake up all week and have woken up feeling quite refreshed. And like you suggest, my body is adapting and is now starting to make me feel sleepy earlier and I'm just naturally wanting to go bed.
One other thing I've noticed is that I start to feel a bit of a chill around the time I should be going to bed. It's a nice reminder if I actually pay attention to it. No clue if that has a real physiological basis or not, or if it's just some cue my body gives me.
To steal a common survival phrase - 2 is one, 1 is none. I set multiple alarms anytime I have to get up for something like a flight. Otherwise, I wake up between 6 and 7 naturally. If you're still struggling with feeling refreshed, the fix for that is working out in the morning.
Not very scientific, but Jocko Willink is a huge proponent of getting up early because that discipline sets the tone for the entire day of getting stuff done. I tend agree, but YMMV.
The real reason is more practical though. Working on a side project, and with a partner and animals, it's been hard to get things done in the evenings. She doesn't get up with me when I get up early, so I've got a couple of undisturbed hours to grind on the project. Plus, it feels really damned good to have a feeling of accomplishment every morning before heading to the office; no matter how many useless meetings and stupid shit happens, I've already move the needle on something!
Keep cranking on your side project!
The other way is to develop a sleep debt until you can sleep at your desired time, and set an alarm to prevent yourself from oversleeping and falling back in to your normal routine. This will also lose you time out of your normal schedule, and is pretty terrible-feeling to boot, but it doesn't require quite as long.
Sleep physicians or sleep therapists are good about setting this kind of stuff up, if you have reasonable and inexpensive access to medical help.
It worked for a few months, but eventually I began just hard powering down the phone and falling back asleep for hours.
Needless to say, I have never been successful at any job or school where I wasn't able to work afternoons or nights. I don't even bother applying for jobs that do a typical 9-5.
It has kind of set my life on a strange course.
And it's now almost 7am, I haven't slept, and I will probably end up staying up all day...
Sport has plenty of (somewhat archaic) meanings. "Sporting goods" stores often carry running shoes, bicycles, and weights, all of which are "sport" even if you're doing it by yourself.
I think training, and competition, rules, and some form of winning are elements of all sports.
It wasn't clear to me if they meant competitive physical activity, or not.
Have you tried ashwagandha? I've found the effects of ashwagandha to dwarf any environmental changes I've tried.
Also, not widely known, melatonin is one of the reasons late night eating can be a bad thing: emerging evidence suggests that receptors in pancreatic beta islet cells suppress the production of insulin in response to the release of melatonin.
Here's a great podcast with Dr. Satchin Panda, a circadian biologist from the Salk who was involved in some of the early research elucidating the effects of melanopsin, which is the photopigment that actually synchronizes our internal clock to light. He drops some pretty amazing circadian knowledge...
They don't have any trouble sleeping nor being awake when they need to. Also, they are only 3 and almost 1, so they just sleep when they want.
Also, my wife doesn't like the yellow lights, so mostly I can only "shut down" the house after she goes to bed or at least retires to the room for the night.
As the kids get older I'll probably start teaching them about good sleep hygiene if they seem to be tired all the time.
<2000K seems to raise the prices, 2000K is quite affordable. Dunno if it's low enough...
And while this is happening you are signing away all rights to any recurring income or royalties.
Ours is at 9:45 so that our colleagues in Dublin don't have to stay at work until 8pm.
First time hearing this, and makes total sense. Seen my share of these people, mostly PMs and non-technical managers. And then there are those who send a slew of emails just before 5 PM and go home with a sense of accomplishment...
Some sense of “fairness”? Because shop-workers need to work fixed hours, everyone should? You’re hiring developers to build software, not to be office furniture — do the exact hours worked matter very much?
I’m not at all implying that they aren’t. However, because shops are open for fixed hours, it’s at least sort-of understandable that employers believe they can get more benefit from people working scheduled hours (which aren’t necessarily “first thing in the morning” — see sibling comment).
Regardless, “people are tired and miserable doing job X” seems like poor justification for making sure that people doing job Y are tired too.
It's the crabs in a bucket mentality. A child starving in Africa must mean you aren't hungry.
The truth is the difference is that I'm an engineer. If I was a machine shop worker I'd be on /r/machineshopworkers saying the same thing likely.
For fuck's sake HN we're talking about waking up and going to work. Most of us here are getting paid $100k+ (or twice that in SV) to type for a living. Stop trying to pretend your life is so difficult because you need to set an alarm, be presentable at an office, and work normal hours.
I also understand that you need to be in the right frame of mind to preform optimally, however if the people signing the check want you to come in at 9am then you adapt and overcome (your body will adjust), or find someone else to sign the check. If coming in early to code is the hardest thing you had to do today you're pretty lucky in life.
I don't think anybody is arguing that we engineers are not better off than starving children in Africa or soldiers who are forced to potentially suffer permanent harm from bad sleep culture, it's just being pointed out that due to the nature of the job, there's usually no reason to come in early, and there are reasons to come in late (health reasons)
"People who are worried about the negative conditions at Uber shouldn't drive for Uber! It's not anyone's problem that those conditions are negative. "
But being present for a daily meeting during normal working hours is a pretty low bar to meet. Not everyone can meet that bar! That's fine. Not everyone can do every job. If you have some medical, psychological, socioeconomic, or ideological reason why you can't be present for a meeting from 9:00-9:10 Mon-Fri, it's not a violation of your human rights to suggest maybe you can't do whatever that job is.
Luckily I now work remotely, set my own hours 100%, and collaborate asynchronously with no daily synchronization points.
I could rush off to an office at the exact same time every morning... but why? It
If you're going to make a comparison, at least be honest about it. Plenty of software engineers work on mission critical software that can cost lives as well, while not all "shops", whatever you mean by that term, are life-threatening work.
If you pick a random software developer in 2018, they're writing forms over data web apps for a line of business application. It's a fluffy job with no real physical danger. That was my point.
Someone operating a backhoe for example might dig into a gas main, swing their boom around and crush or decapitate someone, swing it across power lines and electrocute themselves, etc.
Yes, mission critical software can kill people if it's not done right. That never happens because the developer was tired of a morning.
So, back at ya with that honesty bit.
Well, this is simply not true. I suspect you conjured that figure out of thin air. Case in point, the famous Therac-25 accidents caused by a software bug causing large over-irradiations of cancer patients : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therac-25
Bugs happen, but with software you have several layers of safety checks to prevent them from becoming dangerous or fatal. A common one is having the code reviewed by one or more other developers. The odds of all those developers being unable to detect bugs at 9 AM are kind of long, wouldn't you say?
Backend service goes down? Welp, a few million people can't tweet, or view cat photos, or watch videos off YouTube for a bit.
Weld fails? There goes a bridge, or maybe an office tower, airplane engine, power plant, etc.
Before people accept a job somewhere they should find out the required work hours. If that doesn't match their ideal, then they should not accept the job.
When I have a week day off and see people shopping I always wonder who are all these people? I can't see everyone being off that day, the same day.
People who are not employed for whatever reason (housewife/househusband, between jobs, on permanent disability, medical leave, retired, on sabbatical, etc.)
People who work second shift
People who work third shift
People who work part time
People on call
People who work non-traditional schedules
People who have flextime at work
Students who have late classes or no classes that day
 Examples: a friend who worked 12 hour shifts Fri-Sun but had M-Th off; another friend who works 10 hour shifts M-T and Th-Fri with Wed and the weekend off.
You can add tourists to the list too.
The standup meeting is just a duplicate for ... reasons.
I thought I had to work 8 hours, but then I had a problem with my neck/shoulder that caused me to have to do an hour+ of physical therapy exercises at home each morning, and i started coming in to the office later in the morning like around 10 am.
I found that I could still get my work done and do well. I worked 10-5 all last year while taking hour+ lunches and still got promoted and everyone was happy with my output.
It's not as uncommon as it sounds and I'm in fact fine with it, but by the end of the week I feel quite tired. I quit my current place but there only the employer firm had access to the card timesheet data, which felt wrong to me... it was a stinky company anyway. Too bad I'll miss the guys, the team was pretty good.
(Believe it or not, I’ve seen timecards in academia...)
What the hell does it matter??
If my employer says "you're full time, which means you work 40 hours a week" I can't just say "lol, I'm salaried, I do what I want, fuck you." nor can I say "lol, I get to choose my hours because I'm hourly, I only feel like getting paid for 30 hours a week, fuck you."
That's an extreme form of insubordination and it almost certainly means immediate dismissal.
I've had five software jobs.
But it really depends on the company, I worked in both scenarios. Sometimes I can't broker a better deal or find a better company and again, a good team or an exciting project may make up for dickhead management and their paranoid lack of trust.
("Enterprise" and "charging CLINs" are hardly the same thing)
our core product is not software but mfg'd goods, so likely a carry-over from that mentality.
And yet I don't really ever observe devs or others suggesting that the sales staff isn't grounded in reality. I honestly don't think the dev team cares and would fully appreciate a salesman who said he would be able to sell better if he slept in till noon.
I think the story premise is great. The execution leaves a lot to be desired.
I'm trying not to feed the snark. But, really, I think they could have gone harder for a better story. Kids makes it hard.
Lots of thru-hikers experience a post hike depression, myself included, but I always thought it was mostly about being back in the real world with real responsibilities. Maybe it has to do with light?
I did notice that when I was in a town staying in a hotel I would always stay up much later than I did when I was on the trail.
Where did you start and end?
Looking to do PCT in a few years. Do you have it documented somewhere?
Looks like a great trip.
I bet this has been studied but I don't know where to look.
They look a bit silly but if you are just at home, who cares...
(I no longer use them, because in the intervening years I produced three young children, so I am now exhausted at all times and can fall asleep instantly whenever the opportunity presents itself. However, I still do use Night Shift / Night Mode / f.lux / Windows Blue Light Filter on all my phones and computers, because I came to strongly prefer it after getting used to it, even in absence of sleep issues.)
My personal anecdote is that it makes no difference to my sleep quality. I've used an 1850K lamp for reading before bed, and I've used my monitor with flux, and it doesn't seem to make a difference.
I think it has as much to do with sound as light. But certainly good light exposure during the day, a dark, quiet sleeping environment, and a routine schedule make an incredibly significant impact in me (someone who has normally struggled with insomnia)
You are an exception I believe (if you normally live in the city), I live in the country and I am used to it (and conversely I have sometimes some issues when sleeping in a city, mainly due to traffic noise, but not only) but when some friends come and stay, often they are disturbed by the thousand little noises of animals, birds, etc., particularly in the early morning in spring when the birds start singing around 5 A.M.
Planning the purchase of somewhere peaceful and remote as we speak.
White point adjustment doesn’t actually reduces the amount of blue light by that much it’s really due to how LCD screens and their color filters work, some monitors a have built in function to turn on a blue light filter which can also be used in conjunction with white point adjustment e.g Flux which does help it reduce it further.
Which is why I stop all screen use 45min before bed time, more would be too much of a burden for me and less wouldn’t be effective but you should experiment with what works for you.
I also found that watching my OLED TV has considerably smaller effect on me than my computer screens or phone if I use them just before bed.
I don’t know if this is due to the nature of the screen since it doesn’t use backlight hence less blue light or is it just due to the fact that the perceived brightness is lower due to the watching distance.
Top rated by Consumer Reports vs other blue light blocking glasses, they block nearly 100% of blue light. You can literally not tell that blue LEDs are on, for example, even when toggling them and off.
After reading the comments I would like to ask about good evidence/the state of knowledge for screen workers
- What about the (energy rich) blue light from monitors? Is it dangerous for eyes, long term?
- If the white point adjustment does not do much, why bother with tools like f.lux at all?
As for myself, I've been using f.lux for years but even when I set it to a higher temperature because I'm watching a video I have no problems at all with sleep. I have not used an alarm clock to wake up in the morning in years. I do occasionally use one to take medicine - a chelator (DMSA) - every 4 hours during the night, but have no trouble getting back to sleep and wake up just as refreshed in the morning as if I had had uninterrupted sleep. The waking up, by the way, is all automatic, I don't need an alarm. My brain even considers whether I'm in a "chelator taking" period (1-2 weeks) or not, the day I start I also start waking up during sleep, to take the capsules, the day I stop I don't wake up any more. The brain is amazing and considers a lot of context, when you let it. Alarm-clock pressure to wake up in the morning IMO is a great obstacle to this self-regulation.
I'm still recovering from heavy metal poisoning (lab test verified), I had lots of nights during the main part of the recovery where I had to sleep in two parts, approximately 0-3 and 6-10. I have found that the first few hours are the worst, but the last 1-2 hours of (natural, not alarm-limited) sleep seem to be of even greater importance for overall sleep quality. There is a HUGE difference between getting those last hours (or this last hour) or not. While I may superficially feel more clear and awake when I don't get them there is a feeling underneath that isn't right.
I also have a late night espresso between 8 and 10 pm (of perfect Italian quality), no difference. And before anyone thinks "caffeine", I drink 3-5 (perfect) Italian style espressos per day. I cannot drink regular coffee or bad espresso. It isn't the caffeine, or my body would be satisfied with any coffee drink. I am not, when I can't get my "perfect espresso" I cannot replace it with "just coffee".
1. LG UltraFine monitors
Sadly, recommendation notwithstanding, I bought 2 of these 5K monitors for my iMac Pro, but they have the same funky waking problems you describe, and sometimes one doesn't even come on at all, until the machine is rebooted. T_T
(Night Shift does work on them, though. But auto-brightness doesn't, so it's like a soft orange-ish screen in the middle and two BRIGHT AND FIERY ORANGE SCREENS blazing at you at night, unless you manually adjust the brightness...)
> Pre-industrial societies such as the Hadza tribe in Tanzania also seem to have a far lower prevalence of sleep problems, like insomnia. “When we asked members of the Hadza whether they thought their sleep was good, they almost universally said ‘yes, it’s totally fine’. That statistically doesn't match up with what we see in the West,” says David Samson, an anthropologist at the University of Toronto in Mississauga, who has studied them.
This is what they actually found from that Tribe and a second one. They actually got less sleep then people do living with artificial lights.
> The team asked 94 people from these groups to wear Actiwatch-2 devices, which automatically recorded their activity and ambient-light levels. The data revealed that these groups all sleep for nightly blocks of 6.9 and 8.5 hours, and they spend at least 5.7 to 7.1 hours of those soundly asleep. That’s no more than what Westerners who have worn the same watches get; if anything, it’s slightly less.
UCLA study - http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/our-ancestors-probably-did...
This was talking about the idea that we naturally sleep a little and wake for a few hours and then go back to sleep as some normal human sleep pattern. The idea is still the same we sleep about the same in modern times. I have had to read a lot of ancient documents and in those documents they talk a lot about bad sleep medicine. If they sleep so well why do we have so many sleep fixes in those documents.
https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-4939-2089-... (Just focused on India documents on sleep from 4,000 years ago.
I haven't really noticed a particular difference when it comes to how they affect or improve my sleep or ability to fall asleep though. The most useful decision I've made to that end is to stop using my computer about an hour before I plan on going to bed. In my case, at least, it's not the blue light that seems to keep me up but how active my brain is close to bedtime. I have to give it time to unwind. I've never noticed my glasses helping with that. Your mileage may vary though.
These work great. I wear glasses and they are very comfortable over them.
You can also add a natural anti-depressant (coffee, red bull) at the morning and depressant (milk, yogurt) at the evening to the mix.
Another advice is to avoid working with Flux / Night Shift at the evenings. This sends conflicting signals to the brain: warm screen light asks for relax but the need to work asks for concentration and focus. This does not go well together.
But you totally can watch an entertaining/scientific YouTube channels with Flux / Night Shift on at the evening. It will gradually drag you to a very good sleep. The good thing it is repeatable, so you can follow this deeply satisfying pattern everyday.
EDIT: Bipolar disorder, not bistable disorder.
Not only is it a great book on the subject, but the writing is exquisite.