OTOH, my inspiration will be higher: I will have more creative ideas on how to combine stuff, but I will be too tired to do any of that. I will just take notes.
With adequate sleep, I do not feel happier or sadder than anyone else. I feel more productive however. Sunday I had never done any python because I preferred perl, but for some specific task there was no option but a python library (well, it was also possible in another language I don't like either)
So on Monday, I learned python, then asynchronous execution with asyncio, then parallelizing with joblib. Tuesday, I coded.
Today I have a python3 daemon with error handling and other niceties ready to be deployed to test. It seems robust enough to require minimal oversight by systemd.
In any case, it will be deployed on all POPs and in production on Friday - even if I must have a bad night. But that means I will not do much next day. But that means I will have other creative ideas!
We're only planning for one, and my impression so far suggests that it's the second child where sleep and free time get lost more permanently, and that with one child the majority of the sacrifices are only temporary (and getting better as the child gets older), but it's always good to hear some experiences.
If you ignore the initial 6-12 months (once they get into a regular sleep schedule), the impact for the parents for the rest of the time between 1 to 17 yrs-old is pretty much the same. The dynamics will change as they get older, but you'll still be spending considerable time on the various family activities: playing with them, having breakfast/lunch/dinner, going to the park, teaching new things, commuting to/from school, attending their friends' birthdays on weekends, helping with schoolwork, maybe teaching them how to code :), etc.
On top of that, you'll also need to find time for you and your partner, family, friends, hobbies, reading, etc. Add a full time job, a school that starts starting early morning, a fixed annual vacation calendar, and you pretty much don't have many hours left in the day.
Sure, some activities can be shared with your partner, and some can be delegated (family member, nanny), but the conclusion is still the same: time management becomes a lot more critical once you have kids.
Which then leads me to sleep. In order to dedicate enough time to a restful night of sleep, you'll need to prioritize things much more effectively, so you don't end cutting corners, and changing drastically your sleep patterns.
Initially children have no circadian rhythm, which is very difficult. Later, they are awake frequently for feeding or otherwise, which is also difficult. Once they settle into a routine, however, it's fine.
I would particularly advise the "cry it out" technique. This seems cruel, which is why I waited with my first-born until he was 14 months old to do it, at which point it took a mere 3 days for him to start going to sleep on his own and sleeping through the night. We did it with our second child at 5 months with the same level of success (at least for going to sleep - very young children still wake up in the night more than older ones).
After around 6 months old, the sacrifices you make for your children are significant but no longer revolve primarily around sleep or the lack thereof.
If you can't stomach cry it out, you can try the pick up-put down method. Let them cry for 5-10 minutes, then soothe them, then put them back down when they're done crying.
Raw cry it out can be a little hardcore depending upon the kid too, I have one friend who tried it and their kid cried for an hour straight and started vomiting.
Leaving a kid to scream for a solid hour with no soothing is not a good strategy. The goal is for them to learn to self-soothe and to put themselves to sleep, not for them to learn what abandonment feels like.
Little babies are fascinating. Have fun, explore, trust but verify. And lastly, your baby usually knows what's up, and you do too. Don't let the "common wisdom" to tell you otherwise.
He is breastfed, and still wakes up about 3 times during his 12 hours of sleep every night to breastfeed. However, that consists of him making minimal noise, and my wife either picking him up or rolling over and feeding him while they lay next to each other. They literally both sleep through most feedings. For his first few weeks of life, he simply slept on her breast, so it was even easier.
Honestly, after experiencing and witnessing this arrangement, I can’t imagine that nature had moms and babies doing anything differently for the last few thousand years. Our lives would have been more difficult if we had him in a separate room right now. If that was our arrangement, we could count on waking up to loud cries and walking to another room multiple times a night, and either comforting or feeding our baby, and then walking back to bed afterwards. If we were doing that, I think folks’ warnings would have been true.
This was not our plan, but it became our plan after having a very strong instinct to stay close to our newborn when we brought him home.
I used to think that we were significantly endangering our child with bed sharing, but then I found these articles from the Mother-Baby sleep lab at Notre Dame :
We don’t fit any of the risk factors associated with SIDS in bedsharing (drug or alcohol use, obesity, smoking, etc), and thus consider it statistically safe enough that the benefits far outweigh the risks. YMMV, but I recommend reading one or two of those articles/papers to balance out the blanket warnings against bed sharing that you will inevitably hear if you live in the US.
Enjoy parenthood. It’s been the best experience of our lives.
After talking to a lot of dads (and I talk to A LOT of them - RadDadShow.com), the general consensus is that first year is going to be hell no matter what.
First they are little creatures who don't understand sleep, and they eat and sleep and poop on a 24h non-stop cycle. Then they become aware of sleep and start fighting it. Then they become even more aware and decide to read books and have lunch at 3am... it goes on.
In our case, couple things helped the most: no screens, no salt and sugar, and early bed time. This way, when your kids aren't hyped up and go to bed before they are fully exhausted, sleep becomes easier to manage.
Happy to answer some questions. Hope the above helps. Good luck, and as my friend Greg Gottesman said, if you consider a long-term horizon, it's completely worth it!
It's obviously possible for one parent to look after more than one child but it feels like much more work, I'd say, than looking after a single child. On the other hand, if you have two children, they can play with eachother once they get to a certain age. Ours go and wake eachother up in the morning now rather than waking us up which is nice!
You will lose most of your free time the first few years if you have kids though. Not all of it, but life becomes much extremely interrupt-driven and is still that way even now ours are school age.
Everything is back to normal now our kid is 2.5yrs
I was still totally inexperienced and I now had two kids waking me up.
Two things that helped me a lot:
- don't let a child fall asleep with anything they cannot have the whole night (speaking of >6-12 months). No music, no falling asleep in front of a screen, make sure they don't fall asleep while drinking their last meal for the day. By all means: tell stories, sing, and make sure they get milk before they fall asleep though. The reason is, as far as I know that we subconsciously verify that everything is ok multiple times a night. For small kids that means everything is like it was: if there was music or if dad or mom was in the room - that's what they'll expect during the night.
- small children have to learn to fall asleep. We understand that kids needs help to learn eating real food, walking, talking etc, but it seems at least in my culture we somehow expect kids to understand how to fall asleep. They usually don't, and so the parents get worried: is there anything wrong? Maybe the kid is still hungry? Or afraid?
Instead I've learned to be very clear with myself and my wife when we start teaching the kids to sleep:
- I make sure the child is ok: not hungry, happy etc
- when I put them to bed I make sure they only have things they can keep all night, generally one (safe) toy and a pacifier (don't want to defend pacifier much but what made me decide for it was a slightly lowered risk of SIDS according to one doctor)
- the I sing a small song, say a few words and leave the room. The words I say before leaving are the same, every time.
- I then walk outside and start a timer for 60 seconds, walk in (even if they are silent, verify they are ok, say the same words, walk out, start a timer for 180 seconds and wait. I do this until I'm sure they are asleep. In particular I keep visiting the room every three minutes even if they are happy. This reinforces the idea that you'll look after them. If they aren't happy I give them the pacifier and toy, say the same words, leave.
- next day: first 3 minutes (180 seconds), then 5 minutes intervals until they are asleep.
- increase by two minutes every day (but usually my kids get it by the second or third day: Dad has not left, he'll be back soon enough even if I don't cry so I can just relax and play with this toy.)
- for my first kid it took more like a week because I waited for too long before I started sleep training.
- Do use a timer!
- Do walk in even if the kid is just falling asleep!
- Do use the timer once to verify that the kids are actually asleep after you think they fell asleep!
(I think people often misunderstand it so you'll find some people saying he argues that kids should cry it out or something, while the idea is rather to make them feel safe and enjoy bedtime.)
The most difficult time is right after the second child is born: you have two children who are incompatible in their needs, abilities, sleep schedules...
But think long-term: if you have only one child, then anytime it needs human interaction, it will turn to you. Two children, they can play together for a while... while you are doing something else (within hearing distance).
Here is a trick we used for a 6 months old child:
Make the child room accident-proof. Trivial things, such as the child stupidly crawling against the wall and hitting it by head, that's not a problem. Just make sure that the child cannot reach anything dangerous (sharp, breakable, poisonous, small enough to swallow), that there are no plastic bags, that the power outlets are filled with small plastic pieces, and that there is nowhere to fall from. To achieve the last one, instead of bed we simply have a mattress on the floor, surrounded by soft carpets, so the child can crawl from/to the "bed" anytime. Have a box full of safe toys in the room.
Now, when the child wakes up, as long as it is not crying, feel free to sleep. If the child is crying, breastfeed, change the diapers, then return to the room and continue to sleep. Choose five or seven random toys from the box, and put them on random places on the floor, about one step far from each other (the time your child spends crawling between the toys is also the time you spend sleeping). During the day, as long as your child is okay playing in the room, feel free to take a nap there; just remember to close the door.
You will not get long uninterrupted sleep this way, but you can get a long interrupted sleep and a few naps. Anyway, with breastfeeding, long uninterrupted sleep is impossible for a mother with little baby; but it gradually gets longer: a newborn will wake up several times during the night, but the 2 years old child can sleep the whole night.
And here is a trick we used for a 3 years old child:
She can play with tablet: there is Tux Paint and Scratch (where she only edits scenes) installed. In the morning she gets an apple and the tablet, and we get an extra hour of sleep. (Yeah, yeah, some people disapprove of little kids using computers, but I can't hear their opinions while I am sleeping.)
If you insist on long uninterrupted sleep, I imagine the following strategy could work: one partner goes to sleep N hours before the child, and the other handles the evening routine alone; then the second partner wakes N hours after the child, and the first one handles the morning routine alone (adjust N depending on how long the child sleeps and how long you want to sleep).
(Work wise, I currently balance 2 very demanding start-up-y jobs, and learned the hard way that even 8 hours doesn't cut the sheer amount of energy that's needed to handle fires that come from both of those places. Cutting out every inch of social or leisure life before sleep ironically gives me my best weeks ... and I know as an introvert that's probably easier for me than some, but good lord. Sleep's one of those things I don't compromise on anymore.)
I wonder if others feel their creativity improved on sleep deprived days? I have never read anything about that.
Why were you sleep deprived? Were you involved in other tasks that kept your mood up thus fostering creativity? Was it actually that the task at hand was so enjoyable that you had already been putting extra time to get it done? Did you have deadlines?
I've noticed that you're creative when you end up putting more time and thought to any activity. You can fool yourself thinking that you are not getting ideas after sitting down for just 5 minutes to do a task. But if you are deliberate in your efforts (possibly due to the kind of work or imminent deadlines), then ideas will come to your mind.
But, I found that if I persisted with trying to create or refine the earlier idea, very often there was something good to be found, not always directly related. I might just be seeing a different part of the application code from a new perspective by trying to write a new feature using the same libraries, and go in and get a gain where they're used elsewhere.
I seem to remember Olivia Laing touching on the hangover--> creativity phenomenon a bit in her book The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking. I suspect most of the people she writes about in that book (e.g. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dylan Thomas, Tennessee Williams) were chronically sleep deprived in addition to having drinking problems.
But I found hangovers equally assistive to quiet linear, procedural tasks, specifically reeling in telephone sales closes. I would say there's a combination of narrowed creativity, to talk around any already understood but surmountable objections, and the step by step almost rote procedure of confirming the customer's interests and the concessions where you have applied any, terms, and the okay, this is what I need you to do to deliver you x today.
Admittedly sometimes I found a excess of creativity arising from gallows humour, particularly if my customer happened to be likewise hungover - I would tease my favourite customers that they were getting my call in the morning, regardless of whether they signed by the end of a junket we held the night or weekend before. Colleagues kept immense Outlook calendars of sporting fixtures and rolled a feed individually for the latest on their customer's team affiliations.
I'm curious how many people on HN have been in corporate sales ever. Personally, I really enjoyed the experience. But I wasn't stuck with it, I was seconded to make sure that technical arguments actually were supported by the operations and development guys. I reckon if sales functions could level with the experience of the dev/ops teans, prior to calling, close ratios would be up all around. That's what my job was, basically.
Oddly enough, for people with ADHD, a poor sleeping schedule might actually help (in the short term) with concentration issues!
I found in university, strangely through sheer accident, (during the first two years of my PhD program in physics) that I performed best on my final exams and written qualifiers with three hours of sleep.
I would sleep 3 hours after late-night study, drink a lot of coffee, and then be able to hyper-focus like a felon on a three-hour-long exam.
Eg, I remember doing 3 qualifiers on Mon, Wed, and Fri in one week, so a small nap and then back to studying for the next one.
Not a fun week, that.
On those nights when sleep just isn't going to come, I've given up on trying; I'll just go find something to do. All-night programming is a pretty good fit, although I've also spent entire nights painting and putting down flooring, or tinkering in my shop.
The main reason I don't follow something similar, is that I am fairly sure consistently sleeping longer than 9 hours per night increases the risk for serious health problems. I'd provide sources, but I'm on my phone
What if the people who slept less happened to be from the working class who lead a more active life? And the ones who slept 8-9 were those of an older age group who might not be taking care of their lifestyle.
(Just like the affect of dark chocolate/red wine on cancer risk.)
I feel more creative when I have a lot of sleep. When I am sleep deprived, I produce many ideas of poor quality.
I sleep about 9-10 hours, and I'm really more productive than when I had to be in office at 9 every morning (I can't sleep before 2)
It seems the average age of respondents is somewhere in the early 20s whereas I’m more than double that.
If I get 6 hours straight through without needing to get up to pee then I’m doing well. 7 hours? Brilliant!
Yeah that's called over-sleeping sir. It may be indicative of a health issue you should get checked out. You might not want to be so quick to stake claim to autonomous functions. It's not like you're willing yourself to sleep longer; your body just isn't functioning normally.
> It may be indicative of a health issue
Now you write:
> No study I've seen seems to suggest there's any problem with sleeping more up to something like 12 hrs/night I think
So he said it may be an indication of an issue, and you write that it may not be unhealthy to sleep a lot. Those are two different things.
As for your claim: A quick search returns many hits related to issues caused by sleeping more than ~9 hours. I have not reviewed them (I spent 1 minute on this) so can't say if the studies well performed. Example:
"Prolonged sleep duration (night-time sleep and daytime napping) may be associated with an increased risk of dementia."
But saying that no study would even suggest there would be a problem seems strange considering I found a bunch of them in a minute. Maybe you have done a deeper review of the studies and concluded that they are invalid, or?
I read a few studies when i started bodybuilding and that seemed to be the consensus
Also undersleep affects cognition to a signifiant degree, iirc it was 40% diminution day one, 60% day 2 on memory tasks (and you have the same health issues as oversleep, perhaps to a higher degree)
> Conclusion: Both short and long duration of sleep are significant predictors of death in prospective population studies.
> Future studies should be designed to answer the question whether sleep duration is a cause or simply a marker of ill-health.
> Long sleep was significantly associated with mortality, incident diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, stroke, coronary heart disease, and obesity.
Others could be as productive as me in 8h or 6h or even less for all I know. I just have not met such people. Most people I know sleep little and are by my own standards not productive (I mean I would never hire them, sorry if it is rude)
Your other point also makes a lots of sense: I may be losing 2h per day due to sleep. OTOH, I generally wake up by 11am, am done with breakfast and shower by 1 or 2pm, and start working for real by 4pm, so I'm already wasting time by myself :-)
But in a few hours of highly productive work, I often achieve my goals. When I don't, I very quickly find another way to get the results, because IT NEEDS TO WORK NOW!
Lazyness, impatience and hubris are my best qualities!
Of course, that's not necessarily the case. Everyone has a different genetic need for and predisposition to sleep.
A colleage of mine seems to do fine with 5 hours sleep, and another needs 9-10 hours like GP.
i'm always very skeptical about claims like that, for three reasons:
1. people who claim to work perfectly with less than 7 hours of sleep regularly are often used to it but actually slightly under-perform (in regards to their maximum efficiency) without noticing the difference.
2. there's a bit of societal pressure to sleep less; people sleeping 8-9 hours are sometimes seen as lazy. thus people sometimes falsely claim to sleep less than they actually do (or see pt. 1), which reinforces the original point.
3. a couple of very smart and/or successful people sleep very little at night because they're so productive and successful and sleep would take time away from this - what they forgot to mention are the frequent naps throughout the day.
you are right though that everyone's different. not only genetically - mental, physical and emotional exhaustion differ between jobs and hobbies. though i agree with some others here that sleeping much more than 10 hours regularly may be a sign of health problems or - nowadays more likely due to ubiquitous screens - poor sleep quality.
And I'm pretty sure its not an act as he's older than me, consistently competent and I've known him like this for years,running the same schedule.
Probably just on one extreme of the bell curve.
sleep start times and sleep wake times also follow a normal distribution.
But cognitively enhanced and more productive, hell yeah. I know my track record. I have little doubt about that.
But my problem is that that I'm a single guy who needs to date and have a social life. And try as I might, all such social constructs require you to stay out late and drink a little. All of which eventually chips into the sleep, and hence how productive you are the next day.
It's really annoying having to force myself to be social at the cost of only being, say, 70% as productive the next day.
Is anyone else facing this conundrum, or can impart any hints?
On a related note: In Mediterranean countries there is often the tradition of sleeping "siesta", a short nap in the afternoon. Seems to have some use.
early to rise, early to bed, makes a man healthy, wealthy and socially dead.
-- Ben Franklin, who had similar difficulties.
Late to bed, late to rise: an owl.
Late to bed, early to rise: an angry bird.
That said, the time from 0000-0330 is amazing. For the same reasons people like to wake up really early (3+ hours before going to work), this time is (human, coworker and outdoor capitalist) distraction free, I can't run boring errands outside, so I can focus on creative work at home. It's great that it can double up as late-night partying/dating/gaming/social time. But other than maybe once-a-week for gaming, I use it for the others once a month or rarer.
There are some social costs however, besides the professional one mentioned earlier. I'm a complete corpse when trying to make morning weekend plans (breakfast/brunch, hikes, events). I get to be known as "that guy who only gets up at noon". Which makes me wonder, is waking up at 0400 so much more socially upstanding that going to bed at 0400 if I'm using my isolationist time mostly the same way? Waking up early is associated with discipline and diligence, staying up late is associated with childishness and immaturity and lack of discipline.
I't all just a trade-off. I suppose one can train for schedule flexibility, but I love my late nights.
Here are some (strawman?) arguments that support your view, but are they actually justified/true/not-true-for-staying-up-instead?
- it takes effort to build a habit of waking up early, therefore it's good
- the hardest workers i know wake up early, it must be integral to why they're productive
- college kids stay up late, and college kids lack discipline
- being out when the sun is up is healthy for you, so sleeping through sunlight is bad for you
I feel like if businesses operated from 12pm-12am instead of 9am-9pm, all these would be flipped in favor of staying up late =/
For one, just like you can't get up early, some of us can't sleep in. Takes no effort for me to build up a habit of waking up early, my body just likes to wake up at 4:30AM. I go to bed relatively early because I'm going to be awake at 4:30AM either way so I might as well try to make a full night of sleep happen.
Other than that, I think there might be a bit of moral judgement going on, but I think it's just that the business day starts at 8:00AM and sleeping past that looks like lazy or luxury. One thing I like about working in tech is that there is less judgement there -- hell, if anything, I get more flack for waking up at the crack of dawn than my coworkers who get into the office at 10:30AM or 11:00. I'm not the only guy who gets into the office early but on my team I'm in the minority.
Absolutely no idea of any solution.
This has always been like that, but more with age. That made having kids a real challenge. Luckily, my SO is not as nearly dependent on sleep as I am.
I have always hoped this could get better with age. Are you saying this will get worse?
Note: This may not be good for you if you are NOT able to maintain the schedule so do keep that in mind!
Nowadays I don't wake up until I feel like a period is over. Sometimes I got woken up by something and my heart and mind feel weak as damn.
After having read it, I can't prevent my self from doing the same. It definitly changed my views on the topic, and while it has a bit of a melodramatic tone, it is a well written entertaining piece that feeds you with data backed evidences with ease.
I was a bit disappointed that he does not discuss some common sleep disorders, only others that I haven‘t recently been diagnosed with.
It focused too much on these disorders for my taste, which might make it perfect for your taste.
Someone once told me that you get tired when the body warms up, which makes some sense if you are one of those who goes from a cold outside to a warm inside.
I also submitted the book to HN as a story a week ago: "Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams" by Matthew Walker https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17528154
Some example ideas from the book:
* Sleep is when we move memories from shorter-term storage in the hippocampus to longer-term storage in the frontal cortex. If you don't sleep well at night, you lose many memories of the day.
* Without adequate sleep (about 8 hour a night) your cognitive performance during the day nosedives into the ground -- and the cumulative effects get worse over time. At the same time, you may be less able to recognize this effect.
* After 20 hours of being awake you are as cognitively impaired as if you were legally drunk.
* More and worse car accidents happen from drowsy driving then drunk driving. While drunk driving may slow reaction times, drowsy drivers have "microsleeps" where for seconds at a time they stop responding to external stimuli and can unknowingly drift over into oncoming traffic or not stop for a red light or a pedestrian.
* Sleep is needed to make new immune cells like for preventing cancer.
* Sleep is needed to process emotional events from the day so we can reflect on what happened without becoming too anxious about it. He gives an example for treating PTSD of veterans via better sleep and a medication that affects dreaming.
* Sleep-deprived people are more likely to slack off and even make unethical choices. Underslept people also are less charismatic leaders. So less sleep does not equate to more productivity.
* Sleep (and dreams) are a time when the brain connects random ideas that may lead to useful ideas when awake the next day.
* Good sleep is absolutely essential to the developing brain in children even from before birth.
* While ADHD may be a real health condition, many symptoms of sleep deprivation overlap with those of ADHD and so there may be some misdiagnosis going on from that.
* Some people are naturally early-riser larks and others are naturally late-rising night owls (and many are in the middle). Forcing one to keep the schedule of the other leads to worse performance and more accidents and so on.
* Teenagers naturally go to sleep later and wake up later than younger children or adults (possibly to give them experience acting independently of their elders in a tribal setting). Delaying the start time for high school students by about an hour in one case lead to a 200+ point increase in SAT scores of top performers -- and in another case to a 60% decrease in car accidents among the teenagers who drove.
All this is backed by references to recent scientific studies.
Essentially, as my own analogy, our brains are overclocked during the day and need eight hours of good sleep to fix up all the deferred maintenance.
He includes advice on getting more and better sleep. One surprising recommendation from the book -- set an alarm to remind you when to go to sleep!
It's also kind of a shame that they don't have integration with Garmin (depending on device) and Fitbit - many of the devices from both of those companies track heartrate, movement and sleep without the need to leave your phone on the bed but there's not much integration there. It looks like Garmin has a lot of that raw data available to download, but it's per-day individual downloads of .fit files (https://forums.garmin.com/forum/into-sports/running/forerunn...)
One thing worth noting for people considering one of the fitness trackers: Garmin's software doesn't recognize multiple sleep periods, so if you nap then go do something it either ignores one sleep period or just treats it as one long sleep period (with a big "awake" period in the middle). The vivosmart 3 at least does also track sleep phases.
If you are going to be reading in bed and want better sleep detection, try using the hand with the watch for page turning, or if it's a device and you just tap to turn pages try holding it with your watch hand. Just that motion may be enough for it.
One is that I don't think happiness is exactly the thing I'd track. I'd also want to track sleep cycle, not just sleep amount. My experience is that too little sleep or a disrupted sleep schedule has a negative effect on my mood stability. If I sleep enough and at roughly the same time every day, I'm more emotionally resilient.
One sleep hack I recommend to everybody is to try to avoid waking up to an alarm. I now adjust my wake time mostly by adjusting my bedtime. This certainly makes my mornings better, but it also means I fret less about getting the right number of hours, in that I trust my body to generally self-regulate on the right amount of sleep.
1. Being awoken by an alarm is stressful. Waking up naturally, when my body is ready to wake up, feels great, and is easy. I have no trouble energetically hopping out of bed when I awake naturally. When I awake to an alarm, it is a struggle to get out of bed.
2. If I am awoken by an alarm during deep sleep, I consider that a waste of restful sleep potential. Returning to sleep for a brief period ("snoozing") does not make one less tired in any significant way. Deep sleep is what really matters, so it should not be wasted.
3. Like you said, the easy way to wake up on time without an alarm is to go to bed early. I allocate more hours for sleep than actually needed. If I wake up earlier than needed, that is no problem. If I have trouble falling asleep, or have poor sleep quality for any reason, the extra time can smooth out the impact. Having a time buffer prevents oversleeping.
4. I use an eye mask or blackout curtains to keep light from windows or electronic devices from disturbing my sleep. Most people think that small amounts of light do not bother them. I used to think the same, but I have come to believe it makes a significant difference. Complete darkness makes for high quality sleep. Light can disturb sleep just as much as noise. If you live in a fairly populated area, like I do, the sky is quite lit up at night. Like many people, I avoid screens and light in general close to my bed time.
Once I realized that, I bought a $30 light alarm. It starts to glow softly about half an hour before my desired wake-up time, and except for once or twice when I was too buried under the covers to see the light, it consistently wakes me much more smoothly and pleasantly than getting jarred awake by a jangling alarm. (It has a back-up audio alarm that plays at your normal wake-up time, which shuts off when you turn off the light part.)
I found off-the-shelf light alarms not bright enough, so I used a bunch of Hue lights to get it brighter:
I was surprised to discover that the more valuable part was auto-dimming the lights in the evening. I'm much more likely to go to bed on time if there's been a virtual sunset over an extended period. I miss it when I travel.
Not everyone has the luxury nor the natural sleep cycle to be able to do this, though, not at times society expects us to be awake.
I've had luck getting good sleep waking about 8 or 9 with an alarm, but if I do not use the alarm, I oversleep. It doesn't matter what "healthy sleep habits" I use. Anything before 8 or 9 is impossible without an alarm, even with healthy sleep habits and reasonable bedtime - when I can get to sleep early enough to do such a thing.
I can train myself to wake around 10 or 11 most, but not all days, and the alarm is really more of a backup than anything. I can usually trust myself to wake by noon on my own, though.
You see, I am naturally a night owl. It isn't age: I've been like this since I was young and I'm nearly 40. As in, I chose sleep over santa presents. But additionally, my sleep needs change through the month, corresponding with a female hormone cycle. of course, that same cycle makes it harder to sleep earlier in the evening during times I need more sleep.
I will also use a sleep-cycle sensitive alarm on the rare occasions I need to be up unusually early, which I think helps minimize the disruptive effects of an alarm.
If you can't you can't, of course. But I definitely recommend it if you can.
I used to drink little to no caffeine (didn't do coffee, nor soda, etc). I now drink coffee regularly with no effect, still no soda. I've tried getting regular exercise, though running is actually painful. I still run into the same issue: A couple nights of going to bed at a decent time, then by the 3rd night I am awake 2 hours later. There is no point in lying in bed when I can't sleep, though I've tried that too.
Consistent day-night cycle helps very little - I'm too far north. Winter days are 4.5 hours long, and midsummer you can read outside at night. I didn't always live up north, but it didnt help much then. The sun coming up is a non-issue for my sleeping. I do find that dimming the front room lights a while before sleeping helps to an extent, but not enough to wake at 6-7am and get enough sleep during the week. The main concern is that sometimes I simply won't wake to the alarm. At all. Or phone calls... I slept through 17 phone calls once. Physical shaking helps.
Part of my issue is that the actual quality of my sleep suffers with early wakings, even when I can get drowsy early. I generally require between 7 and 9 hours sleep per night to feel well-rested: 6 hours is too little, but doable for one night. But even that changes: Sleeping from 12am to 6am produces poorer quality sleep than 2am to 8am. I've often considered simply going to the doctor. I've quit jobs that started too early as well, and try not to take jobs that have early wakings too often.
This changed me from a 5-6 alarm with multiple snooze person to a single alarm no snooze person, regardless of how much or little I've slept the previous day. There are days when I wake up before the alarm as well.
Do take a look and see if this helps!
Edit: Read the article after commenting. The same app has been suggested and explained in the article.
I really like the idea, but the thing would always fall off at night. Maybe I should try a new one...
On the rare occasions when I have something pretty early that I absolutely have to be awake for, I'll use a sleep-cycle-sensitive alarm. I use the one in my Pebble, but there are plenty of others.
Most importantly, I learned that I need almost 8 hours sleep to feel my best and that I'm just subpar on the days when I don't get that much. Less ability to focus, less emotional control, less desire to exercise, less ability to resist temptation. Less happiness.
For me, it's optimal if I set the sleep cycle alarm for 8 hours and 15 minutes from time I lay down. If that all works out, I'm set up for a much more productive and happier day.
How did you measure happiness and productivity and how did you correlate that to your sleep?
The happiness thing was more abstract... why am I unhappy? Because I’m not exercising, eating well and I’m working too many hours. Why am I doing those things? Hmmm, it’s correlated with, amongst other things stress and lack of sleep.
Fixing the sleep helped fix the rest.
But, I've been having trouble sleeping in recently. I want to sleep more, but can't. I'm not sure what causes it - I used to have the problem of staying up late then sleeping till 11-12ish naturally. (I never use an alarm)
I have two observations:
1. A couple months ago I started going to my balcony for morning sunlight upon waking. I had read morning light resets sleep cycles
2. I notice I need to pee when I wake up, and have trouble falling asleep again after. It's summer in Canada, so some light gets in around 5 am or so
I'm wondering if I reset my cycle, and now I "wake up" if there's morning light present, whereas I didn't before.
Anyone have this experience? I never had trouble sleeping in before, so this confuses me.
YMMV, but ask yourself whether there's anything that might be preoccupying your subconscious that might be triggering your sleep issues.
I do think I'd be better rested with more though. I'll give meditation a shot, it can't hurt.
I tried eating lighter, a bit earlier and jumping into bed at 10pm cutting everything so I would slip slowly but surely.
I had positive results for a while but I'm back to unregular sleep schedule.
Also tried the no-blue-light thing but didn't feel improvements.
In periods where I am very productive, I have a reason to wake up, I know what I want and need to do. Then I'm very happy, life has a purpose. It doesn't matter how many hours I sleep.
In the other hand, when I amb lost and don't know what I should be doing that day, I have a very hard time waking up.
You feel good, you feel more energetic, you feel all the benefits that are well known, but you don't notice.
You only notice it when you go back to shitty sleep and realize how much better off you are when you are sleeping the appropriate number of hours.
I've struggled with sleep for years. I won't go into my long journey but it suffices to say that after all the supplements, different cpap machines, "sleep hack", etc., the only thing that actually worked was discipline. Go to bed early, wake up early, same time, everyday.
My point is, there is tremendous variation in 'natural' sleep patterns - and related behaviors - across the population. I need a larger study if I'm going to digest this much information.
Thanks for this! Very interesting stuff.
Thanks for letting me know and the nice words!
Chromium seems to display all charts without any problems (same computer).
Btw. it looks like once a chart has been loaded successfully, it is cached so that you have to clear/disable the browser cache in order to see the issue again.
I choose life.
Not knocking on the idea of sleeping more & general well-being, but "tracking happiness" seems so wildly out of touch with reality that it's hard for me to buy into this analysis.
I'm genuinely interested to hear about why you think that's "wildly out of touch with reality"?
Personally, sleep is a huge factor in my happiness, so tracking it is pretty important.
Being mindful of your emotional state allows you to try to dig into why you are currently feeling that way and what is the source of the emotion. That's what we are pretty bad at understanding :-)
For me I end up externalizing my emotions by saying "I'm not in a bad mood, it's just this (annoyance/distraction/external factor) that's making things hard for me!" and failing to realize that it could be something that would normally not faze me, and it's really me that's blowing things out of proportion.
This is something I used to be much better at back when I used to practice mindfulness meditation. Being able to stop in the middle of a situation and recognize that you may not be in the best state of mind is an important skill that I have totally lost over the past few years.
But externalizing is miss understanding the WHY as much as not understanding the root emotion.
I generally fall asleep within a minute or two of head hitting the pillow. What should be normal?
Through a lot of my teen years, it could take me up to an hour to fall asleep. Once I got to college and I was able to adjust my sleep schedule a bit (no longer had to be at school by 7:30am), I could do it in 30 minutes. Now (mid-20s) I can do it in as little as 10-15 sometimes, if I'm lucky. More often I think it's 15-20.
I dunno what it is exactly. I feel like my brain just constantly wants to be thinking about things, like solving problems from my day or imagining fanciful scenarios or planning upcoming events. What do you think about when you lie down? Or are you able to just switch it off and not think about anything?
In order to readily get to sleep, you need to be both physically and mentally tired. This is part of why reading in bed or doing crossword puzzles is so popular -- it helps make you mentally tired.
If you have any kind of health issues, working on that will improve sleep issues.
A food and health journal can be an enormously useful tool for teasing out details peculiar to you.
Exercise moves lymph. If you have been sedentary a long time, it would be wise to ramp up gradually. There can be a lot of fallout if you suddenly start working out hard.
If you allergies or respiratory problems, switching to hypoallergenic bedding products, like buckwheat pillows, all cotton sheets, etc can make a big difference for some people. It can also help to generally keep you sleep area very clean, dust free etc.
Co Q 10 in the morning about 12 to 14 hours before you want to sleep at night can help your circadian clock. It wakes you up and encourages the body to produce melatonin about 12vto 14 later. Most sources say 12 hours, but my firsthand experience suggests 12 to 14 hours.
Proper sleep is a very high priority for me these days.
The first symptom (more prone to stress) seems to have a tipping point with me. If I get between 4-8 hours it is certainly true, but below that I feel considerably less stress, more creativity, and an increase in humor. I'm not sure why.
Definitely correlates with my happiness levels being much more all over the map in the last 6mths of running an involuntary sleep deficit due to a shoulder injury that impairs sleep (&worse the week after the surgery).
I've also noticed a definite thinking deficit as this wears on, and am thinking of doing a tracking project.
Rather than just going by subjective 'feel like I'm (not) thinking well', does anyone know of a good site that has a deep library of correlated mind test questions such that one could take repeated tests but not encounter repeat questions?
You need to have a baseline score to compare with. Your score will improve pretty quick in the beginning and then start to level out.
I also like typing speed tests, to test the effects of exhaustion, sleep deprivation and various states of mind. (In some cases, the speed is actually increased, but typically at the cost of accuracy.)
For typing speed I use https://typeracer.com which has some excellent book and movie quotes to type.
another one, w/ a somewhat different angle I'd found was a straight mental math trainer, discovered from another commenter here on HN:
Based on what I’ve read, I’m writing waking hour checks that science says I can’t cash. And apparently, after this study, will do so unhappily.
I slept great the first 25 years of my life, but I've had a ton of sleep problems as a start-up founder over the years. They developed over 10+ years building a $200MM plus company from the ground up. I was traveling all over the world, in different time zones and working 7 days a week. I would recommend treating sleep really seriously and not 'breaking' your ability to sleep.
I have learned ways to get some sleep again, but basically haven't been able to 'fix these issues' for the past 15 years. I have learned to manage the sleeplessness - and am finally back up to 7 hours or so a night on average most weeks (8 is my sweet spot). During this entire time I thought I was healthy, but sleep and lack thereof concerns me. I have read a ton on the subject, tried everything (CBT / Behavioral therapy, Hypnosis, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Sleeping pills, Herbal remedies, etc). Haven't tried Cannibis.
I am currently working with 4 leading sleep researchers with decades each in helping people sleep. We're building a personal 'sleep assistant' to use modified CBT program in an automated fashion. We are in second trial this summer. First trial showed 45 minute average sleep improvement (in people sleeping < 7 hours a night to start). Most people do better with 7-8 hours / night even if they think they don't need it. I need it, but need help 'calming down' my mind enough to get it.
If you're interested in taking part in any alpha studies (after this current research round of 200 people) or learning more or getting on mailing list, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having two daughters was rough on my sleep, but we also did co-sleeping (Asian wife who breastfed).
> It's impossible to determine any correlation at all based on this graph. I know my happiness is influenced by a lot of factors, but so far I cannot tell if sleep is one of them.
Yeah, this is true. You can't just look at a graph and say that the job is done. This is the entire point for the statistics field. You need to do an actual statistical test for correlation -- not just plot a graph. Obvious trends are definitely visible in graphs, but more subtle correlations are often obscured and not visible.
I'd be much more interested to see what statistical analysis on the data looks like, rather than just a graph at the end. With a huge focus on methods, I'm flabbergasted that some form of regression wasn't tried at all. It's probably worth chopping out obvious problem areas, like relationship stress, though. (You could also just add categorical traits to the model, though, and let relationship stress act as a factor on happiness directly.)
A tangent: it's pretty well known that sleep deprivation can actually improve symptoms in people who are depressed -- especially at extremes. I don't know if this has anything to do with a large scale analysis like this, though.
OP: start with a multiple regression, then do a PCA, to see which factors may have commonalities.
If you don't know how, upload your data somewhere. Me or anyone else here could do that in 5 min. The conclusions would certainly be more interesting than the wall of text - even if it covers just 1 person, you have many datapoints!
Snoring is fine. Forget about the inconvenience it causes on others. It's when you STOP snoring that you should be concerned. I have sleep apnea and I know what it is like.
Go get yourself checked ASAP. You do NOT want to suffer long term side effects of sleep apnea, and not all of them are reversible.
Likewise, on the really rough days where I don't get much to no sleep, I'm irritable and all but useless at work and around the house. I've come to manage these days over the years, but I do note that things still bubble up and I am easily agitated.
Interestingly enough, medicine to help me sleep does not result in a better mood, only that natural sleep.
I wasn't miserable, but that's mostly due to the excitement of progressing.
Two, you know it's painful enough that you'd rather not waste the time doing something stupid and worthless.
Three, it lowers your mental state enough that you'll just drudge on like a robot.
Certain parts of my brain fatigue and completely turn off. After an all-nighter my emotional resilience is off the charts the next day.
I think a little slower, but so much more calmly, and logically.
At my startup my co-founders actually requested I pull all-nighters before pitching VC's because the effect was so profound. Public speaking is so easy when you stop caring and treat everything like an item on a checklist instead of a potential catastrophe.
it's not that we're night owls, but that we need coherent blocks of focus-compatible time, so when the rest of the world sleeps is one heuristic.
During snowy winter weeks I am mostly sedentary, I need eight to nine hours to feel refreshed, and I need coffee to stay awake after lunch.
When weather is good and I run four to five miles in the morning everyday, I only need to sleep from midnight to 6 AM. I wake up at that time automatically without alarm.
I feel 40 minutes of running can equal two hours of extra sleep. Perhaps running increases blood flow and also helps clean up trashes in the brain, as what people claim sleeping does to your brain.
And yes, I feel so happy after running.
So it may be "just" the light or it could be both your lifestyle change and the lack of light siphoning happiness.
Spending too long in bed due to feeling lethargic and not wanting to get up doesn't result in happiness.
I am a big fan of 8 hours of good sleep a night, and definitely need it to be on top of things, and on some occasions to ward off depression and fuzzy thinking...
 - https://sleepeasyapp.com
My insomnia was awful from 14 to 19, I was operating with on average 3 or 4 days of no sleep, a couple of days of 2-3 hours of sleep a day, and back to 3 -4 days of no sleep, wash rinse repeat. I had lots of 6,7,8 days of no sleep and once went 10 days. For me, then, I was just awake, I didn't force anything, I was just not sleepy, and I couldn't force myself to sleep.
During my junior and senor year of college I started smoking pot, and I started sleeping on a regular basis, going to bed about 1-1:30 and getting 6/7 hours of sleep. I'm not really sure if I was happier, or more productive, I was definitely more relaxed, it was probably the pot not the sleep. Of course once I graduated and started getting drug tested I needed to give up smoking pot. I hope soon my state will legalize and maybe I can find a strain that helps.
I did a couple of sleep studies two which lasted 5 days and for one I went sleepless for the study, they said I never once displayed any indication that my body wanted to sleep during those 5 days. They wanted to study me but sitting in a room hooked up to machines for days on end was not my idea of fun, since I didn't sleep they wanted to know what was going on with me during my constant "up" times and they wanted to see if they could understand what triggered my sleep when it did happen.
As I got into my 30's my insomnia became less of an issue, but the delayed sleep issue went back to when I was a baby, my body wanted to sleep from 7am until 9/10am, putting a real kink in my life. While I didn't technically have insomnia, I usually wasn't getting any sleep during the work week, luckily I was wired for not sleeping much so it wasn't a career killer, it was tough on my wife and children, and still is.
As I got into my late 40's my delayed sleep time move to back to about 4am, and my sleeping needs have increased, I now usually get 3-4 hours of sleep a day. So far things have remained the same into my mid 50's.
If I want to I can still go a few day without sleep, I've worked on big projects and it can be wonderful to just knock out 72 hours of work in 3 days. When I get "sleepy" it's more like my body suggesting that it would accommodate sleeping if I so choose, if I ignore the offer the opportunity passes and I'm just awake. From talking to others the feeling of sleep comes over them and they have no choice but to succumb
As a side note I don't take drugs prescription or otherwise, nor do I drink
As time when on, college happened. I would frequently have to skip sleeping because of work load. It became an habit. I eventually graduated, started working, often would pull really long shifts, etc. A year or two later I got into a situation where I could take a long sabbatical, and because of my bad habits, with nothing really holding me back, I would sleep roughly 1 night out of two. I'd skip altogether one day, then the next I'd sleep 10-12 hours.
And then it was 9-11 hours. Then 8-10, then 7-8...one day out of two. I dunno if I did permanent damage or what, but I was never able to go back to a normal sleep schedule. I've always been a very light sleeper. Everything would wake me up, but then it got worse. Any kind of light, any kind of noise, any kind of stress... it would take me 2+ hours to fall asleep, I'd wake up 4 times a night, if not more.
It got a little better over time, but never "good". To this day, I take forever to fall asleep, wake up a lot, and by 8 am I'm as awake as can be no matter what time I went to bed. And I constantly feel like I need sleep, so I feel like shit.
Talked to doctors, no one can find anything wrong with me. It affects my productivity drastically, which stresses me out, which in turn makes it harder to sleep. At work, I'm a fraction of what I was 10 years ago and only make up for it with experience. If I could have sustained even half of my productivity, I'd be way further in my career...but alas...
I just want to sleep more >.<
About 3 years ago I started using a program on iOS called Brainwave, I haven't found anything that works on Android. I use my old 3GS and very small inexpensive in-ear headphones, Philips SHE3590BK usually around $9. They fit completely inside my ears so I can sleep on my side. I use the Deep Sleep option, with the Medium Rain Ambiance, I keep the volume very low for ambiance and brain wave, just enough so I can pick up the lower tones for the brainwave.
When I started using Brainwave I needed to use the Deep Sleep/Wake up option, and I needed the volume a bit louder because it would still take me a long time to fall asleep. Wake Up mode means it's running until it's time to wake up. After using it for about 9 months I was able to switch to the Deep Sleep option and have it run only for 60 minutes. Now I'm down to running it for 15 and 95% of the time I fall asleep in less than 15 minutes, if not I just pull out the 3GS and give it another 15. Once I fall asleep the in-ear headphones block most sounds, like my wife's snoring.
I don't think it's good for my hearing/ears to run the program in Wake Up mode, which is why I switched away from it as soon as I could. I've recommended the program to normal sleepers for the napping option, so far everyone has said it's great, it lets them fall asleep fast the program wakes them up and they feel refreshed.
The program is supposed to be binaural beats, but I'm sure people on this form can explain why it's not, but I don't care. The program disrupts the constant dialog in my head, quietening my brain, allowing the sleep process to kick in. The program has been a god send.
I hope so too - alcohol is slandered for causing sedation rather than true high quality sleep, but the research is still uncertain about marijuana.
I've tried zinc, magnesium, melatonin, sleep masks, earplugs - many things. Cannabis is the only thing that works.
>I'm not really sure if I was happier, or more productive, I was definitely more relaxed, it was probably the pot not the sleep.
I'm inclined to believe that sleep is the key here and pot helps by inducing it. That's my gut feeling though.
I can't remember the specific episode of JRE, but he had on a sleep expert who claimed cannabis prevents you from getting into deep REM sleep. From personal and anecdotal experience, I'm inclined to believe that's true. I have no idea what that actually means as far as sleep and life quality goes. I felt perfectly fine when I was an every day smoker. I just wanted to point out that I do think it has a major effect on the type of sleep you're getting and talk about how crazy it is when the dreams come back. Especially after years of not having them. I don't mean to prescribe any lifestyle changes, merely highlight an interesting anecdote.
Like you say:
>I'd agree that sleeping is better than no sleep
That's pretty much where my standpoint lays now.
Wishing you the best in getting the benefits of less sleep without any health consequences. You might want to contact him to discuss.
Did you make an alt account just for this comment? Do you feel embarrassed by your lack of sleep for some reason?
Anyone who knows me could identify me from this post, there aren't a lot of people who have my relationship with sleep. I've met people who have insomnia, and they fall apart during day two of no sleep, it wears them out. Me, I'm just awake, I don't start slowing down because I'm awake for 72 or 96 hours. I worked 5 days straight with no break, everyone else worked in shifts,I was always observed there wasn't a period where I could sneak off and have a nap. It freaked everyone out that I was exactly the same on day 5 as I was on day 1, and they were all beat down because they were doing long hours with reduced sleep.
> However, I have always recovered from those periods by catching up on sleep.
This is actually a common misconception. In reality, it is not possible to "catch up" on missed sleeping hours.
I find that the same sentiment is worded misleadingly in the book Why We Sleep.
If you have a day of bad sleep (i.e. non-optimally consolidating the day's events), followed by a day of good sleep, it's not like your "health bar" is permanently lowered.
You'll just never get to re-consolidate that lost day.
So, today I read 20 pages of a book and sleep like crap - I "lose" the synthesis of those 20 pages in my memory/associative brain map/whatever. If I slept better, I'd remember way more from those 20 pages.
What's lost forever by that poor sleep is the _opportunity_ to properly synthesize those 20 pages just on that one night. Not your "health", and you don't get a permanently increased level of cortisol. After a good night of sleep, you do physiologically recover and you're back to normal.
Also, take everything in "Why We Sleep" with a grain of salt - sleep is hugely important and sleep deprivation sucks but he mentions several times in the book that "everybody sleeps badly once in a while, if it's not the norm then you're fine." Many times he's mentioning effects of chronic deprivation for long periods of time.
And insomnia paranoia will probably make you sleep worse than if you stop worrying about t.
But I seem to stand corrected. Thanks for your comment.
EDIT: otherwise everybody would be dead from the (negative) power of compound interest.
It's probably not as bad as undersleeping to oversleep, but it's not how your body is supposed to work.
Or do you think the human body ticks down 480 minutes exactly?