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The Effect of Sleep on Happiness (trackinghappiness.com)
542 points by Doncametic 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 250 comments



I sleep 10 to 11h per night. I may trim that to 6h one day but no more than once per month and if there is an absolute emergency - but then I know my productivity will be killed for at least 2 days.

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!


I had a nice solid 9h each night until having a child. I find I am actually more creative (uninhibited) when I get less sleep. My brain is firing too hard on perfectionism when I get a good sleep, where I can be a lot more creative and free flowing when I am sleep deprived. I don't implement or debug well in that state though, so my cycle tends to involve writing the code and debugging on better sleep nights and having my ideas and catching up on admin if I have a bad sleep.


As someone who also favors long (even very long) sleep, but is planning to have a child, may I ask how old your child is, whether things have already gotten better sleepwise, or whether you think it will?

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.


I'd offer a different perspective than others here: it really doesn't matter how many kids you have, nor how old they are.

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.


It's not how many kids you have, it's how old they are. The period of time between 0 and 6 months is very challenging from a sleep perspective unless you avoid taking responsibility for the child at night (e.g. by dumping nighttime responsibility on your intimate partner), which I view as generally unacceptable.

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.


> I would particularly advise the "cry it out" technique.

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.


“Raw cry it” out isn’t recommended by anyone with any expertise that I’m aware of. Most “cry it out” is closer to your pick up/put down description: Put the kid down, soothe them if they’re still crying after 5 minutes. Repeat after 10 minutes. Repeat after 20 minutes. If it’s night time, continue 20 minute intervals until sleep. If it’s nap time, give up if it hasn’t happened within an hour and try again next time.

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.


Just make sure there aren't any reasons for the crying like milk protein allergy. That is very painful while lying still in the bed. Cow milk protein carries over from whatever the mother eats and requires her not to eat anything with cow milk protein for three weeks before it gets better. Not three days as we were told. The list of things you can't eat is very long, milk is used almost everywhere so there are baby formula that is safe to give your baby for extra food if it doesn't work out.


+1 to that. There are also foods that the mom can normally eat no problem, but the kid's either going to have allergies to, or more common just not be able to digest. For example, eat a lot of broccoli, and that is guaranteed farts. Farts by themselves aren't bad, but if it's keeping your baby's belly inflated and makes it hard to sleep, well there goes your sleep!

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.


Thanks, that helps. Again, if it's "just" for a year or two, then that's just a sacrifice you have to take as a parent. That's different if the lack of sleep would be sustained until the kid reaches, say, puberty, because 15 years is a whole different number in relation to my expected remaining lifetime...


I am laying next to our sleeping baby, who is about 6 months old. (He is our first and will likely be our only) I was terribly concerned about the lack of sleep as a first time father. Besides hearing “congratulations” when we told people we were pregnant, a close second was “sleep now, while you can.” We have had Very few “rough nights,” if you can even call it that, and for the last 5.5 months, my only sleep deprivation is almost exclusively self inflicted. We credit 1) our amazing baby, who seems to know that nighttime is for sleeping or eating only, and 2) that he sleeps with us in our bed.(Queue horrific gasps.)

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 : http://cosleeping.nd.edu/articles-and-presentations/articles...

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.


Making babies sleep separately is a very western thing. Most women in the rest of the world sleep with babies, and its safe because - obesity, women smoking or drinking are infrequent outside the western world.


For sids reasons you are supposed to be in same room for most of the first year even if you are not cosleeping, according to apa


All people are different as are the sleep patterns of babies, some give you no rest others are no fuss. As always it's also a question of how well you can handle it yourself and how lucky your in regards to health, e.g. baby blues depression can really make the months with a newborn very stressful.


Thanks for sharing this and congrats on the baby. Our first due October 6th and I feel like every day I read an article about how sleep deprivation will kill me and it's been bumming me out. Hopefully our baby will be a good sleeper fingers crossed. 3x/night sounds like a dream!


As a dad of two (3yr and 1yr), the simple answer is - it depends. One kid might sleep like a rock with little to no sleep training, and the other will not sleep for 2 years, no matter what you do.

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!


I think the big difference between having one and two, other than the baby/toddler phase being extended, is that with one, it is easier for one parent to look after them while the other does something non-child related.

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.


The first 3 months are basically a write-off. After that, it gets better every month (with the occasional sleep regressions).

Everything is back to normal now our kid is 2.5yrs


So this is my first child, about two and a half months old. We are in the peak of the being way behind on sleep. It's significantly harder to debug code I wrote before he was born now. I would say my wife does 80% of the night time stuff, I typically only wake up for one "handle" and she does the rest (1-4 depending on feeding timings). Certainly it is already on the curve of getting better, the problem is we are way behind. It's so, so worth it. But don't expect the same level of debugging ability, it's nice to have some slack in whatever you are doing professionally so you can have a few months of sub-peak output, if you can afford to engineer it.


Not the person you were replying to, but every kid is different. Our oldest (3.5) is a PITA and still wakes us up at least a couple of times most nights. This is an improvement over 6+ times a night for the first ~2 years. Our second has slept through almost from birth and is easy to get to sleep. We didn't do anything different, it's just luck of the draw from everything I've seen.


Good luck. Your biggest problem is that kids should be going to bed by like 7pm. When they got 4-5 you can push that to 8-830, but that's still pretty early. If you ever want to get anything done you're going to sacrifice sleep.


Second that. Super counter-intuitive point, at least in the American society, but little kids need a lot of sleep. Put them to bed early (start your dinner at 5, and bath right after), and they will get lots of rest, while giving you all the time to do something while they are asleep.


Yup. When my daughter was really young we tried keeping her up later, thinking she'd sleep in longer. Nope, just a really crabby child. Turns out if you keep them up too long they get a second wind and it's all downhill from there.


It so hard to say. Our oldest didn't learn how to sleep through the night until she was 7 years old. She typically woke up screaming around 1am every night. Even if we just let her scream, it always woke us up. Other kids slept through the night from early on. Maybe someday there will be some genetic test that will tell you where your kids lie on the spectrum, but it seems to be a crap shoot right now.


If possible, see if parents or in-laws will stay with you for a while in the beginning, when sleep can be really chaotic.


5 years to have both "back to normal" since that is how long it takes for kids to become school age. Unless you plan to hire a nanny, invest significantly in daycare, or you or your partner stops working, in which case one of you can probably be back to work after 3 months.


Having two kids was the worst time for me:

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.

Edit:

- 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!


This is really interesting. Did you come up with this yourself or learn it somewhere?


Read it in a book by a Spanish doctor. I read it in Danish, but I think the original is called "Duérmete, Niño". It is written by Eduard Estivill and Sylvia De Béjar from what I can find using Google.

(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.)


> my impression so far suggests that it's the second child where sleep and free time get lost more permanently

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).


more creative but also more outgoing i've found


That too, which follows the disinhibition thing.


My schedule's similar to yours - designer echoing a need for a minimum of 9 hours, preferably 10, especially for any serious creative work. (Personally I also wonder if there's a link there, about needing increased hours for flexible creative thinking?)

(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 need increased hours for thinking, but for some reasons my creativity peaks on the rare days I am sleep deprived!! It is weird, as I do not compromise on sleep either!

I wonder if others feel their creativity improved on sleep deprived days? I have never read anything about that.


Perhaps you might not be looking at other factors.

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.


I find my creativity improved when my mind is tired, but once my focus returns and my dopamine levels are lower the following day, I tend to conclude that what my mind wanted me to create wasn't actually all that good...


I got the similar result, the thing thing my brain fancied earlier doesn't seem so great after the dopamine falls away.

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 often feel more creative when hungover, for some reason. Since (for me, at least) hangovers mostly consist of feeling worn out from sleeping badly, I wonder if there might be a connection there.

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.


my company name is the result of a hangover, not a discernable moment between inspiration and telling my associate who sadly didn't come along because he was emigrating to Malaysia.

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.


Creativity can require you to turn off your logical "filters", and sleep deprivation can make those "filters" less effective (it tends to have the same effect on social "filters", unfortunately).


I can't understand such long sleeping, because​I found the very fact of being interested in learning something new or solving a problem, keeps me alert and awake, literally a adrenaline rush.


Intentional sleep deprivation is being investigated as a cure for depression, and is a known tripper for mania and hypomania (which are associated with increased creativity).


Sleep deprivation is linked to an increase in dopamine. I know this because I researched why I was able to concentrate better on nights with poor sleep compared to nights with great sleep.

Oddly enough, for people with ADHD, a poor sleeping schedule might actually help (in the short term) with concentration issues!


This!

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.


How was the recovery?


Not ideal, but in some cases manageable for several days.

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.


This phenomenon is usually followed by a deep slump in productivity after that dopamine rush wears off.


Oh absolutely, a day of poor sleep takes two days to recover from in my personal experience ;(


I think sleep deprivation is related to hypomanic episodes.


I'm jealous. 4-6 hours of sleep is a good night for me, punctuated at least once or twice a week with days I never actually get to sleep; I just sort of lay there in bed from midnight until the sun comes up again, maybe drifting to a weird loopy half-conscious state for brief periods. The only things that can bring my sleep schedule in line with "normal" amounts is if I do hard physical labor for 8-12 hours during the day, have sex, or drink about two beers and read for a half hour before bed. Basically this has persisted my entire life - growing up I'd read half a dozen books a week at night when I was supposed to be in bed and couldn't fall asleep.

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.


Have you tied pot? I have a similar problem with some nights were I can't sleep and if I smoke the right weed I'm out like a light.


Do you drink caffeine? I gave it up 100%, not even having a cup in the the morning, and sleep much much much better.


That sounds like a nice sleep schedule.

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


I have heard of that as a correlation without proven causation. People with health problems might need more sleep perhaps.


I believe it was a study done on workers in Japan, they found the sweet spot was 7 hours. People who slept 8-9 were at higher risk for health issues.than those who slept less.


Regardless, just as he said above: a correlation doesn't necessarily indicate a causation.


Could you provide a link?

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.


That would certainly be news.


It is; then the following day the opposite is news.

(Just like the affect of dark chocolate/red wine on cancer risk.)


Do you think your creativity improves on sleep deprived days, or do you think your system for assessing creativity is poor on those days?

I feel more creative when I have a lot of sleep. When I am sleep deprived, I produce many ideas of poor quality.


Great point! I just don't know. Maybe when I'm tired the ideas are of poor quality in average, but there are so many of them than a few gems are hiding. So I take notes and reevaluate later.


Same here.

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)


How does that work if you work full-time? You come home at 6pm, enjoy your 1-2 hours of free time (including eating, showering, other housework), go to sleep, and wake up at 6am again...


Are you a teenager?


Haha. That was exactly my thought too :D

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!


Thanks for the details. What does your sleep schedule look like (bedtime, wake time)? Do you have any sleep ritual (no phones two hours before bed), alarms, or anything that help you sleep longer?


>I sleep 10 to 11h per night.

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.


You have evidence for that claim? No study I've seen seems to suggest there's any problem with sleeping more up to something like 12 hrs/night I think. National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours for adults, and I think I've seen studies suggesting that's on the low side. When you also account for natural variations within a population, a need for 10 hours of sleep doesn't seem ridiculous.


You do not seem to be talking of the same thing. He wrote:

> 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:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19473367 "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 think the key here is "associated". Sleep deprivation has also been associated to dementia.


Yes, the link I gave pointed that out. I just questioned that he hadn't found a link since there are so many studies available. If there are associations between sleeping lock and many illnesses then of course sleeping long could be an indication of an issue.


IIRC there are negative effects of oversleeping; some mininal health issues, but cognition is the same as a 8-9hour sleep

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)


I did a brief search because I was curious who was remembering correctly here. There have been several studies correlating "long" sleeping with mortality, but the study I found that attempted to control for confounding variables[1] seems to suggest that most of the differences in mortality in the populations studied can be explained by "depression and low socioeconomic status". It seems like a lot more study has been devoted to undersleeping than oversleeping, and I can't find anything convincing as far as maximum healthy sleep time and effects of over-sleeping. One study I still want to look at but haven't gotten around to yet is the stuff the NSF produced in 2015 when making its recommendations about sleep duration.

[1] https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/29/7/881/2708387


It appears there is indeed a link between short/long sleep and mortality. As you said, the possible causes are usually not reviewed. This concerns me as I do sleep 9h+ on average. (But then again I do have an eye-illness that require a lot of concentration to overcome)

> 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. https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/33/5/585/2454478?sear...

> Long sleep was significantly associated with mortality, incident diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, stroke, coronary heart disease, and obesity. https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1087-0792(17)3...


I do not have sleep apnea. I am just lazy and like comfort and productivity. I don't see why I should change if I have no evidence it is harming me.


You seem to have implied sleeping long offers productivity. Might it be the case others are equally productive at the recommended 8 hours? Might it be the case that you need two hours extra sleep per night to get where everyone else is cognitively with eight hours sleep? Because if that is the case then you are losing time, productive time, and may in fact be losing some of your life, depending on how one views it. You may be sleeping away 8.33% of your life needlessly. If that isn't worth it to you to save then happy dreaming to you.


Fair enough (and I don't see why you got flagged, as you contribute to the discussion; I upvoted all your comments, I hope ot helps)

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!


I think the point the poster was making is that it's possible the issue is with the quality of your sleep. Someone getting a lower quality of sleep will need more hours of total sleep every day to be as well-rested as someone with a higher quality but fewer hours of sleep.

Of course, that's not necessarily the case. Everyone has a different genetic need for and predisposition to sleep.


That's much different than your suggestion that there's a doctor-level health issue involved.


I've made two suggestions then that are not contradictory.


Everyone's different. I'll wake up after 7 or 8 hours without an alarm if I haven't had any crunch time recently.

A colleage of mine seems to do fine with 5 hours sleep, and another needs 9-10 hours like GP.


"seems to do fine with 5 hours of sleep"

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.


He definitely seems like the exception to the rule. Whereas if I've slept 5 hours I'll be ready to pack in at 4pm he's still fine.

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 durations follow a normal distribution in the populace. 8hrs only happens to be the average, but certainly not true for every one.

sleep start times and sleep wake times also follow a normal distribution.

don't assume.


Okay but this guy is saying that he purposely sleeps 11 hours a day so that he can be more creative and cognitively enhanced and I'm the one being questioned for sources lol.


No, not more creative. In fact I stated the opposite and was hoping to find the reason why.

But cognitively enhanced and more productive, hell yeah. I know my track record. I have little doubt about that.


I can't stand people that prescribe life changes to others. Too many people do this. I used to have a friend that was sooo prescriptive. Every god-damn minute of my life analyzed. What sucks more is that people like this get into every damn institution until we have laws banning behaviors. 1984


I like sleeping on time and waking up early(ish). I'm slowly shifting from a night-owl into a morning person in my 30s. I love the productivity I feel and knowing that I can do a bunch of things in the morning before work, then get home in the evening and relax.

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?


Maintaining a sleep schedule is actually awesome but you could try "pre-sleep", kinda like "pre-gaming" on a drinking night, just a biphasic sleep version. Go home early and go to bed early. Then wake up in the middle of the night to date, socialize, and drink. Then get whatever sleep you can when you get home. Worked well during the world cup for me.


I can attest to this working quite well.

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 bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise...

early to rise, early to bed, makes a man healthy, wealthy and socially dead.

-- Ben Franklin, who had similar difficulties.


Early to bed, early to rise: a lark.

Late to bed, late to rise: an owl.

Late to bed, early to rise: an angry bird.


How can a socially dead guy be healthy and wealthy though?


Even though I can't imagine this is a serious question: If you apply yourself at work and cook your own (varied!) meals, you will be (moderately) wealthy and (moderately) healthy. I did not mention any social time here, which makes this hypothetical person socially dead.


A really good job with the postal service


I have the opposite problem. I'm an incurable night owl, despite having tried to shift. I thought I too would grow out of it, but I'm moving into my 30s next year and it's going stronger than ever. Such that the last time I tried to fix my schedule and be up at 0800 (by going to bed at 0100) I fainted at my desk and had to go nap, and return to staying up till 0400 and waking at 1130-1230. So it's hard for me to maintain any professional commitments before noon, which kind of sucks. Luckily my cofounders are very understanding and honestly kind of appreciate that I get a lot of work done between the end and the start of their day after we sync up.

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.


I think there is some moral notion ingrained in me that staying up late is just a bad thing, and being up early is a good thing. It feels so satisfying waking up really early and having a peaceful morning alone, before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. I see the parallel you draw to late night, but it just seems less wholesome to me for some reason.


Yup, I hope you and others who share your way introspect as to why it seems that way, other than just because that's the social conditioning we receive.

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 =/


Those are some good arguments, though from my perspective it seems like it could be simpler.

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.


I feel like if that schedule happened what other countries do as a siesta would become a much longer primary sleep block, maybe broken up by some private time around sunset before a pre-work nap.


Ha! As an early bird, I am often frustrated to have to wait until 9 or even 10 to get errands done!


Look up DSPS / DSPD, you might “suffer” from this.


You would think it should be easy to shift your sleeping window but that doesn't seem to be the case. Perhaps there is some evolutionary advantage to having part of the tribe awake early and part awake late.


Perhaps you need to find a circle of friends with the same sleeping pattern. There are a few of us out there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lark_(person)#Prevalence


If you go out till 1AM you can set your alarm clock a little later and send a message to your team on Slack that you will start work a little later. Then you will still get 8 hours of sleep and be more productive.


I seem to perpetuate in the same state, it sucks. I got a puppy though, and now my free time is even thinner... But it helped.


Same exact problem.

Absolutely no idea of any solution.


I wake up at 5AM every weekday, but weekends are wide open. Seems to work OK.


I can't tell if sleeping well makes me happier, but I can confirm that not sleeping enough makes me unhappy. I need my eight hours, even one hour less and my mood becomes more fragile. Reduce it significantly less (let's say <5 hours) and the world turns dark on me.

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 feel the same, the world gets dark if I get too little sleep. But having kids, and the loss of the sleep that means (if you help out in the household and work), did not affect me in the same way. I don't know if I'm chemically programmed to not seeing the world as dark when I have to take care of kids even if I'm really tired or if the kids brighten my world more than the sleep deprivation darkens it.


I'm seventeen and need 10 hours of sleep to run at full capacity the next day. But with school I have to wake up at 7 and going to sleep at 21 is impossible, so I feel like a zombie very often and am only productive in the afternoon.

I have always hoped this could get better with age. Are you saying this will get worse?


It does get better with age in that your circadian rhythm will shift as you get older. It's a crime that we force adolescents to wake up far earlier than they are biologically wired to just so their parents can get to their jobs. According to Matthew Walker (Berkeley professor and sleep researcher), waking up at 7 is equivalent to an adult waking up at 5. Highly recommend his book on sleep. It's incredible, the best non-fiction I've read in the last couple years. https://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Sleep-Unlocking-Dreams/dp/1501...


Indeed, this book is well worth anyone's read. Many insights on sleep and productivity (the effect of alcohol on sleep quality was particularly shocking).


Try out / read about biphasic sleep schedule. It relies on the fact that not all stages of sleep are equally resting to our bodies. And by taking multiple naps, you are likely to increase the duration of the "better" stages of your sleep. This allows you to be equally / more rested using lesser number of hours.

Note: This may not be good for you if you are NOT able to maintain the schedule so do keep that in mind!


Not worse in the sense that I need more sleep with age (apparently it's the other way around), I'd say it has stayed the same all my life, but at your age, I was better able to cope with the negative effects. Or maybe I've become less willing to tolerate them


If you feel that going to sleep at 21:00 is impossible, then your lack of sleep might get worse in adulthood. But if you decide that getting enough sleep is more important than other things, then maybe you can go to sleep earlier despite social norms.


What about the 90-120 min periods ?

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.


Stopped reading after I saw the chart drew lines to extrapolate from extremes relatively close to the mean hours of sleep, and accounted not for such things as degrees of standard deviation, rather (mis)leading to the conclusion that these happiness results were dependent entirely on the one measured variable and not that other factors would contribute to outliers. Your anecdotal evidence, and analysis, are flawed, though I lack the terminology to adequately improve them. Will someone please translate my hunch to appropriate statistical tools? I would like to replicate this data collection in my own life and learn something of value from it. My comment may find itself below a vast wall of anecdotal text, however, I’m hopeful, HN.


"Anecdotal evidence" is now part of my vocabulary.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence


Some HN comments recently recommanded the book "why we sleep".

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.


The Joe Rogan podcast with the author is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwaWilO_Pig


I‘ve just bought it on that recommendation, but have only read the table of contents, yet.

I was a bit disappointed that he does not discuss some common sleep disorders, only others that I haven‘t recently been diagnosed with.


In the book he says he chose the most prevalent to avoid meandering too much. His discussion of those disorders and the more general discussion of what is happening in the body when we sleep have helped me pinpoint some issues I have been having, even though I don't have a sleep disorder. I highly recommend it.


I recommend Meir Kryger's "The Mystery of Sleep." In the middle of the book, each chapter is devoted to a different sleep disorder (with accompanying anecdote).

It focused too much on these disorders for my taste, which might make it perfect for your taste.

https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Sleep-Nights-Better-Healthier...


I recommend "The Promise of Sleep" by Dr. William C. Dement of Stanford. I don't know if it covers your interest, but I found it informative.


Thanks. I struggle with wanting to go to bed at night and getting out of bed in the morning. Just placed a hold on the audiobook at my library.


I can fall asleep in the afternoon (3-7pm) but I usually decide to stay up later, so I don't wake up fully rested in the middle of the night. As a result, by the time I finally go to bed at a normal hour, I'm wide awake and can't sleep for ages.


This must be a common problem, I have exactly the same situation.

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 read the book earlier this year and can confirm. I've been recommending to everyone and their brother.


Me too. I saw the book recommended in a comment on HN about a month or so ago, got a copy, and I am now trying to get more sleep inspired by it. Just yesterday I told the main EH&S officer at the company I work for about it -- given the book shows how sleep impacts health and safety. I feel like it is one of the single most important books I've read in the past decade.

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!


This kind of tracking (and the app) sound interesting, but seem to presuppose that you're sleeping alone.

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.


YMMV but my vivosmart 3 is useless at sleep tracking. I read in bed, and my heart rate goes down while i'm doing this and the thing invariably thinks i'm sleeping, messing up the stats.


There's only so much that can be done with a motion sensor and heart rate data. Personally I try to burn the candle enough that if I'm in bed I should really be sleeping. I can read on a couch with a cat.

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.



There's a Garmin app that connects with Sleep as Android, although I haven't had good luck with it on my Fenix watch. https://apps.garmin.com/en-US/apps/e80a4793-f5a3-44c7-bd7f-5...


Yes, they list a beta ConnectIQ (Garmin device app) app, but Garmin has some nice and more compact devices with heart rate as well (e.g. vivosmart 3) and those don't run apps.


This is really interesting. I may have to start tracking on my own. But I'd do it a bit differently.

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.


I also do not use an alarm if I can avoid it. I have not used one regularly in over 15 years. Regrettably, my partner uses an alarm, so I am sometimes unable to avoid being woken by an alarm. Some thoughts on this:

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.


Why is being awoken by an alarm stressful? It never bothered me. In fact I find it more stressful to not have an alarm set due to the fear of being late for work or an appointment. If I wake up before the alarm it's easy to turn off.


Not OP, but for me, it's the jarring-ness of the alarm. A year or so ago, I noticed it's easier to wake up at 6:30am during the summer, when the sun rises and I'm waking up to sunlight. During the summer, I'd usually wake up on my own anywhere from 5-20 minutes before my alarm went off, and it was a comfortable waking up. However, in the winter, I'd be jarred awake by an alarm to a pitch-black room, often smack in the middle of a sleep cycle, leaving me groggy and sluggish.

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.)


Yes, exactly. A jarring alarm will wake me up wherever I am in my sleep cycle, and I get the same grogginess. A light alarm gets me to wake up when my body is ready to wake.

I found off-the-shelf light alarms not bright enough, so I used a bunch of Hue lights to get it brighter:

https://github.com/wpietri/sunrise

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.


I'm not sure what the sleep cycle has to do with it. I feel the same way regardless of when the alarm wakes me up.


Like the other user said, it is jarring. Observe a person in deep sleep waking up to an alarm. They will have a brief moment of panic as they are abruptly jolted out of sleep. An alarm that gradually increases in volume is better, but still aggravating. A light-based alarm is significantly better. The best, by far, is allowing oneself the time to wake up naturally, when the body is ready, with no artificial sleep interruption.


I guess it varies by person. I don't find alarms jarring or panic inducing.


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.

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 was also naturally a night owl, but that switched for me once I a) automated my lighting so there was a consistent day-night cycle in my bedroom, and b) I took up running, so that I get a fair bit of regular cardio. No idea if that will work for you, but it may be worth a try. I also dropped regular caffeine as a habit, and spent a while paying down sleep debt.

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've tried nearly everything, largely because I am generally afraid of losing a job due to being tardy.

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.


I've used the "Sleep as Android" app mentioned in the link which I had started using sometime last year. This app monitors your sleep and tries to ring the alarm between the actual alarm time and half an hour before it based on when you will feel most rested.

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.


How do you wake up when you need to, if the amount of sleep you need varies? I have the opposite approach, by waking up at the same time every day, my body makes me sleepy at the appropriate time (which varies by day). Once I get into a rhythm, I wake up on my own, slightly before the alarm goes off.


I had a fitness tracker/wearable (Jawbone I think) that would track your sleep, and vibrate to wake you up at the best point of your sleep cycle within +/- 15 minutes of your set alarm time.

I really like the idea, but the thing would always fall off at night. Maybe I should try a new one...


Mostly by going to bed earlier and by having a wake-up time that normally gives me plenty of time in the morning. Also by being comfortable with biphasic sleep, where I might be up for 90 minutes in the middle of the night. (That appears to be the natural human sleep cycle; an uninterrupted 8 hours became the standard only once electric light became common.) And occasionally by taking an afternoon nap.

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.


I've been using "Sleep Cycle" since 2014 and learned a ton about myself in the process.

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.


Sleep Cycle is amazing, and I also had a watch in the 00s that did the same thing. The concept of the alarm timing with your cycle is so revolutionary that I’m really surprised it has not caught on anywhere else. It should be a fundamental feature of all smart watches, but it’s nowhere to be seen. I don’t really care to just track sleep if such tracking does nothing but let you see some pretty charts.


Most people need to be somewhere at a specific time in the morning; a variable alarm clock doesn’t make much sense unless they also leave a huge buffer. But for childless tech workers who can roll into the office any time before 11am standup... absolutely.


A 30 minute window really isn’t that big of a deal. You just set the end time to when you need to be up, and then if it goes off before that, then you wake up refreshed with a little extra time. Your choice is really whether you want to get up refreshed, possibly a little early, or wake up abruptly in the wrong cycle and be groggy all morning. Either way, the solution to getting more sleep is to go to bed earlier if you have a fixed time to wake up.


My pebble has this feature.


I tracked my sleep using a FitBit for two years and I don't think I learned anything.

How did you measure happiness and productivity and how did you correlate that to your sleep?


I was also using rescuetime and MyFitnessPal, which tracked my fitness and productivity.

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.


Anecdotally I've noticed I'm much less productive when I sleep too little. I try to get eight hours.

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.


I can't speak for you, but I know that for me, inability to sleep is always the product of some unresolved worry or other preoccupation. Dealing with that (in my case, that means spending time meditating) solves the problem of waking up feeling unrested. However that doesn't necessarily mean sleeping more, since I find that during periods of consistent meditation I generally need a couple hours less sleep to feel fully rested.

YMMV, but ask yourself whether there's anything that might be preoccupying your subconscious that might be triggering your sleep issues.


Oddly enough, I'm significantly more relaxed than I used to be when I slept more. (Maybe I need it less as a result, and so my body seeks it less urgently.)

I do think I'd be better rested with more though. I'll give meditation a shot, it can't hurt.


Waking up having to pee it often an indicator of other issues. For me, it's my allergy medication not working, leading to sinus inflammaion, leading to snoring, leading to waking up thinking I need to pee.


i had troubles falling asleep which caused more time online, delaying the issue and making it worse

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.


Some anti-blue light glasses and a sleep mask helped me a lot. Meditation before going to bed also helps a lot.


To me what really matters is not how many hours of sleep I get but how difficult it is for me to wake up. I've found that there is a direct relation between this and my happiness.

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.


Makes sense, if you wake up properly, it's easier to get productivity momentum going


Sleep is one of those things that you don't really notice when it gets better.

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.


Am I the only one who felt like that was a lot of charts, data and extrapolation for a sample size of 1? In my study I did on myself, I found it easier to fall asleep after drinking heavily and consuming large amounts of greasy food. [My usual anecdote here is actually that I appear to sleep better & more when I get a lot of exercise.]

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.


Maybe I wasn't reading closely enough, but I don't think this was supposed to be a persuasive argument as to why everyone should change their sleep habits to match the author's. I read it as an interesting exploration of some data collected one person collected on their every day life.


And only one day's worth of data too: "...recorded nearly 1.000 days of sleep..."


I'm getting a Google Drive permission error on several (but not all) charts... not sure if that's a problem on your end or theirs, but you might want to look into it.

Thanks for this! Very interesting stuff.


Ah shit, that should not happen and I think that's on Google's end. Just in case, what device and browser are you on?

Thanks for letting me know and the nice words!


I have the same issue: Linux Desktop + Firefox 60

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.


Did you really mean to say this: "...recorded nearly 1.000 days of sleep..."


Those of you who are getting lots of sleep and also consume caffeine during the day you probably don’t realize that if you cut caffeine you would require much less sleep. Try it sometime for at least a month.


> Try it sometime for at least a month.

I choose life.


Their "methodology" of tracking happiness

https://www.trackinghappiness.com/about/method/

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.


Tracking happiness is simply about being mindful of your own emotional state.

I'm genuinely interested to hear about why you think that's "wildly out of touch with reality"?


Not the person you responded to, but he/she may be referring to there being other factors (unrelated to sleep) that may most likely be contributing to one's happiness factor, such as pre-existing health conditions (e.g., depression), relationships (both romantic and non), etc. A person who's just starting a new relationship and is still in the "honeymoon phase" might rate their happiness higher despite a lack of sleep.


The methodology the parent links explicitly tracks multiple positive and negative factors and isn't explicitly tied to sleep.

Personally, sleep is a huge factor in my happiness, so tracking it is pretty important.


Being mindful of your own emotional state presumes that you understand it. And judging by years and years of psychology, we're pretty bad at understanding ourselves.


Not really. If they take the time to observe their feelings, most people know they are happy, anxious, stressed, angry, irritable, manic. They don't know WHY.

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 :-)


As a counterpoint to this, I'm absolutely terrible at even knowing when I'm anxious, stressed, angry, etc.

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.


Yeah, practice really helps. I’m mindfulness meditating again for exactly this reason, to get back on top of mood.

But externalizing is miss understanding the WHY as much as not understanding the root emotion.


Lifestyles, philosophies, religions can optimize for happiness or truth ... pick one. The HT theorem.


Or you could optimize for happiness-truth product. This would lead you to lifestyles, philosophies, and religions which remove any negative correlation between happiness and truth (which I would argue have no inherent, unavoidable relationship with each other).


Matt Ridley, the author of the Rational Optimist, disagrees.


Is happiness really the right metric to optimize? Most people take for granted that we should all try to be happy, but why? I think a little more introspection would be useful here. Perhaps there are more important things in life.


I noticed that when I rush the waking up process I get more energy I have happier mood throughout the day. The more quick the transition from waking up to being caught up in an activity(and that could even be the commute) the more energy I have throughout the day. Any lingering in bed affects the whole day negatively. Does anybody else experience this?


Yes, if I wake up too early it's better form to start the day than staying in bed another hour


> I fall asleep quite easily. It usually doesn't take me more than 30 minutes.

I generally fall asleep within a minute or two of head hitting the pillow. What should be normal?


I envy people like you.

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?


I used to have very serious sleep issues. They are vastly better. A few thoughts:

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.


The trick is to just go to bed when you are really tired. The first few days you will tired on the morning because of that, but at some point it switches and you are actually tired on a "normal" sleeping time in the evening.


I do the same, but I've been told that falling asleep that fast is a sign of exhaustion.


I can say from personal experience I've noticed that when I don't get enough sleep, the next day I'm noticeably more prone to stress, sentences are more difficult to construct, and my memory worsens.

Proper sleep is a very high priority for me these days.


Your last two symptoms definitely resonate with me, with the addition of loss of self control, which I definitely notice while eating.

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.


Same where. When I miss sleep the world becomes a very confusing dark place. Things that should be easy suddenly become difficult and I can get very short tempered.


Interesting project; not entirely surprising that sleep deficit increases possibility of low happiness, but doesn't force it.

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?


Working memory is a decent proxy for overall brain function, and straightforward to test, eg. with a Dual N-Back game like http://brainscale.net/dual-n-back

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.


cool, thanks!

another one, w/ a somewhat different angle I'd found was a straight mental math trainer, discovered from another commenter here on HN: http://www.mental-math-trainer.com/


Averaging about 4.5h of sleep per night (down at around 2A up at 6:30A without fail — #noSnooze). I’m in my 40s, and was the kid that l watched David Letterman at 1AM in junior high, and an avid coffee drinker by early high school. Every time I read an article/study on sleep I get inspired to tack on a few hours to reap said benefits, but never follow through.

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.


So,

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 tom.talytica@gmail.com.

Having two daughters was rough on my sleep, but we also did co-sleeping (Asian wife who breastfed).


This is a really cool process, but the author stops just short of completing the analysis.

> 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.


It would still be fun to do a simple OLs multilinear regression.

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!


On this subject, if you're interested in these kinds of studies on happiness- I've been slowly working my way through the book "The Nature Fix". Tangentially pertinent.

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/02/nature-fix-brain...


I'm getting my nature fix right now. I found visiting the park once a day does wonders for my sense of well being.


I'd be interested in people's views on the influence of sleep on aging. I've never been a great sleeper, possibly have sleep apnoea as well. 5 or 6 broken hours a night is normal for me and I feel that I am aging more quickly than average.


Sleep is when the brain 'repairs' itself, so you definitely need it. Do you snore? You may be waking up often due to lack of oxygen. I recommend you do a sleep study.


I should do that all right. I snore and I've been told that I basically stop breathing at times which is as unpleasant as the snoring for the person listening!


> I snore and I've been told that I basically stop breathing at times which is as unpleasant as the snoring for the person listening

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.


Interesting read. I suffer from psychosomatic insomnia so am no stranger to that constant fatigue and drag of lack of sleep. One thing I have noted is that, on the days that I actually do get a considerable amount of sleep and feel rested, I am overall happier, more motivated, and just in a better mood overall.

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.


When I wrote Mastering Rust, I did most of the work during the only available productive hours of the day: 20-05. Amazing legal narcotics i.e. coffee helped quite a lot.

I wasn't miserable, but that's mostly due to the excitement of progressing.


Why is late night programming / writing so darn productive? No distractions?


Well, I have theories. One, it breaks habits. You may have teached yourself over the years to procrastinate during the day, but not during the night.

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.


For me its about anxiety, and that ability to drudge on.

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.


No fomo. Everyone is resting/sleeping.


In my experience, I think the momentum/flow and thrill helps. Also hacking turns into late-night-hacking as I try to dig myself out of hole. So it ends up being productive by trying to finish something before bed.


that's my experience for sure.

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.


If my own anecdotal experience says anything, I can easily slash two to three hours of sleep, when I run four to five miles in the morning.

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.


Note that "During snowy winter weeks" it's also the darkest part of the year, which also has a known correlation to (un)happiness.

So it may be "just" the light or it could be both your lifestyle change and the lack of light siphoning happiness.


Surely there is not enough sleep because you are buzzing after a great experience and/or anticipation of events tomorrow, and then there is anxiety and bad sleep patterns because of stress?

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...


Tangential and shameless plug: I created my own offline app[1] for a very simplistic tracking of my sleep habits. It helped me to be more disciplined in getting the right amount of sleep (atleast for most of the days). Any feedbacks on this is appreciated.

[1] - https://sleepeasyapp.com


I'm both an insomniac and I have delayed sleep syndrome. When my parents brought me home from the hospital I was only sleeping 2-3 hours a day. I was a planned baby, but with two teenagers, and parents who were nearing 40 having a baby that didn't sleep, almost destroyed the family, so I'm told. When I did sleep it was usually from 7am to 9am. If you have children let that sink in for a minute.

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


I'm not quite as bad, but I have a semi-related experience. When I was young, my sleep patterns were like the average person. Sleep about 8 hours a day. If there was no alarm and it was dark enough I could sleep in up to 10ish hours. I felt refreshed in the morning.

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 >.<


I'm also an incredibly light sleeper, even when my system is OK letting me sleep it's always been hard for me to fall asleep. I've been wearing a sleep mask to block out all light for the last 15 years or so.

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.


>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 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'd agree that sleeping is better than no sleep, but cannabis definitely does affect how you sleep. Granted it's anecdotal, but talk to any regular smoker who took a tolerance breaks. One common thread that always seems to be there is how vividly the dreams come back while they're on a break.

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.


Yes, he had the author of "Why We Sleep" on and the research is clear that marijuana reduces REM sleep - the health impact of _that_ - of reduced REM sleep - is yet unclear, AFAIK.

Like you say:

>I'd agree that sleeping is better than no sleep

That's pretty much where my standpoint lays now.


Hey, you might want to look into CBD. I haven't done the research myself, but I've heard many anecdotal reports about its efficacy as a sleep aid. It's a cannabinoid which doesn't get you high at all, and also doesn't show up on drug tests.


A very small fraction (<<1%) of the population has a genetic variant that may allow them to survive with less sleep according to Matthew Walker, who runs a center for sleep research at UC Berkeley. It is discussed in his book or you can watch him talk about it here: https://youtu.be/pwaWilO_Pig?t=5581

Wishing you the best in getting the benefits of less sleep without any health consequences. You might want to contact him to discuss.


Holy shit, that is incredible.

Did you make an alt account just for this comment? Do you feel embarrassed by your lack of sleep for some reason?


I'm a reader of this forum, I've never really felt the need to comment on anything else.

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.


I imagine admitting drug use wouldn't do them any favours if they work at a job that drug tests.


On the graphs a positive sleep deprivation number is actually a surfeit of sleep. This seems backwards. Nice article otherwise.


Thanks for clarifying that here -- it took some close reading to understand that. With an otherwise nicely detailed account, the mislabelling of the axes is jarring. I would definitely expect a positive number to correlate to more sleep deprivation, if the axis is labelled "Sleep Deprivation" or any variant thereof.


Tangentially related: I'm looking for an app that will ask me how happy / tired / productive I'm feeling randomly throughout the day, and allow me to export this data, so that I can correlate this with my sleep and diet.


the graph reads to me like usually it doesn't matter at all, but sometimes slight sleep deprevation makes a bad day worse. those few than are the overall worst days


Many factors influence our mood. Yes, sleep is one of them. So is our diet, social life, work life. The key is to try and balance everything.


Anybody using a physical approach ? that a person is a pendulum and keeping rhythms in check is the best way to save energy and avoir wear ?


Very interesting project. Just a minor detail.

> 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.

Source: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/you-cant-catch-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.


That mentions (without citation) one study about a very extreme and weird version of catching up on sleep. I doubt this person was talking about sleeping an extra 10 hours in one night to make up for 28 hours of missed sleep over 2 weeks.


I can't seem to recall where I first read this, but I am confident I've read it in multiple articles and books (I have a keen interest in this topic due to serious personal sleep issues).

But I seem to stand corrected[1]. Thanks for your comment.

1. http://time.com/5288704/can-you-catch-up-on-sleep/


The reasonable conclusion is that the body knows how to catch up, you just need to get back to sleep normally.

EDIT: otherwise everybody would be dead from the (negative) power of compound interest.


TLDR: Author has no idea if there’s a correlation based on personal data.


so THIS is what's been keeping you awake lately...


There is no reason to sleep more than 8-9.5hrs. If you are sleeping more than this, see a doctor and see what kind of hormones are not balanced.

It's probably not as bad as undersleeping to oversleep, but it's not how your body is supposed to work.


More than 8, or more than 9.5? Which is it?


It's a range depending on other aspects.

Or do you think the human body ticks down 480 minutes exactly?

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