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Someone else already recommended "Why We Sleep" by the premier sleep researcher in the field, and I highly suggest you get it. Here is a passage from it that should make you rethink the entire rationale you are using to shortchange yourself of sleep:

"Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer. Insufficient sleep is a key lifestyle factor determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Inadequate sleep—even moderate reductions for just one week—disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that you would be classified as pre-diabetic. Short sleeping increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting you on a path toward cardiovascular disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure. Fitting Charlotte Brontë’s prophetic wisdom that “a ruffled mind makes a restless pillow,” sleep disruption further contributes to all major psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and suicidality."




Another endorsement for "Why we sleep" here.

The book isn't so much about "why we sleep" but rather "why you should sleep more" – 350 pages of Walker telling you about study after study after study after study comparing well-slept to underslept people, and all of the afflictions the latter suffer from, often without even noticing it (and the consequences for industry and society).

While I found his contrived writing style annoying at times, the content is the kind of eye-opening that makes you want to buy a dozen copies just to give to your family and friends.


> often without even noticing it (and the consequences for industry and society).

I think sleep deprivation can become addictive. Some people don't seem to get, or gets used to, the despair and come to enjoy the single minded numbness to the point where it is actually uncomfortable for them to sleep well and come out of 'survival mode'.


Sleep deprivation is a major activator of mania in bipolar disorder.

You can even kind-of emergency manage depression with timed sleep deprivation if there are huge reasons (e.g. pregnancy) you should be off your meds.


As someone who has suffered with depression and massive panic anxiety disorder, I can absolute say that, yes, being sleep deprived actually helped a lot. A tired mind has no energy to wander.

(In no way am I recommending this though)


It's not the same. Bipolar folks get a mood lift from sleep deprivation. We actually feel less tired. The only way I know I should be more tired is that my legs feel it, even as my brain is racing.

But then, the elevated mood begets more sleep deprivation and soon you're euphoric, reckless and finally manic as hell.

In a way, bipolar mania is like being addicted to yourself.


Ever so slight word of caution, my reading this book coincided with a period where I wasn’t sleeping very well for various reasons, and I think the book actually made it worse as I was more worried about the detrimental effects of my poor night’s sleep due to what I’d read, so I stopped reading it! I’ve heard the same anecdotally from a couple of other people too.

That said, I think it is a very important book, and now I’ve hopefully resolved my sleep issue (with thanks to some of the comments on https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16671944 - primarily the advice about having a regular “sleep schedule”) I look forward to finishing it!


And if early death doesn't scare you enough, he also mentioned that you're measurably less attractive when you haven't had enough sleep. I recall the study was based on having people rate the attractiveness of participants, in some pictures they had slept well, in some they hadn't, and the attractiveness score of those who had recently slept poorly was lower.


I was going through this patch where I had not slept well for a couple weeks and happened to be at the doctor's office for a checkup. My blood pressure came back 135/80, when normally am at 110/70. The doctor asked me if I was stressed, frankly I was not, nor was I sick, and regular with eating clean and working out. I realized that it was sleep deprivation.


I think the sad thing is that people take this to mean, "block off more time to sleep" when much, much more common is the issue that we're in civilized society. Most of us have some level of reduced oxygen supply during sleep and exposure to allergens (especially in kids who go to public school). I suspect that most people who pass the fuck out at 12am, sleep like a brick, and wake up groggy at 6am will naturally want more sleep the next night. The real issue comes when people are hardly sleeping at all no matter how much or how little effort they devote to their new self improvement plan.


Reading this book over my summer break really drilled the importance of sleep home for me. I was chronically sleep deprived, working on personal projects late into the night after work. After reading this book I realized I was doing myself more harm than good. I was on a five-week holiday at the time, which was the perfect opportunity to start following a more strict sleep schedule. I've slipped a little bit since going back to work, but still manage to get between 7-8 hours per night now and feel better for it.


"Eat, Move, Sleep" is another worthwhile book reinforcing a similar message.


Remember that the author is financially incentivised to make claims about large effect sizes of sleep deprivation, and to infer causality where it may or may not exist.


While it is good to be skeptical, the book really goes in depth and makes a compelling case. I also believe sleep is one of those areas that it is better to err on the side of getting the recommended amount. “If sleep does not serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the biggest mistake the evolutionary process has ever made.” - Dr. Allan Rechtschaffen.


They are all observational studies, usually with small cohorts. Same problem with nutrtitional science and psychology. History tells us again and again these results are biased, unduly influenced by the investigators and often overturned (eg Thinking Fast and Slow).


I knew big sleep was behind this


There is being skeptical and then there is baseless, conspiratorial cynicism -- the kind that usually makes you hurt yourself.


And there's shaming people for having a different opinion than the majority.


Opinions do not gain credence just because you hold them and they do not gain credence or viability just because they're contrarian. No one is shaming it by the fact that it's a minority opinion, it's just a baseless silly opinion to have.

Don't be disingenuous.


> it's just a baseless silly opinion to have.

Sounds like shaming to me.


No it doesn't, and it's still wouldn't be shaming for the reason you outlined. Your entire statement is pointless if you have to crawl all the way back to a single verb to make it relevant.


You sound mad.


Well hopefully that hasn't affected you too much.


Your comment is ridiculously over the top. Not sure why you are getting so emotional about a nicely packaged bunch of observational studies.


Who's being emotional here again?


I know I'm a little late to the discussion, but I think your comment might be more well-received if you were to provide evidence to support your claim about the author's financial incentivization. After reading your comment, I looked briefly at the linked article and found the author's wikipedia page. It seems as though his primary product doesn't involve sleep. Are you saying he's financially incentivized via ad revenue from his blog posts on sleep?

In any case, I guess what I'm saying is you seem to have researched the topic and your spending an extra minute or two giving a few more details will probably save a bunch of other folks ten times that, in aggregate.




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