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Impact of a Night of Sleep Deprivation on Novice Developers’ Performance (2018) (arxiv.org)
324 points by gyre007 on April 26, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 206 comments

When I was younger, like many people, I thought of all-nighters as a thing to brag about.

Now, I see sleep deprivation as a serious health debt that you pay nosebleed compound interest rates on. If you get less than your preferred amount of sleep, everyday living can become more complicated. Simple tasks can become dangerous. Do not walk down stairs without holding the hand rail if you are tired!

Also, my sleep tracker confirms that, on average, it takes about one hour more of being in bed to get X hours of sleep. So if you need 8 hours of sleep, you need to be in bed around 9 hours! I aim for 7 hours (8 hours in bed).

"as a serious health debt"

Except, sleep isn't a debt because the loss can't be repaid.

This is one of many important things I have picked up from Dr. Matthew Walker who wrote "Why We Sleep" and has been doing the podcast rounds lately.

Not to pick on you at all. It sounds like you have made some big realizations and are making fantastic changes. Realizing I can't make up sleep to pay off the "debt" has been eye opening.

> Except, sleep isn't a debt because the loss can't be repaid.

sort of?

The impact of missed sleep has a half life. A single night of 4 hours sleep, followed by a year of normal nights sleep will lead to a me that is indistinguishable from the me that slept 8 hours that same night.

I'm all for sleeping properly, but lets not suggest that it is the end of the world any time someone doesn't get their standard n hours


And please note, I'm not prescribing or suggesting anything about the end of the world regarding a single missed night of sleep. I am commenting about the world of ignorance I had regarding sleep prior to a very recent education.

If you or other people reading this are unaware of the depth of what sleep research has learned in the past 15 or so years I will point you to this six hour conversation that Dr. Matthew Walker had with Peter Attia on his podcast.

Part 1 https://podcastnotes.org/2019/04/02/sleep-4/ Part 2 https://podcastnotes.org/2019/04/17/sleep-5/ Part 3 https://podcastnotes.org/2019/04/18/sleep-6/

I don't want to be dismissive, but is there a good TLDR on this, preferably in written form, or any other resources you'd recommend? I'd love to catch up on the science, but listening to six hours of podcast might cut into my sleep!

Here's my attempt after just finishing the book, after 4 hours sleep.

Sleep is much more important than anybody ever imagined and sufficient sleep is the cure to a large percentage of western societies problems. There are few financial incentives in promoting sleep so we do not hear about this over drugs, caffeine etc.

REM sleep is the source of creativity and thought resolution where different parts of the brain communicate that do not usually. Rem sleep occurs in the last two hours of an 8 hour sleep.

Non rem sleep is where the brain clears itself of the byproducts of brain activity. Without this the brain becomes damaged and is probably the cause of dementia.

Sleeping pills, LCDs, artificial light, caffeine, alarm clocks, early school starts and alcohol are all very bad.

Sleep in a dark room at 18 degrees celsius for 8 hours, allowing 1 hour to fall asleep.

> Rem sleep occurs in the last two hours of an 8 hour sleep.

Slight quibble: the fraction of REM sleep in each sleep cycle is highest during the last sleep cycle of the night.

You could read Walker’s 2017 book, Why We Sleep, https://amzn.com/1501144316 https://www.sleepdiplomat.com/author

He’s the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science, so you could also look up his lab’s scholarly publications https://www.humansleepscience.com/p-u-b-l-i-c-a-t-i-o-n-s

I'm not sure an entire book would constitute a "too long; didn't read".

A book is considerably more browsable than a 6 hour audio recording.

Unless the original text is the whole body of sleep research. In that case a popsci book is a nice TLDR.

Listen at 2x. Bam, 3 hours instead of 6. That’s a few commutes, work outs, or some other daily task that can be filled with audio. And it’s very easy listening.

The links I posted above are to an outline of notes someone took for the 6 hours of podcasts. Not quite a tl;dr but a very skimmable outline nonetheless!

>> A single night of 4 hours sleep, followed by a year of normal nights sleep will lead to a me that is indistinguishable from the me that slept 8 hours that same night.

Usually. Except if the 4 hours of sleep leads you to crash your car, or run into a pedestrian, or forget your child in a car.

In the usual case, a day of missed sleep is normally OK, but when you are responsible for other people (rather than just code quality/productivity), why risk it? And even in the general case...why risk it? It is far better to lead a normal lifestyle and be at peak performance in all parts of your responsibility.

> Usually. Except if the 4 hours of sleep leads you to crash your car, or run into a pedestrian, or forget your child in a car.

> In the usual case, a day of missed sleep is normally OK, but when you are responsible for other people (rather than just code quality/productivity), why risk it? And even in the general case...why risk it? It is far better to lead a normal lifestyle and be at peak performance in all parts of your responsibility.

I'm sure most people with responsibilities getting less than their required sleep are not doing it by choice. When I have had to forgo sleep it was out of necessity (primarily to work a second job). Of course it is far better to get the optimal sleep your body needs. It's not about people intentionally engaging in risky behavior needlessly—oftentimes people are trading sleep for putting food on the table, for instance.

I quite agree with the problem of having to trade sleep for other necessities, but personally I didn't realise the actual cost of that trade, and the serious long term effects that 90+ hour weeks might have on me.

In my case it wasn't a second job, it was trying to be more productive to help a fledgling company fly. In retrospect I'd have been a lot more productive with a good 8 hours sleep in my tank every night.

Walker's book on sleep opened my eyes that much that I bought copies for all the family. I've never done that before.

You're totally right. I was responding to the parent comment which felt temporary sleep deprivation was OK as long as it wasn't long-term. I'm arguing it is not OK even in the short term (not arguing that it is avoidable, just not justifiable as impactless)

But that's just as true with credit card debt, right? If I couldn't make an important purchase because I hit my limit, my life might be radically different - is it therefore "not debt"?

> or forget your child in a car.

Ironically people with kids, especially early on, frequently have 4 hours of sleep...if they're lucky.


In the previously mentioned podcast the host, a former doctor, tells a pretty scary story about being a sleep deprived doctor.

You should preface your statement with an n = 1.

After a week or two of great sleep, I will feel the effects of even a single night at 6-7 hours. My blood glucose tracking makes this clear (it's going to be north of 100 in fasted state), and if the required work for the day is cognitively challenging, ie. "deep work", it will be distraction city.

> A single night of 4 hours sleep, followed by a year of normal nights sleep will lead to a me that is indistinguishable from the me that slept 8 hours that same night. [...] I'm all for sleeping properly, but lets not suggest that it is the end of the world any time someone doesn't get their standard n hours

I think of it kind of like burning yourself on a flame. Yes, a second degree burn will heal, and in a year you won't notice it, but if you do it over and over, or really burn yourself, you'll scar or kill nerves and never fully recover.

You do actual damage to your brain when you don't sleep enough, and it will effect your memory and cognition permanently if you do it too much.

That is actually an analogy i am pretty happy with. We can argue about the actual severity, but in principle it feels consistent. (Conveniently working in kitchens has given me a lot of experience of regular small burns xD)

I don't know if you have children yet, but I regret to inform you if you don't that significant sleep deprivation is in your future unless you plan to extensively involve caregivers outside of you and your spouse.

Cosleeping can dramatically reduce sleep deprivation for parents. We humans have evolved to cosleep with our babies. In a cosleeping situation the baby does not experience terror (a baby left alone in nature has zero survival chances so this terror is programmed and so leaving a baby to sleep alone is counterproductive and cruel), can feel the warmth and heartbeat of the mother, can feed without and before fully waking up or waking up the mother.

Isn't the risk of accidentally suffocating the baby quite high when co-sleeping? I think I'd prefer a bed-side crib.

We were convinced by the research and arguments presented in the book “Sweet Sleep” that we could bedshare without a significant risk of SUID given our circumstances (breastfeeding, non-smokers, no alcohol or medication that would induce drowsiness) and the proper preparations (firm mattress, light bedding, packing towels between the mattress and wall to eliminate gaps).

We initially planned to use a side-car crib (we had a convertible crib with one wall removed, pushed up against our bed with the mattresses at the same height so it formed an extension of the sleep surface) but our son was such a barnacle baby that he refused to sleep even a foot away from me. Not all babies are that clingy, so it’s definitely a good option for a lot of families.

Bedsharing allowed both me and my husband to avoid sleep deprivation, even with a newborn. Our son would wake up and start to squirm and make tiny noises, which was enough to wake me up so I could nurse him, but never reached the level of crying that would wake up my husband, who was able to sleep a normal 8 hours and get up for work feeling well-rested.

I was also able to get rest equivalent to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep; it just required staying in bed for 12 hours in those first few months because of all the partial wake-ups for nursing.

I can’t imagine how much more difficult our lives would have been without the high-quality sleep we were able to get due to our choice to bed-share.

We’re in the process of transitioning our 2-year-old to his own bed to make room for his little brother who is due in a few months. The transition is going very smoothly. We could have done it sooner but bedsharing was working well for all of us so we saw no reason to make a change.

Here’s the link to the book “Sweet Sleep” Even if you’re not comfortable bed-sharing intentionally, it’s important to have a safe sleep surface set up because of how common it is for parents (especially breast-feeding mothers) to fall asleep accidentally with their babies. Much safer for accidental co-sleeping to happen in a prepared bed vs. on a recliner or couch where the risks of suffocation are very high. https://g.co/kgs/jCrdAX

Thank you for describing your experience in detail. So many smart, intelligent and rational parents go through months of hellish sleep deprivation (which we know makes any human slow, sick and dangerously incapable of clear thinking) because they don’t give cosleeping a fair consideration.

That may be because they don't want what could otherwise be a good thing to end up with their kid in their bed for the next two years like GP...

The risk is very low, probably lower than babies dying when sleeping alone.

If worried about this, use a bassinet bed extension. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/542613455077053089/

The idea is to have the baby on the mother’s body or next to it, touching.

When the child stirs, the mom can react without either of them fully waking up. And the child would not need to wake up, freak out and cry to get attended to, so they grow up without the wake-up-alone-into-terror neuropathways.

> Isn't the risk of accidentally suffocating the baby quite high when co-sleeping?

No, it's on average quite low, but notably higher than not cosleeping, and the consequences are severe so many people generally prefer (and the medical community generally recommends) to avoid the risk, at least as a regular practice.

IIRC, there is some reason to believe that the on average risk is misleadingly high for many concrete cases, though, because it seems like there are other factors without which the risk does not increase [EDIT: nearly as much as the on-average increase would suggest] (and with which the risk increase is much higher than the on-average increase), but I forget the details.

The risk of death with cosleeping is always higher than not cosleeping. It's even higher if either parent drinks or smokes.

Of course, these are public health interpretations of the data which are applied across a population. Individual parents need to do their own risk / benefit analysis.

Also, people sometimes mean different things by the term "cosleeping". In this thread it seems to be mostly people talking about parents and the child sleeping in a bed, but some people include parent and child sleeping on a sofa or in a chair. This (couch or chair cosleeping) is riskier than bed cosleeping.

I have found many people in our society treat most risks as black/white, and treat minor risk-taking as a taboo irrespective of potential benefits, while at the same time entirely ignoring serious risks that would be inconvenient to avoid. This goes double for anything related to children.

For example, localized air pollution from an idling pickup truck is obviously worse than standing outside near someone smoking, but I see people waving their arms around and making ridiculous faces and asking outdoor smokers to move, while I have never seen someone make an objection to the driver of an idling vehicle.

My 2-year-old kid and I walk around San Francisco barefoot, and on a daily basis strangers suggest that we are taking our lives into our own hands (because of the vanishingly tiny chance he might find a junkie’s discarded hypodermic needle, step on it in a way that injected the junkie’s blood, and contract a fatal blood-borne disease), but I have never once heard someone suggest it was a bad idea to walk in the vicinity of automobile traffic, objectively many orders of magnitude riskier. The society is almost entirely unwilling to slow automobile traffic, but the public library won’t allow us inside without shoes because a book might fall on our feet or something. Most people seem entirely unaware of the effects of habitually wearing stiff shoes on foot development and gross motor skills.

It is considered horrible for children to have a small sip of alcohol (for fear of profound brain damage? a slippery slope to moral decadence?) but large amounts of sugar are just fine and strangers are constantly offering children candy and juice and cookies etc., and once someone turns 21 years old then any amount of alcohol consumption is considered more or less fine as long as the person isn’t driving.

Brushing and flossing teeth multiple times per day is considered a mandatory part of basic hygiene, but again, nobody has any problem with people constantly eating sugar and simple starches, the main drivers of cavities.

Pregnant women are told to avoid all sorts of foods and activities (and sometimes judged severely if they disregard the advice) despite in many cases very poor evidence supporting those proscriptions.

Some people with medium skin-tone religiously apply sunscreen when they plan to spend a short while in the sun, but seldom consider the harms of insufficient sun exposure, or the potential risk of whatever gunk is in the sunscreen.

All manner of toys are marked “age 3+” including things that couldn’t possibly be choked on, and some parents seem to believe those warnings, but any family religiously following such advice is delaying their kids’ fine motor skills by 1.5 years.

Relevant to this discussion: many school-aged children end up chronically sleep deprived because school schedules don’t align with their natural sleep rhythm; the problems this causes (aggression/irritability, tiredness, distraction, problems with working memory, ...) are treated as the children’s intentional personal failings which they are then punished for.

As for co-sleeping: the benefits to our family have been very obvious. We all get more or less enough sleep, babies can eat whenever they like, and everyone maintains a close physical relationship.

> because of the vanishingly tiny chance he might

It's unlikely that he would step on a needle, specifically, but not so unlikely he steps on something sharp, e.g. glass, or a stone.

> I have never once heard someone suggest it was a bad idea to walk in the vicinity of automobile traffic

you've never heard anyone suggest a 2 year old should not walk near road traffic? young children are explicitly told to stay away from roads without an adult all the time, and parents will often hold their hands near cars so they don't run in front of them.

> but large amounts of sugar are just fine

On the contrary, I hear people complain about kids sugar intake all the time. alcohol is an entirely different thing entirely.

> once someone turns 21 years old then any amount of alcohol consumption is considered more or less fine

It's legal, it isn't necessarily encouraged outside that age group.

> nobody has any problem with people constantly eating sugar

If you brush and floss, there is no hazard to your teeth.

> but seldom consider the harms of insufficient sun exposure

vitamin D deficiency can be fixed with a pill, skin cancer can't.

> including things that couldn’t possibly be choked on

If you don't know why it's marked that way, you are appealing to ignorance.

> school schedules don’t align with their natural sleep rhythm

what is their natural sleep rhythm?

It's much easier to wear shoes than avoid all automobiles.

Public places require shoes for hygiene reasons, not for book-dropping incidents.

What “hygiene reason” are you thinking of? In the general case it doesn’t seem any more or less hygienic to touch the bottom of my shoe to the library floor vs. the bottom of my bare foot. Both are going to be comparably dirty if I walked in off the sidewalk (the foot is probably a bit cleaner on average).

If the worry is something like fungal or bacterial infections of the feet, those thrive in the warm, wet environment of a sock/shoe, and can’t survive when consistently exposed to fresh air and sunshine.

If the worry is injury/liability, then high-heeled shoes would be the obvious first thing to ban. Those are dramatically more dangerous than bare feet in basically every context.

I suppose if someone had gaping sores on the bottoms of their feet it might leave gross/contagious residue? But someone could just as easily track vomit, feces, cake frosting, rotten food, chewing gum, or whatever other yucky thing in on the bottom of their shoe. The “has a serious contagious skin disease” case seems like it would be handled better with a more targeted restriction, since I don’t think you want such people’s hands touching stuff in public spaces either.

My guess is that the real reason is to keep barefoot, shirtless, etc. homeless people and/or hippies out of public buildings. There are also rules against lying down, being drunk or intoxicated, making loud noises, bringing luggage or carts, communicating “willfully” or obscenely, emitting strong odors, &c. I’d be curious to learn more about the history of restrictions against bare feet in particular.

> the bottom of my shoe to the library floor vs. the bottom of my bare foot

The hygiene of your foot, not their floor, i.e they don't want you walking on their (relatively) dirty floor bare-foot.

Also, if they allowed others to walk in bare-foot, gaping sores etc would make the floor dirtier.

I'm pretty sure they don't "allow" you to vomit on the floor, or throw rotting food onto it either, but if you did that (unintentionally?) I'm sure they would clean it up and disinfect the floor, for hygiene reasons. That people might track those things in in trace amounts is why the floor is considered dirty, and why it is probably cleaned periodically.

I wonder how much cleaner my shoes are than me feet. I wash my feet at least everyday, but seldom wash my shoes.

> The risk of death with cosleeping is always higher than not cosleeping

Yes, that's my understanding, but I wasn't clear; I've corrected the comment to clarify.

Normally, the crib is attached next to the bed - with an open side facing the bed so that nursing is more convenient. They still sleep on the firm surface needed in a crib (to prevent suffocation, as you noted). That's still a lot closer and more comforting [for them] than having it be in a different room.

I would rather roll the dice on a one-off suffocation than subject a young mammal to a separate sleeping cage in the darkness of night, personally. What other mammals make their young sleep not in a pile?

> I would rather roll the dice on a one-off suffocation than...

WHAT!? No way.

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is a real danger and not something to be dismissed lightly.


I'm not trolling, nor do I feel I'm dismissing it lightly. I'd rather take a relatively minor risk of death than knowingly inflict whatever psychological trauma comes from forcing an infant to sleep alone. I think the horror of this is seriously downplayed by our society. It's relatively safe to leave a baby in a box now, but this hasn't been the case for our deep evolutionary past. If you're a baby being left in a box at night the proper response is to freak out and try to get an adult to hold you, because otherwise you might get eaten by a wolf.

Wow. Psychological trauma? Horror? Freaking out? I'm not sure what makes you think babies experience those things when "forced to sleep alone", but my two kids seemed pretty content in their cribs.

Letting your kids share your bed might seem like a lovely thing to do, but I've heard so many friends complain that their kids are still co-sleeping 5+ YEARS later, and that comes with a huge impact on stuff like sleep quality and having a sex life.

3 kids of my own, lost a lot of sleep with them early on until they got into a workable routine. I advise to be careful of mistaking the battle for the campaign. You want to win the campaign, even if it means losing some battles. In this case, turning to co-sleep is attractive because it feels like you're winning the sleep battle easily. However, in the campaign that is life with your children, this is a losing strategy if the co-sleeping has a negative effect on your relationship with your spouse, particularly when it comes to intimacy. Remember that your kids also need your marriage to work well over decades to come. Similarly, giving in to defuse a tantrum is a short term win that will cost you over the long run as your child becomes insufferable, self-centred, and fails to achieve age-appropriate levels of maturity.

Are you suggesting that parents who sleep with their babies are less likely to have a solid relationship with each-other and a working marriage?

Is there evidence for this?

There are people in this thread talking about kids 2-5 in their bed.

We're not discussing babies, solely. That's seemingly the issue/controversy.

> Letting your kids share your bed might seem like a lovely thing to do, but I've heard so many friends complain that their kids are still co-sleeping 5+ YEARS later, and that comes with a huge impact on stuff like sleep quality and having a sex life.

I haven't thought about this in years, but I believe I slept in my parents's bed until I was around 8 years old (at which point I stopped by choice). Perhaps they just never told me, but my parents seemed perfectly happy with the whole thing.

Note emphasis: this is a losing strategy IF the co-sleeping has a negative effect on your relationship with your spouse,

IIRC, the official advice is same room, separate beds. Rules out accidental suffocation and allows the child to hear and see the mom.

Are you a parent? Are these hypotheticals you're running, or speaking from your own experience?

As a parent I must say he's not completely wrong. We have decided to not co-sleep, to not get stuck with this. But quite often my wife would fall asleep without putting the baby back to the crib. At which point the baby would not cry till the morning, unless a dirty nappy started itching.

Not a parent. Have spent a decent amount of time around children. Have stayed up all night watching the door of a hospital room while my sister co-slept with her newborn child, waking her up when the nurses jiggled the doorknob.

> Have stayed up all night watching the door of a hospital room while my sister co-slept with her newborn child, waking her up when the nurses jiggled the doorknob.


Co-sleeping was forbidden by hospital. If they'd seen her sleeping with the kid they would have observed her for the rest of the stay to make sure it didn't happen again. She disagreed with this rule, as did I.

Ah, the old "ignore the rules of the medical professionals" trick.

The acronym SIDS really does a disservice to parents by obfuscating the fact that babies die as a result of being accidentally asphyxiated by a sleeping parent. How many lives could be saved by an acronym like 'Accidental Parental Baby Asphyxiation' that raises awareness of what's going on and how to prevent it?

"In 2017, there were about 1,400 deaths due to SIDS, about 1,300 deaths due to unknown causes, and about 900 deaths due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed." [1] which works out to be approximately 1 in 1000 babies die of SIDS.

The link you gave says 2500 per year due to SIDS - which appears overstated by 70%.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm

I don't think you broke it down right, but I'll leave it to the Illinois Dept of Public Health and the CDC to determine who is right on the numbers.

Either way, it is significant.

> What other mammals make their young sleep wear pants?

Most other species grow their own pants, which remain permanently attached. Effectively. :)

With the exception of sheep, at which point we must ask - what other species steals another species pants?

What other species nurtures hordes of other brainless species to harvest for the antecedents of artificial pants?

Ophiocordyceps unilateralis? Hmm, I’m not sure about the “nurture” part of that. How about dogs? They nurture humans?

Cows? Horses? Others that give birth to individual young rather than litters?

Can confirm that it slightly reduced my sleep deprivation. However I do not happen to have breasts: if I did then the reduction would have been a great deal less due to a small child wanting access to them. Also sleeping on the couch on work nights _may_ have had something to do with the reduction in my sleep deprivation; my memory is a bit shot from sleep deprivation though so not sure. Also it did not stop night terrors, though they were rare.

Can. Possibly.

Your mileage on this may vary, as I went something like 9 years over three kids without having significantly undisturbed sleep.

All three of my kids coslept. After the first week they were born, all of them were quiet throughout the night. All my sleep deprivation is self inflicted.

So lucky. I currently have 2 co-sleeping and they aren't sleeping well at all. Same with being in their cribs. They just don't sleep well.

No necessary. We were lucky, but our daugher gave us very little trouble in this regards. She was breastfed, so feeding her at night was a minimum hassle at night and wife barely had to wake up for it. Not sure where on the rule-exception continuum this expierience falls, but my point is that having a newborn does not guaranty you an miserable existance in the zombie mode.

Based on my personal experience with two kids, it’s completely random what type of kid you’ll get. My first would wake every hour at night and require a lot of effort to get back to sleep, this lasted until he was at least a year. My second was far better, but still created sleep deprived parents for the first four months.

Having at least 3-4 months of an infant after birth (the forth trimester) be difficult to sleep and calm down is quite normal. And based on the anecdotal data from my friends in similar points of their lives, even average.

The outliers are the ones who sleep through the night immediately (which can be dangerous) and those who wake up every sleep cycle.

I was sure that SOME things you can control, but now I believe you just have some variable amount of influence - in the end, luck matters a lot. E.g. we managed to "train" our first two kids to eat well, but the third broke us. At some point, we were begging her, "eat this cupcake, it has chocolate!". Taught me to refrain from judging other parents.

Yes. I remember scoffing when my grandmother, who raised 11 children, tried to warn me that I wouldn't have as much control as I envisioned early on. Most of us seriously overestimate the amount of influence that parents have.

By the time you get to 3, it's pretty evident that each child comes pre-built with their own unique tour-de-force of personality, and parents are just as beholden to it as anyone else.

Yeah, every kid is different, and every parent is different.

Our first actually taught us this lesson. We have friends with really, really easy kids. Our oldest - 4 years old now - is... tough. She has always been very hard headed. She has always stood up for herself and what she wants. She is persistent. My friends joke about how someday she is going to conquer the world.

Our twins are much easier. And much "better" behaved at similar ages. Sometimes you get what you get.

> She was breastfed, so feeding her at night was a minimum hassle at night...

Appreciate you may not have meant to imply this, but breastfeeding does not mean minimum hassle at night. We lived on about 3-5 hours a night for about 18 months. You got lucky.

A small percentage of kids are probably hard to deal with when it comes to sleep no matter what you do, but most of the parents I've seen with kids who still often wake them up past the 4-6mo range are training their kids to do it. They can't possibly realize they are or they'd surely stop, but they are. This is usually combined with waiting way too late to start trying to sleep-train.

I hate being that guy who asks where you infer it's a "small percentage", but my anecdata are that disrupted sleep is the norm. Yes, it got better after the first 3 months. Then there were multiple - very natural, I hear - sleep regressions: expansive brain growth which led to night talking/nightmares, teething, illnesses, fluctuations in natural body temperature regulation... kids are rapidly evolving creatures, and habits/pattern/training are great to instill, but there are a lot disruptors both natural and environmental.

I have 4 kids and all were breastfed. My wife would get up or feed them laying down. She never asked me to get up as her thinking was that at least one of us should not be sleep deprived. I have friends where the husband would get up and change the diaper and then hand the baby to the wife which meant both got less sleep and they always complained about lack of sleep.

If you know you've got a big expense in your future, its all the more reason not to spend frivolously while you can.

Yes, I am aware. Thank you.

This book, and "The Case Against Sugar" have been, by far, the two most impactful books in my life in recent years. They've genuinely changed my life for the better.

>Rather, I say this book doesn’t need to exist for the following reasons:

All of the reasons that follow boil down to, essentially, "this book is so obviously true that there's no need to read it." That's hardly a damning review, it's a bit closer to the most vehement agreement possible.

Did you read the rest of the review? Here is an example quote:

"Scientifically, The Case Against Sugar suffers from a condition Steven Pinker has called the “Igon Value Problem”. This term describes the tendency of certain science journalists to arrive at obtuse conclusions due to a superficial understanding of their subject matter"

and later

"Taubes argues that sugar is the only factor that reliably shows up when a culture develops Western noncommunicable diseases, supporting the point with examples of cultures that adopted sugar-rich diets and became ill. Yet he makes no effort to look for a counterexample that could refute his argument: a traditionally-living culture that has a high intake of sugar and does not suffer from Western noncommunicable diseases."

These are just two examples. My understanding (from those two reviews only!), is that you will come away LESS well informed when reading this book. Now, if you provide me with an expert opinion in favour of the book, I'm happy to change my mind.

FYI Apart from moments where I try to recover fast (1-60min) from a near max physical effort, I avoid sugar anyway. I do NOT promote eating sugar.

If you haven’t read it, check out The Hacking of the American Mind by Robert Lustig. It might be right up your alley; it opened my eyes as to what influences my dietary choices.

Dr. Lustig has some good insights. Two caveats on him:

1) He is an evangelist about the dangers of fructose, which is ubiquitous in the Standard American Diet (SAD) 2) I gather that he has a few positions that are not unreasonable but are also not fully supported by research, yet

Having said that, I learned a lot from him about fructose metabolism, how it has to be metabolized by the liver, and what happens to excess. The analogy that sticks in my head is that excess fructose consumption is like foie-grasing ourselves. We get Non-alocoholic fatty liver and it's happening to children at unprecedented numbers.

He too was on Peter Attia's podcast (I mentioned in a comment above) and it has some good show notes.


A good night sleep is required for your mind to process the previous day. Lessons learned get cemented. You can miss a good night's sleep and make it up later in terms of being rested, but whatever lessons and growth from the day prior to the lack of sleep will never be processed. They are lost, even if you sleep enough on a later night. It's sort of like saying there is 'eat healthy debt' where you binge on junk food for a day and try to cancel it by eating super healthy the next day. That healthy eating is a good thing, but it doesn't un-eat the unhealthy food.

Edit: to incorporate the valid suggestion below

> A good night sleep is required for your mind to process the previous day. Lessons learned get cemented.

> You can miss a good night's sleep and make it up later in terms of being rested, but whatever lessons and growth from the day prior to the lack of sleep will never be processed. They are lost, even if you sleep enough on a later night.

> It's sort of like saying there is 'eat healthy debt' where you eat junk food all week and then try to cancel it by eating super healthy on the weekend. That healthy eating on the weekend is a good thing, but it doesn't un-eat the unhealthy food.

Your two examples are not equivalent. In the first you mention missing _a_ good night's sleep. In the second you are not missing a night of healthy eating but intentionally engaging in the opposite consistently. A more accurate comparison would be something like a "cheat day" in a diet, to follow the logic of the first example.

So I've read "Why We Sleep" and my understanding of Walker when he says "sleep loss is not a debt that can be repaid" simply meant that sleep does not work like an accounting system - if you slept for 3 hours less last night, sleeping for 3 hours more tonight will not "catch you up" and bring you back to baseline. You're just going to have to sleep your regular number of hours for a while until your body recovers. The damage done by one night of poor sleep is not going to be irreversible. People lose sleep all the time and are fine after they have had enough consecutive nights of normal sleep.

Yeah, but the reasoning I heard from him on that made no sense and was not clarified.

From what I remember he said if you stay up all night you don't sleep 16 hours the next night to make up for the missing 8 hours (you may only sleep 12) therefore you never make up that 4.

I'd suspect that it doesn't work that way and you can catch up without requiring double the amount of time (there's probably a consistent overhead).

If I'm missing some core of his argument please let me know, but from what I heard it made me dismiss the rest as probably bad.

> ... because the loss can’t be repaid.

It’s repaid all at the end.

This seems to contradict a recent study that I came across [1]:

The mortality rate among participants with short sleep during weekdays, but long sleep during weekends, did not differ from the rate of the reference group. Among individuals ≥65 years old, no association between weekend sleep or weekday/weekend sleep durations and mortality was observed. In conclusion, short, but not long, weekend sleep was associated with an increased mortality in subjects <65 years. In the same age group, short sleep (or long sleep) on both weekdays and weekend showed increased mortality. Possibly, long week- end sleep may compensate for short weekday sleep.

[1] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/jsr.12712

That study might be reassuring regarding mortality. But what about cognition and memory? are they affected?

I’d say the same, but it’s been more eye-closing for me

Short-term sleep deprivation can be mediated to some degree with "catchup" sleep. It's the chronic sleep deprivation that will destroy you with absolutely no recourse.

> sleep isn't a debt because the loss can't be repaid

Are you saying that there are significant health repurcussions even after bad sleep habits have been fixed? Do you have a source for that? I have... er... a vested interest

So naps the same day catch it up? I will often wake up and be unable to get back to sleep. I am able to sleep later in the day after I have walked, and had food.

I finished most of the book, but don’t remember seeing what he wrote on this.

That's not to say naps have no benefit for people who don't have trouble sleeping at night. Walker's research shows that naps can help boost memory and learning.


Walker seems to say no, it doesn't catch it up.

"Can naps help with sleep debt?

Walker: And the answer, unfortunately, is no. Sleep is actually not like the bank. You can't accumulate a debt and then hope to pay it off at some later point in time. So sleep is an all-or-nothing event in that sense. So you can't short sleep during the week and then try to binge and oversleep at the weekend."


It can be repaid in the sense that we stop being tired. This is what people mean by repaid.

But the lost productivity from when we were tired can not be recovered.

The book "why we sleep" as I understand suggests the increase in probability of dementia if you don't sleep enough i.e., lack of sleep leads to brain damage that is not fixed by sleeping longer later.

It's more about the quality of sleep as perfect sleep seems to be able to reverse Alzheimer's in mice . Without some kind of chemical intervention there's no way a complex system like the brain will fix itself, the bad sleep further deteriorates the brain's ability to get good sleep and each day the problem gets exponentially worse. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25457559/

Also possible long-term health consequences.

if you want to nitpick, then the debt must be paid, just not necessarily repaid in an equivalent currency if the debt runs too high. You will pay for it via [diminished immune system, irritability/depression, impaired congnition, other health deficits].

i use to think this way too.

When i was HS living out in the countryside of North Texas the father of a friend of mine would take me hunting and target shooting a lot. He said he did an experiment once where he shot 3 groups of 5 shots then measured his precision and accuracy. Next, he drank a beer (i know, not the wisest thing to do) then repeated the shooting exercise. He did this for a few iterations and his conclusion was that it didn't matter that he didn't feel the effects of the alcohol right away, his shooting steadily declined on each iteration.

I think sleep is the same way, whether or not you immediately notice you're not getting enough sleep your performance steadily declines.

But your body doesn't absorb the alcohol instantly. Those test results make no sense from a medical standpoint. There should be a lag between drinking and the performance hit.

> But your body doesn't absorb the alcohol instantly

Yes, it does. I mean, it takes time to fully absorb it, but alcohol begins entering the bloodstream immediately when reaching the stomach, it is not digested.

Rapidity of effect will vary by a lot of personal and other factors.

Yes but the difference between 0 and 1, possibly even 2 beers is going to be below the noise threshold for normal values of "beer".

> Yes but the difference between 0 and 1, possibly even 2 beers is going to be below the noise threshold for normal values of "beer"

In terms of feeling? Maybe. In terms of measurable effects on motor skills, probably not. They start much earlier (both in time from drinking and quantity of drinking) than people tend to think, or even recognize at the time if they aren't actually measuring them.

> I see sleep deprivation as a serious health debt that you pay nosebleed compound interest rates on.

I wish it were that easy! Years and years of sleep deprivation left me dealing with pretty bad anxiety attacks. It's been almost 6 years now and they are mostly manageable. I'm still on medication though, which has other not-so-fun side effects.

Don't be stupid like me. Get enough sleep! It's the only part I dread about having children: The lack of sleep in the first few months/years is probably going to worsen my anxiety attacks :-/

I still really want kids though :-)

Oh, it definitely will. Lack of sleep invites panic and anxiety attacks. When well rested they are nonexistent.

After about four years from birth you'll recover though and looking back you won't even remember anything so it's all good.

Some of this is just aging, though. When younger, I could do all nighters regularly and bounce back quickly. Can’t do it any more without, as you say, nosebleed interest.

The harsh reality. Many of the lifestyle habits simply become exponentially harder as we age.

i watch my kids bounce back from and fight through illness in awe. My wife says i suffer from "man colds" but when i have a fever i'm completely incapacitated. I just lie in bed and think "... so this is how it ends" heh

When you're young enough to be pulling all nighters falling down the stairs is a minor inconvenience. When you're middle aged it's a serious health emergency.

I've bought recently one of those cheap wrist bands.

One of the most important features for me was ability to measure sleep quality in terms of "daily hours of deep sleep," whatever that scientifically means.

Over the course of several months, I've been able to identify things which affect my sleep quality:

* eating late: bad

* drinking late: one beer... not really that bad

* answering work emails until midnight: REALLY BAD (even while drinking soothing chamomile tea during soft rain) etc.

I'm trying as reduce as many "bad" things as possible as I can feel a huge difference between 30 mins and 3+ hrs of deep sleep, as measured by the device.

I feel much better during the day, can work more productively and, most importantly, my "fuse" seems to be much longer.

Probably best $30 ever spent.

(still missing weekend code binges of early 20s, though :/ )

What is the brand of the device? I am interested in getting one. I'm struggling today after little sleep, but I would also like insight on how much deep sleep I am getting.

Mi Band 3. It appears its sleep quality measurement through gyroscope/accelerator is accurate enough.

You don’t even have to get a device to get started. A cheap (but useful) app like Sleep Cycle will give you lots of info to start noticing patterns.

Apple Watch does the same thing, but you can choose from 3rd party apps as well.

I’ve found that it boils down to either excess energy not burned off, or not enough calories to slow the mind down yet. So if my mind is racing a bit I get up, eat something small and light on the stomach like a banana or cereal in the dark without tv or the phone. I use some of this time to meditate as well.

Also getting enough sun or vitamin d helps. Trying to burn off as much energy before my mind has a chance to race before the end of the evening.

I also believe sleep quality and carbondioxide level could be related. Need to get a device and give it a test.

One more independent variable you might want to test: when you go to bed. I've found that the earlier I go to bed, the higher quality sleep (I'm sure there is a point at which I would begin getting worse sleep, but I haven't reached it). I've tried anywhere from 9PM to 3AM. 9PM is a little too early to do if you aren't trying to "catch up" on sleep but I've been getting great results going to sleep at 10PM every night. I usually fall asleep around 10:30 or 11PM and wake up naturally to the sun around 7-8AM.

Never feel tired at work anymore, but I do actually start getting tired around 8-9PM when the caffeine from work starts wearing off. The energy and focus is great

Agreed. I get up every morning around 6am. Some mornings I get up at 5am for a group workout thing, but it's mostly around 6am. I'm normally in bed right before 10 because I have found out through experience that I need ~7-8 hours of sleep/night.

I can shift this a bit, say go to bed around 11 or 12 and sleep later, but I am not nearly as productive in the mornings then. If I push this more extreme and say go to bed at 2-3am, even if I sleep until 10 or 11, I am wrecked the next day. I actually feel worse than if I only got 6 hours of sleep instead, but went to bed earlier.

I actually find that a couple of hours of coding on personal projects from 9 to 11 (but not later) actually has a calming effect on me that increases sleep quality.

Mind you - I don't have hard data to support this!

You get 3+ hours of deep sleep?! I seem to regularly crack 1 hour of deep sleep (tracked by my watch) but that’s it.

Anything you’ve done or do to improve the amount you get?

Word of warning, the sleep trackers on the market are not very accurate for tracking sleep phases. Folks like Matthew Walker are pretty adamant about this. You have to measure your electric brain waves to know for sure, not approximations from heartbeat, movement, etc.

My Oura and Fitbit sometimes give wildly different sleep phase readings for the same night. Also, each will sometimes give arbitrarily unexpected readings that leave me scratching my head.

As someone mentioned, those trackers aren't that accurate.

However, if you think you don't get much deep sleep, for the love of everything, get tested for sleep apnea. A home sleep study is quick and easy if you have reasonable insurance, and if you do have apnea, getting it treated could literally change your life (or even save it).

Do you think there are any shortcuts to the months of experimenting? I'd also be interested to learn how you validated your hypothesis (one night of sleep, a few nights of emails at midnight?)

Purely empirical... just figuring out what I did last day/evening, and then noticed how sleep is affected in certain patterns.

It didn't take me months to figure it out (not OP), you might get some insights quickly. Get one of the fitness trackers(Fitbit/MiBand/apple watch) and wear the watch for a week, then take a note of the things you're doing in the evenings and see how if affects your baseline from the previous week. For me, exercise was a clear winner on the first day - I spend less time awake in bed, sleep longer and higher quality _every_ day I exercise. Others, like working late, or playing video games late took longer to figure out.

re 'answering work emails until midnight: REALLY BAD' - true for any screen time. Night shift/f.lux or glasses with a blue light filter may help a little with that

I don't understand why you got down voted. I use also a blue light filter, and it helps. Of course, if you look up stuff until 2AM...there is no device helping you there, except for a battery off! :)

I use Night Shift on all of my devices, and let me tell you, it doesn't help me get to bed any earlier.

it's not supposed to get you to bed earlier, it's to fall asleep easier once you'll get to bed.

It's to help reduce suppression of melatonin production, which can be up to 50%.

Programmer in a start-up here. Please do talk about this with your workaholic colleagues as I did! We need to create an industry standard here.

Sleep is super important to success and happiness, and I just recently found that sleep is not enough. I need also rest. If I don't have rest and relaxation often I get tired for several days regardless of sleep time. Writing this after deliberate 5 minutes downtime.

I've been a pro programmer since age 15ish, now 34. I've been rebooting my health for the past 6 years where I found myself 50lbs overweight and isolated and alcoholic. Sleep and breaks have been an invisible health issue until about 3 years ago. Laying down boundaries about personal time was received very badly indeed. This was following 2 years of week-on/week-off on PagerDuty, with noisy frequent false alarms that were never a priority to fix(!). Since August I've been 100% out of tech but still in Silicon Valley, doing landscaping and moving and waiting, and in these industries I've for the first time had managers who've encouraged sleep, reminded me to drink water, and made breaks mandatory and it's amazing. When I hire programmers I'm going to treat them like landscapers.

I used to joke about solving problems from yesterday while taking a shower or crossing the street to the office but this is deadly serious.

I’m solving problems not just because I’m doing a mundane task and have time to ruminate. It’s also because I just slept and am fully rested.

If a mechanic treated his tools like we treat our bodies his coworkers would look down on him for sloppiness. Take care of your “tools”.

This may just be me, but when I was in charge of hiring a team, I ended up passing on sleep-foregoing candidates (often that wasn't the only thing, but it was a big factor for me).

To this day, candidates that don't take care of getting enough sleep just to get things done, raise a red flag for me.

Curious... did you really ask candidates about their sleep patterns?

Why don't you think your colleagues value sleep? Is it that there's no data, save qualitative, backing up your claims?

I think there is enough supportive data today, and that sleep deprivation still exists from cultural reasons. In my case it has improved as new folks joined the group and brought cultural change. Even if one knows the data alone, one might give in external pressure. I think its true for other things like smoking, alcohol etc.

> Writing this after deliberate 5 minutes downtime.

Pomodoro is another of those life-work habit enhancements which (counterintuitively) increases productivity and happiness.

This isn't a very surprising result: there's a whole body of research showing sleep deprivation reduces cognitive abilities.

So why do programmers still sleep less than they need to? Often it's because they're working long hours, and to get time for the rest of their life they cut back on sleep.

If that's you—it doesn't have to be that way. You can set boundaries at work (https://codewithoutrules.com/2019/04/03/setting-boundaries-a...), you can say no to your boss (https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/08/16/how-to-say-no/)... and you'll be doing your employer a favor because your output will go up.

I think caffeine and other uppers play a large role as well. I am sitting at a desk doing nothing but I need my brain to be in the state its in when I am doing harrowing physical activity.

My quality of sleep reflects this.

I think this warrants a closer look. We do work in a profession that has a cognitive load that is wildly disproportionate to our physiological load. I suspect that some of us need heavy physical activity during the day in order to sleep well.

Anecdotally, when I worked construction I had zero issues going to bed at 9pm and getting to work at 7 every day. But now that I sit at a desk for 9-12 hours a day, I'm rarely able to fall asleep by midnight and getting to work reliably by 8AM is impossible. Ironically, I have no issues sleeping "early" on the weekends when I spend the days out-and-about and doing house work.

> I suspect that some of us need heavy physical activity during the day in order to sleep well.

Yes, this is absolutely the case. I do software as a dayjob, but do an hour or two of heavy physical activity every day (or more on weekends), and sleep great nearly all the time.

When I've had injuries that prevent me from my regular exercise routine, my quality of sleep takes a huge hit. To the point that last time I had a severe ankle sprain, I'd go to a gym (which I don't normally do) just to use one of those arm bike machines to tire myself out.

“Our results also show that sleep-deprived developers make more fixes to syntactic mistakes in the source code.”

That statement, in isolation, could be taken completely out of context.

Of course no sane person would conclude that a sleep deprived developer can fix more bugs. However there are many executive-level staff that are definitely not sane.

Yeah curious why more people didn't notice that strange phrasing. Not sure what the point of it was. Did they make more mistakes and therefore fix more of them?

My guess here is that fixing those syntactic "mistakes" really means changing the code so it does the same thing, refactoring if you will.

I catch myself doing this sometimes when I'm tired or disengaged - spending my time on pointless refactoring or gold-plating. Presumably because these things are easier than what I should be tackling, but trick me into feeling productive.

Struggling to get to sleep? One thing that really helped me was taking care of what I was doing in the hour or two before bedtime. Staying up scrolling through work emails or reddit or news? Your mind's gonna be racing when you get to bed. Now I watch an hour of TV with my phone in another room - a completely passive activity that gives my mind time to settle down.

This exactly makes all the difference for me.

When I do anything even remotely exciting, I have harder time falling asleep. Not only that. I will also wake up 1-2 hours earlier and have very hard time getting back to sleep.

If I do something calming, I have none of this issues.

Watching movies is great. Think about something absolutely unrelated to your stress for 90 minutes.

And yes, my insomnia is stress induced. If I’m on a holiday, which I haven’t been for couple years, I have none of those problems.

Reading books (or listening to audiobooks) is probably even better in terms of reducing exposure to blue light (which tends to suppress melatonin secretion).

Personally: I recently realized that I should make an effort to work out sooner in the evening. I have an exercise bike at home and I tended to work out only after everything else was done, sometimes at 11PM, right before going to sleep. Exercise increases cortisol levels, so it's best to do it earlier in the day.

even that is too much excitement for me , dim lights or total darkness and just silent meditation sitting on a cushion for about 30-60 minutes is what it takes.

Reading works best for me

Not exactly the best experimental design here. Instead, canadian cross should be used which would reduce and detect variation between individuals.

(Same devs on multiple occasions, sometimes well slept, sometimes not. Matching tasks for both groups. Learning effect is controlled by swapping group order of task execution. This is fully factorial fully crossed design.)

However, the magnitude is indeed big and the results probably valid but might not quite match up for experienced devs.

IMO, as far as research has been done in this field: the only point they need to make with experiments at the moment is that it has a huge impact.

Hopefully, they now are able to get amazing grants because of these results to study it more in-depth.

The politics of science >= doing actual good science [1]

[1] Provided the right intentions are there (advancing truthful knowledge of humanity)

(Shameless plug) we are developing a “study as a service” project to drive home the individuality and impact of sleep.

The plan is to take a week with someone - comparing various “in bed” times along with quality of sleep to a simple, dynamic cognitive task.

If anyone finds that interesting, please reach out to the email in my profile.

With the 996 system (9 am to 9 pm, 6 days per week), this would leave very little time for anything but working and sleeping. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/996_working_hour_system https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/15/business/jack-ma-996-china/in...

In most of the civilized world, including the PRC, that system is outright illegal.

Being on-paper illegal, however, doesn't mean that it's not common and de facto accepted.

Which means nothing unfortunately, as companies are still encouraging employees to stick to this work schedule

Didn't know this was going on, but am now angry.

did I read that wrong or does it say I can get a 50% code quality improvement by just sleeping what ever is considered normal?

Yes. I believe it. Everything gets thrown off by missing out on sleep, but I think the abstract thought, short-term memory, and attention to detail required to program takes an outsized hit compared to most other physical and psychological problems that arise from insufficient sleep. I noticed this in myself when I was studying and interviewing for jobs and my anxiety was preventing me from sleeping well.

It's more like if you've been sleeping properly and then you are sleep deprived for a whole night you'll probably see a 50% drop in your code quality. Once you've rested and fully recovered from that, you may have code quality which is 100% greater than your sleep-deprived state.

Although realistically I imagine it might take more than one night with good sleep for you to recover fully from that. And then you know, there's going to be variation between each individual, quality metrics may be up for debate, etc.

50% improvement for sleeping vs not sleeping at all.

That honestly seems conservative. The times I've missed an entire night I've been essentially useless or an actual detriment.

In reality, your "productivity" is likely to be negative, as you will need to spend even more time fixing the mistakes you made trying to program in a sleep deprived state.

One of the first faculties to go is judgement. Those macho people who talk about toughing it out literally don’t know what they are talking about. You can’t self monitor when you’re loopy. And your recall of events is hampered too. The only measure you can count on is to look at the consequences after the fact, and there are a lot of fragile egos that can’t handle counting the cost of all their mistakes. If you won’t see them you can’t account for them in your mental math.

I’ve tried to borrow some ideas from protocols for hypoxia. By the time you’re loopy you should not be making any decisions.

I've seen this. Had a co-worker who was up most of a night dealing with a page.

Came into work, wrote some brand new code, and since it was basically all written on that day, and all by him, it was easy to trace back to him / that event.

The whole thing was riddled with bugs, and well below his usual quality level. Most of it got rewritten fairly quick, but yeah, if he'd taken the day off and then written it the next day, time would have been saved.

I feel like it's hard to really know when you're in that state, too. Your mind is too apt to go "I'm fine."

It's exciting to see specific validation for our industry.

We've seen a similar phenomenon with athletes, which drove us to create a sleep improvement app, called Rise Science (https://www.risescience.com), for athletes that tells them what to do to improve their sleep tonight based on science. It's currently being used by both professional and collegiate teams across the NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS, and NCAAF.

We're now taking what we've learned from athletes and adapting it so anyone can engage in a lifelong practice of healthy sleep. If you're interested in helping test the early beta version of our app sign up here: http://bit.ly/hacker-friends

(for those interested in similar studies, here's a related paper from a friend of Rise at Stanford, where they quantify the impact of less sleep on cognitive performance using web search interactions as a proxy: http://timalthoff.de/docs/althoff-2017-population_scale_phys...)

LeBron James discusses his sleep routine in extent:


Is a phone number really required to sign up?

It's been really helpful for quickly helping folks who have issues during the early beta.

It's early, so not everything is perfect—we're working at full speed to make improvements and roll out new features.

I'd love to see a modafinil, caffeine, and nicotine group added to this study to see if there's any difference. 50% reduction in quality is a lot!

Sample size of 1. I suffer from chronic fatigue, and caffeine definitely makes a difference, modafinil even more so. I don't take modafinil ever day, but when I do there is a definite improvement - I'm more alert, more focused and more productive.

Not enough subjects to test modalities while excluding learning effects and losing predictive power. If you did 4x as many devs then a factored design is possible.

Are older engineers put out to pasture because they know better than to get caught up in all-night-no-break fervors?

Asking employees to do this is like asking them to extend a line of credit that you can't pay back.

Kinda makes me wonder what the effects must be on those who work under endless 'crunch' type conditions, with 16 hour days/100 hour work weeks. That's pretty common in the video game development world, with articles saying conditions like that existed at the likes of Epic Games and Bioware.

Also makes me wonder if it has any connection to how buggy some of these games are, or whether that's just a symptom of the modern system allowing you to patch stuff post launch.

I was just diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. My troubleshooting has definitely declined some in the past five years. I was break-fix, however, for a good part of it, and a patch that needs another patch is a no-no for me, so I'm fairly systematic. Maybe I'll be able to make more leaps of faith as I recover. I certainly could use a productivity boost.

Shameless plug - we built a product for orgs to deploy better sleep to their people. -> https://puresomni.com

Our goal is simple - if we can help folks sleep better we can improve their overall health and ability to flourish.

Happy to chat with anyone who is more interested in any way in what we are working on, has thoughts/feedback or would like to talk more about sleep in general.

As an individual, I had three sets of unanswered questions while visiting the site.

1) Can I use my insurance for part of this? Even if it isn't directly covered, would it count towards the max out of pocket? Can I use an FSA/HSA?

2) On the /learn page it isn't clear what happens after 4 weeks. Do I keep access to sleep tracking? Of less interest to me, what about the marketplace or sleep course? What is the cost to stay subscribed? The sign up flow explains the monthly subscription for physical goods, but I didn't click into that page before I decided to leave a comment and went back to double check the /learn page's contents.

3) Other than the sleep coach, what are the concierge features? Does the content pack include articles, videos, podcasts, "homework", or other things? Is the apnea screening a qualitative questionnaire or does it use data from the sleep tracking? Are the personalized tools software, psychological tactics, physical sleep aids, or something else?

It certainly looks like an interesting product, but it's priced too high for me to buy before understanding it better.

I want to see the study on the impact of novice developers on senior developers' sleep deprivation

"Why We Sleep" by Matthew Walker is an amazing book and talks about this for of stuff and a lot more. Having read it, this is not surprising at all to me. Last year I read ~45 books, this book stood out as one of the best.

One of the things discussed in the book is how inhumane it is having subjects in an experiment deprive themselves of sleep (pull all-nighters); it has lasting effects on the body. As a result it is becoming much less common for experimenters to do this, so I'm a bit surprised at how this study was conducted.

I was sleep deprived today (only 4.5h of sleep thanks to catching up on GoT season 7), and I think I was 30-50% slower than usual. I didn’t notice throughout the day, but I just didn’t get as much done.

One positive effect of being tired is that you stumble on more bugs. Add stress and tight deadline to that and many bugs will reveal them-self in order to annoy you, or trick you into yak shaving.


Where can I do research like this? It seems easy, relevant and I'm academically equipped to do it (CS master psychology bachelor background).

Does it matter what time of the day you sleep or just how many hours?

Yeah, and so we can conclude that sleeping is, after all, useful.

Three team leads were sitting at an airport bar waiting on a flight. The first says "my developers are so strong they can code all day without a single break". The second lead replied "my developers are so dedicated they will work through the night without rest until the job is done". The third listened intently and then replied "my developers are professionals, they eat when they are hungry and they sleep when they are tired".

Aww come on! No punch line?

I think the punch line is that the last dude doesn't exist

I have only ever worked for people that take this attitude, and now that I lead my own team, I am sure to make this clear to them too.

"hi, I exist", said the manager who still exerts pressure on developers to work overtime with compressed project timelines and explicit and implicit pressures but pays lip service to healthy living.

Hi I exist

More of a koan than a joke.

Here's one: "...yeah, they all wear golden handcuffs :)"

slow clap

I had to stop at "quasi-experiment"

That's just a bad name. This is essentially a nonrandomized unblinded controlled trial using representative sampling. Only two steps below a full RCT unless you suspect foul play.

I'm not sure how you'd blind lack of sleep and that's not the point, so the only issue is lack of randomization.

Much better than an observational study.

Quasi-experiment is not necessarily a bad thing. It is to denote a study that does not have a traditional control-experiment structure with explicit pre- and post-measurements. This is particularly difficult to do with real time data analysis over time periods or with concepts that have ill-defined units of measurement.

For example, productivity and learning would be considered ill-defined. How can you prove more sleep makes you more productive? Since that is difficult, you can instead do a quasi-experiment or case study to observe the effects.

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