I aim for 5 hours' sleep, though usually it's more like 4h45m. I am less sharp once it falls below 4h30m. I usually work in the evenings til 12:30 or 1am. I wake up around 5:20am, usually just before my alarm. I cycle to work and arrive at the office shortly after 6am.
Narcolepsy is usually associated with daytime sleepiness. It is best described as a switch in my brain that turns off if I don't get enough stimulation. I was prescribed drugs for it (dexamphetamine originally, now modafinil) but I don't take them anymore. I prefer to treat it by having very high-pressure jobs (currently Chief Risk Officer for a start up, previously tech lead for an investment bank trading desk). Also I have found that computer programming provides the perfect amount of deep mental focus to beat narcolepsy.
At night, narcolepsy means I fall asleep instantly. I hit the REM sleep phase within a couple of minutes. Most people need 90 minutes to reach REM sleep. So that alone means 4h30m of my sleep is equivalent to 6 hours for a 'normal' person.
(Final note: This was verified clinically by an overnight stay in a sleep lab then daytime sleepiness tests the following day.)
That would be true if REM sleep were the only sleep that counts, but light and deep NREM sleep has functions, too. Functions that REM sleep cannot perform.
Programming provides me with a stress-less job that I can work at my own pace.
I take modafinil too, if I come off that I am totally hopeless, in a vague half-sleep all the time. Very interesting to hear about others conditions!
My ideal work/life balance includes 12 hours' work and 3 hours' sport a day. I'd vary sports rather than have a day off.
For 4 years, when I lived in Melbourne, Australia, my usual weekday routine was:
* Up by 5:30am. Marathon kayaking from 6am to 7am. Cycle to work. Start work at 8am.
* Work til 7pm. Cycle to swim, water polo, or gym (which I did together with my partner). Cycle home.
* Dinner with my partner from 9 to 10:30pm. Work or recreational programming til midnight.
At weekends, I'd try to fit in a 2-3 hour run or marathon kayaking training. My narcolepsy would be much worse after long training sessions (due I think to dehydration and elevated core body temperature) and I'd often fall asleep, sometimes on the floor, for an hour or two.
Over the last few years, now I live in London, I've dropped water polo and am focussing more on flamenco dancing. If work is not too busy, I'll manage to do 2-3 three hour classes a week. If I have time on Saturdays, I'll do 5-6 hours of sport: cycling/kayaking/cycling/water polo/swimming, or flamenco/flamenco/streetdance/streetdance, etc.
Basically, my work/sport/sleep routine is not normal. It works perfectly for me. I definitely don't recommend it to anyone else.
I get the impression that capitalist society has a tendency to richly reward this trait when combined with some interest/skill in negotiation and marketable skills.
I don't either ( 3,5 - 5 hours).
I think it's genetic also, yeah. On 8 hours of sleep, I'm tired the entire day.
Text writeups of similar talks:
(Paraphrasing, but the percent of people who can get by on under 6 hours of sleep rounded to a whole percent is 0)
>Based on evidence from over 100,000 studies, the number of people who can survive on 5 hours of sleep or less, without showing any impairment, rounded to a whole number and expressed as a percentage of the population…is 0
The order of magnitude fits with the article:
"The specific gene that the short-sleeping members of Mr. Johnson’s family carry shows up in about one in every 25,000 people."
People take pride in sleeping less than they should which is pretty fucked up in my opinion.
DHH also have a lot to say about it:
The results kind of speak for themselves. These people have jobs, families and generally productive lives like everyone else. If these people felt the extra sleep made their lives better than the extra time to do stuff they'd probably sleep more.
I can manage a job, side projects, girlfriend and social life. I'm not sure when will it hit back if it will ever.
I don't think he addresses this subject in the book or in his talks, but it would be interesting to know his opinion on the subject.
You don't need to be a yogi to do those things. There are men and women (even kids and teenagers) who can read your mind like a page. Advanced ones can know what you're thinking before you're even aware of what that thought is. And they don't even have to be looking at you. It's 360 degree vision. Distance is no barrier. People who can read minds know to respect your space, because they know it's against spiritual law to violate your psychic space.
People who have developed the ability to bring the dead back to life will not do it, because they know there's a reason why somebody had to die. Why mess with the cycle of life?
That must be terribly reassuring to the families of car crash victims.
You can make all the extraordinary claims you want if you never have to prove it, and no one should believe you until you do. You're basically just wasting your breath and letting everyone know you believe in fairy tales.
But maybe there's a reason why an automobile accident happened in the first space. Live is not just made up of a series of random events.
You can make all the claims you want. Everything is being made as it goes along, and if someone claims to have these powers and doesn't use them, they are either lying, deluded, or terribly cruel. It's awfully convenient, and really a sick joke, if the moment one has real agency, they can't use it.
Yes, and tons of people fall for that. They're up there with those other yogis who "don't eat food" (e.g. "Prahlad Jani is an Indian breatharian monk who claims to have lived without food and water since 1940"), perform magical tasks, and so on...
Not much need for sleep if all you do is meditate
You might be more productive per minute after meditating but that's another discussion
However, in my experience it takes years before you may comfortably spend all day meditating. I'm pretty sure most of meditators, teachers or otherwise, are not able to do this. It's extremely demanding, it is only boring if you don't focus properly.
I've participated in retreats that start at 2h30AM and end at 00H00 every day, with 1h sits and 20m breaks in between (same routine over 3-7 weeks), and only a handful of people are able to follow this schedule. Even meditation "only" on a 9-5 schedule is hard.
For people doing it in their culture, from a young age, it's second nature...
The researcher mentions the typical effects of sleep deprivation - "This has well-known, long-term health consequences. You're more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, metabolic problems and a weakened immune system." - but says that these people don't suffer them.
This would suggest that they get all the sleep they need. They're just better at sleeping than us so it doesn't take them as long to get enough.
As a less serious and more fun aside, I want to breed these people with that group who have ridiculous endurance capability. The ultra-runners who only stop because they fall asleep :) Like this feller; https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/20...
Seems likely the process is more efficient for some people versus others, just as it’s active during waking life but much less so. Less/more clearance/cleaning is mechanistically explained by the need for less/more sleep.
If you spend most of your time in this state it seems normal to you. A return to good sleep might initially feel like you're stuck on a lower gear.
I optimally sleep ~9 hours every day and start to feel tired if I sleep less for 3-4 consecutive days. I bike to work (and generally tend to go as hard as I can, so heart rate tends to spend a lot of time in Z4 or so). I almost never drink coffee so it takes me 2-3 hours to "fully awake" but I don't think that's unnatural so I don't mind it, I let nature run its course.
I was there about a year ago. I'm still working on it, but things are improved. The last hours of sleep are heavy on REM sleep, and I tend to get a bit restless during this time. In the past I would just get up and start my day. However, REM sleep is important, and it's worth working towards improving here. Seems like you're a little concerned you're not heeding the scientific consensus. Check out Dr. Walker's book, so you can be more sure of your current state or more informed. The time spent reading the book might produce 10 years more lifespan.
I'm glad I'm not "gifted" and I wouldn't want a magic pill or treatment which would make me that way. We need 8 hours of sleep. If I'm smart enough, I can figure out how to make my day with 8 hours of sleep. I'm not smart enough to believe that getting by on less than 8 hours of sleep is a good thing regardless of how I feel or what technology can do for me.
I mean, it's literally a magic pill that would make you not need 8 hours of sleep.
Definitely do not feel as super rested as I use too.
The reason is definitely genetic, and started pre-k last week.
How do you do it?
Does it feel like you adapted? Or are you aware of a cognitive decline?
Like, what’s the experience like?
Oh, we didn't thrive. It sucked. There was absolutely a cognitive decline, and physical exhaustion to boot. We adapted in the sense that we weren't falling asleep on the subway after awhile, but I flat out told work not to expect my best work for the next six months.
But it also wasn't 2-3 hours of sleep a night. Unless you get really unlucky, babies do sleep for hours at a stretch; and you're very incentivized to sleep when the baby sleeps.
There are adaptive strategies! If you're supplementing with formula (or even if you're not, to a lesser degree) you can take shifts. I would go to bed at ~9pm, and my wife would be "on call" until ~3am. After that, when the baby woke up, I would be on call, and would wake up and take care of her until ~9am, when I had to leave for work. This guaranteed a six-hour period where even though we'd get woken up, we could at least not have to get up and take care of the kid. Granted, it's still interrupted sleep.
But in general, the experience is: you're happy but also low-key miserable, and you feel like your head is full of cotton.
The low-level stress also impacts your immune system, so you get sick more, and when your kid goes to daycare, you get sick a lot more.
I think many 20 and 30 somethings (without kids) who, if they were to get under 6 or so hours of sleep for a couple nights, would automatically pass out on the train/subway/bus/etc, in public.
So how are (seemingly most) parents getting 4 hours of sleep for extended periods of time yet aren't falling asleep on public transit on their way to work?
Most parents are getting more than 4 hours of sleep, but it's broken up. If your kid is on a 3 hour feed/sleep cycle, and it takes 1 hour for feeding and getting back to sleep (which is in the difficult part of the spectrum), that leave s you 2 hours to sleep before another wake up.
If both parents are needed, or if it's a single parent, chances are you're going to bed early, because you're exhausted; you'll probably go to bed when the evening feeding is done, say at 9pm, sleep for two hours, wake up for 1 hour, go back to sleep at midnight for two more hours, wake up at 2 am to feed, sleep again until 5 am, feed until 6 am and then get ready for the day.
You've ended up with 6 hours of sleep -- this is okish. If you have two parents taking shifts, one parent slept from 9-11, and then from 12-5, for a total of 7 hours; the other slept from 9-2, and from 3-5, also a total of 7 hours.
Of course, some nights don't go well, or the evening feeding is over at 8 and you don't really want to go to bed then, and that pushes everything back. But, if feeding only takes 30 minutes, that helps a bit. And some times the feeding cycles clash with sleep cycles -- it was awful for the (thankfully short) period where baby was consistently waking us up during REM sleep.
Also --- micronaps :D
If this is happening and you're not a single parent and your kid's not got chronic health issues, you're doing something wrong. And actually unless both those things are true you should still be able to manage 6-9hrs (though with one or two interruptions, admittedly). Most parents do not manage to screw themselves this badly for very long before figuring out what's up, I'm sure, because the solutions aren't exactly rocket science (take shifts to ensure 5-6hrs uninterrupted plus more with interruptions for both partners; go to bed earlier)
Can't speak for everyone, but I did. How do you tell an exhausted parent taking a snooze on the train from an exhausted non-parent taking a snooze on the train?
A watch is around 4 or 6 hours on deck, and then 4 or 6 hours to eat and sleep a bit before going on deck again. This can last for a few days or a few weeks.
I am always amazed at how quickly my body starts to treat each on/off cycle as a biological day. It takes around a day to get used to it, and a day to go back to normal when the race is over.
But I feel like I could continue in that pattern forever, when doing it.
Apparently long distance solo yachtsmen will sleep 10 or 15 mins out of each hour, sometimes for months, with little ill effects.
Humans may need a certain amount of REM sleep per day, but my experience is that is doesn't necessarily have to contiguous.
My sleep has not recovered, and I don’t expect it will for a few years. On the other hand, I’m not going out drinking anymore, or staying out late, so all those hangovers mornings I used to have don’t happen anymore, and I think that just cancels out the sleep deprivation.
And yeah - I significantly cut down on my drinking for awhile, because while waking up with a hangover is never fun, waking up with a hangover and having to take care of a small child is awful.
It was really bad early on with the overnight feeding --- this was a two person endeavor for several months until we gave up on milk coming in and just did formula. As the kid got older, the cycle lengthened. Initially we got about 2 hours of sleep after feeding before he woke us up, this was actually better than when it got to three hours, and we'd wake up in the middle of a rem cycle every time. Once it got to 4 hours sleep every time, it was fine enough. I have a much harder time remembering things from this period of my life than before or after; I suspect as a consequence of persistent sleep deprivation. I also accidentally found out what happens when I stay up for 24 hours straight, I don't care for that.
I still don't get as much sleep as pre-kid, 8 years later, but I've adapted. One nice thing is I would say I may have trouble falling asleep once or twice a year now, instead of once or twice a month. I'm looking forward to 5th grade when his school district pushes back the start time, so I can wake up later.
Mostly we found it fair to divide the night into half for her, and half for me; if he woke up between bedtime and 1AM my wife would deal with him. If he woke between 1AM and morning I would deal with him.
Having two hours of sleep total? That would kill me. But waking up for a few minutes, then going back to bed a couple of times in one night? Not as bad as you'd think. I know I zombie-walked a few mornings, but it didn't seem to cause too many actual problems. Of course when we were in this phase we'd often try to go to bed ourselves as early as possible.
Or just the regularity at which times you go to bed or wake up.
So you might want to visit a doctor and get checked out if you haven't already.
Once I wake up, that's it, until it's time to call it a day again. And I don't drink coffee or take any other stimulant. I only get tired or fall asleep during the day if I eat something that has a high Glycemic Index or too much of something that has a high Glycemic Load.
I can already imagine the beautiful life I'm going to have if I only need to sleep 4-5 hours. Getting up at 4:30AM, brew some coffee and make breakfast, sit down at 5:00AM and code for like 3 hours. Then I'd workout a bit, take a shower and go to work.
My job is pretty demanding at the moment so I'd rather do the more interesting stuffs in the morning instead of after work (I usually arrive at home around 7pm so it's a bit tough).
Second, because while it might be more in a day, it's less overall (you'll die younger).
An explanation for this would need ecology. Why is it beneficial for some of us to need less sleep, but not for all of us? What are the trade-offs? It seems like needing less sleep has no downsides. Is it a novel, all-beneficial mutation that just didn't have the time yet to sweep the population? Or do short sleepers experience serious downsides?
There is no explanation in "we found a gene for it". Pretty much every personality difference is genetic, that doesn't explain why such differences evolved, or persist.
Cutting down consumption and going to bed earlier definitely made a difference to my mornings, and I've found I can usually swing less sleep. I often find myself getting up at 4:30 or 5am, which isn't so bad in terms of free time--I get a lot done at 5am.
Lucky them I would say :)
Here's a piece from 2015; http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150706-the-woman-who-barel... , which discusses this from 2009 - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2884988/
A search for studies on DEC2 suggests a steady stream of work going on; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/?term=DEC2
Here's more recent research identifying another gene; https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190828/UC-San-Francisco-...
There has been more than one study, more than one family and more than one gene implicated.