After a while I realized it works very well for me to got to sleep for a couple of hours around 8 when he goes to sleep, and then stay up for a few hours before going back to sleep - I usually feel very mellow and relaxed when waking up after my first sleep period, and then very energized after I've been up for a little while. I get far more done this way than by trying to make myself work on stuff at the tail end of a long day. In fact, I'm coming out of my "mellow and relaxed" phase after my first sleep period right now, and is about to start working on a project...
Sometimes I end up "exploiting it" by cutting my total number of hours of sleep drastically, and feel little ill effect as long as I compensate with sufficient rest the following evening.
Occasionally I'll combine this with a 30 minutes nap at lunch time. If not I'll usually spend that time meditating instead.
Actually now that I started working I sleep 7 hours a night and wake up the same time every morning and it's the first time in 6 years I don't need coffee to get through the day.
Disclaimer-- I also referenced a product I built. The app is called SleepBot and it's a very simple mechanism to help people track sleep and get an idea of their sleep "debt" over short periods of time. As David mentioned, sleep has been an untapped market but there's recently been an influx of sleep apps into the market including tackers, sound machines, and alarms. I think what we're seeing is an increased concern for sleep as more of us try to figure out how to improve our health beyond diet and exercise.
8 here for me is 8pm. So I'll sleep 8pm until somewhere between 10 and 11.30pm depending on how rough the day was, and then get up and stay up anywhere until around 1.30am to 3.30am and go to bed and sleep until 6am.
I don't think I could deal with sleeping in the afternoon - it has to be when it's reasonably dark out, and it definitively helps to have a rough enough schedule and short enough total amount of sleep to be properly tired by the time I go down for the first round.
I rarely sleep more than 6 hour total during the evening/night, but will often catch up with a nap during the day on weekends.
Hey, nice to meet you :). I'm using SleepBot on my phone for over a year now, it's great!
Unfortunately I had to stop because I was keeping my parents awake at night – and now I live in New York and my evenings are always occupied – but I hope that one day when my life calms down I'll be able to return to that schedule.
This is the seminal article on segmented sleep. Pretty fascinating stuff.
And a shorter TED video: http://www.ted.com/talks/jessa_gamble_how_to_sleep.html
Yesterday (like so many days, ha) I spent too much time typing out silly posts for HN. Last night, I couldn't sleep well because of some noise outside and I had this dream. One of those dreams where it is so vivid and the story line is so clear, and there are "scenes" almost like a film where the "camera" zooms in on some aspect, that you wake up remembering the details and go "WTF? What does that mean?"
So I thought about some of the things I remebered for a little bit. Some of these details made absolutely no sense. They served no purpose in the storyline of the dream. And suddenly it hit me they were derived from words I had used in HN posts. Not topics, but individual words. My brain had woven them into the story. And it had done so with some pretty crafty storytelling. I'm not sure I could have done it so well if I was awake.
As if you gave someone a list of random words and said, "Make up a story and weave each of these words into the story."
I guess this is nothing unusual. Probably happens to people every night. But it left me thinking about how just how "self-driving" the brain is. What the heck is it doing when we go to sleep? It is running on its own software, to use a computer analogy. And it's not exactly "open source" code. I would love to see how that code works.
Dreams often have many layers of meaning. You might want to try keeping a long-term, detailed record of your dreams, and spending some time each day trying to make sense of them and relating them to your life and to other dreams. You might be surprised to find just how rich they are with meaning.
I imagine it (non-scientifically) as the brain's trash compactor, finishing up all the half-completed thoughts of your day, not necessary in any sort of logical way, like mashing the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together regardless of how well they fit, to get something that just barely fits together at a glance.
The science of sleep is a strange thing. Sleep is ubiquitous (after all, everyone needs to sleep), and almost everyone I know complains of being tired, or constantly groggy, or stressed due to the limited amount of sleep that they get every night. I know this particularly well, because I suffer from mild insomnia that keeps me awake far later than I should be. I try to use this time well, to create projects, or to learn new things, or to read books, but after a certain time in the night, one's brain starts to become mostly useless -- knowledge isn't retained.
All of that is background for an experience I had in late 2010. As usual, I had been sleeping badly -- getting about 4.5 hours of solid sleep per night for several weeks -- and was feeling pretty terrible, as you might imagine. That night, however, and for whatever reason, I slept beautifully for eight hours... but when my alarm clock went off, I felt terrible. I felt worse than I'd felt on four and a half hours' sleep. How was this possible?
It really bothered me, especially because I'd been so happy that I finally slept a "normal" night's sleep. Did I have some other sleep disorder, maybe one that produced insomnia as just a symptom? I researched, and tried to figure out what was really happening. I couldn't stand the grogginess I felt every morning.
During my research, which lasted probably about a month, I realized that something that made a major impact on me was the stage of sleep during which I woke up. Since sleep cycles last about 90 minutes, I felt better waking up between cycles (4.5 hours is about 3 complete cycles) than waking up in the middle of a sleep cycle (8 hours is 5.3 cycles). It turned out that this phenomenon was called "sleep inertia."
For awhile, I'd try to time this myself. I'd take a piece of paper, and count backwards from the time I needed to wake up in between cycles, then add on some time to fall asleep. I started to notice incredibly less grogginess in the morning. My new technique was amazing.
I tried sharing it with some of my friends and colleagues whom I knew also had problems getting up in the morning (who doesn't?), but it turns out that doing even simple math (subtraction) was not an activity people wanted to do right before bed. I'm not a math guy myself, so I couldn't really blame them. The timing happened to work out that I was teaching myself jQuery at the time, so I figured I'd create a little webapp for myself and my friends to use. That's how http://sleepyti.me was born.
In November 2010, when Sleepyti.me first launched, I asked HN and later Reddit's /r/programming for advice related to design and usability -- I am not a web design guy. That helped, but I ended up keeping the minimalist design in place. This choice was partially because I think it looks nice and clean, and partially because I'm not very good at design... at all. Anything more complicated and it probably would have looked terrible, knowing my design skills.
The site, much to my surprise, caught on very quickly. Social networks (Twitter & StumbleUpon, mostly) as well as traditional media found it effective and intriguing. I ended up giving several interviews about the site, being featured in LifeHacker, and being overall far more popular than I'd ever imagined. For example, I received 300,912 visits to the site last week.
I don't allow donations, and I haven't released an official mobile app yet, but the single banner page on the site has done very well for me -- I've earned $1500-$2000 per month since early 2011. It's not a startup by any means, but it's certainly a nice way to bring in some extra income from a side project.
I think the point I'm trying to make is that the article is right: the science of sleep is strange, and at times counter-intuitive... but in my opinion, it's also an untapped market. After all, we all just want a good night's sleep, don't we?
In addition, although the first sleep cycle averages 90 minutes, the second to fourth cycles are generally 100-120 minutes  which again throws off your calculations.
In short, I'm extremely sceptical that such a simple rule could ever be effective for most people.
Consistency can be the number of hours asleep or the time I get up, and takes about three days to set in. It gets even better if I break up my sleep into, say, 3 hour chunks; instead of just sleeping for multiples of three hours, I inform my body when it's time to start and stop sleep cycles by waking up for 20 minutes. It is supposedly more efficient because your brain on its own spends longer than necessary in between sleep cycles, which is a waste of time.
Just a few more ideas!
As an extremely rough benchmark, assuming $1 - $2 per 1000 page views on most sites is a reasonable baseline. Not all sites will be able to get to this, and some will get to far more, based on monetisation methods, ad placement (VERY important and frequently undervalued), number of ads, and niche served. Generally, the value of the ads increases in direct proportion to the spending power of the audience and the extent to which they arrive on the site intending to spend money. Sites offering investment advice do very well on ad payouts - free Flash game sites, not so much (although they can make it up on volume).
So for $1500 - $2000, you should probably assume you'll need a million page views a month. Some experimentation with ad placement or a higher-value niche will reduce that. I do know of people who are generating at least that much revenue in ads with 100k page views a month, but that's in very specific, high-paying niches.
For anyone who cares, I recommend Sleep Cycle most highly, or anything that gets you awake at a time more suited to your natural rhythm than an arbitrary alarm clock, whether Mr. Shaw's solution or something else. The difference really is remarkable, just as he says.
I read this too and while I've not been so good these past three weeks, prior to that I've been sleeping as close to exactly 7.5 hours as possible and for the first time ever, I was able to consistently get up at 6:30 each morning without tiredness or finding it hard to get up. I picked 7.5 hours so that I'd have a good long sleep to take me through busy & stressful days, but on nights when I wasn't able to get to bed by 11pm, I picked a shorter multiple of 90 minutes and it works just as well except that if its too short over all, I start feeling drowsly earlier in the day.
I really need to do this again.
I made a buttonless varient of it that works like a clock (the wakeup times stay current):
We both love Sleepyti.me and it’s awesome to hear that you’re making some money off of it. (If you’re uncomfortable with us keeping the same name drop one of us an email.)
"The average adult human takes fourteen minutes to fall asleep, so plan accordingly!"
Now, instead of measuring my sleeplessness by the hour or by the sleep cycle, I started measuring by multiples of fourteen: "Okay, it's only been 28 minutes since I got in bed. That's only two times the average." "Now I'm at ten times the average. This is ridiculous." I started harboring a grudge towards all those "average" people who could fall asleep so quickly. I wondered if I was enough of a statistical outlier to skew the average up to fifteen or even sixteen minutes. I even began to begrudge _you_ for including that seemingly innocent statistic on a website intended to help people sleep better. I had no idea who you were, but I hated you for lodging that figure in my subconscious. These were the racing, irrational thoughts of my addled, sleep-deprived brain.
At the same time, in part because of that bit of trivia on your site, I started realizing that I had a real problem. My lack of sleep was affecting my concentration, my work, my relationships, pointing inevitably towards a long downward spiral that I desperately wanted to avoid. I began to critically examine my sleeping patterns, my sleeping environment, what I did every night and every morning, my diet—my whole life, in fact. Over the course of the next few months, I experimented with every variable I could think of.
I'm proud to say that today, I'm sleeping better than ever. I'm able to fall asleep much more easily, and my overall mood and outlook has improved considerably. It's by no means perfect though—it's very much an ongoing, concerted effort. For those of you enduring a similar struggle for sleep, here are a few of the things that made the biggest difference for me:
- Don't get hung up on numbers. Stop counting the minutes that you're not sleeping. Easier said than done for many of us, I know, but it's huge. Place digital alarm clocks and the like out of sight from your bed, and resist the urge to check the time on your phone.
- If you're on the computer late at night, use f.lux to automatically adjust the color temperature of your screen. The bright light of your LCD screen can mess with your body's natural rhythms, and f.lux helps to counter that. It took me a little while to get used to it, but once I did, I noticed a marked decrease in the "racing mind" syndrome when I used my computer right before bed. Here's the link: http://stereopsis.com/flux/
- Avoid caffeine after lunchtime. (This one will vary widely for different people, but since I'm a caffeine lightweight, it's pretty early in the day. Find your own cutoff.) Also try different caffeinated drinks. For instance, if I drink coffee at any time of the day, I'll likely have trouble sleeping that night, so I drink black tea almost exclusively.
- Don't go to bed on an empty stomach. I can't fall asleep if I'm hungry.
- Read! I started reading in bed every single night about a year and a half ago, and it's my favorite way to shut my brain off at the end of the day. Of course, certain books are better to fall asleep to—the best ones will keep you interested without being so engaging that you can't put it down. (I made the mistake of starting the Hunger Games at about 1:00am a couple of weeks ago, and I ended up reading the entire thing that night. I only got two hours of sleep before work the next morning.) Find what works for you.
- If I'm still having trouble falling asleep after reading, I will often "replay" the last couple chapters of whatever I read in reverse. See if you can remember everything that just happened and work your way back to where you started that night. I read about this trick somewhere on the web (amongst a bunch of other tips that didn't help), and it seems to work wonders for me. If you don't read at night, try recounting your day (even the boring stuff) backwards instead.
- Don't beat yourself up if you still struggle to sleep. It's okay, and it _will_ get better. (On that note, please consider seeing a doctor if your sleeplessness persists!)
Finally, to David: Thank you for building sleepyti.me. It serves a simple but significant purpose, and it does so elegantly. And while it fed my irrational, sleep-deprived hatred of non-insomniacs for a little while, it also became a catalyst for real change in my life.
Since about half a year ago, I've been getting up every day at 6 (week or weekend and in the first weeks of trying this out, whether you're tired or not) and all my sleeping problems have disappeared. To make sure I don't think about it, I hit the shower first and then decide whether I want to go back to bed... which at that point, you never do. Not tired. Easy to fall asleep. Don't need caffeine in the morning to stay awake.
I know there's more to insomnia than just bad habits and I don't want to be the kind of guy who argues that sleep problems are "just inside of your head", but I do wonder whether the fact that sleep issues are so pervasive in our society might have to do with a lack of routine in most people's lives.
This is hugely bad advice. Consistently going to bed with anything other than an empty stomach can lead to acid reflux (GERD). This is especially so after having chocolate before bed time, since chocolate loosens the muscle between your stomach and esophagus and allows acid to enter the tender areas of your esophagus, causing scaring and pain.
I have severe issues with this because of years of laying down after eating dinner. The muscle referred to above, in my case, is permanently damaged, such that it won't close all the way. I have to be very careful what I do after eating. It will be this way for the rest of my life and it's a complete pain in the ass.
Not everyone experiences this, but many will. I strongly recommend people do not follow the parent comment's advice.
I find re-reading (good, entertaining, no too serious) novels that I have already read before, works best. Since you have already read the thing previously, it's easier to put it down in the middle.
IIRC redshift was the most developed of them when I looked into it a while back.
dfc@ronin:~$ apt-cache search redshift
gtk-redshift - Adjusts the color temperature of your screen with GTK+ integration
redshift - Adjusts the color temperature of your screen
Issues highlighted in the FAQ page here.
If I get really involved in something and realise it's past my normal bed time, I'll check sleepyti.me and if it's close to a good time to fall asleep I'll take some melatonin and fall asleep, otherwise I think to myself "I'll have to survive on one less cycle tonight." and keep working.
By the way, in your research did you learn where the 8-hour myth originated?
When you wake up you are dehydrated. Immediately have a sip of pickle brine and a cup of water. The electrolytes (salt and potassium) help you absorb the water quickly. You will feel MUCH better. Coconut juice is another possibility if you find pickles gross.
This is also helpful for hangovers.
Overall a very enjoyable read: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Head-Trip-Fantastic-Through-Hours/dp...
I don't have any problems during the day and don't feel tired. I always thought we needed 8 continuous hours, but some research I've read says it's okay to actually get up in between, as long as you get 8 hours total.
If the theory is that bi-phasic sleep is ideal and natural for us, you should fall into that pattern naturally. All you need to do is go to sleep around the time that the sun goes down. It's just that "easy".
What about in December when the sun sets around 16:30? Surely people aren't getting in bed then?
> Employees at Google, for instance, are offered the chance to nap at work because the company believes it may increase productivity.
What percentage of employee-days at Google actually involve a nap? 1%? 0.01%? Is it any higher than the traditional comic practice of "curl up under your desk"?
Complete anecdata but: I've seen people curled up on couches in the middle of the day plenty of times. I think the point is that, at Google, you won't be frowned upon for this. (Whereas it may be much more likely at other companies.) Not that you're mandated to nap after lunch or anything.
(Probably not exactly the same article since this one was written yesterday)