Sleep Routines

Sleep has been a constant battle for me. The two issues have been below 8 hours of sleep, or sleeping at inconsistent times.

I would be able to tyrannise myself into a routine of 8 hours a night at a consistent time, however, no matter what, with no lifestyle or dietary changes, one night I week I am just not tired, physically or mentally, and will be awake for about 16-20 hours. This then causes the routine to go out of whack, as now I am tired when I should be awake, or awake when I should be asleep, and requires more than a dozen lost hours over a week being completely nonfunctional to get the routine back in order. It would always turn out ruthlessly horrible for me.

I have tried everything over the years to enforce a schedule. I have even tried various combinations of supplementation. To enforce sleep: circadian rhythm fasting diets, natural sleeping tablets and syrups (including GABA, Magnesium, Melatonin, etc.). To enforce wakefulness: modafinil and coffee. And varying routines of exercise from none to lots (10km runs a day).

The past while, I decided to stop tyrannising myself, and just do what comes naturally to me, which makes it effortless. So be awake for as long as productive, then collapse for a few hours in a slumber. This has been extremely effective for me. This manifests like so: be awake and functional for about 12-24 hours, wind down for about 2 hours, then sleep for about 4-6 hours. I’ve also noticed this pattern is what I’ve accidentally fallen into during my most productive months over many years.

A few days ago I saw an interview with Elon Musk, where he says he lives on 4-6 hours sleep too, but finds he is most productive with 6 hours sleep.

This is really interesting to me. Is the whole follow a strict routine, and get a minimum of 8 hours sleep a night, just a conspiracy to keep the population inefficient for the majority of their waking life? Or perhaps it is just based on emerging science that is still too incomplete to be one glove fits all yet (I know fasting data is nearly all derived from mice and not humans).

As such, let’s open this topic up for the thing we do with 1/4 of our lives. What have you found gives you more productive wakefulness and sleep? And what sleep pattern works best for you? Is the 8 hour block of sleep at the same time in each 24 hour cycle, just a myth?

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Consider having your genome sequenced.


I really want to, however the USA government and likely hackers too, have access to your genome then.

Seems health, just like how social information has progressed, will gain great advances by sacrificing privacy early on, only to support privacy afterwards.

It is baffling to me how many health services read from Apple Health, upload to their own services, and never write back to the vault. There is no need functional need for that, it is purely sacrilege.

That said, I have been using an app called Welltory the past week. It measures your Heart Rate Volitily to provide suggestions. It is a Russian company. And they also upload the data they create to their own servers rather than keeping it local. However, I don’t consider the privacy HRV measurements to signficant — unlike DNA, activity, sleep, and location information.

As such, until those services offer anonymous collection via an anonymous ID, then I’ll skip them.

why don’t you try a routine which you only sleep 6 hours a night? Try it for a couple weeks and see if you can get into it… I can’t relate at all, I need my sleep or i’m horrible during the day. I usually get anywhere from 6-7 a night. The perfect schedule is going to bed around 11 and getting up at 6. It works pretty well for me.

Check out this Joe Rogan podcast with Mathew Walker. He’s a Neuroscientist and provides some good insights on the research of sleep.

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Great thanks @MichaelCraighead, I’ll check it out if my current system proves unsustainable :pray:

Just stumbled across his Google Talk by accident:

Watched it last night. It was very interesting and he is a brilliant presenter. The takeaway from it is that getting enough sleep is vitally important.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t really any practical advice in it. People tend to compromise on their sleep for a various number of good reasons. The only practical advice really was wear blue light blocking glasses, or turn off all non-red-light 3 hours before bedtime — and that was only spurred by an audience member.

His point however of subjective versus objective measurement is really interesting. I guess I need to make sure I get both subjective (mood and energy reporting) and objective measurements (, welltory) done.

It makes me wonder though, why abandoning a sleep/wake schedule had profound positive impacts for my productivity and mood. From what I can gather, is that it achieved optimal wakefulness and optimal sleep. Being wakeful when alert. And going to sleep when tired. As previously enforcing a schedule meant that I would have a suboptimal balance — I would be tired when awake, or have to sleep when I am alert.

He didn’t really say anything about the relationship to a schedule. The benefits he outlined seems to be more about length and quality of sleep. Rather than sleeping at fixed times. And he didn’t really talk about any of the outliers.

I would love to pick his brain.