Why waste time sleeping? – Day 62/139

Most people agree that the amount of sleep you get at night is not necessarily related to how rested you feel the following day. Being anxious about something could make it more difficult to fall asleep and make you wake up even without an alarm clock. I usually experience this when I have a flight to catch the following morning.

Sleep can be quite counterintuitive.

During this 62 days of my project I’ve slept on average 1½ hours less per night than I used to sleep before. I have set an alarm clock on about half-a-dozen times during this time period. The funny thing is that I have woken up before the alarm every time. Working long days could also have the opposite effect.

It seems I need less sleep when I’m doing things that I like to do.

Dustin Curtis has experimented with his own need of sleep in his blog entry How to Hack your Brain, Part 1: Sleep. This is quite interesting stuff. Curtis argues that one can manage with just a few quick naps during the day, provided that the naps are regular enough. If this is indeed possible, we should ask ourselves:

Why waste time sleeping if you can stay awake and do anything?

But I think this is the wrong question. I’ve always been a huge advocate of daytime naps but timing your naps sounds outright wrong. However, the opposite is quite tempting:

Forget the alarm clocks and start sleeping whenever you feel like it.

Already that would completely change the way people behave in our society. Just think of the amount of stress that would reduce.

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5 responses to “Why waste time sleeping? – Day 62/139

  1. “It seems I need less sleep when I’m doing things that I like to do.”

    I’ve noticed the exact same thing. The problem is fueling that excitement. If you have minor setbacks or no time taking your project to the next step you might be sleeping longer again the next day.

    Now we only need to figure out why people drag themselves up every morning to go to a job they hate. If you talk more about your vacations than your job, you might be on the wrong path.

  2. I once contemplated trying the Uberman sleep pattern, but due to societal and social reasons didn’t go forward with it.

    Before I could set my own work times, I was a useless employee from about 8 to 11 in the morning, only capable of doing menial tasks and answering email. Most of the time I couldn’t even reach my full potential during a normal 8 to 16 work day. Nowadays I can wake up to do the social aspect of my job, phone calls and emails and what not, have a long pause, and work on the rest later or during the night (unless I want to spend that time doing something else, in which case I just plow through the day). I’ve noticed that the amount of time and effort I need to use to achieve something has diminished incredibly, I work faster and more efficiently.

    Me and my girlfriend are both rather odd sleepers, and if you ask anyone about the “normal” day rhythm here in Hourula, they’ll probably agree. I’m most productive from about 1am to 5am in the morning though depending on when I’ve slept and what the lighting conditions are it can start a bit earlier. Neither of our “internal clocks” seem to run the same pace with our surrounding infrastructure, if our sleeping rhythm is left aloft, it’ll start to fluctuate quite a lot.

    If I’d have to take a gander, I’d recon my internal clock is about 26-27h instead of the normal 24h.

  3. Oh, curiously enough now that I’ve got a small two week brake from work to work on exams, I’ve noticed that I’ve quite naturally fallen into a “siesta” sleeping rhythm.

  4. The Rework book that I mentioned in the comments of the previous book suggests that it’s vital to sleep enough, because even though you can easily manage to do long hours and pull all-nighters, the deprivation of sleep damages your creativity. However, if you simply wake up an hour before the alarm and still feel refreshed, there’s probably nothing wrong with that. 🙂

    Another thought about napping: I absolutely need to set the alarm so that I only sleep 15-20 minutes. If I do it, I wake up extremely refreshed, no matter how tired I was. If I don’t do it, I sleep for an hour or two and feel exhausted and confused for the rest of the day.

    I guess my point is that people are very very different, and thus it’s very difficult to give them any advice related to sleeping that is any more precise than “remember to sleep enough”.

  5. I meant comments of the revious post, not book, naturally.

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