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Uberman's sleep schedule

By tes in Op-Ed
Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:28:52 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

Over the past month, I've managed to convert my sleep cycles to something called the Uberman's sleep schedule. The end result is that I am sleeping roughly three hours a day. How did I do it? Is it safe?


The Uberman sleep schedule is a method of organizing your sleeping time to maximize your REM sleep and minimize your non-REM sleep. The goal of the sleep cycle is that you are actively in REM sleep within a couple of minutes of falling asleep and remain in that state until you awaken. I originally read about the schedule on everything2.

In essence, someone utilizing the Uberman sleep schedule is actively modifying their sleeping habits so that they can immediately jump from waking to a few minutes worth of stage 1 sleep straight to stage 5 REM sleep, as described in this discussion of sleep stages.

It is important to note that there are no studies as to the long-term physical or physiological impact of this sleep cycle. I really don't know if this cycle is causing long-term damage to myself or not, and if this concerns you, I wouldn't attempt the cycle. However, the benefits are fantastic.

The Uberman's Sleep Schedule

Sleeping Hours
The Uberman's sleep schedule revolves around forcing yourself to rely on six twenty to thirty minute naps spread throughout the day for your daily dose of sleep. I stuck to thirty minute naps, currently having them starting roughly at 2 AM, 6 AM, 10 AM, 2 PM, 6 PM, and 10 PM every day.

How & Why It Works
Over the course of a normal eight hour sleeping period, your body moves through a continuous cycle of five distinct sleep stages. Of these, stage 5 REM sleep has been found to be the part of the cycle that provides the benefits of sleep for your mind.

Essentially, the trick of the Uberman's sleep schedule is to trick your mind into entering REM sleep as soon as you drift into a sleeplike state. Unfortunately, the only real way to do this is through sleep deprivation of sorts.

Adjusting To This Schedule
Adjusting to this schedule (as you might imagine) will make you feel like you've put your body and mind through a blender for a few weeks. Here are some general tips for adjusting that I found to be greatly helpful.

  • Do the adjustment when you are in complete control of your schedule. I converted to the cycle during a three week vacation; it would have been impossible to get through a normal work day while adjusting to this cycle. I was by and large a zombie.
  • Find a large project to work on while adjusting. If you don't keep busy, you will revert to a normal sleep cycle. In my first failed attempt at switching (on vacation more than two years ago), I didn't have an ongoing project to keep me focused.
  • Use physiological "tricks" to teach your body the cycle. I found that using a dawn simulation trick worked nicely. Every time I went to lay down, I set my monitor to wait thirty-two minutes, then begin running a program that had a strobe effect along with some excessively loud music. I also used two alarm clocks, and during the day I would adjust my blinds such that the sun would start shining in my face roughly a half an hour later. These would force me to become somewhat conscious for a while, which was all I needed to keep going.
  • Days 3 to 10 are the hardest and least productive. I spent the adjustment period working on two projects, one involving programming and another involving writing. At the start of day three, I stored a backup of these projects because I knew that my thought processes were starting to become nonsensical and bizarre. For the next week, I continued to "work" on the projects, but utterly failed to make any sensible progress (interestingly enough, the fiction I wrote in this period was entertaining in a Thomas Pynchon meets The Electric Company kind of way). Don't expect to be hugely useful during the actual forced adjustment to compressed REM sleep.
  • Convert to a more nutritious diet. I've found that drinking a great deal of orange and apple juice makes the Uberman schedule easier to follow, as does eating plenty of vegetables and avoiding fatty foods like the plague.

You will discover that after day ten or so, you will automatically begin waking after about thirty minutes. Quite often, I find that when a dream ends, I just awaken automatically. Although I still use an alarm clock, I now do my 10 AM, 2 PM, and sometimes 6 PM naps at work on my breaks without an alarm and have no problem waking up from them, feeling utterly refreshed.


The obvious first benefit is more free time. I currently clock in between two hours and fifty minutes and three hours and ten minutes of sleep per twenty four hour period. Compared to my previous sleep cycles (roughly nine hours a night), I have an incredible amount of time to do things that I wished I had time to do before I switched.

Although the first benefit is pretty much the only reason you need, I also found that switching to this cycle makes me feel generally healthier. As I noted, I started off this "experiment" by switching to a more healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. After my body finally adjusted to the quick batches of REM (about day eight or nine), I began to feel truly GREAT! I actually feel more energetic at this point than I did before this started.


One drawback is that I hit a wall if I stay up for more than about five hours without a twenty to thirty minute nap. My concentration and energy seem to vanish in a matter of minutes and I absolutely have to go take a nap. This can create some problems in social situations, but one can somewhat shuffle the naps around to adjust for this.

Another drawback is that my appetite is substantially larger and I will often crave strange things that I don't recall craving in the past. One great example of this is grape juice; I now drink this regularly, but before I switched I don't recall ever wanting it. My speculation is that my body isn't producing enough of some chemical that it would normally produce in stages 3 and 4 deep sleep.

Other Effects

One particularly noteworthy effect (I consider it a benefit, but others might consider it a drawback) is that all of my dreams are very intense and I find myself remembering them as well, down to minute details. Personally, I don't have any difficulties handling the imagery that my dreams produce, but many people have difficulties with their dreams in a normal sleep schedule - if that is the case, Uberman is simply not for you.


Uberman's sleep schedule is a potentially dangerous way to increase your waking hours. Although I found success with it to this point, there still may be physical and psychological dangers that I have not yet met, and there may be grave difficulties for others attempting the cycle.


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The Uberman's sleep schedule...
o likely does irrepairable damage to the human mind 21%
o sounds like fun! 53%
o sounds like hell on earth 25%

Votes: 190
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o everything 2
o discussion of sleep stages
o five distinct sleep stages
o stage 5 REM sleep
o dawn simulation
o Thomas Pynchon
o The Electric Company
o Also by tes

Display: Sort:
Uberman's sleep schedule | 232 comments (227 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Heaven's to Betsy (1.46 / 47) (#1)
by paxus on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:42:50 AM EST

Why is it people have started to believe their personal "issues" and "triumphs" are something we really need to hear about?
I mean please!

Keep it in your diary!

"...I am terrible time, the destroyer of all beings in all worlds, engaged to destroy all beings in this world... " - Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
Uberman not worthwhile to write about? (4.33 / 12) (#5)
by tes on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:46:06 AM EST

I don't understand what you're getting at. Is it not worth writing about? I can't really refer to extant literature on Uberman's sleep schedule because there is very little available about it. Instead, I have to refer at least in part to my own experience with it.

[ Parent ]
We are Kuro5hin (4.00 / 1) (#93)
by juju2112 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:32:10 PM EST

Reading Kuro5hin.org is sometimes like reading Ayn Rand's "Anthem". The collective has a particular dislike for the word "I". I don't understand it either. :)

[ Parent ]
indeed an excellent read (none / 0) (#225)
by Vspirit on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 04:51:59 PM EST

I came to k5 for exactly such a thread. exchanging personal experiences, engaging in intelligent debates, don't bite the anti-troll.

[ Parent ]
Personal (4.28 / 14) (#7)
by rusty on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:50:04 AM EST

Every issue and triumph is personal for someone.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Most of us sleep... (4.37 / 8) (#16)
by seebs on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:29:17 AM EST

This is an article about a health issue that could affect just about everyone. Sounds of general interest to me.

Imagine, if you will, that it had been written as describing a possible problem that could cause you to sleep 6 hours more every day than you need to, and that many people are afflicted with. :)

[ Parent ]
Hell's to Steve (4.61 / 13) (#26)
by Elkor on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:05:57 PM EST

Why is it some people have started to believe that their personal "criticisms" and "corrections" are something we really need to hear about as topical comments? I mean please!

Keep it in Editorial!


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
motherfucker (4.00 / 1) (#99)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:52:03 PM EST

if this guy has a sleep schedule, that can save me ONE MINUTE of sleep per night i want to know about it. While it appears hard to implement, and shares common traits with my existing sleep schedules (both work/ relaxation schedules)...i dont care if this is a kuro5hin board, a journal, slashdot, or possibly some random 404 . i dont care. we, the caffine addicted, code-creating/otherwise waveslaves could use just that extra few minutes more than anything...and there is a high number of us here.

the only thing my life is missing is time...everything else i can work with...but i do not have enough time...
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
waveslaves (5.00 / 2) (#168)
by billybob2001 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:45:57 AM EST

I know what you mean you you use the term "waveslaves".

But half the time, I feel more like a "particleslave".

Just a little "light relief".

[ Parent ]

it took me awhile to understand that (none / 0) (#220)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 08:16:02 PM EST

but you sir are brilliant :D!
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
Really interesting (3.33 / 12) (#2)
by innerlemming on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:44:09 AM EST

I would perhaps never have heard of this otherwise. I don't know that I'll ever do it, but it's something to think about.

Of course, it's not right for everyone - how many of us have jobs that we can take 30 minute naps throughout the day when needed? Okay, never mind. ;]

Didn't Kramer do this?


Who is Kramer? (3.25 / 4) (#6)
by tes on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:47:21 AM EST

This is probably going to wind up making me look idiotic, but who exactly is "Kramer"?

[ Parent ]
Seinfeld (4.40 / 5) (#10)
by innerlemming on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:52:19 AM EST

heh, sorry. reference to a Seinfeld ep where Kramer decides that in order to be more productive, he will only sleep for about 3 hours/day (in short naps).

of course, it doesn't work out so well - he's in the "adjustment" phase, and he soon realizes that 1) he can't stay awake, and 2) his friends aren't awake when he is, and he's bored.

I'd find you a link, but I'm tired. ;]

[ Parent ]

Kramer needs focus (3.20 / 5) (#11)
by tes on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:53:58 AM EST

He should have become an open source software developer or a writer in those long late-night hours.

[ Parent ]
Good story (3.93 / 16) (#9)
by Hopfrog on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:51:07 AM EST

You are trying out an experiment without knowing what the affects are, innit?

Well, I know that you can train yourself to wake up and sleep at particular times. So people, don't be afraid of that. Without an alarm clock, I wake up at 7:00 dot every morning during school time. It did it this way: About 2 weeks before school starts, I go to sleep at about 9, rather than the usual 11 or 12. I lye awake for a long time, but keep in mind that I want to wake up by 7:00. I also look at the clock a lot. My sleep on that first night is usually uneasy and light, but I wake up a few minutes before 7:00, usually around 6:45. The hard part is not falling asleep again. Do this for about 5 days, and you will automatically wake up by 7. Don't forget to look at the clock before you go to sleep.

The reason your dreams are intense is that they are always intense. It is just that you have more time to forget them if you go through the normal sleep cycle, and only wake up slowly.

I have also discovered that if you lounge around in bed for hours, it makes you much more tired during the day. I don't know why, I have just observed this effect on me. Wake up early, and start moving early, and you will stay active.

And as to the technique: I just might do this. I have the bad habit of working very late, or waiting up for late shows, so it would be good to compensate in some way for it. Or maybe I should just take a siesta.


Em (4.44 / 9) (#21)
by kuran42 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 12:15:01 PM EST

You are trying out an experiment without knowing what the affects are, innit?

As opposed to conducting an experiment where you know what the results will be?

kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

Blast (1.46 / 15) (#24)
by Hopfrog on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 12:35:31 PM EST

I hope you climaxed as you pointed out that error. It gives you pleasure, doesn't it. Ooooh.


[ Parent ]

Behavioral Psychology (4.75 / 8) (#31)
by Elkor on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:16:14 PM EST

I have also discovered that if you lounge around in bed for hours, it makes you much more tired during the day.

This is caused by conditioning. Since bed is where you sleep (for most people) your body expects to sleep when you are in bed. So, if you lounge around, your body prepares for sleep. If you don't sleep, your body has trouble adjusting back because it began producing the chemicals produced during a normal 6 hour sleep cycle and they are still in your system.

If you develop a habit in a particular location, simply being in that location can begin to trigger the habit. For Americans, a good example of this is snacking while watching TV. Many families eat dinner in front of the "Boob Toob." The body becomes conditioned to expect food if you are watching TV. Thus, if you start watching TV, you feel like eating. You aren't really hungry, your body just expects you to feed it.

For this reason my Psych proffessor suggested to compartmentalize your life and establish routine. Never eat in front of the TV or in bed if you are trying to lose weight. Don't read in bed if you have trouble sleeping, because the body gets mixed signals. "Ok, I'm in bed. Do I read or do I sleep?"

He didn't really have an answer to the "Where do you have sex?" question. :?


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Skinner's Cubicle (4.22 / 9) (#63)
by porp on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:40:57 PM EST

Have sex at work. That way your body will be conditioned to orgasm at the sight of grey cubicles and TPS reports.

[ Parent ]
Intense Dreaming (4.00 / 2) (#74)
by The Solitaire on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:32:07 PM EST

Actually, one reason for intense dreaming is that the body tries to conserve REM sleep. If you deprive the body of REM for a time (selectively, this can be done using an EEG hookup), then then next time you go into the REM stage, your body tries to make up for lost time... in other words, you sleep (or REM?) more intensely. Sorry I can't give more specifics right now, but it has been some time since I studied sleep in depth.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

Another alternative (4.00 / 9) (#13)
by sfischer on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:57:42 AM EST

For my last 3 years of college, I followed a similar sleep pattern. I slept twice a day, basically 2:00-5:30 AM and PM. Now 15 years later I think I'd be much more productive if my job would allow me this type of sleep schedule.

I have adjusted to a 6:00AM to 3:00PM work schedule and often take a 1 hour nap after work. My problem is if the nap goes longer than that. Then my night sleep schedule gets messed up for 4 days or so.


How long? (3.92 / 13) (#15)
by ODiV on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:05:06 AM EST

Maybe I missed this in the artice, but how long have you been doing this?

[ odiv.net ]
I've been on the schedule for 44 days (4.50 / 4) (#30)
by tes on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:13:28 PM EST

I would say that I have been functional and on the schedule since about March 14 or so.

[ Parent ]
Do us a favor (4.90 / 11) (#45)
by broken77 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 02:56:27 PM EST

Write again about how things are going in a few months. I would like to see the progress.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Interesting... (4.44 / 9) (#17)
by BadDoggie on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:40:16 AM EST

I prefer 4x45-min. to 6x30-min. Edison eschewed long periods of sleep, preferring short naps, often taken in the lab.

Of course, I was never a big sleeper to begin with. Wouldn't/couldn't nap in kindergarten, In high school, I slept about two or three hours every two days; in college no more than three hours a day on average (if I passed out for six hours from intake, I wasn't gonna be sleeping again for a while). I still normally can't sleep four hours a night (maybe five, but only if alcohol is involved).

The big problem is what to do in the wee hours. TV is incredibly bad, you can't play guitar, can't listen to music while writing/coding, someone else is still sleeping in the bed, can't play pinball... It's great for students and singles (especially if the walls are thick), but as much as I don't care for sleeping, I care less for getting out of the bed she's still in. (:


Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.

Headphones? (4.60 / 5) (#19)
by jar on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 12:10:02 PM EST

You can listen to music while coding if you buy a pair of headphones. You could also use headphones with an electric guitar.

[ Parent ]
Luxuries (2.50 / 2) (#95)
by sean23007 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:44:27 PM EST

But after buying the computer and the guitar, who can possibly afford such ridiculous luxuries as "headphones?"

Lack of eloquence does not denote lack of intelligence, though they often coincide.
[ Parent ]
Mania? (4.00 / 4) (#25)
by X3nocide on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 12:50:16 PM EST

The original post looks like a method of inducing mania (the opposite of depression), and if you haven't allready, you might talk with a psychologist or doctor about having short sleeping habits and the consequences. The workings behind the solutions are mysterious, nobody knows why lithium salts seem to cure manics. It seems to be related to a neurotransmitter imbalance, and the situation may not be desireable over the long term. My experience with this disease is mostly associated with Manic-depression aka bipolar disorder, where mania really becomes a problem. Start up a consulting company one month, have difficulty getting out of bed the next.

I am not a doctor however, and this could be something completely different, or not an issue at all.

[ Parent ]

mania rules! (4.00 / 2) (#46)
by lightfoot jim on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 02:59:11 PM EST

As a person with bipolar tendencies, I don't see why this chould be avoided. My "down" days are a bitch, something I just have to bully through, but my "up" days are frikkin' amazing. I feel like a machine. I can lift at the gym like a monster or if I'm playing witha band it's like my guitar strings are made of butter and the guitar just plays itself. If there is a way to artificially increase my manic time (heavy drinking can do it pretty well) I'd be all for it. So it might take a year, or a decade, off my life. For the rewards, that's a risk I'm willing to take.

[ Parent ]
I tried this once (4.00 / 2) (#41)
by wiml on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 02:36:41 PM EST

in college, after hearing about da Vinci. I used the "fifteen minutes every four hours" schedule. It worked, to a point: I was functional, and didn't suffer most of the problems of sleep deprivation. But my god did I want a full night's sleep. After a while I gave in to my craving.

As for the question of what to do when you're awake in the small hours --- I can't believe people here are asking that question. There's the net, for one; you can catch up on all your favorite web sites, usenet groups, and CVS commit logs. Hacking, duh. Reading a good book. Or a bad one. Take a walk or meditate. Do some amateur astronomy. (In school, of course, I could use this time for homework.)

It's interesting to see this article today, as just yesterday I was talking to a friend about this sleep experiment and thinking of giving it another go. I learned recently that as well as da Vinci, Bertrand Russell used this sleep schedule. (I've never heard it called "Uberman's Sleep Schedule" before --- sounds stupid, IMHO.)

[ Parent ]

appeals to authority (none / 0) (#58)
by illaqueate on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:55:31 PM EST

"Bertrand Russell used this sleep schedule"

I'm wondering if you have any evidence for this. I found this quote from Russell on the net:

"I believe that if our pessimists were subjected to a rigorous regimen of physical exercise, simple but wholesome diet and long hours of sleep, they would begin to find all sorts of things worth doing and would feel hopeful as to the possibility of doing some of these things themselves"

[ Parent ]
Bertrand Russell (none / 0) (#189)
by wiml on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:09:13 PM EST

Hmm, I could've sworn I read this in the introduction to my copy of his History of Western Philosophy, but I must be wrong. Now I'm wondering, who was it that I discovered was also using this technique? Or am I just on crack? (Never dismiss the crack hypothesis.)

[ Parent ]
Ok, I hate you now. ^_^ (2.25 / 4) (#66)
by Kasreyn on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:59:35 PM EST

(just kidding)

But, DAMN, I envy you, man. I wish I slept that little. What would I do with it? Same thing I do with my time anyway - read, write, and listen to music. But I'd be able to do so much MORE of it. ^_^

Ahh, if only. =\


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
What to do (none / 0) (#210)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 06:35:09 PM EST

I had a long period of insomonia, and while I was awake I'd listen to the Art Bell radio show. The downside is that I was never sure whether my decrease of sanity was due to sleep deprivation, or Art Bell. :)
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
What about sex ? (4.73 / 15) (#18)
by bob6 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:41:22 AM EST

Uh, does your schedule interfere with your sexual life ? I'm plain curious about that.

Only during the adjustment (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by tes on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:12:04 PM EST

I found that sexual performance was only altered during the adjustment period. I would say that my appetite and performance now are similar to what things were like before the cycle.

[ Parent ]
Right (4.25 / 4) (#33)
by bob6 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:23:43 PM EST

Performance, right...
What about your partner, does s/he follow the same schedule ? If your answer is no, doesn't the schedule creates some, uh, simultaneity-of-desire problems ? What do you do while s/he's sleeping ?
If my girlfriend is sleeping and I have 1.5 hours to kill and I have absolutely nothing to do because it's 3 in the morning, I would be tempted to caress and wake her, you know what I mean...

[ Parent ]
I keep busy (4.00 / 4) (#34)
by tes on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:28:53 PM EST

I recognize she's on a different sleep schedule and so I don't really expect her to be available if I am aroused at 3:30 in the morning.

I usually find the midnight to 6 AM block of time fantastic for exercise and working on programming projects.

[ Parent ]
Quite sweet... (3.00 / 1) (#67)
by sasseriansection on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:14:37 PM EST

I recognize she's on a different sleep schedule and so I don't really expect her to be available if I am aroused at 3:30 in the morning.

I usually find the midnight to 6 AM block of time fantastic for exercise and working on programming projects.

But obviously you are not Pimp Material(tm);).
------------ ------------
[ Parent ]

Exercise and physical fitness on the U.S.S. (none / 0) (#229)
by sserendipity on Fri May 24, 2002 at 04:51:09 PM EST

I usually find the midnight to 6 AM block of time fantastic for exercise and working on programming projects. What kind of excerise are you doing? How intense is your routine? How does your body recover from it? I'm in the process of adjusting to the U.S.S. and my biggest concern is how this will affect my physical fitness, injury and sickness recovery. Please let us know :>


. .groovetronica.com. .

[ Parent ]

You might (4.27 / 11) (#20)
by tiamat on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 12:10:16 PM EST

find it interesting to go talk to the local University pysch department. I'm sure they'd love to see how you do on some tests. Compare you current scores to old ones (if you have em).

It could provide for some interestnig insight into your "condition"; and more information certainly can't hurt, right?

More info (2.90 / 21) (#22)
by hardburn on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 12:23:21 PM EST

This seems to be another good article about the Uberman Sleep Secedule.

I'm thinking about trying this over the upcoming summer break, depending on if I have a job early on in the break. I am worried, though, of the possible long-term effects. If all it means is a craving for grape juice, that would be alright, but I doubt that's all there is. Google only comes up with two links for "Uberman's Sleep Schedule". Does anybody know of any research done on this subject.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

rating of parent (4.33 / 3) (#71)
by wiml on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:22:08 PM EST

I'm curious why the parent article has such a low rating. Right now it has 13 ratings, 5 of which are 1s and one of which is a 0. Anyone care to describe what they find so unpleasant about it?

[ Parent ]
Maybe... (4.00 / 1) (#84)
by MKalus on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:54:35 PM EST

... some new people from the other site? ;)

[ Parent ]
Reason (5.00 / 1) (#101)
by vectro on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:07:41 PM EST

Could be because the link was already noted in the article itself.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Oops (none / 0) (#129)
by hardburn on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:27:33 PM EST

I was wondering myself why the orginal post was modded down, but I didn't want to post a reply complaining about it because I was afraid it would just come out whiny. At first, I thought it was just some n00bs from Slashdot being idiots, but then some people with sub-10k uids started modding it down. It's nice to have the issue cleared up now :)

Incidently, I lost my trusted user status because of this. I never used it much, but it's nice to have around Just In Case.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

[ Parent ]
the article itself linked to it already [nt] (none / 0) (#106)
by sesquiped on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:32:33 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Thelonius Monk (4.45 / 11) (#23)
by wbajzek on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 12:26:44 PM EST

If the liner notes in Thelonius Monk's "Misterioso" album are to be believed, Monk would only sleep a few minutes here and there. Presumably he spent most of his life like that.

IIRC, he suffered from severe mental problems later on in his life, however, and considering that there are studies that show that sleep deprivation is really bad for you, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a large part of the cause. I would be careful about doing this for a long time.

I remember seeing something on the Discovery Channel a few years ago about some guy that had a radio telethon thing where he stayed awake for (I think) 13 days straight. He had to have lots of help to keep him awake, and he had problems with hallucinations, and although he seemed to recover fine with 24 hours of sleep afterwards, his health and sanity declined over the next 6 months, and he died.

I can't remember who he was or what show I saw this on, though.

Monk (5.00 / 3) (#28)
by Namagomi on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:09:45 PM EST

Yes, you'd be correct. Monk suffered from a myriad of psychological problems. Mild schitzophrenia and bipolar disorder were some of these. His vivid and sporatic playing patterns seem to emulate his sleeping patterns, and erratic life in general.

There is no #nekomimi cabal.
[ Parent ]
Nah (4.00 / 3) (#32)
by gazbo on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:21:12 PM EST

I think you're right about it being 13 days, or certainly in that area. Eventually it was impossible for him to stay awake.

As for the bit about him going insane and dying? That just screams 'urban legend' to me. I've not heard anything like that, and I think 13 days of deprivation is not long enough to have such an effect.

As for this Uberman method, it doesn't sound too dangerous. In the news recently was the woman who sailed single handedly around the world (or some similar distance) and she followed a similar pattern through necessity. The general concensus is that the REM sleep is all that is really necessary.

Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

Not an urban legend :) (3.66 / 3) (#36)
by wbajzek on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:32:25 PM EST

This wasn't something I heard from a friend of a friend. This was in a documentary on the discovery channel, and I believe they even showed footage of him in the hospital near the end of his life.

I didn't say he went insane, I said his sanity declined. there's a difference. But he did die 6 months later.

I know TV's not the be-all and end-all of factual accuracy, but I'd appreciate the benefit of the doubt on this. I'm not making it up.

[ Parent ]

A little clarification (5.00 / 2) (#37)
by toganet on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:49:48 PM EST

Here's some info a quick Google search gleaned:

"In January 1959, a 32-year-old disc jockey, Peter Tripp, decided to go without sleep for 200 hours as a publicity stunt to raise money for charity. Undaunted by experts who warned of the risk of death, Tripp persevered. When he found it extremely difficult to stay awake after 135 hours, he turned to stimulants. The stimulants (amphetamines) altered his perceptions: Specks of dust became insects; a bureau drawer burst into flames. Yet he hosted his show, "Your Hits of the Week," between 5 and 8 p.m. each day, without giving any hint of what he was enduring. After 201 hours without sleep, he slept for 13 hours; the only symptom he experienced as a result of his ordeal was a slight depression that lasted a few months." (http://www.nctc.tec.oh.us/Webpub/Blewis/PSY%20CHAPTERS/supplement_(sleep).htm)

"Robert McDonald of California holds the world record for sleeplessness; in 1986 he rocked in a rocking chair for 453 hours, 40 minutes (McFarlan, 1991)." (ibid.)


Johnson's law: Systems resemble the organizations that create them.

[ Parent ]
Ok (4.00 / 2) (#40)
by wbajzek on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 02:29:04 PM EST

You're right, that's the guy. Looks like I had some of my numbers confused, and so I guess I may have confused him with someone else they mentioned in the show when it came to the death thing.

Or maybe they tacked that onto the story to make it more entertaining.

[ Parent ]

I see your discovery channel and raise you... (5.00 / 2) (#38)
by gazbo on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:56:47 PM EST

Here is a Q&A from Scientific American. To quote the First part of the answer to the question 'How long can humans stay awake?' with added emphasis:
The easy experimental answer to this question is 264 hours (about 11 days). In 1965, Randy Gardner, a 17-year-old high school student, set this apparent world-record for a science fair. Several other normal research subjects have remained awake for eight to 10 days in carefully monitored experiments. None of these individuals experienced serious medical, neurological, physiological or psychiatric problems......all experimental subjects recovered to relative normality within one or two nights of recovery sleep.
Nothing important missed out, and no mentionin the article about untimely deaths.

I've followed some other links, and all say the same thing. Scintific American was just the most authoritative.

I am *very* sceptical about almost any information these days - nothing personal, just heard the tale about rockets being attached to a car once too often.

Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

Just look at the second paragraph (3.50 / 2) (#97)
by Detritus on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:46:16 PM EST

Look at the second paragraph of that same Scientific American site:

The more difficult answer to this question revolves around the definition of "awake." As mentioned above, prolonged sleep deprivation in normal subjects induces altered states of consciousness (often described as "microsleep"), numerous brief episodes of overwhelming sleep, and loss of cognitive and motor functions. We all know about the dangerous, drowsy driver, and we have heard about sleep-deprived British pilots who crashed their planes (having fallen asleep) while flying home from the war zone during World War II. Randy Gardner was "awake" but basically cognitively dysfunctional at the end of his ordeal.
See the Q&A at http://www.sciam.com/askexpert/biology/biology60/

Even though the Uberman's system gives you extra time to do things, I'd imagine you aren't nearly as productive during that time than you would be if you'd gotten a full night's sleep. I'm imagining someone with severely impaired abilities; maybe they're unnoticeable, but you will start to feel them as time progresses.

In other words, all the extra time will be compensated by loss of functionality, and in effect you could be just as productive if you work less time but with greater accuracy and mental agility.

Kings and lords come and go and leave nothing but statues in a desert, while a couple of young men tinkering in a workshop change the way the world works — Havelock Vetinari
[ Parent ]
death from sleep deprevation (none / 0) (#94)
by DragonFax on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:44:00 PM EST

There some genetic disease that some people get where they are all of a sudden incapable of falling asleep. It happens slowly over a period of a couple months I beleive. After one month of no sleep straight and several stages of consciousness they die. I apologize for taking the time to look up the details. I beleive its rem sleep they're incapable of acheiving.

[ Parent ]
Fatal Familial Insomnia (none / 0) (#127)
by indole on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:21:17 PM EST

The disease you speak of is Fatal Familial Insomnia.

A wholly unpleasant seeming terminal disease, one dies after a prolonged (months) period of total insomnia.

(Interestingly, its caused by prions, similarly to BSE (Mad Cow Disease).
Support the Drug Price Report 2002.
[ Parent ]
To sidetrack (none / 0) (#153)
by gazbo on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:08:07 AM EST

I am reminded of pretty much the exact oposite, narcolepsy. That is both unfortunate and yet incredibly amusing (schadenfreude is alive and well). These people suffer from overwhelming tiredness, and are prone to falling asleep frequently. It is overplayed in the movies, but the effects are still pretty incredible.

The funniest I saw was a documentary that showed some narcoleptic dogs. They'd be running in a field playing, retrieving a stick or whatever; mid stride, they'd just...stop. Depite running at top speed, they'd suddenly just go limp and tumble to the ground. Both pitiful and extraordinarily amusing at the same time.

Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

I had a class with... (none / 0) (#222)
by Whyaduck on Fri Apr 19, 2002 at 11:04:16 PM EST

...someone that I would swear was an undiagnosed narcoleptic. Almost every day he would fall asleep in class. Most of the time he would slowly lean forward until his head was on the desk. Occasionally he would suddenly fall asleep and his head would pitch backwards, mouth wide open. Several times he started snoring. Funny thing is he sat in the front row and the professor never said a thing to him about it. It was emag, so he was probably used to it :).

Oh Lydia, oh Lydia, say, have you met Lydia?
Lydia The Tattooed Lady.
She has eyes that folks adore so,
and a torso even more so.

[ Parent ]
but... (5.00 / 1) (#61)
by Gwen on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:27:31 PM EST

his health and sanity declined over the next 6 months, and he died.
If you'll forgive my asking, what did he supposedly die from?

"So raise your hands in the air like you're born again
But make a fist for the struggle we was born to win"
-The Coup ft. Dead Prez, Get Up!

[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#87)
by wbajzek on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:10:36 PM EST

Well, as was demonstrated below, my memory was taking a break while I was typing that. Apparently the guy didn't die and I must've been remembering someone else they talked about in the show.

[ Parent ]
Re: Heh (none / 0) (#202)
by solri on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 10:58:25 AM EST

Too late - you just spawned an urban legend!
"Nice philosophy may tolerate unlikely arguments" - John Ford
[ Parent ]
Death from sleep dep (none / 0) (#145)
by The Solitaire on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:04:45 AM EST

First, I have to say that I have never heard of any human dying from sleep deprivation. They just wouldn't be able to keep it up for that long. And it would be highly unethical for a researcher to perform such an experiment.

However, death from sleep deprivation is a well know fact for rats. What they die of is not entirely clear. The one reference I have on the topic is that they succumb to opportunistic systemic infection - essentially, their immune systems fail.

Reference: Everson (1995). Functional consequences of sustained sleep deprivation in the rat. Behavioural Brain Research, 69, 43-54.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

Insanity from sleep dep is no joke or myth (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by Kasreyn on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:57:06 PM EST

The governments of Hitler and Stalin, as well as numerous Central American and African despotisms, and probably the CIA, have used this technique. Keep someone sleepless for a week to put pressure on him. Two weeks, he'll sell his mother to the devil for a nap. A whole month, you will literally drive him insane. It's possible that gradual deprivation over time may result in the same thing, though it's not really known. Next time I see a my sleep specialist (hooray for sleeping disorders =P), I'll ask him about the safety of the Uberman method.

If it's safe, I have to say I would give my left nut to be able to only waste 3 hours a day on sleep. And I'd get such a kick out of being active long after others collapse. ^_^ The thing I have always hated most about life is that I spend so much of it unconscious (I sleep 9-10 hours a day =( ). At the moment I can't afford to take time out to adapt to this system, though. Furthermore, I'm worried that it may result in various mental disorders, or worsening of the ones I already have. =P Maybe I'll try it someday.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
REM (none / 0) (#140)
by gnovos on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:41:43 AM EST

Actually, it's the loss of REM that really causes the damage. Somone can sleep for hours and hours, and feel rested, but if they are never allowed to go into REM, they will become raving nutballs in short order.

A Haiku: "fuck you fuck you fuck/you fuck you fuck you fuck you/fuck you fuck you snow" - JChen
[ Parent ]
rats (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by auraslip on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:40:11 PM EST

I remeber reading about sleep, in where they discussed experiments done on rats: The you hook diodes to their little rat skulls, and everytime the fell asleep they were dumped in water. Pretty cruel, but hey their rats. I don't rember how long it was before they died(less then a month). but they lost weight and got unhealthy.
[ Parent ]
Rat death (none / 0) (#91)
by The Solitaire on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:22:01 PM EST

As I recall, its somewhere around 20 days, give or take... for some reason the number 17 keeps jumping to mind. When I have my sleep references in front of me, I'll give a more accurate number.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

speed (none / 0) (#125)
by hawaii on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:18:35 PM EST

I read an article many years ago, maybe in scientific american, about an experiment on rats similar to what you describe, but every time the rats fell asleep, they injected them with a mild form of speed to keep them awake.

After awhile, the rats died, and the article concluded that they died from sleep deprivation. I was reeling, because they didn't even mention the possibility that it was any chemical imbalance from the speed that could have killed them too,.

[ Parent ]

As Promised! (5.00 / 1) (#134)
by The Solitaire on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:11:54 AM EST

Okay, I have some of my sleep research in front of me. All the references I give are from "Behavioural Brain Research", in a special issue on the function of sleep.

According to a literature review in one study, death from sleep deprivation occurs on average around 21 days. The particular study presented states that it occurs on average at 16 days.

In another paper, rats were deprived of all sleep, paradoxical (REM) sleep, and non-rem sleep. The first group died after between 2 and 3 weeks. The REM deprived group died after an average of 5 weeks. NREM deprived rats lived an average of 45 days. All of these figures are from the paper itself, I would be more specific if I could.

Contrary to what another poster mentioned, sleep deprivation in rats is not achieved through the use of drugs. Rather, they use a rotating disk, hooked to an EEG. If the rat starts falling asleep (or goes into the specific stage being deprived) the disc turns, and the rat has to walk, thus waking up. To ensure that the walking isn't the problem, the rats are in what is called a "yoked-control" situation. In other words, there is another rat that is standing on a disc, and is forced to walk whenever the *other* rat is falling asleep. Other than this constraint, it is free to sleep whenever it likes. In addition, they attempt to control for circadian rhythms, using special lighting conditions. Ample food and water are also available.

I won't go into more detail here, for reasons of brevity, but the two papers I mentioned are:

  1. Rechtschaffen & Bergmann (1995). "Sleep deprivation in the rat by the disk-over-water method", Behavioural Brain Research, 69, 55-63.
  2. Everson (1995). "Functional consequences of sustained sleep deprivation in the rat", Behavioural Brain Research, 69, 55-63.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]
Long term sleep deprivation. (1.50 / 2) (#138)
by mindstrm on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:37:07 AM EST

Firstly, all reports of hallucination due to sleep dep are usually due to the stimulants used to deprive someone of sleep.

You do lose your ability to remember color, your short term memory goes to crap, and you tend to have little microsleeps any moment you let your guard down.. but sleep dep is NOT that bad.

It's usually the drugs that are used to stay awake that do the damage.

I remember sleep dep experiments where they talked about vivid hallucinations.. leading to the myth that not sleeping causes severe hallucinations. It's not true.

[ Parent ]
Uhhhh... (4.00 / 1) (#144)
by The Solitaire on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:55:18 AM EST

Generally, as I understand, modern sleep deprivation experiments are not done using drugs. That would wholly and totally invalidate the study. Generally, from my understanding, people are kept awake by forcing mild physical exertion. Certainly, rat studies are done this way (for example the disc-over-water method... described in another post here).

I must agree with you on the hallucination front, however - people don't hallucinate. The explanation of the anecdotal stories of this that I have heard was that because your body tries to conserve REM sleep, you dream very intensely when you do finally fall asleep. Effectively, what happens is that people fall into a microsleep, have nearly immediate intense dreams, which wake them up.

As far as sleep dep being bad - it does, for a fact, kill rats. Whether that fact extends to humans is open to speculation... Experiments of this sort are hard to come by :)

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

I have a feeling. (none / 0) (#175)
by autonomous on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:30:48 PM EST

I have a feeling that the rats die from lung infections related to being dunked in water every time they start to fall asleep. Its almost too obvious to not be true.
-- Always remember you are nothing more than a collection of complementary chemicals worth not more than $5.00
[ Parent ]
Yoked Controls (none / 0) (#182)
by The Solitaire on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:47:41 PM EST

I'd agree with you, but these studies are done in a yoked control environment. That means that there is another (control) rat, on a wheel that turns evertime the first (experimental) rat starts falling asleep. This lets the control sleep, but dunks it in water just as often as the experimental rat.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

new, revolutionary sleep methods! (2.77 / 22) (#27)
by illaqueate on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:06:49 PM EST

On a normal work day I wake up at 5am and by around 10pm I feel tired and I fall asleep soon thereafter. What is the secret to my incredible ability to fall asleep? I live a normal active life! That's right, people like Einstein, Aristotle, Turing, & Mozart also used this revolutionary technique. The advantages are profound: maximized wakefulness and hence long periods to keep your train of thought. Maximized awareness, & thinking ability. Best of all, each and every one of us has this amazing ability! Are you tired? Send 9.99 now to learn how you can unlock this magnificent power, enabling awesome periods of lucid wakefulness.

Polyphasic Sleep (4.50 / 8) (#35)
by watchmaker on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 01:29:17 PM EST

This is nothing new and revolutionary. I first heard it associated with Leonardo DaVinci. The periods I read about were 15 minutes every four hours. But as someone mentioned, Edison did this as well. Even Winston Churchill did something similar, sleeping in two shorter phases through the day.

The human body is fully capable of handling this type of sleep. It's how babies sleep for the first year of their lives. The downside is that, as the author says, you get regimented into a schedule. Get outside that schedule and you crash very quickly.

The upside? The author sleeps three hours a day instead of the "typical" 8.

Assume the author is 24, that's 50 years until the "average" life expectancy of 74.

3 hours * 365 days * 50 years = 54750 hours.

That's 6 years and about three months worth of functional life gained. (And I didn't even include leap years). Sign me up. I've always said that I could rule the world, but for a 26 hour day.

sleep and aging (4.00 / 1) (#128)
by hawaii on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:22:15 PM EST

I've often wondered, though, if the bodies aging process might slow down during periods of sleep.

My friend told me that his friend (this is already sounding like a game of telephone gone awry) used to only sleep 3 hours a day (I'm not sure if it was this Uberman schedule or not). Anyway, this guy was doing this for years, while still going to the gym and doing all kinds of other activities. My friend claimed that the guy looked like he was 20 years older than he really was.

Makes one wonder if sleep deprivation has its tolls on the body's aging processes in some way or another.

[ Parent ]

Edison (1.00 / 1) (#137)
by mindstrm on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:35:03 AM EST

They also showed later that, although he claimed to not need the sleep, he frequently nodded off at work or had tiny unscheduled naps to make up the time.

8 hours a night is a de-facto standard. You cannot escape it.

Things talking about how we no longer need such sleep, or how naps and whatnot can reduce the amount you sleep, about how you only need REM sleep... are not correct.

Go check out a book called The Promise of Sleep.

[ Parent ]
What about meals? (4.75 / 8) (#39)
by bluesninja on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 02:07:05 PM EST

Do you still eat three meals a day, at normal mealtimes? Or do you just eat around the clock whenever you're hungry? Did this change when you changed your sleep schedule?

Just curious.


Six small ones (3.83 / 6) (#44)
by tes on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 02:56:24 PM EST

I'm now eating six small meals, each at the halfway point of each of my waking periods. Thus, I'm eating at about 4:15 AM, 8:15 AM, a bit after noon, 4:15 PM, 8:15 PM, and a midnight snack.

[ Parent ]
Re: Six small ones (4.00 / 1) (#155)
by egeland on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:21:16 AM EST

I believe eating pretty much continuously throughout the day is what we should do to stay healthy.
Diets with low carb, high protein, low fat, and plenty of fluids seem to be the go.
I have business associates on such a program now, and they are shedding excess weight and gaining in energy levels.
The program is a researched one (developed over 30-odd years by doctors), so it's not a fad diet, and it's safe. I don't know all the details, but I'm amazed how well it works!

Some interesting quotes
[ Parent ]
He's better off... (4.50 / 4) (#62)
by der on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:39:01 PM EST

Eating 3 big meals a day is not the best way to eat, because you eat too much, then go through a relatively long period of 'starvation', so your body stores up a lot of fat (and your metabolism will be all screwy and random). You're much better off with 5-6 smaller meals spread out through the day. Any bodybuilder can tell you this.

[ Parent ]
i've been doing some experimenting (none / 0) (#105)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:14:31 PM EST

instead of 5-6 small meals, 3 small meals. no results yet... but the idea is the same :)
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
What about workouts? (4.00 / 4) (#42)
by automaton on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 02:38:53 PM EST

Do you work out/do sports? I wonder how this agrees with your body, does he take the lack of sleep lightly?

I actually exercise more (4.00 / 2) (#43)
by tes on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 02:55:13 PM EST

I've taken to having a "midnight run" of sorts around 12:30 AM, and the result of this is that I've been getting myself into better shape than I was before. My appetite has greatly increased, but I'm putting relatively healthier things into my body, so that may be helping as well.

[ Parent ]
Dude...! (4.66 / 3) (#54)
by DarkZero on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:40:40 PM EST

You're doing this whole sleep experiment AND eating better AND working out more?

Go ahead and change your nick to Uberman. You deserve it and I salute you.

[ Parent ]
interesting (4.66 / 3) (#50)
by illaqueate on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:16:30 PM EST

I'm not one of these light sleepers but I have to say I am skeptical about recovery from strenuous physical activity and light sleep (<=3 hours). I'm not questioning whether one can endure it; rather that someone who sleeps longer periods (>3 - 7 hours) will have the benefit of a period of inactivity & regeneration that comes with the physical paralysis induced by sleep.

It is an interesting topic. Anyhow, I found a page that describes strategic napping in solo yacht races and they sleep 4.5 hours a day in 20 minute intervals but also require 2-3 longer periods of sleep during the week.

They do it out of necessity, but is it really optimal? I found a page that suggests that "Afternoon increase in sleep propensity suggests that the human sleep-wake system is designed for two sleep periods." They then intimate that a "siesta" (afternoon nap) is "useful in managing some of the effects of sleep loss". I can attest to this as I do sometimes nap in the afternoon -- although it's mostly rest not sleep.

But, on the other hand, they show that after naps there is an effect called "sleep intertia" where there are significant effects on cognitive performance after sleep periods, suggesting that frequent naps during the day are not optimal.

Finally, the original article cites famous short sleepers such as Winston Churchill. The information I found indicates that Churchill slept 3-4 hours a night and napped during the day. It isn't anything like the method described in the uberman sleep article. Is anyone aware of any studies on this or similar methods that I could read?

[ Parent ]
Could you post the reference? (none / 0) (#75)
by fiznarp on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:34:51 PM EST

I'd be interested in reading what you found. Others as well I'd think.


[ Parent ]
yeah (4.00 / 1) (#96)
by illaqueate on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:45:47 PM EST

hmm, well I couldn't find the exact link again but I'm pretty sure it's on this page somewhere: Psy 358 Sleep and Biological Rhythms Spring 2000

[ Parent ]
err (none / 0) (#98)
by illaqueate on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:47:26 PM EST

That's assuming you mean the references I used in the post, not the references I was requesting :-)

[ Parent ]
Bark at the moon! (4.20 / 5) (#47)
by zephc on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:01:58 PM EST

There was research done a while back (I'm too lazy to look it up) where wolves' sleeping habits were studied, and their sleep patterns consisted of many short naps. Persoanlly, I think one should sleep whenever one starts to get tired. Screw your employer... naps come first! I think people have forced themselves into so many artificial situations that we never have time for naps anymore... schedules, meetings, deadlines, all kill the chance for a good nap. I say be more like cats! Eat when you get hungry, sleep when you get tired. You will find yourself more alert in your waking times. Well, do so as much as possible (reality prevents us to reach our true potentials). Okay, I'm done *grin*

We're not wolves (5.00 / 3) (#89)
by The Solitaire on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:18:41 PM EST

Ummm... what makes you think that wolves sleeping habits should have any real bearing on the way we sleep? The indus dolphin sleeps in 4-60 second "micro-naps" for a total of 7 hours a day. Maybe we should sleep that way? If you really want to know how we "should" sleep, you should really examine the natural sleeping patterns of our closest relatives, the great apes. Of course, I don't put much stock in "shoulds" at any rate...

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

Speak for yourself, human. (4.80 / 5) (#103)
by dark on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:10:27 PM EST

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a... wolf.

[ Parent ]
ya (2.00 / 4) (#110)
by techwolf on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:43:49 PM EST

us wolves gotta stick together!
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]
I had this kind of schedule forced on me... (4.50 / 6) (#48)
by Ron Harwood on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:14:53 PM EST

Once upon a time I worked for a dot-com... and I ended up with a rather odd sleep schedule. (Long story short - insomnia combined with a pager and NT4/IIS servers)

The result? Hypoglycemia symptoms... I had a voracious appetitie, and if I didn't eat regularly (every couple of hours - and I skyrocketed to 245 lbs.) I got brain busting headaches and massive mood swings.

About 3-4 months after I quit - I was back to normal... and was down to 220lbs... 2 years later... I'm back down to 180lbs...

This is me though - your mileage may vary.

BlackNova Traders - Tradewars for the web
Hmmm..... (4.00 / 1) (#60)
by Sairon on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:26:14 PM EST

As mentioned in an ealier comment, I have a habit of sleeplesness. I found, too, that I eat alot, and that my eating habits change. Sugar seems to be the root of all evil, for me, in that case. I drink mainly water and coffee, sometimes unsweetened tea or juices. Whatever I am drinking, though, I drink it in great quanitites. I apparently require much more liquid then.
I eat alot more vegetables, although I think partially for their water content. To me there seems to be a connection between the fruits and mental health while being awak for long periods, whilst red meats seem to help physical exhaustion. Avoid, though, the fats in red meat. It seems the body is going into a mode where it exchanges food for sleep. I'm not sure how that would work, though. I think food digests better, and more fully, though for people who have been awake longer.

[ Parent ]
Lan Party Crash (none / 0) (#211)
by Tibbon on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 07:28:03 PM EST

While, not a concious sleep depriving moment, I have at LAN parties stayed up for days on end, with little sleep between, and consumed primaraly caffiene. I crashed after a week long event and showed hypoglycimic effects for months afterwards. I am underweight as it is and i think i just sent my metabolisim for a spin. Just a thought, don't try anything crazy while starting this program. Limit the caffine. I haven't started it yet, but plan to. Just gotta figure out how to work in a job with it. Sleep on lunch breaks? Tibbon

[ Parent ]
*yawn* (3.83 / 6) (#49)
by mauftarkie on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:15:19 PM EST

All this talk about sleep is making me tired. I knew I shouldn't have read this article just after eating.

I find this all very facinating, though. I hope there's a followup in 6-12 months. I might be inclined to try it myself if there's no apparent lasting side effects...

Without you I'm one step closer to happiness without violence.
Without you I'm one step closer to innocence without consequence.

How strange.. (4.20 / 5) (#51)
by EggplantMan on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:18:03 PM EST

Midway through this semester I adopted a somewhat similar sleeping strategy. Because workloads were heavy, I would stay up late finishing assignments. Then I would more often than not have to get up for an 8:30 class. This constraint forced me often to just go on maybe four hours sleep a night. To make up for this, I started to take a nap halfway through the day after classes. Eventually my sleep cycle drifted to three hours with two naps throughout the day.

I noticed the same problem you have - that after a certain number of hours I would just become dead tired, and also another one - I liked to call it 'The day that never ends'. Eventually I just felt like my life was one continual day and calendar days didn't really have any meaning to me except for handing in assignments.

The only reason I could do this was because I'm in residence, but I have found it interesting to see what happens to my sleep schedule when I'm in complete control of it. I'm back on a more normal schedule now, but it was useful while it lasted.

Why, Yes... (4.50 / 2) (#59)
by Sairon on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:20:16 PM EST

I am someone who is known for staying awake for up to 5 days at a time, completely sleepless. I am quite familiar with the "continuous day" affect. It seems to eventually lead to a more pervasive sense-of-time loss or distortion. At some extreme points I have delusions of grandeur/immortality, etc.
As to some concerns of muscular effects... I'm not a doctor whatsoever, but I work in an intensley physical field. I'm sure most will agree there are at least two forms of being tired. One is mental, the other is physical. I never had too much problem with being physically tired when I was in school. With my job now, I find I need at least one hour of sleep before work. Don't know if that helps anyone..

[ Parent ]
Wow... (none / 0) (#209)
by Tessera on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 05:05:18 PM EST

I know exactly how you feel. In fact, as of now (Wednesday night) I haven't slept since Monday morning. It's not that bad, until you look at your watch and think "Wait a second, where'd Friday go?" The time sense gets severely screwed up by this kind of thing.

[ Parent ]
Effects on muscle building (4.83 / 12) (#52)
by Cal Bunny on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:31:39 PM EST

I am curious how this effects your ability to biuld muscle, since muscle is only built and repaired when you are alseep (this is why bodybuilders sleep for 12 hours a day). Have you noticed any effects and do you have a basis for comparison?

Found it: REM destroys muscle (5.00 / 6) (#120)
by Cal Bunny on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 09:19:54 PM EST

Sleep is only partially beneficial to muscle growth. There is a stage of sleep called delta or slow-wave sleep. During this time hormones are released to build muscle tissue. After delta sleep you enter REM sleep. During that time cortisol is released and that actually catabolises muscle tissue. Body builders sleep for about 12 hours a day, but they sleep about 8 hours a night then take a couple naps throughout the day. This way they enter delta sleep but never enter REM sleep. There are a couple product on the market to help alleviate this problem: they call it Nocturnal Post-Absorptive Muscle Catabolism (NPMC). It seems that this sleep schedule that tried to quickly induce REM sleep would actually be very detrimental to muscle anabolism and induce heavy catabolism. The bunny doesn't like the sound of this.

[ Parent ]
hmm (5.00 / 4) (#124)
by illaqueate on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:03:40 PM EST

Strange -- from "Age-Related Changes in Slow Wave Sleep and REM Sleep and Relationship With Growth Hormone and Cortisol Levels in Healthy Men"

"Increasing age was associated with an elevation of evening cortisol levels (+19.3 nmol/L per decade; P<.001) that became significant only after age 50 years, when sleep became more fragmented and REM sleep declined. A trend for an association between lower amounts of REM sleep and higher evening cortisol concentrations independent of age was detected (P<.10)." <br> summarizing that article one page writes:

"After the age of 25, men experience a decline in deep sleep that accompanied by a drop in GH production. GH deficiency is related to reduced muscle mass and strength, increased fat tissue, weakened immunity to infection, and other health declines."

further, in the article:

"The decline in slow wave sleep from early adulthood to midlife was paralleled by a major decline in GH secretion (-372 g per decade; P<.001). From midlife to late life, GH secretion further declined at a slower rate (-43 g per decade; P<.02). Independently of age, the amount of GH secretion was significantly associated with slow wave sleep (P<.001)"<br>

I don't pretend to understand anything about human physiology or neuroscience beyond the few snippets I remember from first year bio1a. But it does appear that it contradicts your article.

[ Parent ]
interesting, but not mutually exclusive (4.50 / 2) (#143)
by Cal Bunny on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:52:00 AM EST

I can only access the little synopsis and only have your quotes to go on, so I don't know the whole story. It seems that the study was done to investigate the dynamic between aging and GH and cortisol production.

The study does seem to deny some of the claims of others when it says that as sleep became more fragmented, and therefor REM sleep decreased, that cortisol levels increased. However, it says that cortisol levels increased as a function of age.

The final quote you provide seems to feed what the article I read states: as slow wave sleep decreases, GH secretion decreases. The quotes you provide me with seem to imply that as you age, you get less slow-wave sleep. Am I reading that correctly?

[ Parent ]

re hmm (5.00 / 2) (#151)
by illaqueate on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 03:29:33 AM EST

As I read it, it implies that there is no detrimental effect. Cortisol levels do not increase with REM-sleep. The theory behind it is that it regulates cortisol levels and hence is one of the reasons why affect is changed so profoundly by sleep. And from the brief reading I did it's generally not possible to select one or the other to be in any given period of sleep. If experiments are unable to separate the two, some special method to go into one or the other surely does not exist (not including drugs).

here is a lamens body building take on this.

[ Parent ]
Safety / Evolution (4.37 / 8) (#53)
by Hobbes2100 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:33:51 PM EST

Just a question:

It seems to me that given our evolutionary history, having a "full eight hours of sleep" everynight would not have been very conducive to staying alive (both in the short- and long-terms).

Something like this Uberman program seems to be more in line with how I'd expect sleep to work "in the wild". So, I guess I'd be arguing that "since this is likely how we evolved, it is probably safe". Anyone know about anything about animals [perhaps primates] in the wild and their sleeping patterns? I have a bit of psychology background (but it's mostly cognitive) but next to nothing else related to this topic.

Anyone have something worthwhile to contribute?

Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? --Iuvenalis
But who will guard the guardians themselves? -- Juvenal

Counterpoint (4.66 / 3) (#55)
by kuran42 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:42:44 PM EST

Humans as well as many primates have been social animals for a long time. That means there has been someone around to watch our backs while we sleep. Homo Erectus was around at least as early as 600,000 years ago; not a massive amount of time on evolutionary scales, but still a lot, and that's not counting early forms of man.

Maybe there's something here, but I doubt anything short of a comprehensive investigation (perhaps possible in the next decade or two, given the current rate of the analysis of our own genome) will reveal it.

kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

Also (4.20 / 5) (#56)
by theR on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:48:36 PM EST

In my opinion, there probably wasn't much reason to stay awake during darkness before electricity. I don't think these alternate sleep schedules that seem so popular with g**ks for some reason could have been nearly as prevalent before electricity. What the hell would a person be doing awake 21 hours a day if eight or more of those hours were in darkness or only lit by candles and/or fires?

[ Parent ]
Night vision... (4.00 / 3) (#69)
by banstyle on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:17:24 PM EST

Actually, if you were to rid yourself of all sources of artificial light and eat a very healthy vegetable based diet, your eyesight would improve and you would be able to let your eyes adjust to near total darkness situations.

If there was an evolutionary need for better eyesight in homo erectus, then it most certainly was possible. Just because now we have artifial light that enables us to not use our eyes to their full potential, doesn't mean that our ancestor's had the same vision we do.

"Everything done in weakness fails. Moral: do nothing." -Nietzsche
[ Parent ]
The human eye is amazingly sensitive (5.00 / 2) (#111)
by hairyian on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:52:35 PM EST

I've recently been assisting on an observing run on a (serious) astronomical telescope. 10,000 feet up a mountain, strict lighting laws on street lights on the towns far below, miles of (unlit) sea surrounding the island and probably more bizarre things make La Palma one of the places which makes a good site for astronomical telescopes. The problem is light pollution: stray photons for light sources get caught by the CCD in the telescope (for example) and add to the noise in the image. Too much noise and faint objects are indistinguishable from the background 'mess' of random photons collected. The same thing happens with the human eye. I live in the middle of a sprawling city. Street lights leak light in all directions, vehicles do too. At most, on a clear night, I might just be able to see a few stars. I certainly don't see the dust clouds of the Milky Way and the handful of stars I do see are the brightest in the sky. Everything else is washed out by the random scattering of the lighting of the city. On La Palma I saw the Milky Way for the first time. At first, when I walked out on the roof of the observatory I saw very little: it was too dark. The brightest stars were there, as always, but it seemed all but pitch black. A few minutes letter things were quite different. By just the light of the half-moon and the stars I could see. I could see the terrain around the telescope, the clouds on the horizon and more stars than I've ever seen before. I also saw the Milky Way arcing across the sky. The moon was so bright that it was preventing me from seeing more detail then I could: it was drowning out some of the features because of it's brightness. The darkness is only dark because you think it is. In real darkness, there is a surprising amount of light - even starlight on a clear night is probably enough to move about safely, forridge a bit, perhaps even a bit of hunting. Something that sticks out: if there wasn't an evolutionary need to see in the dark, why would the human eye have such a huge dynamic range that you can look about during the brightest noon, but still see by starlight and moonlight? Ian Woods

[ Parent ]
Plenty of believable explanations (none / 0) (#167)
by kuran42 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:27:18 AM EST

Something that sticks out: if there wasn't an evolutionary need to see in the dark, why would the human eye have such a huge dynamic range that you can look about during the brightest noon, but still see by starlight and moonlight?

Sure there's a need (though not an evolutionary one, as such a concept is nonsensical at best): take your average group of 50,000 BC men, sleeping in their primitive camp; there's a russle in the bushes, and a pack of wolves (or tigers, orangutans, elephants, pick your favorite nocturnal predator) leaps out; RUN OGG, RUN! So Ogg runs and, because his eyes are slightly better than Ugg's, he doesn't trip over the log and get eaten alive but instead survives the night, has lots of sex and numerous children, each with decent night vision. But that doesn't mean night vision was ever used for anything more than fleeing like crazy.

kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]

I'm not saying you can't see at night (3.00 / 1) (#118)
by theR on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 09:14:23 PM EST

Of course you can see at night without electricity, even if you're used to it. But the way you see is a lot different. You don't see details or color nearly as well in low light as with more light. I imagine most of the things done in the dark were purely of necessity, like urinating, bowel movements, or hunting nocturnal creatures.

If you look at texts that were written by people on the American frontiers when America was first settled, I believe you will see that darkness was primarily a time of rest. There are always exceptions, but I've certainly never heard of the settlers or native peoples typically sleeping in any other way than what is considered the common one now, i.e. sleeping through the night.

[ Parent ]
Night Vision (none / 0) (#159)
by Cloaked User on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:21:38 AM EST

But the way you see is a lot different. You don't see details or color nearly as well in low light as with more light.

There's a reason for that, especially the colour-blindness. Dredging up what I learnt in my "Physics of Nerve Cells and Networks" course, the light receptors in your eye come in two types, rods and cones. The cones are the ones that enable you to see colour, and are mostly concentrated around the focal point (just off centre of the back of your eyeball). The rods can not distinguish colours and are more densely distributed around the periphery of your "visual area".

As well as the differences in colour sensitivity, rods and cones differ in light sensitivity - rods require much lower light levels to function. This is why you don't see colours or details so well in low light conditions. Your cones don't have enough light to function properly, mucking up your colour vision, and you have fewer rods, mucking up detail perception.

As an interesting asside, some (most?) animals that see well in the dark (eg domestic cats) have relatively poor daytime vision and little or no colour vision, as their eyes contain far more rods than cones.

Of course, it's been a long time since I did any of this stuff, and it was only a single course in my third year at University - if anyone knows better, please feel free to correct me :-)



"What the fuck do you mean 'Are you inspired to come to work'? Of course I'm not 'inspired'. It's a job for God's sake! The money's enough and the work's not so crap that I leave."
[ Parent ]
Diurnal Animals (4.66 / 3) (#86)
by The Solitaire on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:03:50 PM EST

Ummm... there are plenty of non-social animals that sleep all night. Sleeping for extended periods is much older evolutionarily than man as a species, or even homo-erectus. What is interesting is that sleep seems to be so important that species that can't sleep for one reason or another develop very interesting ways of obtaining sleep. One example of this is the Indus Dolphin. The Indus Estuary is really really silt filled, and really fast moving. Thus, the dolphin has to swim constantly, or die. It has evolved to sleep in 4 to 60 second bursts... but it still sleeps 7 hours a day. Regular dolphins, which need to stay awake to breathe, sleep one brain hemisphere at a time - but they still sleep. I think that these examples should be adequate to show that sleep is important and messing around with it in this way is potentially very dangerous.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

Now THAT would be cool... (4.25 / 4) (#90)
by Danse on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:20:04 PM EST

Regular dolphins, which need to stay awake to breathe, sleep one brain hemisphere at a time - but they still sleep.

So I could do my taxes while one hemisphere slept, and then create some nice paintings while the other side slept. Neat :)

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
You need both hemispheres to do taxes or art (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by Mysidia on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:09:21 PM EST

Because all the nerves your body don't necessarily have redundant connections through both hemispheres, and you'd probably wind up waking yourself up!

-Mysidia the insane @k5
[ Parent ]
hmmm.... (2.00 / 1) (#150)
by Danse on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:50:11 AM EST

Considering that we only use a small portion of our brain, if we developed in such a fashion as to be able to sleep one hemisphere at a time, couldn't we develop the necessary connections?

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
We use our WHOLE brain (5.00 / 2) (#156)
by The Solitaire on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:51:06 AM EST

Considering that we only use a small portion of our brain
Aaarrrgghh!! Why won't this myth die??? We use our whole brains! All the time! And if you really believe that we don't, would you mind if I removed some of yours? I thought not.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]
Agreed (none / 0) (#162)
by gazbo on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:44:06 AM EST

And once again, may we bow our heads and give thanks to the Lord that on the 8th day he did createth Snopes.

Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

ok.. (none / 0) (#179)
by Danse on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:42:30 PM EST

I am suitably embarrassed. I must admit that I had heard the figure quite a long time ago, and have heard it repeated several times since. I have never heard it contested until now. While I'm sure that psychics and the like use the myth to their advantage, I don't recall hearing it from any such person. They were all more mainstream references. Owell. Thanks for clearing that up.

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Reference.. (none / 0) (#139)
by The Solitaire on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:39:37 AM EST

I've been busy posting references to various papers that I have drawn this stuff from. One particular paper that is important to this particular discussion is "Phylogeny and the function of REM sleep". The full reference follows:

  1. Siegel (1995). Phylogeny and the function of REM sleep, Behavioural Brain Research, 69, 29-34.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]
Stone-age sleep (4.33 / 3) (#115)
by dennis on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 08:25:33 PM EST

I'm no expert, but here's my take on it after an anthropology degree and four weeks at a primitive-survival school...I don't remember ever discussing sleep patterns in class, so this is speculative.

Predators: Hunter-gatherers from early man to modern times have lived in small groups (often of only a dozen or two). That doesn't mean they didn't spend a lot of time alone, though - Native Americans sent individual scouts out for months at a time. If you're worried about predators, sleeping this way might be an advantage sometimes...but predators aren't as big a deal as you might think. A modern hiker will blunder right into a grizzly, but a skilled primitive will notice its presence long before, from tracks and the reactions of other animals (birds especially). He'll steer clear of its territory when selecting a shelter. Large predators are certainly a danger, but one that can be avoided with a good level of awareness. There are also ways to mask or remove your scent, if necessary, and all sorts of sneaky ways to bed down. A good hidden spot for the night is probably safer than a catnap in the open.

Weather will be an issue. If it's nice enough, you might nap when you feel like it, but if it's getting really cold at night you're going to want to spend that time in shelter. A good individual shelter has lots of insulation and just enough room to squeeze inside, so your body heat can warm it up nicely - so if you're in it, you're probably sleeping.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't be surprised if primitives did spend a lot of time awake at night, when circumstances permitted or required, because light is not as big an issue as you'd think either - even without a full moon. I got my first hint of this at the wilderness school, when they took us well out from camp one night, stripped to our shorts, and made us find our way back blindfolded while a guy in camp banged on a drum. Just moving by feel and intuition. Self-absorbed left-brained geek that I am, I had a hard time, but some people did pretty well, and the instructors could do that sort of thing with ease. Mix that sort of skill with a bit of starlight and you can get by just fine - as hairyian points out, humans actually see pretty well in the dark once we adjust to it.

[ Parent ]

Re: Safety / Evolution (3.00 / 1) (#172)
by captshad on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:22:51 AM EST

Could it be that you have it backwards?
It seems to me that critters in general are
safer when they tucked away and snoozing
in their little burrow than when they are
out and about foraging for breakfast and
attacting the attention of predators. If
you buy that, then the real question is,
"Why do we spend so much time doing stupid
things rather than something useful and
safe like sleeping?"

[ Parent ]
Ailments (4.63 / 11) (#57)
by DarkZero on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 03:52:43 PM EST

I've heard that more sleep is required for people that are sick or require other forms of healing (cuts, pulled muscles, etc.). Have you ever encountered any problems with this during your experiment, such as cuts, pulled muscles, or colds taking extremely long periods of time to disappear? And have you ever switched back around temporarily so that a cold would go away?

Just curious, much like everyone else. Great article, by the way.

Wears on your body (4.00 / 4) (#65)
by drodver on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 04:59:26 PM EST

The periods you spend not sleeping are used for your body to do maintance. Hence the comments about effects on muscle gain. As you sleep normally at first you dream little as your body does its work. As you sleep longer as the night goes on then longer periods of time are devoted to REM sleep. It seems like you are cutting away the body's time for self repair.

After several years of this you're probably going to notice the wearing effects which this is most likely having on your body.

Body repair (4.20 / 5) (#68)
by DodgyGeezer on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:16:41 PM EST

I saw TV programme a while back that discussed spinal discs. Now, I'm no biologist, so I could be way off track here. It suggested that we get shorter during the day as these discs lose their volume due compression (squeezes liquid out?). They said the only way to replenish the discs is to sleep. Apparently with insufficient rest, heavy lifting can more easily result in back injury.

I've got to wonder how much sleep one's body needs to maintain it's self physically. Does this sleep schedule work for people who are very physically active?

Spinal discs (3.00 / 1) (#154)
by egeland on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 04:11:15 AM EST

We do indeed get shorter during waking hours, specifically the hours we spend in a non-horizontal position.
The shrinkage is due to the spine carrying your body weight, and this is 'fixed' by taking the weight off - by lying down for several hours. While asleep is a very convenient time. :)

Some interesting quotes
[ Parent ]
Which is the cause? (4.50 / 4) (#70)
by scruffyMark on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:18:01 PM EST

I also found that switching to this cycle makes me feel generally healthier. As I noted, I started off this "experiment" by switching to a more healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

So, those are two very different actions, either one of which I can imagine substantially changing the way you feel. How much of your feeling healthier do you suppose is related to the changed diet, how much to the changed schedule? Have you ever tried changing one but not the other?

I eat more or less as you describe - I don't eat meat, don't cook with a lot of fat, etc. When I'm eating out a lot, or eating someone's cooking that uses a lot of starches and fat, I know I feel much less alive after a few days, whether or not my sleep schedule changes.

prey (2.50 / 2) (#72)
by auraslip on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:27:27 PM EST

Just becuase man was social didn't mean he had to worry about differant things trying to kill him in the middle of the night. Including humans.
oops (2.00 / 1) (#79)
by auraslip on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:45:33 PM EST

I meant to put that in the thread involving death from lack of sleep.
[ Parent ]
napping at a desk (4.00 / 1) (#73)
by scatbubba on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:29:09 PM EST

Do these 20 minute naps have to be full lay down, in the dark naps, or can you just put your head down on your desk? I'd love to try this, but with my pesky day job..... I could easily steal away to the library for 2 20 minute naps during the day, but will that be enough?

probably not. (5.00 / 1) (#108)
by techwolf on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:35:44 PM EST

unless you are accustomed to it. I nap 20-25 minutes evryday at about 10 and 2:30, but it doesn't do much for me.
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]
naps (none / 0) (#203)
by solri on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 11:04:37 AM EST

Naps work for me, though only in the afternoon - any time after 6 p.m. leaves me feeling extremely groggy. If I can regularly get a twenty-minute siesta, my sleep needs go down from 7 hours to 6, sometimes less. I sometimes find it's better to take a nap on the couch rather than going to bed. I find being too comfortable in a dark room sends me into deep sleep, so when I wake up I feel as bad as if I've been woken in the middle of the night.
"Nice philosophy may tolerate unlikely arguments" - John Ford
[ Parent ]
My sleep pattern (3.80 / 5) (#77)
by auraslip on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:43:34 PM EST

This isn't a comment telling you about another sleep pattern that you might want to try. My sleeping pattern is horrible. I sleep 12 hours a day. I'm not in school and I don't have a job, and I have no freinds not in school. SO I tend to stay up all night. last night I stayed up untill 630, I only woke up 30 minutes ago. I really hate it. The thing was, at the begging of last week, I was going to bed at 12 because OF a vacation that weekend, and by now I've ruined it. It used to be a lot worse when I had counter strike on my computer. I think more then anything I'm addicted to sleep. :(

Find a "job" (4.00 / 3) (#83)
by MKalus on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:52:04 PM EST

No really, find something to keep you busy, run, bike etc.

Once you have that you will sleep shorter and better, your body needs some physical movement. For me personally if I don't do something for a couple of days but work (sit), drive (sit), eat (sit) and sleep I get antsy, tired and in very bad mood.

[ Parent ]
hey! (3.50 / 2) (#107)
by techwolf on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:34:13 PM EST

that cold be whats wrong with me! I drive to work, sit, work ssome more, then go to class, sit, and study. then drive home and study some more, then the day is gone and i need to sleep. I guess this is why my concentration is totally thrashed.
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]
It probably is... (none / 0) (#160)
by MKalus on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:28:06 AM EST

I can attest you that if I do NOT get my workouts in I am really really in a bad mood, have trouble sleeping and my concentration goes down the drain as well.

Try it, you might be positivly surprised.

[ Parent ]
Sympathies (4.00 / 2) (#163)
by gazbo on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:50:44 AM EST

I was unemployed for a while after leaving university, and it sucks any enthusiasm out of you. Ended up staying up later and later as you said, and the smallest task seemed Herculean (Once a fortnight do a 30 minute walk to sign on in order to get my benefits cheque. My only source of money. I failed.)

The other poster is right; excercise at 'normal' times is the only thing that'll keep you going.

Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

Wasting Time (4.33 / 9) (#78)
by drivers on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:44:11 PM EST

Wasting Time sleeping 8 hours a day is bad enough but, how do I stop wasting my life being at work 8 hours a day? That's the real question.

Pure Pseudo-Scientific Nonsense (4.84 / 13) (#80)
by The Solitaire on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:47:18 PM EST

Sorry to burst people's bubble, but I find the so-called "scientific" underpinning for all this to be patently rediculous. I spent time a few years ago doing some relatively intensive study on the purposes of sleep, and the effects of deprivation. One thing that jumped out immediately was the assumption that REM sleep is the only important stage. THIS IS COMPLETELY UNTRUE. Research has consistently shown that both REM and stage 4 (also called deep sleep) are very important, and selective deprivation of either of them has consequences.

Now, I will admit, the current understanding of sleep is less than perfect. There is a general belief (possibly incorrect) that sleep is all about regeneration. One major reason for this view is that rats DIE if you sleep deprive them for approx 20 days or so (I can't remember the exact figure). As I recall, this also goes for selective deep sleep deprivation.

One more thing - this article seems to go against everything I know about circadian rhythyms. Effectively, your body has a 30-hour clock, which is reset by certain stimuli, such as light or eating. Usually the natural light/dark cycles reset this clock every 24 hours. Disrupting the clock has been associated with seriously decreased performance, as evidenced by any number of studies on shift-workers. Assuming you are managing this kind of schedule, you are likely throwing your body's natural cycles all out of whack. What that will cause, I cannot say for certain, but I doubt that it will be good.

I firmly believe that you are entitled to try out whatever experiments on yourself that you wish. But don't try to sell it to others, hiding behind a few misunderstood "scientific" facts. I recommend to anyone that wants to try this out, or any other self-experimentation, to check out the facts before jumping on the bandwagon.

I need a new sig.

REM Sleep (3.50 / 2) (#92)
by The Solitaire on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:30:36 PM EST

Shoulda posted this with the original, but I didn't think of it right away....

One thing that I really cant understand about this schedule is exactly how the brain is supposed to be "tricked" into going into REM right away. Normally, REM is the last stage of sleep you enter... not the first. It seems prima-facie that this would be a way to deprive yourself of REM sleep, not everything else...

I'm not adverse to the idea that REM could come earlier after severe deprivation, since I am aware that the body uses homeostatic mechanisms to conserve REM. However, if there is any reference to this effect in the literature, I'd love to see it.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

re: REM Sleep (4.50 / 2) (#116)
by illaqueate on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 08:25:42 PM EST

from here (pdf):

"The main findings of selective deprivation studies suggest that-

- Deprivation of REM sleep leads to increasingly shorter delays before REM sleep resumes (REM latency).

- A `REM Rebound', or temporary over-shoot in REM activity is typically found.

- Short REM latencies and REM rebound suggest that a `REM Pressure' exists; if so, it is related to the composition of prior sleep rather than prior wakefulness."

Some of the other lectures in that directory answer questions of some of the other readers on this forum.

[ Parent ]
Thanks for the reference (none / 0) (#142)
by The Solitaire on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:44:50 AM EST

Thanks... I was aware of REM Rebound, but not of the REM latency effect. Perhaps someday I'll look into it further.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

obvious... (none / 0) (#195)
by KiTaSuMbA on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 12:12:25 AM EST

the brain "selectively" switches to REM to "save the saveable".

There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
pseudo scientific underpinning (3.25 / 4) (#117)
by fr2ty on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 08:47:39 PM EST

Yes, you might be true. But at least the article provides some links for further reading.

You didn't, and that's sad.
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.
[ Parent ]
References... (4.66 / 3) (#136)
by The Solitaire on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:34:02 AM EST

Sorry that I didn't post any references, I was at work, and I didn't have a lot of time to spend on my reply. Unfortunately, I don't have any good web references. All of my experience in the field has come from the literature, which is usually not available online. Even though it's not likely to get used, I felt that I should at least post the references for people who want them.

In addition to the particular papers I have posted below, the special issue has a number of excellent papers theorizing not only about the function of sleep in general, but particular stages as well.

The resource that I am most familiar with (and the only one I have in front of me at the moment) is a special issue of Behavioural Brain Research, on the function of sleep. In it there is a study which reports the average survival times of rats when subjected to various types of sleep deprivation. In this sudy, rats were deprived of all sleep, REM sleep, or Non-REM sleep. All three groups died (living 2-3 weeks, 5 weeks, 45 days on average, respectively).[1]

The fact that selective deprivation of NREM sleep is fatal to rats is pretty good evidence that NREM sleep is important, at least to rats.

In the same issue, one research group hypothesises that it is the serial occurance of both REM and SWS (slow-wave sleep) that is important. Particularly, they believe that the sequence of SWS followed by REM is important for memory.[2]

Lastly there is an excellent review of the liturature on the effects of total sleep deprivation in rats (aside from eventual death).[3]

  1. Rechtschaffen & Bergmann (1995). Sleep deprivation in the rat by the disk-over-water method. Behavioural Brain Research, 69, 55-63.
  2. Giuditta, Ambrosini, Montagnese, Mandile, Cotugno, Zucconi, Vescia (1995). The Sequential hypothesis of the function of sleep, Behavioural Brain Research, 69, 157-166.
  3. Everson (1995). Functional consequences of sustained sleep deprivation in the rat. Behavioural Brain Research, 69, 43-54.

PS - I have described the disc-over-water method in somewhat more detail in a later post.

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

Thank you (none / 0) (#227)
by fr2ty on Mon Apr 29, 2002 at 07:41:56 AM EST

Thank you for the answer.
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.
[ Parent ]
Sleep deprevation = faster death than starving (none / 0) (#197)
by DodgyGeezer on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 02:03:02 AM EST

"rats DIE if you sleep deprive them for approx 20 days or so"

I remember hearing of an experiment on this. They placed a rat on disc with a board across it. Whenever its brainwaves indicated the onset of sleep, the disc rotated. This forced the rat in to the board and made it wake up. This rat died two days before it would have starved to death.

[ Parent ]
Sorry... (4.85 / 7) (#81)
by smileybyte on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:48:21 PM EST

I couldn't resist...

One More Thing (4.80 / 10) (#82)
by The Solitaire on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:50:49 PM EST

I just wanted to point out that the symptoms (increased appitite, intense dreaming) you mention are usually associated with sleep deprivation. I wouldn't be surprised if you also find yourself losing weight (despite the increased eating), and feeling generally edgy and irritable as time goes on.

I need a new sig.

Thank you! (4.00 / 2) (#109)
by Spatula on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:36:00 PM EST

This is exactly what I wanted to see in response to this article. Nutritional deprivation is nearly synonymous with sleep deprivation. During sleep, the body processes chemicals indtroduced during non-sleep time. These processes are part of the circadian cycle, and, by breaking up the sleep cycle, one can seriously inhibit the induction of essential chemicals to the body.

I can't be hypocritical here, however. I sleep for about 4 hours a night, and that's on the good nights. Usually I'm woken by either street work or very icky violent and bloody dreams. I have noticed a significant loss in both weight and physical stamina as a result (at least somewhat) of truncated sleep times.

My advice? Sleep as long as you can, and hold a very nutritious diet, including greens, fruits and limited amounts of meats, especially meat dishes that are high in cholesterol (I'm talking about Cashew Chicken from your local Chinese resturaunt, or some other simulacrum).
someday I'll find something to put here.
[ Parent ]

Unnatural? Hmmmm.... (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by bjlhct on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 05:58:43 PM EST

Well, you can't just claim that this is unnatural and would kill you. Betcha 99% of people reading this have an unnatural sleep cycle. Go without artificial light for a month and you sleep in 2 ~3 hour segments with ~1 hour in between of something like lucid dreaming. I'd like to try that sometime, but you think an employer who lets you take naps is hard to find? Find one without artificial lights! Anyway, this might even be a way to break into a Uberman sleep cycle.

If all you're saying is really really true, then I'd try that too. But I'd like some more people, some people I know to try it first. And, I'd like to know how this turns out. Bring us another story or something in a couple months.

My personal feeling is that you'll be OK, but you gotta not let acid build up in your muscles and manage your insulin and whatnot, as you won't get it free. Be careful man, you could kill yourslef if you're not careful...but don't worry too much: you'd feel like shit for days first. (=

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism

Artificial Light (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by The Solitaire on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 06:11:56 PM EST

Just curious - could you give me a reference on the fact that people without artificial light sleep the way you say they do? Something about this sounds incredibly fishy.

I agree that you can't use "this is unnatural" as an argument for not trying something like this. However, there is lots of good scientific research being done on the purpose and importance of sleep. Most of that research seems to suggest that this sleep schedule is a bad idea, and potentially dangerous.

My advice is rather than letting "a few friends" try it, and relying on their anecdotal evidence, wait for some serious scientific examination. There are a lot of scientologists out there that were sucked in by anecdotal evidence... they all claim that auditing really works - what makes you think that this is any different?

I need a new sig.
[ Parent ]

Re^2 (5.00 / 1) (#122)
by bjlhct on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 09:36:48 PM EST

Sorry...but I read it in New Scientist, so it must be true. And also, there's a prion disease that can make poeple not sleep again until they die, usually a month, sometimes a year.

And yeah, I know. Look, I woulda said that. I'm a great believer in the scientific method. But the fact is it seems to be going nowhere, to find existence of harms you need a large sample size often, and of people who can take these naps and are willing to try something like this no less. If it's in the works let me know. Although, truth be told, I'm in no hurry.

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

I must be an exception then (none / 0) (#147)
by raaymoose on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:23:52 AM EST

Because for many years now I take a month every summer and live at a cabin where there is no electricity, and generally no artificial light (beyond a flashlight or two), and I still sleep my standard ~8 hours a day, at the start and at the end of my stay. I don't use any alarm clocks etc. But I'd be interested in where you've found your link between artificial light and 2-3 hour intervals we'd fall back on.

[ Parent ]
Do you actually believe this? (none / 0) (#180)
by theR on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:36:04 PM EST

Why would you? Tell me how the addition of artificial light causes us to sleep for longer periods of time and the absence causes us to sleep in two or three hour shifts. If you go without artificial light, you typically sleep through the night, especially if you work all day. For example, if chimps are any indication, it is completely natural to sleep through the night. I'm sure there must be some information on the web pertaining to people, but I honestly haven't looked.

Artificial light is what makes it possible for far more people to have screwed up sleep patterns, which are ones where people sleep very little or in short intervals. Perhaps the brain does not need much sleep, so that is why so many people here, if you believe the stereotype of most kuro5hin readers, are so interested in things like the Uberman schedule. But I assure you that the body needs sleep, and will take it in one large section of time at night if allowed by the brain. Check with any manual laborers or athletes, and they'll almost always tell you that they sleep for long periods mostly uninterrupted, especially if they wish to perform their best. Naps, if they occur, are usually in addition to sleeping through the night.

[ Parent ]
The Point (5.00 / 1) (#188)
by bjlhct on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:03:03 PM EST

I suppose was that artificial light messes up sleep schedules and we're fine. So...

And I read it in a Newscientist, I do know that, but that's all. That was several years ago!

Don't make me dig up that article. Those magazines were all I had to block up that mouth of hell with, dammit!

[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

Heart Strain on Waking? (4.00 / 2) (#100)
by MUD on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:07:06 PM EST

This immediately made me think of something that I read a while back about siestas being linked to heart attacks. The basic idea being that the heart is placed under a lot of strain immediately after waking and so it might be wise not to increase the number of time that your body has to wake up during a 24 hour period.

I have heard little further on this though, which suggests that it hasn't been borne out by further research. Nor can I think of any way that you could assess whether you would be putting yourself at risk by following an Uberman sleep schedule.

good point worth noting (2.00 / 2) (#104)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:12:47 PM EST

luckily some of us have hearts that are all-but-immune to attacks.
i, for example, will die of something OTHER than a heart attack. will i die? absolutely. but it wont be the heart that will kill me (unless i REALLY screw with it ...)... and it will be us who inherit the hours of sleep :)
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
Hrm? (none / 0) (#207)
by CAIMLAS on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 02:43:17 PM EST

What makes you so sure you're immune to a heart attack? Poor diet, no exercise, and irratic sleep schedules all heavily contribute to heart attacks. Even skinny-as-a-beanpole people can have high cholesterol.

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
[ Parent ]

because (none / 0) (#213)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 09:58:08 PM EST

everyone on both sides of my family have abused themselves and their bodies much much much more than i have...specifically their heart...almost in a "i bet i can do this to my heart and it wont explode" sort of way...
yet we all die of other things *shrug*

"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
Situation? (none / 0) (#130)
by Dolohov on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:49:57 PM EST

It seems to me that most of the time I wake up from naps, it's in sheer terror (OK, maybe not terror. Mild anxiety, say) that I've slept through something important. I also tend to wake up fairly often to an alarm clock. I suspect that many other people are the same way, and this would probably explain the elevated pressure and heart rate.

Besides, correlation studies don't really convince me all that much. The effects mentioned are interesting, but I find it very hard to believe that such a mechanism would survive millions of years of mammalian evolution.

Still, it's an interesting take on the subject; kudos for bringing it up.

[ Parent ]

Survival trait (none / 0) (#165)
by kuran42 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:08:15 AM EST

I assume the strain on the heart is caused by it quickly increasing the blood flow (and thus oxygen flow) to most parts of the body. This could well be a benefit for animals living in a predator-rich environment: the difference between sleep-level oxygen levels and full alertness oxygen levels in your muscles could be the difference between life and death.

kuran42? genius? Nary a difference betwixt the two. -- Defect
[ Parent ]
Ah, true (none / 0) (#170)
by Dolohov on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:06:05 AM EST

Yeah, I suppose that animals which tend to be groggy when woken up won't last too long if predators are the ones waking them up.

[ Parent ]
Hmm - maybe. (none / 0) (#166)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 10:17:26 AM EST

Whenever I wake up from an unplanned nap, my heart is racing. Perhaps I am waking up quicker than usual, and noticing it.
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
siestas (none / 0) (#201)
by solri on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 10:46:34 AM EST

I've also heard siestas cited as a reason (along with olive oil and red wine) for the low rate of heart attacks in Mediterranean countries. I'd guess waking up only weakens the heart when you have a particularly vicious alarm clock.
"Nice philosophy may tolerate unlikely arguments" - John Ford
[ Parent ]
I'll be impressed if you can keep it up (5.00 / 14) (#112)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:56:20 PM EST

When I was a sophmore in college, I had a wicked course load, and averaged ~2 hours of sleep per day for about 6 weeks. I had more or less gradually ramped down to that, so the previous month was maybe ~4 hours.

For a while it seemed like I was doing fine. I'd grab a half hour to an hour two or three times per day. I'd go into my morning class early, sit down in the empty lecture hall, and go to sleep at my seat, counting on my friends to wake me up when they go there. Eventually I could just crash on a couch in the student lounge, or even slump over next to my keyboard and expect to wake up on my own within an hour. I was getting a lot of work done, and I wasn't even very tired most of the time. After a while, I even started to feel like I had a lot more energy than I normally did. I figured everything was great.

After a while, though, I started to realize that my extra energy was fairly shallow - if I actually did anything very intensive I would quickly crash. More seriously, I could feel myself becoming more easily frustrated by increasingly smaller things, and generally becoming less well balanced.

By the end, I was really getting hit by the effects. I spend the last few days before turning in my big final project having a great deal of trouble dealing with my friends. Near the very end I started to get back physical side effects, too, including seriously decreased appetite, blury vision, and even the shakes. Fortunately I got the big project turned in before things continued to get worse, and managed to catch up on desperately needed long periods of normal sleep.

Having had many friends who have pushed themselves to great extremes because of coursework and responsibility, I think this is relatively typical. People who get into sleep schedules that involve very small amounts of sleep often manage to adjust quite well for a period of time that can last from a week to maybe as much as a year. But it takes a toll that eventually catches up. People often have an almost manic increase in energy, but usually seem to get worse at dealing with interpersonal problems. When people finally crash, it often seems to lead to at least mild depression that lasts for a while afterwards.

Perhaps you'll be able to keep this up indefinitely. However, I would encourage you to pay close attention to how your mental state may be changing. Do you get agravated at people more easily. Do things that would normally mildy irritate you become very big deals? This can be hard to notice, and takes a little bit of introspection to really be sensitive to this. You say you have more energy, but how much depth is there to that? Keep track of this kind of stuff with time.

It wouldn't suprise me if people are designed to be able to pull this kind of schedule off for limited periods of time, as an adaption to deal with extreme situations. This would certainly be consistent with somewhat increased levels of energy, perhaps even a certain degree of mania. However, it probably isn't something people are designed to be able to sustain indefinitely. However, this seems to come by way of a constant stress and adrenaline.

While having your "fight or flight" response constantly triggered on a low level may enable you to stay alert and awake a lot more, and may be able to get a lot done, it's not really healthy, and will probably catch up with you eventually.

So I would encourage you to pay close attention to how you're holding up. Please write a follow-up story, either when you kick the schedule, or after you've been sticking to it for a few more months, talking about how it's been. Especially if you're passing this off as a "how-to" type of deal, I think it would be good to tell people about how things go after a slightly more extended period of time.

Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!

without (2.00 / 2) (#133)
by auraslip on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:11:19 AM EST

enough sleep I get very...aggravated..easily..
which would make sense, becuase lack of sleep causes aggression.
I saw an X-files once where they created soldiers who couldn't sleep back in veitnam, the idea was to make them super aggressive. In the show they were all fucked up.
[ Parent ]
Consistency (5.00 / 1) (#212)
by IoaPetraka on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 09:14:10 PM EST

I was in a similar situation while I was in college. I had an extremely heavy class load (not quite up to pre-med par, but close) and in addition I was working part time to be able to afford education. I got to the point where I was crashing at midnight and waking up at 4:30 in time for my morning job (my last class got out at 10pm, and I only had a total combined of two hours during the day of free time.)

I started experimenting with alternative sleep methods, as a way to somehow bridge the gap between the obnoxious schedule and the need to sleep. I played with "brainwaves" a method for getting you into deep REMs for an hour, and that worked okay, but I felt like a shell most of the time, getting a total of three hours of honest sleep, and one hour on the brainwaves. I experienced the same sort of effect you had. Initially I had an abundance of energy, and thought maybe this brainwave thing really was great. Over the space of a year though, that changed and I started turning 'hollow.'

After college, my body had essentially become used to this sort of treatement. Even though I had the luxury of sleeping as long as I wanted, I typically would awake three to four hours after falling asleep. The only difference was that I gradually lost the "shell-like" feeling, and eventually lost it altogether. For several years I was able to sustain this sort of sleeping rate with no adverse side-effects.

I would suggest that the main reason you found no luck in catching parcels of sleep throughout the day boils down to one simple word: consistency. The outlined method described in this article gives a very strict schedule on when to sleep and when not to sleep (thus making it useless for people in some careers.) On the other hand, your adopted method sounds as if it was a bit erratic.

Even if you are getting a full eight hours of sleep a night, but you take those eight hours at all different times of the day, you will feel the effects of sleep deprivation. Consistency is almost, if in fact not more, important than how long you sleep.

Consistency worked for me, because even though I was only getting four hours of sleep, I was taking those hours at the precisely same time during the 24 hour day, week or weekend.

Ioa Aqualine Petra'ka
[ Parent ]

I would love to try this... (3.66 / 3) (#113)
by Sunbofh on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 07:57:03 PM EST

I would love to try this out, but I think my insomnia would make it rather impossible. It takes about an hour for me to get to sleep, once I lay down. Also, I never could sleep sitting up, only laying down. This is not something related to caf. or to not working out, etc. Not sure where it comes from.

I don't think it would be possible at my work anyway. I suspect this is true for most people. The office is just bad for this type of sleep pattern.

Funny (2.16 / 6) (#114)
by paxus on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 08:07:24 PM EST

Seems people jumped on my case about my earlier comment to this article. I find that odd considering most of the other "I" (or "me" related, some people have a problem with the word personal) related stories I've seen in the past couple days were dropped into oblivion. In fact, i can't remember the last time I say an "I" story make the front page. It sure as heck is in the minority. There was a famous person who once said:

those accused of misogyny, for the most part, are those who say what other people are thinking, but don't have the guts to say

I dare not call myself a misogynist, but i stand by my earlier statement.

"...I am terrible time, the destroyer of all beings in all worlds, engaged to destroy all beings in this world... " - Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita
you fuckup (3.75 / 4) (#164)
by Defect on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:51:13 AM EST

That is not a topical comment, and, to top that off, you should have made it a reply to someone's comment off your parent.

No one cares about what you think. This was a well enough written article about something interesting, it doesn't matter how personal it was. If someone submits a poorly written article about something that sucks, it's going to get dropped regardless.

Shut the fuck up and whine somewhere where people care.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
Hmm (4.50 / 2) (#119)
by valeko on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 09:18:23 PM EST

It seems that a lot of this relies on the ability go to asleep immedaitely, which I do not have, even in the most tired physiological state. It takes me around 30 minutes to an hour to actually fall asleep, almost regardless of how tired I am. Of course, it will happen that if I go sleep deprived for 4 or 5 days, I will occasionally just crash and fall asleep immediately and sleep for the next 14 hours, but generally it doesn't work.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

Since we're talking sleep... (4.50 / 2) (#121)
by BigZaphod on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 09:32:46 PM EST

I've been having a sleep problem. Maybe someone out there has run into it and found it going away or solved it or whatever.

Anyway, the basics are that I seem to have a natural sleep schedule of about 4:00am to 12:00pm or so. As you can imagine, this doesn't work with a normal job at all. However, this is the sleep pattern I fall into on the weekends and when I don't have to get up in the mornings (holidays, etc).

I'm in me senior year and only have 2 classes to go to each week. So, I work a lot and will be working full time in about 4 weeks time. My boss is currently simply "putting up" with my erratic behavior for now, but I have a feeling he won't stand for it when I'm full time (even if I do work a full 40 hours per week, he wants me there when everyone else is because we're going to start doing pair programming (as in XP) and it only makes sense, so I can't argue that logic).

So, anyway, I can never seem to get to sleep for the length of time I need it (pretty much a full 8 hours) because I can't fall asleep right away. As a result, I constantly get woke up in the middle of REM and am tired all day. Usually making stupid mistakes, not thinking clearly, etc. All day. So, not only do I have a hard time making it to work on time, I suck while I'm there!

I just can't seem to change this, either. I've tried, but it never works. It is only made harder by the fact that my friends often do things late at night (which is perfectly comfortable and natural for me). In typical fashion, I seem to be the only one who can't go to bed at midnight or so and still get up at 8:00am the next morning feeling good and refreshed. I *should* be able to, but I can't sleep soundly right off the bat and so always wake in REM feeling like crap.

Has anyone else had this sort of thing happen? Why can't my sleep pattern just settle down into something more normal/usable? *sigh*

"We're all patients, there are no doctors, our meds ran out a long time ago and nobody loves us." - skyknight
I had/have the same problem. (4.85 / 7) (#126)
by Cal Bunny on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:21:14 PM EST

This is the same type of insomnia that I have. This could just be short-term problem, especially if you are feeling stressed or excited lately from your position in life. There are a couple of things that you can do (I cannot seem to find a good link so I will run them down for you myself):
  • Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time and stick to them. This regular sleep-wake schedule trains you body to become tired at the end of the day and become alert in the morning. If you are eratic your body will never develop this habbit.
  • Avoid taking naps, especially in the afternoon.
  • Exercise regularly during the day. Preferably in the morning and never at night. First, this will tire you to allow you to go to sleep later. Second, it will raise your body tempature which is a signal for your body to wake up. Before you go to sleep your body tempature begins to drop. If you excercise too late your body will not cool as it should.
  • Keep light levels very low after sunset and keep the bedroom very dark. This helps me tremendously. The sunrise and sunset resets our internal clock; that circadian rythm and stuff.
  • Use the bed only for sleep and sex, not for reading or watching television. If you cannot sleep after about 30 minutes then leave it (but still wake up at your normal time the next morning). You train your body by example. If you use the bedroom as a workroom then your body will become more alert and attentive when you enter. It will not learn that the bedroom is for sleeping (and sex, woot!).
  • Avoid caffeine, other stimulants, cigarettes, and alcohol. If you smoke, try to quit smoking entirely. Cutting back on smoking without quitting may lead to nicotine withdrawal in the middle of the night that awakens you. I used to know a friend that woke up with caffein and then used to drink some alcohol to help put him to sleep. This destroyed his internal body clock. Also, alcohol will often prevent you from sleeping very well well even though it may relax you slightly.
  • Try to reduce stress in your life by changing those things causing the stress. Easier said than done, I know. Some people suggest reading something light or entertaining just before you go to bed, to get your mind off the day's troubles.
  • Some people say to Consider using white noise, such as a fan blowing, but I find that I sleep best with absolute silence. Some people say ear plugs and an eye mask can help. They are better than noise, but don't feel comfortable when sleeping to me.
  • My personal favorite advise is to sleep with somebody else. Sleeping with my ex-girlfriend used to help tremendously. I used to fall asleep almost immediately when I put my arms around her. I slept very still that way, too, waking up with my arms still around her the next morning. Of course you have to be with a person that enjoys that as some people cannot stand to sleep in such close proximity to somebody else.
There is a relatively new prescription sleep medication called Sonata (zaleplon). I wouldn't give this up for anything right now. It is unlike all other sleeping pills. It basically has a really short half-life and only works for a couple of hours, but it hit very hard. The first time I took it I had minor hallucinations. As a result of the short time it exists in your body you only need 4 hours of down time after taking it (most sleep medications require 8). It helps most to fall asleep, but you happen to wake up in the middle of the night and you have at least 4 more hours until your wake-up time, then take another. They say that is the first really succesful sleep medication that you can take on an as needed basis. They cost about $2 per pill. I love them.

[ Parent ]
Excellent suggestions (5.00 / 1) (#146)
by Go5 on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:16:10 AM EST

I used to have the same problem. My doctor made many similar recommendations, most of which worked well.

A few remarks:

  • Sex is a great sleep aid. For a great night's sleep, try an evening session starting a little earlier than usual.
  • The advice about exercise is right-on. If possible, consider several short exercise sessions throughout the day. For example, run a couple miles early, lift weights for 15 minutes before lunch, then bike for an hour in the evening. Unless you're trying to lose weight or body-build, two or three 20-30 minute sessions work fine.
  • Be sure your bedding is in decent shape. Better pillows made a huge difference for me.
  • I've found reading before bedtime to be counter-productive in the long run. My body's been accidentally trained to become sleepy after reading for more than ten minutes or so. Oops.

    [ Parent ]
  • Yah (5.00 / 1) (#158)
    by AmberEyes on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:15:26 AM EST

    My body's been accidentally trained to become sleepy after reading for more than ten minutes or so. Oops.

    College can do that to you.


    "But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
    [ Parent ]
    I can't read before bed... (none / 0) (#199)
    by loucura on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:36:59 AM EST

    Reading before bed only assists my insomnia. Even if it's a horrifically written book without an editor, I just have to get to the end...

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Since we're talking sleep... (none / 0) (#131)
    by sal5ero on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 10:55:58 PM EST

    It could be that you are simply in that cycle due to doing activities late at night - your sleep cycle can start to "rotate" around the clock when you do this. Maybe the activity is something that stimulates your body more than your friends, making it harder for you to sleep straight away. One thing I do that often works, when this happens, is to force myself to stay awake all night, and then go to bed at the proper time the next night. I didn't sleep at all on Sunday night, and slept a beautiful 10.5 hours last night!! (from 9pm)
    Another trick I have heard of is to go to sleep an hour later than usual, and move your sleep time an hour or two back each night, until it has rotated right around to the time you want to go to sleep. Obviously you will need a long period of not needing to go to classes or work to do this. I haven't tried this technique, though.

    [ Parent ]
    I recognize this (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by LeftOfCentre on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:00:17 AM EST

    I've tended to do this, too, especially in my student days. Unfortunately I have no good tips on how to deal with it, I simply force myself to get up at a "reasonable" hour.

    [ Parent ]
    The problem isn't with you. . . (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by Fantastic Lad on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 09:06:50 AM EST

    I work at home, and I keep whatever hours I want.

    Like you, I'm irregularly up late with friends and/or work. Basically, the nature and intensity of my social and cerebral activities determines when I sleep. I think perhaps the invention of the light bulb might have something to do with this.

    I wonder if perhaps animals which are on a habitually determined sleep schedule do better and feel better, sleeping because the sun goes down rather than when they run their batteries dry and collapse from exhaustion, which tends to be my way of going about the whole affair.

    I don't think this causes a problem. I usually feel pretty darn good, although I do typically sleep more than the recommended 7-9 hours a day. I generally sleep a minimum of 10 or 11. I always wake up feeling rested, (unless, of course, I've been dead-line chasing and staying up past when I feel tired, drinking coffee and such.)

    In any case, it sounds to me as though you are going to have to make a choice in how you live; do you want to live a life pursuing regimented goals determined by somebody else, or a free style kind of life like the one it sounds like you currently do. --Both work, although I find the thought that most of the first world population goes through early morning hell 5 days a week entirely monsterous! I refuse to get out of bed until I feel bored with being horizontal! --It's the only way to live; I look years younger than anybody else my age, and I generally attribute this fact to my sleep and work habits, (although, eating well while not drinking or smoking might have something to do with this. --Except those kinds of behaviors, I feel, are directly linked to how miserable your job makes you).

    You might think about trying VERY hard to figure out and implement an alternative life-style which will allow you freedom from the 8-5 work week.

    It's not easy, and it's different for everybody, but it IS possible.

    As Campbell would say, 'Follow your bliss.'

    Luck to you, my friend!

    -Fantastic Lad

    [ Parent ]

    Me too (5.00 / 1) (#169)
    by rusty on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:04:32 AM EST

    This 4-12 schedule is my regular one too. Since I don't have to get up at any particular time most days, it works out fine for me. I get my 8 hours, and everything's cool. I wonder if some people are just naturally wired for 4-12. It seems like it's not just me and you.

    Interestingly, after working for myself for over a year, and not having to set an alarm, I've gotten so no matter when I go to bed, I almost always sleep for exactly 8 hours. The time I go to sleep varies from day to day, depending on a lot of things, but the 8 hours is invariant.

    Not the real rusty
    [ Parent ]

    Marijuana (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by fsterman on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:11:44 AM EST

    I did this about two summers ago, saying good night to my father at 5:00 in the morning and sleeping in until about 12. They got concerned and (my mom is a phycologist) they showed me the studies that said that reversing your sleep schedual is detrimental. So since you don't need any convincing that this is bad and you want to go back to a normal schedual I will tell you my secret to adjusting one's sleep schedual: lots of bud and caffiene. Okay so maybe this is an artificial way to do it but hey, it's easier and (if your used to bud and coffee) feels better. So now either smoke some heavy indica and fall right to sleep or if you have sativa (or maybe you want to enjoy your high) smoke it 2 hours ahead of your target bed time. I have fallen aseep for 18 hours before on bud so make sure you have your alarm clock on loud, a friend to make sure your up, and a coffee maker that will brew some coffee automatically as you may be very groggy.

    [ Parent ]
    Sleep Schedule Shock (4.00 / 1) (#173)
    by opendna on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:07:36 PM EST

    Anytime I find myself slipping into the 4-to-noon sleep pattern I skip one sleep cycle and set the time for the beginning of the next one. I won't go to bed at 4 am and will force myself to wait until 9pm. I avoid all drugs for the last 4 hours (especially stimulants) and exercise to stay awake. Usually by the time the target sleep time comes around my body isn't very particular.

    There! I'm on the schedule I want. This doesn't mean I can't/won't slowly revert back to the 4-to-noon schedule; it takes some discipline. Others in this thread have written great advice about getting to sleep on schedule (e.g. exercise, drugs, sex, etc.).

    Remember: Sleep is natural, but the schedule is convenient.

    [ Parent ]

    Me too. me too. (none / 0) (#177)
    by Anonymous American on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:13:40 PM EST

    Usually I have a different sleep schedule on the weekends, and switch for the weekdays. I had a terrible time adjusting, some weeks I was like a zombie. I finally ended up not sleeping saturday night and sunday morning. I would deal with it by avoiding caffeine and sugars and eating a lot of protein. I would make it through sunday pretty easily (if you do the high protein thing you will avoid the stupidity that comes with lack of sleep) and fall fast asleep at ten on sunday night. The next morning I wake up nice and early at 6:30 AM. I have never encountered the so called "sleep defecit".

    The shock thing works, and you can do it every weekend.

    [ Parent ]
    me to (5.00 / 1) (#176)
    by yohahn on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:53:59 PM EST

    I'm into a day job about 4 years, and I STILL revert to this when left to my own devices. Fortunately I'm at a smaller company that isn't to upset when I head in a bit late (make it up on the end of the day)

    [ Parent ]
    similar (5.00 / 1) (#181)
    by krek on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 02:38:55 PM EST

    I find that, for me, a 4am to 10am schedule is best. After sleeping those six hours I feel good, happy and ready to go. Unfortunately, like the others here, this is not very conducive to long term employment. The problem is that it seems to require two hours extra sleep at the beginning of the night in order to wake up one hour earlier. All week I sleep from 10:30pm'ish to 7:30, 9 hours, and wake up and go to work feeling like I was robbed of about four hours of sleep, only once I get some crack-a-cola into my system are these effects mitigated. And yet, once Friday comes around again I stay up until about three or four and then wake up at around ten in the morning, feeling refreshed, happy and ready to go. It is annoying and confusing. On top of this, in almost all cases the hours between 8pm and 2am are by far the most intellectually productive of my day, that is, as long as I am not sleeping during them. It is all so stupid!

    [ Parent ]
    Similar... (none / 0) (#184)
    by Znork on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:51:04 PM EST

    But I've noted that left to my own devices it's not that I like to go to bed at 4am, but rather that I have a natural 25 hour day/night schedule. If left completely without any pressing needs, I'll continue to turn the sleeping time all the way around until I wake where I started after 3.5 weeks.

    I usually have a friend call me in the morning. I wont wake up just for the alarm clock to get to work, unless there's a meeting or something with overriding priority that I know affects someone else but me. But someone calling works since it _might_ be someone else with something important.

    [ Parent ]
    Non 24 hour days... (none / 0) (#187)
    by Kaki Nix Sain on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 08:35:58 PM EST

    Yeah, I have that same feeling. With me, I think my day cycle is about 26 hours long, but once I start going to bed at sunrise, I usually start feeling like a freak and working to get back to "normal" fast. Last summer I let myself go, and ended up cycling around back to normal just as you said.

    For a while there I was haveing to schedual appointments and errands for the days that I would be awake during business hours. I got a few funny looks when I told people that I couldn't come back after the weekend b/c I would be asleep.

    Not seeing the sun screws with my psychie some, so I try not to get too far off these days. I have a hard limit of going to sleep at 4am at the absolute latest. That way I can be up at 10am and be sorta normal.

    [ Parent ]

    I've heard two things (none / 0) (#217)
    by pietra on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 01:03:04 PM EST

    the first being that this is a side effect of a whole bunch of hormonal changes starting with adolescence and progressing into one's mid-twenties. It definitely seems to be more pronounced for men than for women, and I've actually read some fairly large studies that corroborate the same timeframes for sleep. In other words, this is perfectly normal (and the number of people posting similar issues suggests that it's certainly typical of k5ers!). The other interesting thing relates to a couple of long-term studies regarding light stimuli and other biological "internal clock" issues. These studies were performed in caves or laboratory settings in which no sunlight or other outside factors were allowed in, and the participants regulated their own light sources and sleep patterns; people slept when they were tired, and were awake when they felt like being awake. Within a month, all of the participants were on a 30-hour day. Kinda funky when you think about it. As far as fixing it, well, everyone else here has given the same advice that I would. Listen to them ;)

    [ Parent ]
    A natural state? (3.50 / 2) (#123)
    by imadork on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 09:58:12 PM EST

    I know that this sleep pattern is definitely not for me. I get rather irritable and cranky if I don't get eight to nine hours every night. I've found, however, that years of working in the real world can do wonders for changing your schedule. In college, I avoided 8AM and 9AM classes like the plague, but now, sleeping until 7:30 is "sleeping in" for me!

    But this article did remind me of something strange in my life. I took a trip to Japan for my job last year. It was hard enough to get used to time over there - I would get up with the sunrise at about 4:30AM, because that's what I do here. By 8PM, I was really tired, but I was drinking so much I didn't care.

    But even stranger was what happened when I came back- I came back on a Saturday, and had the weekend to recover from the trip and from work. With nothing that important to do, I lapsed into a similar sleep pattern to the one discussed here for a few days (I think it was that after three hours awake, my body turned itself off for an hour wherever I happened to be.) This didn't happen in Japan because we kept ourselves so busy during the day and so drunk at night...

    Could it be that this is the state our bodies return to when we're not strict about what time we need to do things?

    Approximately 50% of us are below average..

    Power-naps (4.50 / 2) (#132)
    by Souhait on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 11:50:11 PM EST

    I remember reading about astronauts (cosmonauts?) utilizing 15 minute power naps during period os extreme duress to help solve seemingly intractable problems. The people involved were on normal sleeping schedules but still found 15 minutes to be useful in rejuvenating the mind.

    Some research (none / 0) (#135)
    by mindstrm on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:29:22 AM EST

    I read... said that, most definately, people require with little variation 8 hours of sleep per day.
    It can be spread out, or all at once.

    There is a very real thing called 'sleep debt'.
    You get 4 hours a night for 3 days, you come up 12 hours short, you WILL make up those hours at some point, whether it's an extra hour each night, or a long sleep, or nodding off into microsleeps through the day.

    Bah. (3.50 / 2) (#174)
    by autonomous on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:20:02 PM EST

    I did quite a bit of research yesterday, there is no such thing as a sleep debt in the eyes of the military. Once you get a good nights sleep, you are refreshed, Period. No sleep debt, no making up for lost time, you lose it, its gone. My own life with shift work tells me this is true as well, get one good night of sleep a week and you'll be refreshed for your day off.
    -- Always remember you are nothing more than a collection of complementary chemicals worth not more than $5.00
    [ Parent ]
    Your signature (none / 0) (#206)
    by CAIMLAS on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 02:31:22 PM EST

    only 5$? I'm not sure where, but I've read that the human body contains a large amount (as in many of them, not actual quantity of a single compound/chemical) of chemicals that are incredibly valueable on the open market. I'm not sure what the value was, but it was quite large - over the multiple thousands mark - for the value of the chemicals in your body. What is it you were thinking is only worth roughly $5?

    Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
    [ Parent ]

    Monetary Value (none / 0) (#215)
    by winthrowe on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 01:19:16 AM EST

    I believe the qoute applies when considering the most basic states of the chemicals, ie standard forms of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus (99.4% of the human body is those six), and trace elements; not more complex organic compounds found in the body.

    [ Parent ]
    the need for sleep (4.00 / 1) (#141)
    by tiger on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 12:44:03 AM EST

    The reason why we sleep is an open question. Probably most people guess that sleep does something restorative, such as the body doing repair work, or building up chemical reserves, or something like that.

    My own view, which I arrived at a few years ago, is that sleep is a time during which reprogramming can take place.

    Most people probably do not realize how universal sleep is throughout the animal kingdom. For example, insects sleep. I have written about what I understand sleep to be, in The Need for Sleep. The context assumes that our cells are, in effect, under programmatic control.

    Americans :— Say no to male genital mutilation. In Memory of the Sexually Mutilated Child

    Re-programming (4.00 / 2) (#148)
    by The Solitaire on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:33:55 AM EST

    My wn view, which I arrived at a few years ago, is that sleep is a time during which reprogramming can take place.
    This is actually not an unfounded view. I read a paper some time ago which theorized that the function of REM sleep was to prevent overtraining in the human neural network. One way to do this is to wash random noise over the network. It turns out that there is a wave of ectivation in the human brain called a PGO (Ponto-geniculo-occipital) wave that occurs during REM sleep. They refer to this effect as "reverse learning".

    There is some information on overtraining in artificial neural networks here.

    The reference, in case you're interested, is: Crick & Mitchison (1995). REM sleep and neural nets, Behavioural Brain Research, 69, 147-155.

    I need a new sig.
    [ Parent ]

    interesting, but ... (none / 0) (#186)
    by tiger on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:50:57 PM EST

    I first learned about neural networks when I had a few artificial-intelligence courses in computer-science grad school.

    My own opinion is that neural networks are not the underlying basis of our intelligence. I have given a few of my criticisms of this idea that neural networks underlie our intelligence, in the second paragraph, here.

    Americans :— Say no to male genital mutilation. In Memory of the Sexually Mutilated Child

    [ Parent ]
    huh? (none / 0) (#194)
    by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:55:46 PM EST

    I suppose your programming background doesn't provide you the required neurobiology bases. Unfortunately this is very frequent in AI workgroups. *Artificial* Neural Networks were made to "resemble" real networks made of neurons, weren't they?

    If you care do some reading I suggest:
    1) Zigmond - Fundamental Neuroscience (Academic Press)
    for the neuroscience basics
    2) Wilson - Spikes, Decisions and Actions ( Oxford University Press)
    with a more mathematical/matlab view

    The Solitaire: nice to see someone actually *reads* BBR except for the authors :) .
    There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
    [ Parent ]
    comments (none / 0) (#196)
    by tiger on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 01:17:24 AM EST

    I suppose your programming background doesn't provide you the required neurobiology bases.

    Likewise, I suppose your biology background doesn’t provide you the required computer-science bases.

    *Artificial* Neural Networks were made to "resemble" real networks made of neurons, weren't they?

    Yes. That was the original idea.

    If you care do some reading I suggest:

    Thanks, but my mind is already made up, just as yours seems to be.

    Americans :— Say no to male genital mutilation. In Memory of the Sexually Mutilated Child

    [ Parent ]
    This is getting way off topic but... (none / 0) (#221)
    by The Solitaire on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 10:40:15 PM EST

    I checked out your criticism of artificial neural networks, but it seems to me to be resting on what I believe is a flawed understanding of memory. That is, that memories are in some sense a "thing". In my opinion, this is not a warranted view - memories are more accurately understood as a process. For an interesting read on the nature of mind, check out the work on dynamical systems theory by Timothy Van Gelder.

    I need a new sig.
    [ Parent ]

    (totally off-topic) (none / 0) (#157)
    by jwaskett on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 07:04:42 AM EST

    Sorry for the offtopic post. Tiger, would like to communicate - can you give me your email address or contact me at chilliesmad at hotmail dot com. thanks.

    [ Parent ]
    actually... (none / 0) (#193)
    by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:39:00 PM EST

    what you call re-programming is the REM sleep phase. It's not a single-cell process but the re-organization of neural networks.
    Did you know that babies do a lot more REM sleep than adults of any given animal species? Did you also know that while climbing the evolution tree, animals do a lot more REM than their ancestors (ie. primates do more REM than birds)? Some (rare) animals do not actually "sleep" like sharks but the latter have been prooven to "swap" one hemisphere at the time in REM (they cannot "sleep" since their respiratory system stops working if not moving). Experiments on volunteers have proven that REM deprivation negatively infuences attention and intellectual skills in an impressive manner.
    There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
    [ Parent ]
    Humans dont get beaten up as much as other species (none / 0) (#204)
    by jforan on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 11:23:52 AM EST

    Physically, anyway.

    I wonder if the REM portion of sleep is necessary for mental health, the rest of the sleep cycle may be a mechanism for the body to repair bruises and cuts, etc.

    Is anyone out there on this sleep schedule that generally abuse their bodies (I am not sure what profession this might fall under - construction comes to mind) that feel their physical bodies still seem to repair themselves as quickly as giving them 8 hours sleep?

    I hops to be barley workin'.
    [ Parent ]
    Buckminster Fuller did this (4.50 / 2) (#152)
    by Jonathan Walther on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 03:42:19 AM EST

    I don't know when Uberman developed the technique, but I read in Bucky Works: Buckminster Fullers Ideas for Today, by J. Baldwin that Bucky had developed this technique in the 1940s. According to Mr. Baldwin, Bucky followed this regimen for 2 years, gave it up for reasons unknown, although it was implied that he stopped to please his wife. Despite giving up this particular sleep schedule, Bucky was noted throughout his life for his perpetual level of energy and the long hours of work he would put in, with little sleep. Mr Baldwin was upset that the authors of the "Power Napping" concept didn't credit Bucky for being first.

    (Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")

    sleep accumulates (none / 0) (#178)
    by Rainy on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 01:21:53 PM EST

    I read in some research papers or articles that sleep accumulates over a very long period, a year or even a few years. In other words, if you cut down on sleep during one year, the next one you'll have to generally sleep longer or you'll have negative health effects.

    By the way I remember reading recently here that Salvator Dali had a habit of taking cat naps - where he'd hold a spoon or a fork above a metal surface and go to sleep. As soon as he'd enter a phase where muscles relax, he'd get waken up by the noise.
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

    accumulation (none / 0) (#190)
    by hikari on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:18:02 PM EST

    Actually, sleep DOES NOT accumulate. According to recent studies, if a person gets normal 8 hours of sleep, then down to 3 hours, sleeping for 13 hours will not catch that person up on sleep. It doesn't accumulate.
    Don't take my word for it, it was in my psychology textbook.

    [ Parent ]
    definately not so! (none / 0) (#192)
    by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:29:17 PM EST

    at least all the after-60s papers say so, and so says personal experience.
    Could you bring some papers in the discussion? You either misunderstood them or I'd really like to see these scientists' point of view.

    There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
    [ Parent ]
    google to the rescue! :P (none / 0) (#214)
    by Rainy on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 10:40:12 PM EST

    I came up with:

    cnn article where Dr. William Dement, a noted sleep authority at Stanford University, says: "You lose a half an hour a night over the course of a month, and this will slowly pile up... As far as we know, all lost sleep accumulates as a debt."

    Well, there's at least a full page of hits, I don't want to paste them all so help yourself.

    On the other hand I have to say I never studied dissenting opinions or researched this matter in detail, I think an article in new scientist or something like that caught my eye, besides that's been my personal observation, too. There's certain amortization here, that is, if I sleep 3 hours on one night, the next I can sleep for 9 hours and feel okay, but if I sleep for 3 hours on several nights, then I have to sleep much longer also for several nights.
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]

    I can vouch for that (none / 0) (#205)
    by CAIMLAS on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 02:27:42 PM EST

    Last year in college, I slept roughly 1 or 2 hours a night, and maybe once a week, I'd sleep for 10-14 hours - generally Friday late-PM (or Saturday early-AM) into Saturday evening. I was always tired, and never seemed to get the sleep I needed. (I was battling with some heavy depression/chemical imbalances, insomnia, stressful situations, and relationship problems at the time.) This is essentially the same schedule I had my last year of high school, 2 years ago.

    This past summer, I slept a very large amount, and I am finding this year that I require a larger amount of sleep this year in school than I did last (this is my sophmore year). I also find that I'm much more ill this year than last - I was always healthy last year, but this year I seem to be constantly battling illness.

    As far as the power-nap, polyphasic sleep schedule is concerned, I've heard and read that it is generally bad for your body as a whole, despite the possible energetic feelings that you experience. The first 2 states of sleep are for physical healing and regeneration, while the second two are for mental relaxation and 'resequencing' - the 5th stage, REM, is for mental and physical regeneration/energization. By only having REM, your body loses out on a lot of body-produced horemones and other chemicals that keep your system running optimially. Our bodies are biofeedback systems - we're designed (or evolved, whatever you prefer) so that we can only take a certain amount of input before it becomes hazardous to us. Asside from the stress on your body from being up and running for 21 hours of the day, there is also the lack of maintanance being done during sleep. Thus, in theory, you will age more quickly, and likely die early. (This is the explaination I've read in various places.) I've heard that people that sleep more or less than the prescribed 8 hours a day tend to live shorter lives than those that sleep a solid 8 hours.

    On the other hand, I've also read that the less people sleep, the longer they live - I'm not sure which one is correct, or which factors the two studies took into consideration.

    Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.
    [ Parent ]

    Everyone with kids does this (4.00 / 1) (#183)
    by pkesel on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 05:01:08 PM EST

    Anyone who has experienced the first few months with a new baby, especially more than one, has done this. Especially those with a child that has sleep or eating problems. You learn to survive on an hour or so of sleep whenever you might get it. You often find after a while that you can't sleep more than that. It's remarkably frustrating.

    My own experience (4.00 / 1) (#185)
    by everyplace on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 06:26:12 PM EST

    In february I started working at a gas station (long story). Prior to working there, I had a normal sleep schedule, around 8 hours a night. But as soon as I started at the gas station, I was working the 11 pm to 7 am shift, and my sleep schedule was thrown into chaos.

    The hardest part of adjusting was figuring out when I was supposed to behave as a normal person. Do I get up around 5 pm and work on my own stuff then, and go to work afterwards? Do I get up right before work and stay up until 2 pm?

    What I ended up doing was forgetting any normal concept of sleep schedule, and opting for as little sleep as possible. These days, I get up at 10 pm, just enough time to get to work, and stay up until around 7 pm, which gives me an incredible ammount of time to do things.

    Now, since as I said this is at a gas station in the middle of the night, things get really slow sometimes. There's a really loud bell on the front door to the place, so sometimes I sit down and power-nap for maybe 10 minutes, until someone comes in, and then I'm up and waiting on them. So I suppose this is cheating a little bit, but regardless.

    When I get home from work, I'm up and doing things all day. My two roommates are awake at this time, so we can get our daily dose of interaction out of the way before they go to work. I can do my daily web routine, do some of my own creative work, and even fit in some house chores before sleeping again at around 7 pm for a few hours.

    I'm not recommending this sleep schedule under any circumstances, I'm just throwing it out there for the record of diversity.

    Looks ok to me! (4.25 / 4) (#191)
    by KiTaSuMbA on Tue Apr 16, 2002 at 11:24:25 PM EST

    Some points I'd like to underline:
    Sleep is not a prescribed drug... you should get as much as you feel in need of. Thus, if you wake up and feel rested and fresh, go on with it, if not, go back to normal day-night cycles.
    On the benefits, you should add the actual full REM sleep benefit: your memory and intellect is based on REM (yes, most work is done in sleep not awake, however strange this sounds). While working on mentally-heavy projects such a sleep cycle will help you cope better than usual day-night cycles. The fact is that you re-elaborate (in REM) your project chunk by chunk in each nap. I used a similar scheme, though not knowing there was a scientific description and kind of automatically turned myself in it, while studying Anatomy for the exam in Univ. I had a 15 days time for say, 2000 pages of Human Anatomy. I used to study a chapter then take a nap (30min - 1hr max) then back to the next one, resulting in a study time of 18hrs/day without ever feeling tired. It actually worked out with the best results but the drawback was I had to postpone the vacations a week after the exam because I couldn't get enough of my "just doing nothing" afterwards. Another scheme I tend (still not designing things, it just happens) to fall into is the so-called bi-circadian cycle (2 days, 1 night sleeping) while working in stressing projects. These periods last for about 2-3 weeks and I don't feel tired ever (not even afterwards). While not so fruitful for intense-thinking jobs this scheme works great for projects needing just a lot of work (e.g. designing an experiment is intense, going through statistics after semi-automated R scripts is not but takes lots of time). The rest of the time I practically have NO wake-sleep schedule whatsoever. Days pass I sleep 4 hrs and feel fine, days pass that I sleep 12 hrs and feel like a tank roamed over me, night or day, never minds.
    Your larger appetite is by no means a drawback (unless you can't pay for filling that fridge every day :-P). You are awake 21/24 and even when asleep you are mostly on REM (thus thrusting your brains at warp 9 ;-) : energetical needs thus are expected to be higher. Orange juice and the like provide you with vitamin C which is an "anti-oxidant" helping your body while in physical stress (that is why orange juice is the best "medicine" against flu, as your grandmother told you).
    The point of INTENSE, vivid dreams is the actual proof this works for you: pure REM activity. Another piece of personal experience: whenever studied *seriously* an exam, I would always dream about the contents of the exam the days before it. I remember writing down the formulas in Biochemistry I without even reasoning, I just remembered the dream, heh.
    1) A stronger tendency to occasional illness (like colds and the like). More hours awake means more stress for your body.
    2) Taking up weight. Your increased appetite might induce you in eating up just about everything. Strict food schedules may help.
    3) If you are required to handle heavy/complex equipment (like a bulldozer?) you better leave this sleep schedule behind. These rapid sleepyness attacks can cost serious damage if not victims if they occur while at work.
    4) restlessness: if you find out you are becoming "jumpy" in your social relationships, it would be a pure sign you are pushing your mind too much. Either relax, or abolish this scheme.
    IMO, if none of the above happens, there is nothing to worry about. What seems to be the hardest part of it, is the adjustment period, as you already pointed out.
    There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
    Your grape juice (4.50 / 2) (#198)
    by Wulf on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 03:14:20 AM EST

    This really had me interested all day, especially because of my screwed up sleeping periods. Thanks to watchmaker for the term "polyphasic sleep". Claudio Stampi and his Chronobiology Institute has done a lot of research on this, though I couldn't find much online. He has a book called "Why we nap". I remember first hearing about him and polyphasic sleep on the Dateline special of Ellen MacArthur (She used polyphasic sleep while sailing around the Antarctic alone).

    As for your grape juice addiction, I believe it has to do with the content of Alanine, though it's not much (around .208g per serving). Alanine is used in the metabolism of Tryptophan, an important neurotransmitter.
    Something else that would worry me about missing out on NonREM sleep is your bodies production of Melatonin, described as the "time setting hormone", the production of GH, and Serotonin. Also, the already mentioned increased production of Cortisol.

    I would recommend that you take a full vitamin supplement, like Centrum and a drug called Ademetionine (don't know commercial name). Adementionine is an excellent antioxidant, helps your liver work well (production of serotonin) and works as a mild antidepressant. I will be trying polyphasic sleep when summer starts and I will keep a detailed journal. I hope I can also take some medical tests while I'm in the middle of it. Good luck and keep us posted.

    "I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it"
    - Calvin

    My experience... (4.00 / 1) (#200)
    by jonr on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 07:21:23 AM EST

    Very interesting. My sleeping habits are somewhat strange. I have been battling cronic depression for over 10 years,so that may have something to do with it. Very often I have problem going to sleep, and problem getting up. My mind is in high gear when I go to sleep, and I feel restless and urge to do something. Watching Discovery or BBC Learning can help, but I find movies boring and uninteresting. I sometimes don't fall asleep until 4, even though I have gotten up at 8. I would love to take 20 min. powernap, when I have the chance I feel very energetic and and productive. But that 3 week adjustment time sounds like pure torture. J.

    Attention: Topic Poster! (4.00 / 2) (#208)
    by CAIMLAS on Wed Apr 17, 2002 at 02:51:59 PM EST

    A couple questions I might ask:

  • What are the effects of physical activity, compared to a normal 8-hour sleep schedule?
  • If/When you become physically injured, how does the heal time correlate to that of an 8-hour sleep schedule?
  • Have you noticed any changes in your physical appearance,tactility feeling? Skin, weight, muscles, joints, shakes/shaking, unsteadyness, blurry vision, tension, etc?
  • Is your energy level perpetually high, or does it come in bursts, and burn out quickly?
  • Are you truely more functional throughout the day, or do you simply have more time?
  • Have you noticed any changes in your mentality: the way you relate to others, your emotional state, or your thought process?

    I feel that, if this type of thing can be pulled off without physical or mental ailment, it could be an incredible thing for society, provided the long-term effects are not disasterous (IE, shorter life span, or aging more quickly). In our 24/7 society, this could be greatly beneficial.

    It'd be interesting to see how this contrasts with how things are done today in the world and the Biblical way of doing sleep (most likely working your ass off all of daylight hours and some/a large part of the night (possibly spent in social activities), and then sleeping for a large part of the Sabath - a technique I've attempted myself).

    Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

  • Comments (4.00 / 2) (#223)
    by tes on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 01:03:30 PM EST

    I find myself being more physically active than before; I usually take a run before my 2 AM sleep period, something I didn't do before.

    I have not yet become significantly injured since I switched. I haven't noticed a difference in the healing time of minor cuts and bruises, though.

    I feel in better shape, but this may be due to the increased physical exercise that I am getting.

    My energy level feels like a compressed day during each 3 1/2 period of wakefulness. I usually start off feeling energetic, but by about the two and a half hour mark, my energy level begins to slip. By the time I should nap next, I am usually sleepy.

    My personality seems not very different to me. My significant other says I seem happier and more outgoing; I think part of that could be due to the fact that I'm happy because I'm getting so many interesting things done. For instance, I've been reading Knuth's "The Art of Computer Programming," which is something that I wouldn't have had the time to properly devote my attention to, but now I have plenty of time. In addition, I've written a novel and a half (actually, the last third of a novel, a complete novel, and the beginnings of another) in the past month and a half.

    [ Parent ]
    Grape juice flavonoids (3.00 / 1) (#216)
    by Scrymarch on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 06:40:08 AM EST

    A veterinary friend informs me that grape juice has flavonoids in it that help recycle antioxidants, very deep cycle sleep-ish.

    A cursory googling uncovers a few pop health type articles on the topic.

    I've not investigated this... (none / 0) (#224)
    by tes on Sun Apr 21, 2002 at 01:04:32 PM EST

    As I said, I just had a strong craving for grape juice, and to a lesser extent orange juice, during this whole experience.

    [ Parent ]
    Another alternative: 28 hour day (4.00 / 2) (#218)
    by rampy on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 02:09:09 PM EST

    heh... 6 day week/28 hour day *shrug* just something I stumbled upon a long time ago in my quest for weird and geeky links. rampy
    www.randomdrivel.com -- Fish, plankton, sea-greens, and protein from the sea!
    Links to Everything2 (4.00 / 1) (#219)
    by n0nick on Thu Apr 18, 2002 at 03:11:55 PM EST

    The link to Everything2 should not include the "lastnode_id" parameter. Such link would create an unwanted softlink between this lastnode and the linked node.
    The link should instead be directed to: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=892542.
    Thank you.
    "Outside? Is that the big room with the blue sky? There aren't any computers out there." -- DesiredUsername

    I just started on this cycle yesterday (5.00 / 1) (#226)
    by SlightlyMadman on Mon Apr 22, 2002 at 12:12:36 PM EST

    If anybody is still curious about trying this, but wants to hear a few more peoples' experience first, you can track my progress here:


    I'll try to update at least daily.

    Daily Logs (none / 0) (#228)
    by rawchicken on Fri May 10, 2002 at 12:34:35 AM EST

    I've started a daily log of my attempt at the Uberman sleep schedule as well. Please feel free to post any helpful hints on my site.

    OK brainiacs, I think you might have this backward (none / 0) (#230)
    by sserendipity on Fri May 24, 2002 at 05:45:48 PM EST

    I'm trying a longer, more mellow route to a reduced sleep schedule.

    I've started out by taking the naps >first<, practicing to expect a 'rest' every four hours or so, before eliminating the nightly sleep period. This way, I don't have to become insanely tired, and have to show ridiculous amounts of will power to get out of bed at any time (which I couldn't do :>)

    (It goes without saying that I'd already quit all sleep interupting chemical intake - no more booze, weed or caffeine; I never smoked tobacco. I also started taking vitamins - a multi, plus Niacin, Vitamin C, and B complex)

    Every four hours, I take a 20 minutes to nap; about 10 minutes actually asleep. (At some point I'm going to take a good half hour for this, something I wish I been doing from the beginning) If you are remotely tired as it is, this won't be nearly as hard as it sounds - I actually find it much easier to fall asleep like this than used to do at each night (I used to spend hours trying to sleep each night). I've got myself down from 9 hours of fitful sleep each day to a very restful 6, including four naps.

    I've never felt better, though unfortunately, the lifestyle I'm seeking will require reducing my sleep even further.

    I wake up without an alarm clock, though I'm not getting much more than about 5-10 minutes of REM sleep at this point. I think that will come in the next step, when I start getting less sleep each night.

    I've been on this for a month now, with a couple of days backsliding to a full 10+ hours of sleep, which I expected to happen. Getting back to where I was sleeping at each nap took two or three of days each time. When I miss my nap, I already >miss<it - I feel about as groggy as I used to every day before I tried this system. Could it be that some people are better off sleeping like this? <P> Next, I'm going try waking up in the middle of the night each night, doing a few things (a few minutes music practice) before going back to sleep, and also waking up earlier and earlier in the morning.

    Doesn't this make a little more sense than the 'suicide' method that most people have used? It's also a lot more practical for those of us that have jobs (like myself), and aren't just crazy college students playing games with their body for a lark.

    Sure, it remains to be seen whether it works or not, but I would imagine that it will be a great deal easier to 'make the jump' now that I can happily nap every four hours, and have already cut back my daily sleep amount considerably.


    . .groovetronica.com. .

    Other polyphasic systems (none / 0) (#231)
    by xeeban on Wed Jun 19, 2002 at 04:17:55 AM EST

    Some friends and I have been doing a similar sleep schedule, but instead of the hard core 20 minute naps every 4 hours, we've added a "core sleep" period of 3 hours in the early morning. As of the time of this post, we've been on the schedule now for 20 days and still going strong. If interested in our experiment notes and logs, you can see our progress at: http://polyphasic.blogspot.com

    Mailing list set up for people trying this (none / 0) (#232)
    by sserendipity on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 06:02:19 PM EST

    Hi, I've set up a mailing list for people trying the uberman sleep schedule. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uberman/ sserendipity


    . .groovetronica.com. .

    Uberman's sleep schedule | 232 comments (227 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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