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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • by Whammo (2555) on 2002.01.03 1:55 (#2604) Homepage Journal

    Some people just naturally need more or less sleep than others, but it is quite possible to adjust to a lengthy period of mild sleep deprivation. Once you've adjusted, your body tends to stay that way, and you have to work on adjusting back to a normal sleep pattern. Of course, reactions also vary from person to person, so YMMV.

    I had two lengthy periods of mild sleep deprivation - the first was a period of about a year where obligations afforded me about four hours a day to sleep. The second was a little more inexplicable, as I was just naturally sleeping three to five hours a night - that lasted for about two years.

    Once you adjust, you can function fairly well, although rarely at 100%. You lose that heavy-eyed sleepy feeling that you get from pulling the occasional all-nighter, but you also lose a noticeable amount of energy and alertness. (About how you feel at the halfway point of an all-nighter, unless your halfway point is your second wind.) Nothing overt, but simply minor things, like adding numbers or coming up with the right word in a conversation. I find that I become frustrated with things a little more easily.

    There are limitations and potential side-effects, though. The first period ended with a two-month stint of having those four hours broken into two two-hour periods. I went through an intense emotional and mental change - much less patient and tolerant, much more angry and violent. And now, having adjusted back to a fairly normal sleep schedule, I find it much more difficult to handle brief, but extreme, periods without sleep. Of course, that could be because I'm not 20 anymore.

    Ultimately, it's up to you. If your body needs it, it will take it. Learn to power nap. Better than Jolt.

    • Power napping is my preferred way to do this as well. I've found that I'm pretty good at falling asleep quickly and napping for ~20 minutes. It's a huge recharge. I think I read (or heard) somewhere that Thomas Edison was a power napper.

      I totally agree with people needing more/less sleep than others -- my wife is on the 'needs more' side of that. She really needs at least 7.5 - 8 hours per night, and it immediately affects her if she doesn't.

      I also agree about the chemical stimulation effects of somethi

      • It's difficult to survive any sort of shift or watch work without power napping, but you can't survive long term on it. Studies - no, I've no idea what studies - show that the body eventually needs the REM sleep that power napping doesn't provide in order to repair and restore itself.

      • If you're seriously interested in power napping, and need to have the full compliment of geek toys, see the story about this Springboard module [palminfocenter.com] to time your power naps.

        The news story alludes to a NASA study about power napping for astronauts.