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lachoy (1663)


I am actually Chris Winters; I am actually living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; I am actually married and have three cats. (Guess what one of them is named?) I am the "OpenInteract" guy, which could be good or bad.

Journal of lachoy (1663)

Thursday January 03, 2002
01:27 AM

It's all just training...

[ #1879 ]

It should be possible to slowly train yourself to do with less sleep, shouldn't it? I mean, not if you're 5 years-old and sleep is crucial to your physical and mental development. But say you're in your early thirties and the only way you can accomplish even part of what you want to do is sleep 3 - 4.5 hours a night.

Of course, you could always just live with diminished expectations, but that's no fun.

Lawrence Block wrote a series of books about a character with some manly name (Stark?) who didn't need sleep. He spent his spare time learning new languages, various esoterica and performing skilled services (theft, kidnapping, etc.) for various folks. Good public transportation reading.

Went to the gym tonight (yay!) and found that techno (or trance, or whatever the kids are calling it today) is also good for jogging.

I tried adding myself as a friend to myself here and got the terse response "Sorry, this is not an option." I think a person needs to be friends with himself before he's friends with anyone else....

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  • 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 m

    • 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 [] to time your power naps.

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

  • It's all a function of what you're doing to your body, and what your body is doing to you. I hear the occasional story about some over-achiever who is operating at superhuman performance at less than 4 hours per night. Being properly nourished is apparently a significant part of it.

    Buckminster Fuller had a trick where he got only 2 hours sleep a day, but did it in 15 minute increments. Part of it was knowing exactly when he needed his fifteen minute naps. Part of it was eating the optimum diet of stea

    • Nutrition is an interesting point I hadn't thought of. I don't eat meat so that might actually help. Maybe if I cut down on the processed food (frozen lunches, etc.) that might help...

      I wish companies would feel comfortable about instituting naptime in the afternoons. I could even bring my own mat!

      Fortunately, I think my kook-quotient is sufficiently low that I can feel free to experiment a little bit :-)


  • ...of sleep deprivation, depending on who you read and what study you believe, can include anything from mild irritability (as described), a range of hallucinations, and (in extreme cases) coma and death.

    I also seem to remember there being a record-holder for Least Amount Of Sleep Needed Per Night, but I can't remember the name or amount of time.


    You are what you think.
  • The real way to do it is Polyphasic sleep. 15 minutes of sleep every four hours. If I do the math right, that's 22.5 hours awake every day. Astounding.

    I heard about this years ago, a friend had a copy of some medical journal where it talked about polyphasic sleep. Apparently it's excruciatingly hard to get on the system, but once people did, they got higher average scores on cognition and recall tests.

    It makes sense. It's how animals sleep. Just watch a cat or dog. It's how babies sleep. I believe it was

    • Actually, cats sleep about 16 hours a day, even if it's not in one long chunk. If they slept only a few hours a day they'd probably evolve thumbs and get rid of us all :-)


  • Parents go through this with their newborns. We had four months of getting no more than 2 hours uninterrupted sleep with William. I've found that even when he started sleeping all night, we still wake up around 4, even though we didn't before we had him.

    Parents adjust. It's amazing how functional you can be with broken sleep. It's also amazing how dysfunctional you can be. Like Whammo said, don't expect to be 100% even if you're used to it. There's a big difference between subsistence sleeping and c

    • I won't have a problem sleeping through the night with my children. The problem is my wife. :-) I sleep through anything, except for her slapping me around on the back of the head.

      Anyway, I am glad I work at home. I can nap whenever I will need to.