Sleep

GanChan

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 21, 2005
588
22
In my ongoing quest to reduce fatigue and get more done, I've been looking into changing my sleep schedule -- as a freelancer, I have some options. I keep reading that it's more natural for most creatures to sleep twice a day instead of getting all their sleep in at once, so I tried to replicate the bi-phasic "siesta" schedule that moves a chunk of the total snooze time into the early afternoon. Didn't work for me, because I got too groggy long before the siesta time.

Today I tried getting most of my sleep in one shot, waking up and puttering around for a couple hours, then going back to sleep for another 1.5 hours. This worked better, but still isn't ideal; I think I need a shorter wakefulness period and slightly longer "second sleep."

It's hard to know whether something's working or not because of the inevitable "jet lag" of the initial adjustment period....

Anybody else running on an unconventional sleep cycle? What works for you?
 

mobilehaathi

macrumors G3
Aug 19, 2008
9,344
6,213
The Anthropocene
I'm often to bed by 10pm and up by 6am. I feel great, but with the commute I don't have much time left over for much else (a few hours to decompress, cook, chat with my partner). Of course it is somewhat more complex than that, but it is a reasonably accurate distillation of my typical sleep schedule.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
24,957
7,893
Detroit
I'm often to bed by 10pm and up by 6am. I feel great, but with the commute I don't have much time left over for much else (a few hours to decompress, cook, chat with my partner). Of course it is somewhat more complex than that, but it is a reasonably accurate distillation of my typical sleep schedule.
That's similiar to my schedule too. Though my commute is 2 miles. Many days after work I'll lay down for a short nap and that always helps me get the rest of the way through the day.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
11,832
Midlife, Midwest
Its hard to make too many generalizations about sleep. Everyone of us is slightly different, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Some general observations:

The idea that we humans should expect to lie down at 10 or 11pm, fall quickly to sleep, and awake totally refreshed some 7-9 hours later is pretty much of a myth. It is happens for you: count yourself as lucky. Most people, once past their childhood, will awaken at least once in the night.

As a general rule, we seem as a society to be chronically sleep-deprived. Most urban dwellers running a deficit of between 45 minutes to two hours a night. We will try to catch up on weekends, but that doesn't really work.

A nap/siesta can be tremendously re-invigorating, especially if you didn't get as much sleep as you wanted the night before. But a word of caution: Do not let your nap go more than about 45 min or so. If you go into a deep REM sleep in your nap, you will wake up from it disorientated and angry.

Work on making your main sleep period as effective as possible. Practice good "sleep hygiene": No TVs or movies in the bedroom. No food, exercise, alcohol, or caffeine in the two hours before bedtime. Clean sheets and a comfortable bed. Keep your bedroom slightly cooler than the rest of the house.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
24,957
7,893
Detroit
A nap/siesta can be tremendously re-invigorating, especially if you didn't get as much sleep as you wanted the night before. But a word of caution: Do not let your nap go more than about 45 min or so. If you go into a deep REM sleep in your nap, you will wake up from it disorientated and angry.
That is so true. Though I don't wake up angry after too long of a nap. Just groggy and then disappointed that I ruined my night time sleep!
 

Renzatic

Suspended
...so I tried to replicate the bi-phasic "siesta" schedule that moves a chunk of the total snooze time into the early afternoon.
Interesting little fact, but it's becoming widely believed that sleeping roughly 8 hours straight once per night is something we've only started doing relatively recently (as in within the last 300-500 years or so). There are tons of medieval documents, from medical records, to court documents to fiction, talking about something they call first and second sleeps, where we slept in two separate 3 to 4 hour chunks. Like we'd go to sleep around 8 PM, wake up at midnight, stay away til 3 or 4, then sleep until 8 AM. It's very possible we could've slept this way since the dawn of humanity, and only picked up our current sleep schedule due to changing pressures in society.
 

localoid

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2007
2,428
1,722
America's Third World
Interesting little fact, but it's becoming widely believed that sleeping roughly 8 hours straight once per night is something we've only started doing relatively recently (as in within the last 300-500 years or so). There are tons of medieval documents, from medical records, to court documents to fiction, talking about something they call first and second sleeps, where we slept in two separate 3 to 4 hour chunks. Like we'd go to sleep around 8 PM, wake up at midnight, stay away til 3 or 4, then sleep until 8 AM. It's very possible we could've slept this way since the dawn of humanity, and only picked up our current sleep schedule due to changing pressures in society.
I don't know that it's considered a "fact" or "widely accepted" but historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech did publish a book with historical references to segmented sleeping patterns in diaries, books and literature a few years ago.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
I don't know that it's considered a "fact" or "widely accepted" but historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech did publish a book with historical references to segmented sleeping patterns in diaries, books and literature a few years ago.
I probably over embellished a bit, but there is plenty of compelling evidence supporting the hypothesis. Not only in historical documents, but the way we tend towards interrupted sleep patterns when we're not pressured to do otherwise.

From personal experiences, I tend to get extremely groggy around 6-8 PM at least 3 times a week. I'll fight it for about 45 minutes, then it'll suddenly pass, and I'll feel perfectly awake and alert again.

...though you could chalk that up to me being a naturally nocturnal person, and I keep strange hours because of it. Since I was a kid, and apparently even as far back as the womb from what I've been told, I've always felt more active and alert from early evening to the wee hours of the morning. I find it hard to go to sleep before 4AM, and I'll go through days and weeks where I'll only get 3-4 hours of sleep a night because I'm just not tired until then.
 

localoid

macrumors 68020
Feb 20, 2007
2,428
1,722
America's Third World
I probably over embellished a bit, but there is plenty of compelling evidence supporting the hypothesis. Not only in historical documents, but the way we tend towards interrupted sleep patterns when we're not pressured to do otherwise.

From personal experiences, I tend to get extremely groggy around 6-8 PM at least 3 times a week. I'll fight it for about 45 minutes, then it'll suddenly pass, and I'll feel perfectly awake and alert again.

...though you could chalk that up to me being a naturally nocturnal person, and I keep strange hours because of it. Since I was a kid, and apparently even as far back as the womb from what I've been told, I've always felt more active and alert from early evening to the wee hours of the morning. I find it hard to go to sleep before 4AM, and I'll go through days and weeks where I'll only get 3-4 hours of sleep a night because I'm just not tired until then.
I can identify with what you're saying. Most of my life I slept far less than 8 hours a day. But research has shown that's probably not healthy.

Researchers have found that lack of sleep can more than double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. However they have also found that point comes when too much sleep can also more than double the risk of death.
Websites such the Mayo Clinic will usually advise "getting less or much more than seven hours of sleep a night is associated with a higher mortality rate."
 

D.T.

macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
8,918
6,695
Vilano Beach, FL
But a word of caution: Do not let your nap go more than about 45 min or so. If you go into a deep REM sleep in your nap, you will wake up from it disorientated and angry.
I wake disorientated and angry even after 8 hours :D

Side note: I just read that some SMEs suggest that if you’re prone to drinking mid-day caffeinated bevs, and you introduce a nap into your routine, drink the bev then immediately hit a short nap (like you suggested, in fact, they said keep it to ~30 minutes). The caffeine will hit maximum effect as you’re waking, giving you much improved clarity and energy post-nap.


I've got an hour each way. :(
I have to walk downstairs ... the burden is beyond belief ... :D
 

mobilehaathi

macrumors G3
Aug 19, 2008
9,344
6,213
The Anthropocene
I wake disorientated and angry even after 8 hours :D

Side note: I just read that some SMEs suggest that if you’re prone to drinking mid-day caffeinated bevs, and you introduce a nap into your routine, drink the bev then immediately hit a short nap (like you suggested, in fact, they said keep it to ~30 minutes). The caffeine will hit maximum effect as you’re waking, giving you much improved clarity and energy post-nap.
Hey, not only have I read similarly, but injecting coffee into another thread is always smiled upon. :p
 

Big Stevie

macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2012
970
285
UK
If I ever have a lay-in then I feel horrible when I awake, and I also feel I've wasted a big part of the day. Whist we are talking about sleep, does the quality/type of mattress & pillow play a big part?

When my open sprung mattress died I decided to replace it with memory foam. The TV adverts in the UK for Tempur memory foam mattresses got me drooling. I couldn't afford a Tempur mattress but did treat myself to a very expensive Sealy memory foam mattress, believing this would help me sleep better. It didn't!:mad:

I over heated so much that I would wake twice a night dripping in sweat, and the indentation made by my body was slow to reform, so turning over in the night caused me to roll back into the dent id created. A few days later I returned it for a refund.

I now have a 3000 pocket sprung mattress which I'm please with, but I do have desires for an expensive mattress such as Hypnos (bed makers for the Queen).

Also, which type of pillow do most folk find the best? I did once get a memory foam pillow but hated it, it felt too hard and uncomfortable.
 

bgd

macrumors regular
Aug 30, 2005
237
11
SG
I was never able to drop off quickly but I've remedied that.

For about half an hour before bed I sit on the roof terrace doing nothing. It's very restful and when I hit the pillow I'm out like a light.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
63,840
30,360
Boston
I tend to get about 7 hours of sleep, and I seem ok with that. Sometimes 7.5 hours, its hard to tell. Some nights, I'll turn in later, and other nights, earlier then normal.
 

sviato

macrumors 68020
Oct 27, 2010
2,274
44
HR 9038 A
Personally, I go to sleep around 11pm-12am and am up at 6-6:30am. Though I think my optimal sleep time is around 7 hours and 21 minutes.

I've also found that I feel much better getting up at 6 when my alarm goes. If I hit snooze 1-2 times I'll get up closer to 6:30 but I'll feel much more tired and groggy throughout the day. Been hitting snooze too much actually these lat few months :p
 

dianestory2

macrumors 6502
Sep 16, 2014
257
1
I sleep from 12 am- 7 am and it works for me.

However, I have read that if you plan on making drastic changes to your sleep schedule, like dividing it into two parts, your body requires about two weeks of an adjustment period to get used to it.