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How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With? -

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How Little Sleep Can You Get Away With? -

Unfortunately I belong in the "small percentage" that require 9-10 hours...

and people wonder why investment banking/finance is so inefficient

What I learned from this article:

1. Most people cannot be at their cognitive peak with fewer than 8 hours of sleep a night.

2. For most people, getting more than 8 hours of sleep does not improve cognitive functions over just getting 8 hours.

3. The mind does NOT adapt to getting less sleep habitually.

4. People are bad at judging how much cognitive function they lose when they do not get enough sleep.

5. A few people need less sleep (or more sleep!) but that's genetic. You cannot train yourself to need less sleep.

Hit the nail on the head. I wish I could say I'm one of "the few" but sadly much of my life is spent recharging :)

The military is having a tough time coming to those conclusions. While I will admit to not being at my cognitive best, I do believe I can operate at a good enough level habitually with 4-5 hours of sleep. I have done this in the past thanks to the Army and the Kids.

Perhaps the military believes it can screen for the people who have genetic proclivities to be in that rare set of people who can get under 5 hours of sleep a night with no loss of cognitive abilities?

I'm a very strong believer in sleep. When I was in college, if the choice was extra studying or sleep, I always chose sleep, figuring I'd rather have my wits at 100% rather than a few more facts at my disposal.

It's not always possible to get enough sleep. When this happens, the best solution is to take a brief nap. I'm famous for keeping a cot in my office--not for late nights, but for sleepy afternoons. A 10-20 minute nap is usually more than enough to restore my energy and focus.

Here's a blog post from 2008 pointing out that you can get the happiness equivalent of an extra $110,000 a year simply by sleeping more and having more sex:

Mitch Altman has just put his Neurodreamer mask on Kickstarter - claims to induce sleep really successfully. His meditation mask is one of the most downloaded of all Make projects - perhaps due to the fact that some people report that 14 minutes of meditation in the mask induce wellbeing AND hallucinations.

Seconding Chris re more sleep and sex = plus $110k

And adding that similar math has been used re house prices - you are justified purchasing more expensive house closer to your work due to happiness and productivity increases due to reduced commute time.

The article neglects to mention the impact of how you get your sleep. The typical monophasic sleep pattern is an artifact of our society but it's not the ideal way to rest. Polyphasic sleep (cat naps only) is a superior approach and will let a person function at a higher level for a given number of hours of sleep. This article explains the concept and advantages in the context of single-handed transoceanic sailboat racing - which to me, is a lot like the time right before you launch your beta ;-) so think it over. You may want to research polyphasic sleep because if you're on a launch deadline, it's the way to go.

I had never heard of polyphasic sleep. Will look into it.

Speaking as co-owner of two children under two, the answer is: as much as they'll let me get away with.

Tim Ferriss has some interesting thoughts about sleep from his book, The Four Hour Body. Here are two points from his findings. He ranks sleep quality from 1-10 (10 being best sleep):

1. 8-10 sleep was most dependent on the ratio of REM-to-total sleep, not total REM duration.

The higher the percentage of REM sleep, the more restful the sleep. The higher the REM percent, the better the recall of skills or data acquired in the previous 24 hours. Higher percent REM sleep also correlated to lower average pulse and temperature upon waking. Based on available studies, I expected deep wave to affect the latter two, but the correlation was erratic.

2. I could increase REM percent by extending total sleep time past 9 hours or waking for 5 minutes at approximately 4.5 hours after sleep onset.

Short wakings of 5-10 minutes, particularly one additional waking approximately 6.5 hours after sleep onset, dramatically increased REM percent. It turns out that waking is not necessarily a bad thing, at least when intentional.

The full article is here:

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