I have at least 40 hours of sleep debt from a polyphasic sleep schedule and attending hackathons. This number is a conservative estimate. Has anyone here researched the neurobiology of sleep deprivation? What can I do to recover quickly? 

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Garrett Baker


I will tell you the received wisdom from my friends' experience, and their friends' experience with polyphasic sleep: It is in theory doable, but often in practice a disaster because you end up getting less sleep than the minimal theoretical requirements given by polyphasic sleep.

If on polyphasic sleep you are sufficiently undisciplined that you end up racking up 40 hours of sleep debt, this wisdom would say you should probably stop doing polyphasic sleep. And instead of biohacking your way out, just have a few nights of normal sleep.

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This is purely anecdotal - supplementing sleep debt with cardio-intensive exercise works for me. For example, I usually need 7 hrs of sleep. If I sleep for only 5 hrs, I'm likely to feel a drop in mental sharpness around midway the next day. However, if I go for an hour long run, I miss that drop almost completely and feel just as good I normally would've with a complete sleep.