[anonymous]9y7

Anki reps, mostly. I found that I could do proper review sessions for about 2-3 days and would hit an impenetrable wall. I couldn't learn a single new card and had total brain fog until I got 3 hours more sleep. That, however, would reset my adaptation.

The whole effect is a bit less pronounced on Everyman, but not much. It is however easier to add sleep when you already have a core.

I didn't notice any other major mental impairment after the initial sleep deprivation. I could (and did) play 16+ hours of BG2 and similar games each day and not break down. (I'm so grateful for the easiest difficulty setting now. One Uberman attempt took me 55 hours until I got any sleep at all and all my cognition went to hell. But I could still play HL2, although I got lost within an elevator.)

The other really bad thing about polyphasic sleep is impatience. Quote from my diary at the time (also notice the slight irritation):

Impatience is really getting annoying. Except for the short core I can't skip any time at all anymore. If something takes 6 hours, like a download for example, I will be awake (almost) all the time and have to wait. Every. Minute. Of. It. You see everything pass. Someone just went to bed and you want to talk about something? Prepare to sit there, for 8 hours or more, fully awake. Wrote some email and await an answer? You'll have memorized 500 digits of π before you get it. You can't skip anything, can't just hibernate a few hours. Once the sun went down, you'll sit in darkness, for 14 hours and more right now. If you are not president by day, superhero by night and mad scientist on the side, you'll be bored right out of your skull. Your puny hobbies are not enough for The Night That Never Ends, mortal!

Besides all that, it's cool and kinda works.

Anki reps, mostly. I found that I could do proper review sessions for about 2-3 days and would hit an impenetrable wall. I couldn't learn a single new card and had total brain fog until I got 3 hours more sleep.

Oh, cool - as I understand it, Anki keeps fairly detailed statistics and exposes them to you; it'd be interesting to see graphs matched up with you being on Everyman vs Uberman, etc.

I didn't notice any other major mental impairment after the initial sleep deprivation...Besides all that, it's cool and kinda works.

Yeah, but I wonder what's real... (read more)

Optimizing Sleep

by [anonymous] 1 min read10th May 201137 comments

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I have an atypical sleep schedule.  I tend to drift in the hours that I keep (that is, going to sleep later and later each day until a 'reset' is required).  I also am willing to sacrifice sleep if something sufficiently interesting or urgent (problem sets, a Neal Stephenson book, a new Less Wrong article about an interesting topic) comes up.  While procrastination earlier in the day can also play a part in my staying up late, I've noticed that, left to my own devices, I seem to prefer a day-night inversion.  I'm naturally much more active at night than during the day, and will skip a meal or two in order to maintain this schedule.  (Note:  I realize that day-night sleep inversion can be a sign of a medical illness.  For reasons I won't go into here, I don't believe that any of them are applicable.)

The schedule that I have now is not optimal for a number of reasons:

  • Not being able to socialize with very many other people due to not syncing up with their schedules.
  • 'Drifting' leads to unpredictability in my ability to function at a given time during an upcoming day- which is  important for tests and classes.
  • Sleeping during the day is more difficult than at night (extra noises, distractions, etc.)

 

What I'd like to do is figure out how to optimize my sleep schedule.  I'd prefer not to just 'invert' it to be a typical sleep schedule, but to either alter the sleep schedule or discover changes that I can make in other parts of my life that will mitigate the downsides.  Some things are obvious: microwavable food for when nothing else is available at night is one change that I can make right away and would minimize the damage from skipping meals.  The social issues and 'drifting' are more complicated and don't present an obvious solution after a few minutes of reflection.  The reason I resist changing back to a regular sleep schedule is that I know that I'm groggy and miserable in the morning and less productive until about noon of that day if forced to operate under a regular sleep schedule.

Do you have an atypical sleep schedule now, or have you in earlier parts of your life?  I would hazard a guess that among the Less Wrong/Rationality/Skeptic/Bayesian community, experimentation in sleep schedule would be higher than in the general population.  Have you tried a polyphasic sleep schedule?  (I once unsuccessfully did a few years ago in hopes of solving some of the above problems.)  If you have experienced these or similar problems, what 'hacks' have you found that mitigate the downsides?

 

(Note: This is my first discussion post.  I apologize in advance if the formatting or content seems a bit askew as a result.  Constructive criticism is of course welcome.)

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