of no fixed subtitle
March 07, 2005
Work out your sleep rhythm
18 years ago
Jeez, no wonder I'm like a zombie in the morning, I should be sleeping until 9 am!
They don't offer "1am-3am" for "when you feel at your best". Not that I'm there anymore given my morning work hours, but that's been the case for years and years.
I find it funny that a 4-question quiz can give you a picture of your rhythm. The only way to really do this is to go live in a perfectly dark cave for about a month, with nothing to give you a cue as to the current time. Lights are an issue though, as light (even self-imposed light, that is, lights you control yourself) affects your internal clock, and can throw off your rhythm by resetting the clock. If you're a morning person forced to work nights, 15 minutes of very strong light every few hours in the evening can do wonders for you. Think the lights they use for seasonal affective disorder... they really do help push your biological rhythm closer to your work schedule.
The test did produce a fairly accurate picture of my sleepy vs. alert times, but what I can't figure out is why the time when I am most alert (evenings) is also the time I am least likely to be productive? I'd much rather be looking at silly websites and taking online quizzes in the evenings than actually working.
This doesn't actually work for me. It gets my nighttime sleepiness wrong - for instance, I am much sleepier 12am-2am than I am from 2am to 6am. But I think the problem is that habit and personality have taken over from my natural body clock. I wonder if I am a morning person, trapped within an night owl's schedule. I have worked mornings, and was actually quite happy and alert getting up at 5 or 6 am. Then again, I've also worked nights, and that was fine too - though sleeping away the daylight hours was unpleasant because of the lack of sunlight. Maybe it's just that my body clock is now so screwed up from years of allnighters and misuse that it has the tendancy to creep around the clock, with me staying up later and later until I am nocturnal, despite the fact I do not enjoy being nocturnal (which seems to belie the idea that I am a natural night owl.)
Always been an owl, hit the rack at around 1ish most nights, up at 6 the next morning - five hours sleep seems to be best for me, much less and I tally up sleep debt until I crash, much more and I walk around like an zombie. I'm a cafeine junkie (coffee through lunch, Coke until cocktail time, chocolate whenever), but I'm hoping that
gets loose in the world to the extent that mutts like me can get it. I would dearly love to get my sleep time down to 2-3 hours a night. I had a chemistry instructor in college who, through various trials and errors, notaqble among them experiments in
that didn't pay off (circumstances preclude me from trying this, but it looks ludicrous), managed to wean himself down to about 3 hours of sleep a night, typically from 3 to 6 a.m. He said it was like having a whole other life to accomplish things.
I remember reading about a mathematician who was working at (IIRC) Los Alamos who experimented with 26-hour days. He didn't have to punch a clock, obviously. Anyway, he finally was forced to give it up after a few months, as he couldn't bear to wake up to a setting sun.
It's a compelling idea to have more time, but I reckon I need the sleep. My mate's been working every night on a project for a couple of years. He says he is used to it, but there are side effects and doesn't recommend it unless you've got a specific goal.
Fes - modafinil (provigil) is relatively easy to get from your doctor now. I've seen sample packs of it, so I think it's being marketed pretty hard. A number of people I know have prescriptions for it, including my fiance. He wasn't drug seeking - it was actually the doctor's idea. So, you could always ask your doctor about it. Now's probably the time to do so, since I imagine that eventually, public opinion will swing the other way, the way it did for those "diet" pills from the 60s.
cabingirl: thanks! I will ask. How'd your fiance react to it?
stay up to insane hours, but I feel like hell afterward.
I'm also really, really sick of being stereotyped as a night owl or a non-sleeper by my family; they CONSTANTLY needle me about staying up till 5 a.m. and never sleeping, something I haven't done in years. They think it's funny. Not sleeping fuels my bad brain chemistry. It's not fucking funny.
I didn't realize that the mid-afternoon drop was normal; I've always felt guilty and wrong for falling asleep in early-afternoon classes. Hm. That said, it's kind of a moot point; like many people (not here) I have a crappy desk job with absolutely rigid work hours, so there is no shifting of... shifts. Don't get me started; in my perfect world, people could work odd hours as long as it all added up to the required number.
You can avoid the afternoon droop by not having a big lunch. Eating 3 or 4 smaller meals spread through the day is best.
White folks aint got no sleep rhythm. They be all up in the bed, like, "I am a white man. I will take my rest now. Please do not disturb me."
Conversely, the article supposed that the afternoon drop
based on what you eat. So maybe it's not gospel after all...
I'm a moderate night-owl, whose preferred sleepy-time is about 12:30am to 8:30am (+/- about a half hour or so), and I have to get up by 7 most days for work. I'm fortunate that it's not so far out of whack that my worst symptom of the bad phasing is difficulty dragging my sorry ass out of bed during the week. I think that the sooner the medical establishment gets noisy about advocating public health by pressuring employers to (reasonably) accommodate varying sleep cycles, the better. I'd love to work 10-7 if I could.
Fes: he likes it for the most part. It doesn't really keep you up for 36 hours at a stretch when you take it every day. If he doesn't take it on the weekend, though, he's pretty tired by Monday morning because it's totally out of his system by then. I imagine it could become psychologically addicting, feeling like you are in control of your need to rest.
Fes: If you want to get try modafinil, but can't, get hold of
, via mail-order. Basically, it goes like this: adrafinil metabolises to modafinil and an acid. Modafinil then metabolises to a sulfone and the same acid. Most of the psychoactivity of adrafinil is believed to be via modafinil. What happened with adrafinil was they found that taking it regularly for long periods (> 3 months) affected levels of certain enzymes in the liver, especially alkaline phosphatase. This hasn't been an issue with modafinil. Modafinil is about 6 times potent (100mg <--> 600mg), but also 5-6 times more expensive. Modafinil is also prescription-only and DEA scheduled (IV) whereas adrafinil in unscheduled and hasn't been sent through the regulatory process. Which means, you can order upto a 3-month personal supply from abroad.
That guy was profiled in James Gleik's book, Chaos,
. The story was that people around town were spooked by this guy wandering around at all hours. Neat story. Readable book.
Ah, damn it, thank you! I was trying to remember where I'd read that. It's been by-God
since I read that.