Fog Creek Software
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your sleep pattern

I have been experimenting with my sleep pattern for a long time. I have read about good sleeping habits which amounts to at least 7-8 hours per day every day, and preferably between the hours of 10:00PM and 6AM.

Well, unfortunately my body doesn't like any of this advice. First of all, I cannot get myself to fall asleep at 10PM. I tried lots of things including exercising, taking soothing baths, etc... I followed these for months. No luck. I am incapable of falling asleep at 10PM unless I haven't slept for a long time and I am completely exhausted. I am guessing this is a psychological issue. I think 10PM is so darn early.

Secondly, I have trouble getting up early in the morning. I have always been this way. Even as a little kid, I just couldn't get up early. Not a morning person whatsoever.

It seems like as long as I get up around 10am, I am in best mental and physical shape all day long. It almost doesn't matter what time I go to bed either. To get 8 hours of sleep, going to bed around 2-3am works the best.

Obviously this is not acceptable for an 8-to-5 job. I used to work for a small company and this worked out wonderfully.
I could come and go as I pleased, as long as I put in my hours. Now I work for a bigger company and I have to follow the 8-to-5 routine which is not that great for me.

These days, I try to be in bed by 12 (not tonight), and get up at 7. When I wake up, I most often feel like I got hit by a truck. Unless I sleep the 2-to-10 interval, I always wake up this way. It usually wears off in about 30-45 mins, but I hate waking up like that.

I am wondering how you guys are coping with your sleep duration and time interval, etc...

p.s.  In case you are planning to link my sleeping issue with my life style, even though I am not necessarily looking for advice, here are a few facts: I have no medical problems that my doctors know about, I do not eat after 8pm, I do not have bad eating or drinking (only decaf coffee) habbits  and I take my vitamins. I try to exercise but no as often as I'd like.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I'm in the same boat.  I've always had trouble getting up in the morning and in fact all through high school I was nauseated every morning when I woke up.  Eating sometimes helped a bit.  But I even went to the doctor and had them do one of the most uncomfortable procedures I've ever had, just for them to tell me I was fine.

I think my problem is more related to the number of hours I sleep though.  If I get < 9 hours, I fall asleep in the afternoon.  If I get > 10, same thing.  Between nine and ten hours is perfect.  Could be the heavy lunches too, but I'm in great shape and work out four times a week so I need to eat a lot. (Maybe it shouldn't be all at once though, split lunch into two meals or something).

So now, I just go in to work when I wake up around 10... but it's usually 7 or 8 pm when I leave.  After the gym and eats, it's basically 11 or 12 and there isn't much to do.  So I waste that 12-2 period doing nothing and then start over again.

I wish I could wake up earlier and go to bed earlier, but don't see it happening.

Michael Pryor
Fog Creek Software
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I am the complete opposite.
Dmy final year of highschool, I would go to bed at 8pm every night. I would wake up nice and early too.

I am still like it, I feel like I have slept in if the clock hits 7am. It is a great way to be with the typical 9-5 work hours. Everybody likes a sleep-in from time to time, but I usually take mine during the week, ie I might sleep in to 7.30/8am. I love it. I get up earliest on the weekend, definetly out of bed before 7am. This gives me a huge day in which to do heaps of stuff, I love having the entire day ahead of me.

Bedtime used to be 11pm/12pm ie aiming for 6 solid hours sleep, + 1 hour tossing and turning trying to get to sleep.

Things have changed a bit being married, my husband likes to be in bed by 9.30/10 and will sleep until 7am. 9hours sleep is too much for me and I end up feeling so bored trying to get to sleep. But I have increased to about 8hours sleep and am feeling alot healthier for it.

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Exactly the same "problem" here.

If I sleep 8 hrs - from 2am to 10am - I feel rested and with full stamina during the day.

If I sleep 8 hrs - from 10am to 6am - I feel like a junkie on a permanent bad fix of adulterated shit during the day.

So it's not a matter of sleeping hours. I really don't know the scientific reason for this (if any) bu it's driving me nuts, I have to wake up in the morning at 6, five days a week, since work starts at 7 and it doesn't improve with time (I've been waking up at 6 during the last 3 years), so neither is a matter of "geting the habit", whatever it is.

Good morning.

Sleepy head
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I have the same problem.  For me the solution has been one of two things.

1.  Staggered sleeping patterns (ie, 8 hours one night, followed by 5 or 6 the next so that exhausted that night).  The sucky thing about this is I feel crappy halfway through the days when I only got 5 hours of sleep the previous night and I'm convinced I'm less productive on average through the whole day.

2.  However the best solution for me is regular exercise. The most obvious immediate benefit of regular exercise for me was more regular sleep patterns (never mind the other areas of general health).

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

some things to follow that might help you guys:

-eat 5-6 meals everyday instead of 3 meals a day. eat in smaller portions.
- don't eat after 8-9 pm, and don't sleep immediately after eating.
-work out 3-4 times a week
-try to sleep and get up at the same time everyday - even on weekends.
-get a minimum of 7 hours sleep everyday.

If you would like to ideally get up at 7am, and are currently getting up at say 10 am, try getting up 15 - 30 minutes every week till you reach your goal. Accordingly adjust the time you go bed. Also, set your mental alarm clock to get up at whatever time you want to get up.


Prakash S
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

For some people whatever you try will not work simply because your biorhythms work differently from others.

Its 4 in the morning as I type this ! <grin>

Prakash S
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Me too. I sleep the same routine - 2 AM to 10 AM mostly. When I am not doing more than 18 hours in the office, I leave the office at around 11 PM, reach home by 1:30 AM, read or watch TV till about 2 or 3 AM, then go to bed. From 8 AM to 10 AM, my folks usually will keep doing their best to wake me up. It'll be anything from screaming, to switching on the TV full volume (or anything that makes lots of noise), or sprinkling water on my face. But I'll usually get up at 10 AM or 11 sometimes.

When I don't get disturbed in the 8 AM to 10 AM zone, I feel very relaxed during the rest of the day.

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Sleeping patterns have a genetic component to them. I remember from a BBC Horizon documentary this case of an Italian family where all of the family members just can't keep from falling asleep at 3pm, except for an unlucky daughter who did not inherit the gene, and that spends the afternoons at family gatherings all by herself.

I used to be a 11am-3am person all my life, and given the opportunity I still tend to revert to that "natural" state. Work obligations and family life have had me adopting a 7am-11pm pattern,  but it took me about 8 years before it felt OK.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Please excuse my poor English - I am not a native speaker.

Melatonin is excellent for regulating your sleep pattern.

I have used it, and it helped me a lot.

You can get it from

It resets your internal brain clock.

Let's say you want to go to bed at 10:15 PM.

At 10:00 PM, take a Melatonin pill, for a week.

Most likely you will fall asleep at 10:15-11:00 PM.

After a week of this therapy, you will naturally fall asleep at 10:15. You will naturally get very, very sleepy, and fall asleep.

One caveat: if you take too much melatonin, then you are going to sleep 20 hours, OR you are going to wake up after 8 hours and feel very bad for another 10 hours or so.

If this happens to you, lower your dose until it doesn't happen anymore.

I take about 0.5 mg doses. An 1.5 mg dose makes me sleep for 20 hours or so.

Another caveat: say you want to set your falling asleep hour at 10:15 PM, but you stayed up until 2 AM.

DON'T take melatonin. Take something else, like Valeriane (80 mg), etc.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

You lucky, lucky bastards.

I need about 7-8 hours to function normally. I have to get up around 6am.

I currently go to bed around 10.30-11, if allowed. My wife keeps me awake until midnight/01:00 am.

I usually get woken at around 2.30 either by the light which has been left on or the gentle rasping burr of her snoring, which to a tired person sounds like a wounded moose strapped to a cement mixer.

I get woken again at around 4am by my 3 year old son demanding either the toilet or to sleep with Mum and Dad. He kicks me in the back for half an hour.

I get often get woken sometime shortly before 6 by the fact that its freezing and the duvet has been taken by wife&son. Lie angrily shivering until alarm gives me a reason to get up.

I live with the permanent buzz of a tiredness headache.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

This is amazing. This matches my natural daily patterns too. I spent five years in a 9 to 5 job and was always tired.

Nowadays I work till 2 am or later, till I'm tired, then fall asleep straight away, sleep well and wake around 10 am feeling like a million dollars.

This pattern was actually useful when we had our child. I would handle the late shift, to about 3 am (if he woke up, wanted a bottle etc), then my wife would handle the early shift, because she always wakes up early.

Makes you wonder about the corporate world and its stupid schedules.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I am not a morning person by nature. However, I was able to adapt by following this program:

Step 1: Have children. Sleep as you now know it will cease to exist. Now that I'm a parent, if I get 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep in a night, I am ready to take over the universe when I wake up.

Step 2: Get up even earlier. When I try to be up by 6:30-7:00, I oversleep consistently. Now, I get up at 5:00 every morning. My job requires longish hours, so I start work at 6:30 so that I can still leave by 4:30-5:00.

Lastly, (maybe you're already doing this) Don't drink anything caffeinated (sp?) after lunch time.

Good luck...

Rob VH
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I'm one of the "late" people. Going to sleep at about midnight, and getting up at about 8.30 am works well for me. Getting up too early makes me nauseous, like the other poster.

I saw a science show about this once. Apparently, the "larks" among us (people who like early morning, such as my wife) have very strongly-entrained Circadian rhythms. So even if they have a late night, they still wake up the same time the next day. Whereas the "owls" (people like me) have easily disrupted Circadian cycles, and end up all over the place. Their advice to owls was to try to keep to very regular habits to try to get their cycles better entrained. Melatonin might well help with this: I've found it useful for jet-lag, but it should be avoided by anyone prone to epilepsy, as it can trigger a seizure, according to US health authorities.

I personally doubt that that's the whole story, as even if I get very tired (four nights in a row with only 3-4 h sleep does it for me), I'm still far more likely to fall asleep in the late afternoon than in the middle evening. Nonetheless, I have done a job where I had to get up at 6am, and was OK. I just wasn't properly awake until about two hours later. Good thing I wasn't driving to work...

Dave Hallett
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

mmm...I'm a night person, my wife a morning person.  It's not an ideal combination apart from dealing with our 5 year old - we do it in shifts.  Being forced to get up I sleep 1-7am.  If not it slips to 3 or 4 - 9 or 10.

I agree with Rob - when they're really small kids will keep you up.  When our youngest was newborn I only kept going through coffee and since when I had a cup I made it for the department as well you had me like the living dead and everyone else twitching.

a cynic writes...
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Wow, lots of late people.  I used to be like that as well.  Work until 8-10pm, go home watch some TV be in bed at 11:30-12, up at 8:30 or 9, at work by 10-10:30.  Of course there wasn't much time for anything besides work so as I got a little older (and smarter :) ) I decided that I should trim back my work hours a little.  During this time I was living in one city during the week and working while my wife was at home going to school at the university close to our house (about an hour's drive from where I lived during the week).

When my wife was done school we moved closer to my work, my wife got a job as a teacher and needs to be at work before 8am.  We also tend to get a workout in before work 4 out of the 5 work days.  So the alarm goes off at about 5:20am and I try to drag my ass out of bed before 5:30.  When school is out during the summer it is much, much harder to get out of bed (might have something to do with not being yelled at by the wife to get out of bed :) ).  I don't drink coffee after noon usually (and when I do I know it when I am trying to get to sleep) and I find it very hard to keep my eyes open past about 10:30 at night.  Some times even getting past 9 or 9:30 is a challenge.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Wow! Lots of late-night people!  That's good to know.  :)

I personally would never take medicine to induce a sleeping pattern. If it is not happening naturally after much trying, it can't be good to force my body to do something it doesn't want to do.

I used to feel bad for getting up late, but if I sleep from 2am to 10am, I still have the rest of the 16 hours in the day. It is just that my 16 hours are slightly shifted with respect to other people's... Besides, I love to work in the quiet of the night when everyone else is in bed and there is nothing but infomercials on TV! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

When I worked in the restaurant biz, I was a late person.
Now that I have an office job, I'm a morning person.

I used to go to bed at 6:00 a.m., now I get up at 6:00 a.m.

Haven't had any problems adjusting to either one.

The Ted
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

When I visited the west coast after living in central time all my life it was perfect. I got up at 6-7 AM  (8-9 CST) feeling refreshed and went to bed around 10-11PM (12-1 CST), so some might not recommend this but if it was ever possible moving a couple time zones west would do the trick.

Go West
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

My sleeping patterns are flexible, which is nice - I can stay up until whenever and be fine after only about a day.

The trouble happens when I don't have to be up at any given time.  I stay up for about 18 hours and sleep for about 9 when left on my own.. over the course of one unscheduled month I went through a complete cycle (sleeping only 29 times in the 30 nights) in which I became completely nocturnal and then came back around to the daylight.

So, I guess I'm an owl and a lark.. heheh.

Riley Lark
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I'm surprised how many of us are the same sleep-wise. I'm also perfect in that 2am-10pm pattern. The only problem is when (like today) I get a call from someone out in the business world who thinks that everyone gets to work at 8:00 or 9:00. Otherwise the 2-10 is *perfect* for me too, and what I usually follow.


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I'm a morning person.  Didn't use to be I don't think, though it's tough to tell.  I took a paper route at age 10 and had to get up early to deliver papers.  Kept that through college, so "up early, sleep early" feels normal to me.  I know I'll tend to slip to sleeping in when on vacation, so my early bird mentality is more a habit than biology.

My experience is proclaimed night-owls are generally single, childless, and stay up late watching TV or playing computer games.  Most folks with other responsibilities learn to adapt to a schedule that fits the rest of the world.

Now, I'm not doubting certain people are truly night owls, but I'm pretty sure it's mostly a learned behavior.  Want to get to sleep early?  When the sun goes down, turn out all the lights in your house (and the TV and the computer).  Your body clues in that it must be bed time (body cycles are tied to light/dark, ask anyone with light deprivation syndrome).  Like most behaviors/patterns, it takes a while for your body to ingrain the shift.

early bird
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I think this night-owl tendency is probably linked to our occupation more than physiology.

I think  most people's sleep patterns are habitual, not physical.  Programmers sem to enjoy working long, long hours late into the night.  It's a part of their culture. 

I am of the opinion that the culture programmers (and to a degree, corporate America) have created for themselves is ultimately physically and emotionally damaging.  Working 18 hours a day is *not* healthy, and sleeping opposite the diurnal cycle is probably not either.

Anyway, I' up at 6AM, at work at 7, out the door at 5PM sharp.  Bedtime is 10 or 11 or whenever I'm tired.

I just found the SEC filing which states our executive compensation, and decided I will never, ever, work a late night or weekend again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


I'm the same way.  In fact I'm just bringing my sleep schedule back around to a "normal" one this week.  All last week I was asleep during the day, awake all night.

I saw a documentary where they did a study of putting people in closed environment for 6 weeks or so with no outside clues as to what time it was (daylight, clocks, tv, radio) and found that they all quickly tended to get into a 27 hour day. 

I guess that means the solution to all our sleep problems would be to slow down the Earth's rotation a bit... I think if used the deflector dish to create a static warp-bubble we could...

Ken Klose
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I saw that documentary too - but didn't the people also become depressed and physically ill?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

When I was a teenager I used to sleep for what seemed like 8-10 hours and I was still tired.

Nowadays I can't sleep for longer than about 3 hours, so I'll maybe get a couple of 3 hours of sleep each night and I'm absolutely fine. I do loads of hardy exercise and never really feel tired. I had an ex-SAS history teacher at school who used to say he only slept 4 hours a night and I though he was a liar until I turned out the same way.

I can't even remember what 8 solid hours of sleep is like. Must be about 10 years ago now...

John C
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Me too -- late sleeper. I have a 5 hour sleep cycle. Typically I go to be about 4:30 AM and I'm up and moving by 9:30, in the office by 11:00 AM.

The 5 hour thing is a bit weird. If I get 5 hours (complete a full cycle), I wake up feeling great. Anything less and I feel like I haven't slept at all. The weird part -- it runs in a cycle so if I get up after, say, a 7 hour sleep that puts me somewhere in the middle of the nextcylce, I feel like total crap again, but if I sleep 10 hours I'm AOK. It's like I've got to get through the entire 5 hour cylce, and if I start another, I'd better complete it or it's not even worth it.


Sgt. Sausage
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

"The weird part -- it runs in a cycle..."

According to a class I took in college* people do sleep in "cycles", generally consisting of an hour and a half.  It varies, of course, person to person, some lower, some higher.  They explained the same things you did, waking up in the middle of a cycle, even if it's later, gives you less energy, than a complete cycle, even earlier.

The professor went on to say that the most efficient (on what scale, I don't know) way to sleep would be 1.5 hours (or whatever cycle-length you had) at a time, and then awake for, say, 3 hours.  Repeat.  But for logistical reasons people don't do this.

* As I remember it, the prof was taking crazy pills, so this whole thing could be completely inaccurate.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

A few years back the research was all pointing to the fact that you didn't need to sleep, just to dream. Somebody woken up in the rapid eye movement stage of sleep would try and sleep again, but somebody woken up in the sleep between would be fine. It appears that sleep was simply a wrapper for dreaming.

You dream about five times a night, so this explains the one and a half hour syndrome that was referred to.

Like most of the posters here I am an "owl". Left to myself I do find I go to bed just after dawn, though even one a long vacation I find it hard to keep that pattern. If I have to get up about 8.00am I can manage it; for the last couple of years I've been on the "late shift" at work, which involves starting at nine (and thus waking up around eight). I find I can manage the eight hours about three days a week, and grab six the other two, making up the difference at weekends.

If I have to get up at six to start work at seven I am pretty tired by the end of the week, since I never get to bed before midnight, or even one. The interesting thing was when I had to get up at six every working  day for four years; we used to finish by two-thirty in the afternoon at latest (one thirty in summer) so I found that I was living two twelve hour days. I would go to bed at two in the morning, wake up at six, go to work and then go back to sleep at three or so after lunch; I would then get up again at seven in the evening, and go to bed at two or so at night. I foloweed this pattern with complete regularity for four years.

Incidentally, I don't think it is the occupation that produces the sleep patterns, but rather the other way round.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

One question... Have you tried adjusting your sleep shedule slowly instead of all at once?  Often times, that gives better results.

Flamebait Sr.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

If you have a significant other, ask them if they've ever noticed you stop breathing while sleeping.  Had some sleep tests done and it turned out I have moderate sleep apnea.  For various benign reasons, you can stop breathing, which forces your body to wake up.  It's never enough to make you conscious, but enough to keep you from getting deep sleep.  So no matter how many hours you sleep, you never feel rested.

For my type of sleep apnea, the most effective treatment is a CPAP machine which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.  You basically wear a mask that's always blowing air, inflating your airway, keeping it from closing.  It's good for freaking out my kids.  It keeps them from coming into our room in the middle of the night.  They can keep their nightmares to themselves while mom and dad have a peaceful sleep.

I've only started it recently, so the verdict isn't in yet.  But it makes me sad to think how many years I've lived with this.  How many lost opportunities because I didn't have the energy for them.

Of course your tiredness could be related to drinking too much caffine, not drinking enough water, or a ton of other things.  I just wanted to point out another issue.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


I cannot put it any better than you did. I am exactly like you...

Luckily I can still manage to sleep from 2am-9am (unless there's early meeting at 9) in my current job (official hour 10am), although not perfect but still damn close.

I think this thread can be a great resource for anyone doing research in psychology. Someone can definitely write a PHd thesis for it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I have to say my sleep pattern is directly correlated to the amount of exercise I get.  Unfortunately our jobs do not tend toward getting much exercise. 

I took a week off last month and snowboarded and skied hard ( for pictures!) everyday.  I was asleep by 11 and up by 7:00.  I felt good.

During the work week, I'm up till 2:00 and wake up about 10:00.  Less than optimal. 

I don't feel nearly as good.  Working might have something to do with not feeling good.

christopher baus (
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I need about 8-9 hours sleep a night;  but at the moment, I'm sleeping from about 12 through to seven in the morning. 

My partner claims he needs about three hours of sleep a night;  but since he's been sleeping seven-ish hours a night he looks a lot healthier.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I did try slowly easing myself into an earlier sleeping schedule, but didn't work.

I think I know part of my problem. I am always active. Being active medically means, my brain is constantly thinking... Apparently even reading books that excite you is no good. About 45mins to 60mins before bed time, we are supposed to decrease mental activity to ease the brain into sleep. Looking at a computer screen is apparently also bad (I learned this one just recently).

There is no way I can stop activity completely an hour in advance of my bed time. I can barely sit still without doing anything, be it reading or watching or at least thinking, for 5 mins when I go to the bathroom..  :)

Therefore I have to exhaust myself until 2-2:30, and then head to bed with my eyes barely open and crash into sleep in 2 seconds. I hate going to bed, tossing and turning and wasting precious time in the meantime.

I do love sleep, but I admire the ones who don't have to sleep as much.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Given no outside stimulus (i.e. work) I typically go to sleep in the early morning... in the 4am to 8am range, sleep until at least noon maybe 2pm, and if i wake up earlier will want a nap in the late afternoon, and won't feel refreshed until I do.

This was my habit ever since I can remember, since I was 12 at least, maybe even earlier.

However, one important exception to this is when i was backpacking. then I would go to sleep at a reasonable hour... midnight, to 2am probably, and wake up normally around 8 or 9 maybe 10.

I attribute this to *wanting* to wake up in the morning. Actually having something to do that day that was interesting to me, and not just the normal routine. There was also an almost complete lack of stimulus - most other people were asleep, no computer, and i didn't feel comfortable watching TV in the common room of the hostels. Books don't really count as stimulus because they rarely actually keep you awake. Another common thing for me, especially in high school, was bike riding. I would ride my bike & listen to music, books on tape, the radio, all night long for 4 or 5 hours several times a week.

I think if more of us adopted a tribal lifestyle - were consistently with groups of 10 - 200 people, rather than fragmenting our companionship between work, home, and out - we would be very different. The solitary electronic entertainment, that doesn't care what time of day it is and never goes to sleep is constant companion to too many of us.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

There is no magic. You just need to do it.

I was a late night person until I moved to Colorado. My now wife had to be at work no later than 7 A.M., because they were supporting people in New York, two time zones away, that worked a pretty strict 9-5 schedule.

If you're forced to get up at 5:30 A.M. like I was, it doesn't take long until you're ready for be at 10 P.M.

I suppose goign slow works, but going fast definitely works, too. No matter what time you go to bed, set the alarm for your intended wake up time. Put the alarm clock far enough away that you have to physically get out of bed. A day or two of being dog tired will convince your body you're serious about it. Just do it on one weekend so your weekdays don't suffer, and you should be cured of your late night hours. :)

Brad Wilson (
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

If you really need help getting out of bed early, you could always do a stint in the army. In basic training they have professionals who will help motivate you to wake up early every day. :)

Rob VH
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Physical activity has always been the key for me.  Driving a desk, you just don't wear youself out sufficiently to be tired after 16 hours awake.

When I work out hard, I'm ready to crash at 10.  And I feel much more rested when the alarm goes off.

Ian Olsen
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Saudi they wake up the recruits at 3.30 in the morning to run around the parade ground for an hour or two. then at six they send isnpectors round to the English classes to report any sleeping recruits (and their English instructors).

Last war they were directly involved in (excluding the Gulf War where they were more of a hospitlity facility) was against the British in 1952, unless you count the one they lought  by proxy in the Yemen in the 60's. Probably a good thing!

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I'm an owl, big-time.  Luckily I have very flexible hours at work, so I only get up early if I have a meeting or I get paged. 

I have been more aware of my sleeping patterns and protective of my sleep in general since I read this article on sleep's role in mental performance and learning:

Hmm, I wonder how much better I'd have done in school when I was a kid if I wasn't forced awake every morning.  Morning-time nausea is the worst.  At least now I know it's not just me being lazy, but my genetics.  I've worked some crazy schedules in the past, including the graveyard shift, and my body always returns to the same schedule of wanting to sleep from about 2am to noon.

Actually, I've been invited to too many AM meetings lately, so I've blocked myself as "Busy" in Outlook from 9a-11a weekdays until the year 2050.  :)

X the Owl
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Coupla thoughts:
1) First and foremost I haven't seen my #1 answer: exercise. I'm a 1am-8am sleeper except when I manage to get into an exercise regimen. When I'm working out, then I'm in bed by 11pm and up at 5-6am. In addition when I'm working out I drink a lot of water instead of soda, so I'm hydrated and not on quite the caffeine/sugar kick.

2) I think the thing about late nights is the keyboard. If you geek at home, then in the evening you're likely either chatting or working on problems, both of which will keep you involved and your brain active. So not only do you not want to go to bed, when you do your brain is firing on all cylinders.
Spend the evening reading, relaxing, etc so your brain can start winding down.

3) Regarding waking up, I really really want to get a "dawn light" - it's an alarm with a lamp on it. About a half hour before the alarm is set to go off the lamp starts coming on, getting gradually brighter and brighter, like dawn. In theory your waking up is more natural and restful than simply being jarred out of REM sleep by a loud buzzer or music.

4) Cut down on the carbs and eat more protein, also keeping your body in a more native state.


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Lots of great advice Philo.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Early bird wrote, "My experience is proclaimed night-owls are generally single, childless, and stay up late watching TV or playing computer games.  Most folks with other responsibilities learn to adapt to a schedule that fits the rest of the world. Now, I'm not doubting certain people are truly night owls, but I'm pretty sure it's mostly a learned behavior." Yup, you're an early bird all right. With completely good intentions, you're repeating all the hogwash that has been perpetrated by your ilk since time immemorial.

In my experience, morning people simply do not understand that there are people who are not like them. Yes, we owls can learn to adapt our schedule to the mold forced on us by the rest of society. It doesn't mean that this is a good thing, nor is it the most healthy thing *for us*.

"Mostly a learned behavior" my ass. I don't know any night owls who used to watch Saturday morning cartoons as a kid.

(Chalk me up as another "it doesn't matter how many hours I sleep, as long as the last two hours are 8 - 10 a.m.")

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I'm a night owl and I watched Saturday morning cartoons.

So now you know one. :)


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Early through high school, late in college, early again now. And I watched cartoons as a kid. So there. :-p

Brad Wilson (
Wednesday, March 10, 2004


I would like to comment on the things you mentioned, but first of all, I have to tell you that every time I see your nickname, it reminds me of *Philo dough* which gets me hungry for pastries! Mmmmm... :)

Ok for #1, I do exercises, however, the problem is that since I am not a morning guy, it is even more extremely painful to get up earlier for exercises. Therefore, I end up doing mine at night a little after dinner.. Usually around 8pm. Now, I do heavy duty stuff which really tires me out while I am doing them. Well they used to anyway when I first started. Now that I am used to the program, instead of getting me tired, it wakes me up even more! I used to play basketball everyday after school when I was in college and that was really great. I would play until I couldn't lift my finger and that was a really good way to go to bed early. I wish I had time to do that now.

For #2, you are absolutely right. My brain is firing on all cylinders late at night. The problem is, I cannot wind down after I come home since I work on my own project. I would like to become an indie at some point and kiss my corporate America job goodbye. Therefore I have to work. Otherwise, relaxation would probably be easier.

For #3, I did see those things advertised on TV. I really cannot comment until I try, but I doubt that it would work for me. I leave my curtains open so I can wake up with the real sun, but it doesn't work.

For #4, no offense but I am kinda sick of the Atkins diet fad. I know you didn't mention it specifically, but I had to say it. I almost completely eliminated high fructose corn syrup sources (soda mostly), and sugary snacks (especially the ones with artifical sugar) from my diet. I don't drink diet stuff either since they have all that not-so-real substances in them which can't be good for anything. Our bodies do need carbs more so than proteins or at least just as much. Where people go wrong is what kind of carbs the body needs and how much. A balanced diet consisting of *real* food (no twinkies and cupcakes are not real) is, I think, the right answer. By the way, animal fat is really no better for you. Soybeans might be the way to go... They don't taste like much though.

Off to another late, quiet, productive night....  :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I sleep at 10. Sometimes wake at 2-3 am to do sholatul-layl (night pray) then read the Qoran. Then I wake up again at 5 am - do the morning pray then take shower, eat breakfast, go to work at 7 am. I work usually until 6.30 pm and then go home.
It's just a matter of habit. I've been doing this since my teens. If you nurture a habit of late night sleeping then your body and mind will adjust to it therefore it will be hard to adjust in later age.

Andri Rasjid
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

I should've specified that I wasn't talking Atkins, which I strongly disagree with. Just that you should try to eat more protein.

Check out and track what you eat for a while. I was *amazed* at how little protein I was eating.

And this is the dawn clock I want to try:


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Philo, that is a pretty cool product.

Prakash S
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

But it's still an alarm clock, and if you read the link to you will see that it is hte concept of an alarm clock itself that is evil.

The link to supermemo given above provides some really thorough and interesting information.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I wish I could have your sleep patterns at the moment.
12.25midnight, hours more work to go.
A deadline of 12noon.


Aussie Chick
Thursday, March 11, 2004

That dawn clock looks cool, i would definitely try it out, but it doesn't have a radio.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Hey ladies and gents;
first time poster, i found this page while searching for info on sleep pattern disorders for an assignment for my nursing degree, so i hope i dont offend anyone by throughin my 2 cents worth into the ring. The cycle of 1.5-5 hrs your guys mentioned is commonly called the REM (rapid eye movement ) sleep or deep sleep cycle, and is basic divided into 3 steps. the first part is fairly shallow sleep and last for about 1/3 of the total cycle (I think and dont quote me on this, its called the descendent phase). the deep sleep or rem sleep part is the point where you are most asleep (here is where you dream even if you cant remember it) this also lasts about 1/3 of the cycle. The final third is again fairly shallow and is called the ascendent phase (I think) If you wake up in the REM phase you tend to feel Really Crap either end phase isnt quite so bad but if you wake up after completing a full phase or  multiples there of you feel really rested and great.

I am a night owl too, which plays havoc with studies and work.
but in this assignment I researching part of the progect will be to reprogram my sleep patterns so im going to bed around 10pm and getting up at 7am.
Ill post my results later on if your interested

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

"Getting up too early makes my nauseous." This is me too. It's like someone hit me in the stomach and the effect lasts all day. Does anyone have any idea why I would feel this kind of nauseous from getting up early??

Thursday, April 29, 2004

I too have a sleeping problem... I don't know which hours I need to sleep to wake up fully rested. However, recently I had to move cause I got a new job (yeah!). While I was moving, and some weeks after, I didn't have my tv. During that period I discovered that the tv aparently had a big saying in my sleeping pattern. My sleeping pattern almost immidiately went back to a good state when the tv was unplugged. Now, I have my tv again and my sleeping pattern is back to it's usual "rammed by a bus" state. I think I'll try to get rid of my tv just for another 2 week period or so to see if it really is the cause of my bad sleeping pattern.

Johannes Hansen
Thursday, July 8, 2004

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