I strongly dislike sleep and have never been decent at sleeping. These two statements might cause each other. Sleep feels like a massive waste of life to me. Luckily my general requirements for sleep have always been less than the recommended average need of 8 hours. As a wee baby naps were not a thing I had nor was sleeping for more than 6 hours a night. As a teen I’d go days without sleep, and never slept in past about 6am. If giving up sleep was a thing, I’d be all over it like a donkey on a waffle.
Over the last decade my horrible relationship with sleep has matured and slowly turned in a more controllable agreement. Sleep data from the last 3-4 years, study, and experimentation have shown me my base limits and requirements, and taught me how to better live within those limits. Next year I’d like to lower my average 10-day sleep needs by 5 hours; if that’s possible. My fitness level has been Meh for a long time. My plan to sleep less involves increasing my general level of fitness through weight loss and running daily, plus some more / better meditation. Hoping, these changes will result in leveling up me ability to transition from awake to asleep on work nights and by me a few hours of being awake every few weeks.
Currently it’s taken me more than hour each work night to move from pillow to snoring causing me to sleep in later in the morning.
Sleep Data Analysis
My general mission in life is to max level each day with productivity. Currently I’m at about the max level of sleep reduction I seem to be able to utilize to support this mission. Kids wake up between 5:30-6:30am. Their wake up time is effectively my hard cut off for end of effective sleep. Some mornings I afford an extra hour when momma lets me stay in bed. Those mornings I’m able to work in the extra hour. Sleep tracking indicates REM sleep sometimes happens during that hour.
I’ve been watching my sleep closely for the last year in an attempt to gain more wakeful time // work towards sleeping less // better manage time. Based on the numbers my base requirement is an average of about 5 hours and 30 minutes a night, 37 hours a week, 51 hours every 10 days. During reduced stressful periods of time I fall into a pattern based on the previous numbers. Deviations from these numbers results in natural, read out of my control, adjustments towards the average.
When I under sleep an hour a night I tend to make up for it later on in the week with 6 or more hours. When I average only 4.5 hours a week the next week I average about 6:30 to make up for it. I don’t have enough data to properly correlate changes my recent running commitment are having, yet. The first 3 weeks of running appear to have reduced the need for sleep a slight amount. Thinking is my sleep was more efficient, and time to fall sleep was reduced due to increase movement – need more data.
Sleep deficit is a concept I’ve learned to respect and abuse. Some don’t t think it’s a real time; Sleep deficit is a real thing for me and not a debate. My body requires about 5.5 hours of sleep a night averaged out to 51 hours over a 10-day period. Deviation up or down from these numbers increase or decrease the amount of sleep I’m owed, or owe to my “sleep bank”. Data I’ve collected over the last few years prove this to me. Most systems and rules have loop holes or benefits not obvious at first glance. Sleep deficit on the surface looks to be a credit card for sleep with extreme rules. You will pay back what you borrow no matter what it comes to sleep.
From my experience there’s a side benefit to operating with a sleep deficit. I benefit I discovered and utilized during my Uberman polyphaic sleep experiments. The greater the deficit the greater the need for REM sleep the quicker the body can enter sleep and transition through the cycles to REM. During my Uberman days I only slept 20 minutes every 4 hours. After the first few days I’d have full REM cycles in those 20 minute blocks. Since giving up on the Uberman I’ve ran a large enough sleep deficit to maintain the ability for short sleep cycles. Michelle’s looks at me funny when my eyes roll into the back of my head for 5 minutes and I wake up able to describe the dreams had during the sleep. I love being able to sleep for 20 or less and feel refreshed and alert.
I’m sure there will be more on sleep written here as a try to tweak things and learn more for this has been in intro to how feel about sleep – Followed by a few pictures of the trackers.
Microsoft band II looking at a week of sleep
Fitbit looking at a weeks’ worth of sleep
Fitbit looking at 30 days’ worth of data.