The Sleep Thread!

I was just about to start a thread on this, actually. I normally need ~9 hours of sleep and get terrible headaches when I don’t get enough. With Soylent, I’ve been sleeping a just over 7 hours a night and haven’t had any headaches at all. My current hypothesis is that it has something to do with the amino acids, because a friend of mine began supplementing amino acids in similar ratios to what Soylent provides, and she has been seeing identical results.

But hey, we’re just a study of two.

I’m hoping one of the long term benefits of a steady state diet is reduced “recovery” time from the day. But if sleep isn’t just for recovery… who knows. I think 7 hours is a good night’s sleep, for the busy type. I’ve heard there’s such a thing as oversleeping and it can be just as detrimental. So there’s that.

Are you feeding him 1.1? :smile:


No change to my sleep pattern at all.

I did polyphasic sleep for a while. I never got down to 2 hours per day but I did get down to about 4 hours per day, napping briefly about every 4 hours. It was absolutely freaking amazing. For me it utterly dispelled the myth that we “need” 8 hours of sleep. It’s complete rubbish. The only reason I stopped doing it, was the same reason that I saw everyone who’s ever tried it, eventually quit. It isn’t compatible with the rest of the world. If you have a significant other that you share a bed with for example, they start to get very unhappy that you never actually go to bed anymore. And if you have meetings you have to attend, or places you need to go to where naps aren’t practical, it becomes extremely difficult if not impossible to maintain.

But if it had been practical, I would have stayed on that schedule forever. It was the most amazing thing. My productivity went through the roof, my creativity was on fire, I felt better than ever (after the first week or two of adjustment with horrible rough sleep deprivation anyway) and time slowed to a crawl. Was some of the best few months I’ve ever spent.


For how many days did you do it? Also how much time did you nap in each session?

I did it for a few months… maybe 4? I managed to get my naps down to about 40 minutes, but could never really get it less than that.

For me, one of the biggest challenges was that we have cats, and as any cat parent knows… they do NOT like closed doors. So I would go into our guest room (since it is able to block out nearly 100% of light) for my daytime naps, but the cats would get confused and want in. REALLY didn’t help with the “I need to nap RIGHT NOW” syndrome.

I did get pretty good at training myself to enter REM very very quickly. I found that to be a fascinating part of the whole process - that you actually CAN train yourself to go to sleep on demand. I didn’t perfect it, but I definitely got better at making myself sleep.

I also found it difficult in that when you are polyphasic, you MUST GET YOUR NAP. If you don’t, you’re HOSED. You might be able to skip one… maybe. But skip two and you’re done. It was actually far, far worse than the opposite situation where you pull an “all nighter” and don’t sleep one night at all. I can recover from that with simply a single good night’s sleep the following day. Or a nice uninterrupted hour or two nap mid-day the following day. I’ll feel great.

But miss a nap on a polyphasic schedule and it can screw you up for days on end. Which means that when you do nap, you MUST not be interrupted. Like if the phone would ring - I’d be screwed. Cats meowing at the door? I’m done. A loud truck drives by the house? CRAAAAAAP.

So yeah, it has a large number of issues/challenges. But when it went well… wow it was so awesome. I wonder how it would be with Soylent now. One other weird thing about it was that my eating schedule (such as it was) went out the window. I was up SO many more hours of the day that my body needed nearly constant fuel. I found my metabolism increased big time and I seemed to always be hungry. Soylent would’ve been perfect for that. Almost tempting to try again… almost. :wink:

Considering that sleep is the time for brain maintenance, it seems to me that skimping on it isn’t particularly wise. You can save an amazing amount of time skipping on airplane maintenance too, but eventually there’s a certain consequences to be paid. Of course it’s possible that the millions of years of experimentation by nature just got wrong results because nature is so stupid, but I don’t think so.

Actually the whole idea that sleep is for “maintenance” isn’t really all that agreed upon. And lots of people throughout history - some much more recently than others - have gone with very little sleep for extremely long periods without any negative effects (and loads of positive ones). Buckminster Fuller is one such person.

Here’s an article some may find interesting. It’s a very long page but lots of cool stuff for those who dig this kinda stuff.

I am usually a sound sleeper to begin with but Soylent is probably the first time in my life where I am meeting all of my nutritional needs for weeks on end and it’s noticeable. My thinking is overall clearer and if there is no change in my ability to remain asleep then in changed in how I now wake up from this sleep. Usually I have a bit of morning sickness when I wake up. But since I keep meeting my nutritional needs for weeks on end, it seems that I rarely have groggy mornings. I actually hop out of bed like back when I was a kid.

And this also may not be due to the Soylent itself, all of the above mentioned can just be from something else I can’t be sure, but I have lately noticed myself having a lot of dream giggles. I find myself laughing at something in my sleep. I have no idea what I am laughing at but I seem to think it’s hilarious whatever it is.

I would warn against the fad sleep cycles that have been popping up in various magazines over the years. I was happy to reduce my sleep by an hour or so, but the “polyphasic” stuff is not safe and will lead to negative effects. Yes, a small percentage of the world can go on 4 hours of sleep, due to genetic mutations, but most people would not be able to pull it off long term.

Also, Bucky’s sleep patterns were irregular for sure but not what I would call a “schedule” of any sorts. He had a hectic work life and so took naps when he could, but I’ve yet to find a source on him specifically talking about the polyphasic sleep stuff.

EDIT: Then again I don’t know jack about sleep lol.

Yeah it’s not exactly a fad… been around for a long, long time. And every single account I’ve read of people who have tried it - including me and even Bucky himself - gave it up for the same reasons… it’s just not compatible with the rest of the world that we inevitably need to interact with.

From Bucky’s wikipedia page…

In the 1920s, Fuller experimented with polyphasic sleep, which he called Dymaxion sleep. Inspired by the sleep habits of the animals such as dogs and cats,[51]:133
Fuller worked until he was tired, and then slept short naps. This generally resulted in Fuller sleeping 30-minute naps every 6 hours.[48]:160 This allowed Bucky “twenty-two thinking hours a day”, which aided his work productivity.[48]:160
Fuller reportedly kept this Dymaxion sleep habit for two years, before quitting the routine because it conflicted with his business associates’ sleep habits.[52]
Despite no longer personally partaking in the habit, in 1943 Fuller suggested Dymaxion sleep as a strategy that the United States could adopt to win World War II.[52]

Sure for some people it will just plain be unhealthy, but as long as you can get through the initial adjustment period (which I’ll be the first to admit, is kinda rough…) it’s absolutely sustainable (not taking into account the rest of the world, of course).

What kind of affects would that have on one’s immune system? We need sleep not only so that our brains can absorb the information when we were awake, but we sleep sleep so our bodies can heal. It’s not enough to just feel like you’ve slept.

Whenever you are sick, you need to sleep. Staying awake for long periods would only make your illness worse. The body heals when you sleep.

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My main concern is the fact that we dream in cycles, like several times a night. Would only having one cycle of REM sleep (and the other stages, assuming they also serve a function) be sufficient?

I’m sure the polyphasic stuff can be done, the question is why on Earth anyone would want to. It seems unnecessarily complicated. If you get a good 7-8 hours of sleep, you still have 16-17 hours straight of wakefulness. That seems like plenty “thinking time”.

Also, I don’t know what kind of “medical screening” he was getting, but if he was only getting 2 hours a day for 2 years, he was having serious cognitive deficits. I don’t care if he’s Einstein, you can’t function adequately on that amount of sleep. I’m sure his medical records of that period are either non-existent or are inaccessible - either way, I don’t believe that story at all. I think he made it up.
Plus, he was “Inspired by the sleep habits of the animals such as dogs and cats.”

I’m not a biologist, but trying to copy another species sleeping habits is not the smartest thing to do. If we tried to sleep like lions, we would have just as many problems as not sleeping hardly at all.

Whatever our brains do while we sleep, it seems safe to assume that it consists of one or more chemical reactions. Chemical reactions can be accelerated by increasing the concentration of certain reactants, and so it makes sense to me that better nutrition (more of those reactants) could reduce the amount of time people need to spend sleeping. I’ve only been through a semester of college chemistry so far though, so I can hardly be called an expert.

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But surely there’s a limit on reduction? I can’t imagine less than 5-6 hours would be advisable unless you’d had some kind of serious biomedical intervention - like a fundamental rewiring of the brain.

In that vein though, I do think it would be nice to engineer ourselves to no longer need sleep. This is one of the few things I’ve crawled through the web and found nothing on - not even the common garage-based loony that has a plan for everything. Nobody seems to be speculating on this possibility. Maybe we’ll just always need sleep.

Maybe, maybe not.

"There is no evidence, even anecdotal, that more sleep promotes or accelerates bone healing,” said Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser, an orthopedic surgeon at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.


But could sleep be a factor in healing other kinds of injury? A 2004 study
in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology concluded that perceived stress
and levels of stress hormones predicted the speed of wound healing but
that several other factors, including alcohol consumption, exercise and
sleep, did not.

Anyway, there is obviously mountains of information that swears up & down that sleep is responsible for all manner of things… and maybe it is, but I haven’t seen much that actually was able to measure the claims. Maybe it’s out there, I haven’t done much research. But with how individual people are, I just can’t buy into the idea that everyone needs sleep for X Y or Z reason.

Why would they want to?? OMG how about 1/3 of your life back?? lol I’ve wanted to not have to sleep for as long as I can remember. I don’t mind sleeping, I just resent that I have to (anyone notice a pattern here?? LOL) I would love to be able to put sleep on my terms the way I’ve now put food on my terms with Soylent. Polyphasic sleep did that for me, but like I said it was incompatible with everyone else. There was really no problem after the initial adjustment, and tons and tons of benefits. It’s hard to describe and many others have done so in their blogs better than me, so I won’t try. Suffice it to say the overall experience was hugely positive on many, many levels.

Not true. The key is the right minimal amount of REM sleep. Without that - you’re screwed. But get at least a required minimum (and I was never able to push it as low as 2 hours per day personally, 4 was about my minimum) and you can function great.

I’m not in any way arguing that what Bucky did was smart, safe, or anything else. In fact I know next to nothing about the man. I can only speak absolutely for myself and relate stories of others. If you’ve never done it (and done it right… it’s not easy), then you really don’t come from a place of knowledge. Which is fine, it just is what it is.

I would have loved to have continued it if I just didn’t have to interact with the rest of the world at all.

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Also check out this guy… it’s a trip.

You truly didn’t feel drained or stagnated?