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On Sleeping Less

Hi Sebastian,

I've been in touch before, and found it to be a highly valuable exchange. I was just reading your post titled 'Watching the Lightning' and had a couple of questions, if you don't mind?

Firstly, do you find 4-7 hours sleep per night sustainable? I note the post was written a few months ago so I imagine this has been enough time to measure the success of getting aforementioned amount of sleep. I've tried to limit myself to 6 hours sleep a night, but found it a struggle after 2 or 3 days. I plan to push through the struggle as I imagine it will become easier after time, which leads me to my second question: what steps did you take when planning to reduce your time spent sleeping?

I have my highest performance levels overall when I'm average 7.5 hours per night. But often I get there in a funny way - a mix of 4 hour nights and 12+ hour nights. Beyond that, I think napping is valuable, diet/exercise/health is extremely important if you want to do it, consistency is important, and also getting high quality sleep in general.

I've recently come of the opinion that most people get very little really good sleep - too much artificial light, not enough exercise, bad diets, stimulant usage (caffeine...), inconsistent schedules, and so on. I think it'd be possible to run at the 4-6 hour sleep range with maybe a 30-120 minute nap each day, but you'd need to be near perfect across the board on all the good sleep elements with serious discipline about consistent schedule, total darkness and minimal artificial light before you're going to sleep, regular exercise, a perfect diet, maybe quit caffeine entirely?, and similar.

Intelligent Sleep Deprivation

On Cameron Chardukian

I’m a big fan of consistent sleep patterns. It’s easier for me to wake up in the morning, and I feel much better when I’m going to sleep and waking up at the same time everyday.

With that being said I’ve also found that being excessively stubborn with maintaining your sleep schedule can cause you to miss lots of opportunities. Here are my rules for when abandoning your sleep schedule is appropriate.

You’ve made a promise. If you told someone you were going to do something do it. No excuses. In an ideal world you would have finished it earlier, but if you were busy or decided to procrastinate do it now.

You’re working against a deadline. If you’ve got an urgent project that needs to be done for tomorrow do it. Obviously you should have put more effort into last minute panic prevention, but I understand life does get in the way and make it necessary on occasion.

You’ve got a prime opportunity. If you’ve got a good opportunity that you’ll only be able to capitalize on by abandoning your sleep pattern, capitalize on it. For example, I was able to nab an SETT invitation by staying awake an extra hour earlier this year.

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