Sleep Hacks



  • @Meanderpaul, I like the tanning glasses idea. They block most light but not all so even if you wake up in a panic you're not blind and you can compose yourself before taking them off. Similarly a pair of tinted safety glasses could be used and those are easy to find. You could even paint over everything except a small hole to block all light from the sides. I see those at the hardware store for 1USD.
    Of course a sleep mask is more comfortable but they don't have any room for experimentation or partial light blocking.
  • edited February 2016
    What about useing automotive tinting on a plastic? To make a sleep mask....
  • Yeah, tinting could be layered on glasses to make really dark glasses but not so dark that the wearer is blind when wearing them.
    Coming from the other way, we could put holes in sleep masks. Especially the hard shell kind that don't rest on the eyelids.
  • New member here, first post so first of all: Hello fellow biohackers!

    >Sleep hacking is one of the easiest places to start biohacking because it is low-risk and low-commitment
    >low commitment

    Have to disagree there, at least far as my own experiments went. Been playing around with polyphasic sleep schedules since around 2012. Always had an aversion to wasting too much time on sleep. Most prominent part of my experimentation was with the dymaxion schedule [see pic], that's a 30 minute nap every 5.5 hours. This is where commitment is getting difficult as you really cannot skip or reschedule any of the naps, which tends to not work out very well in social situations(like skipping lunch at work/university to go find a remote corner to sleep at).


    Maintained this schedule for approximately 3 months with great results. Had all the free time in the world and also experienced lucid dreaming very often (has to do with your brain optimizing the limited amount of sleep to "maximum efficiency"). Ultimately switched to a more realistic schedule when the free time became too much. There really is only so much one can do with 22 hours of productivity a day and no actual responsibilities in the world.

    Been on and off with the alternative schedules since then, currently on a comfortable biphasic (2 hour sleep at 8am and ~8pm). Still requires a significant commitment to it, you'll begin to really notice how much our society is built around the 9-to-5 workdays once you break out of that routine.
  • Hello @Veniel, welcome to the forum and thanks for posting your story.
    I wonder how my work would feel about me sleeping for 30 minutes at my desk! They probably wouldn't take kindly to it. Polyphasic sleep kind of scared me because of the dedication it takes and the dangers of messing with that cycle. If I didn't have responsibilities all over the place it would be great to reclaim some hours in the day. Unfortunately my schedule wouldn't allow it.
    This is in the realm of what I'm looking to tell people about but too much to ask them to try. Now I can say I've talked to someone who has had success. Not just success, but so much time it was a burden!
    Did you have to do anything special to start your routine? How long did it take to get into the swing of it? Any horror stories about missing a sleep time? Can you nap earlier than your intended time?
  • The start was difficult with how very sleep deprived I felt (despite already being on 4 hour single-phase sleep before). The first couple weeks I employed a few mates to forcibly wake me when I overslept, don't think I would have managed to adapt to it without this help. Took about 3 weeks to get a steady pace going where I could wake up on my own, still had a few instances of sleeping for a couple hours extra, usually when I happened to be physically active in the most recent waking phase. Had at least a solid one month of oversleeping-free experience though.

    As for napping earlier than intended: wouldn't recommend it, it's beneficial to keep a constant rhythm so your body can naturally adapt to the schedule, even outside of such extreme experiments.

    so much time it was a burden
    Yep, although I would say that it might be more manageable if you have a wide variety of projects to work on. At the time of experiment I only had some minor programming work and games to occupy my time. Eventually ended up spending hours on just staring at my computers desktop waiting for the next nap time as I had become very bored of it all. Also worth mentioning is that it can feel somewhat lonely to be the only person awake at all hours of the day while everyone you know locally is spending half your waking time asleep.

    Considering going back to this kind of schedule again as I'm now getting increasingly busy with multiple exciting ideas(some of which I will post/contribute on this forum soon enough), so I might be able to contribute some fresh information on the subject when the time is right.
  • Most people on this forum could easily fill 22 hours per day. Have you ever read the book Beggars in Spain? It's about people who don't need any sleep at all. They advance beyond normal people, sleepers, because they have all this extra time to learn. What I wouldn't give...
    I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I'm looking forward to seeing what you have in mind for projects. Thank you.
  • Oh and another tip for starting the routine, and sleep hacking in general.. Caffeine Naps!

    Essentially that means drinking a cup of coffee just before going for a nap. Caffeine will take 15 to 20 minutes to really kick in so you'll be waking up a lot easier and with all the perks of coffee already working in your favor. Might even fit in with some short-nap polyphasic sleep schedules, wasn't really an option for myself though. Still a nice addition to a normal day when you just need that extra energy.
  • Oh! Caffeine napping is EXACTLY the kind of thing I want to tell people. I have heard of things like holding something in your hand so when you fall asleep it clatters to the floor and wakes you up but caffeine naps are awesome. I hadn't thought of that.
  • @BirdMachine Thank you so much, it is pretty much the only drawing that I have ever done and been really happy with.

    And as an alternative why not use modified welding goggles. You really can't see anything out of them (other than what you are welding because of the sparks) and some models even have interchangeable lenses.
  • You have to get the darker lenses, the ones for oxy welding are perfectly visible to me once my eyes adjust.
  • @veniel, is it possible to create other/any polyphasic cycles? I always called my technique dreaming you are sleeping
  • Ive played with polyphasing. There's a lot of research on the role of melatonin in aging cancer etc. The lack of endogenous melatonin is a culprit as to why shift workers die early. I cycled in melatonin during the day. I made 20 minute binaural that induce sleep and then bring you back out. Meds like adrafinil are great too. My routine was 20 down every four hours.
  • Also focus on physical activity at night, mental during the day.
  • @Cassox, I had heard to avoid exercise in the evening. At least not right before bed. What kind of time frame for physical exertion do you recommend?
  • Successfully organizing yourself to catch up with dymaxion schedule is tough. Well done @Veniel!

    For those willing to keep a much more "normal" sleep schedule, I'd recommend the following hack: put a few drops od lavender essential oil on your pillow right before going to bed.

    Inhalation of lavender essential oil makes sleep more restful. Probably by extending the length of deep sleep cycles. It's also really helpful to fall asleep more easily.

    Hope that would fit your "bang-for-the-buck" approach @McSTUFF.

    As of your idea of painting eyelids, I believe there's an easier option. After anxiety, the #1 reason why people can't fall asleep at night, or are having restless nights is because their body temperature prevents them from sleeping efficiently.
    When the night falls, one's body temperature is supposed to fall as well, aka "circadian rhythm". If it doesn't, chances are, you'll have a terrible night. You mention travelers. They experiment jet lag for that specific reason: their circadian rhythm didn't change fast enough. Thus their bodies are getting hot & cold at the wrong time.

    A super-duper easy way to fix that it to make sure that your bedroom temperature is around 19°C. Depending on where you live, that might translate into opening the window or turning conditioning air on.
  • @Teymour, the lavender drops are exactly the kind of approach I'm looking for.

    The information on the body heat to sleep rhythm was helpful. Some people like a cold room when they go to bed but I never understood that because I like to be warm all the time. It's definitely worth passing on.

    All, the presentation has been delayed so all these comments can be considered. Thanks again.
  • I meant that on terms of when polyphasing. The natural inclination is to be inactive at night and active during the day. If you are polyphasing, activity helps get you through the night until you've adjusted.
  • edited March 2016
    My current sleep cycle is six hours from 6AM to Noon. It's fun.
  • @Cassox. Gotcha. That makes perfect sense.

    @ElectricFeel, sounds like mine, except move it six hours earlier.
  • Symmetrical midnight pivot, hah
  • One of us has to keep watch.
  • I, personally, would love to experiment with Sleep hacking. But I have this terrible habit of just not waking up for anything after naps, or even in the morning.

    I've noticed that temperature has a dramatic effect on my sleep cycles. Colder nights trigger more frequent, vivid dreams. In contrast, when I make it a point to stay really warm, I usually have no dreams that I can remember.

    I do make use of a lot of binaurals for sleep-aid and optimization, stress relief, and cognitive enhancement (Nothing major, and I've not tested for the placebo effect). One of the problems I run into is keeping my headphones on/earbuds in while I'm asleep. Did you have any tricks to take care of that @Cassox ?

    As far as melatonin and melanin go, can you adjust your circadian rhythm with supplements? I've also heard (Or rather, had it preached at me by everyone I live with) that "the blue light from electronics, phones and such can affect your sleep cycle." The validity of that aside, could it be used for a sleep hack?

    And as a last question, Is it more healthy to wake up from your naps slowly, as @Cassox 's binaurals probably do, Or to be woken suddenly, as per the dropped item method? Would blasting yourself with a camera flash have any side effects(Other than cataracts and blindness)?

  • @TheGreyKnight, have you tried caffeine naps like Veniel suggested?
    If you aren't of the chemical persuasion Up fitness trackers by JawBone have a "Power nap" feature which monitors your sleep cycle then vibrates to wake you from light sleep after you've completed a deep sleep cycle. I've used one and it worked well.

    Perhaps people could be bombarded with blue light when they wake up if they need a jump start. It might confuse the body to wake in a sky blue room then walk outside at 0400 and it's still dark.
  • Here's a screen protector that blocks blue light.

    I didn't read it, but here it is.
  • edited July 2016

    Here is the presentation I did on sleep hacks. My microphone setup was trickier than anticipated.
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