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This may seem like an odd topic, but how much do you sleep in proportion to how productive you are?

Since I feel like I am behind on a lifetime of productivity and also because I want to integrate some better traits (looking to Walt Disney and the fictional heroine Dagny Taggart), I have been entertaining the idea of trying to remain productive until my mind is entirely wearied and sleep is absolutely necessary. I've noticed that the more exhausted I am when I go to bed the less sleep I need, and if I go to bed otherwise I sleep longer. But I am hesitant: is this really a good thing? Would I be better off working with a set bedtime?

So I inquire as to what you guys do. Do you try remaining productive until your last drop of energy, or do you set bedtimes? Right now I set a bedtime of ten o' clock or so, but I find that it is not a sufficient enough time for me to get tired, which is why I am entertaining this idea.

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Ideally I like to have fixed sleeping routines, with about 7-8 hours of sleep. However, with an ever increasing amount of work to do I too often find myself compromising with that. For me it works well in the short run, but if I keep it up for too long i'll get completely messed up - both mentally and physically.

I think it's good to be able to push yourself and work hard when something important is at stake, but one also has to realise that it does not work very well in the long term. If you keep pushing yourself too far for too long you will have to pay for it in the end. Besides, it's not exactly a good way to live life to constantly work until you drop.

The best way to maximize your productivity is to take good care of your health, so that you keep yourself physically and mentally "fit". If you find that you need to push your limits to get something important done, then you should take some time to recover afterwards.

People are different however, so you need to determine what works well for you. Maybe you will feel just fine with a little less sleep, but if you notice that you are beginning to feel physically exhausted, your head is getting slower or maybe even feeling a bit down or depressed then you better take those warning signs seriously.

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There's been some research into polyphasic sleep cycles.

My last business director naturally needs only about 3-4 hrs of sleep per night. When he was in grad school he slept in a series of 2 or 3 1 hr catnaps for very long periods of time.

Fact is tho that these sleep cycles are pretty rigorous to maintain in terms of scheduling, and if you get off them, you throw yourself off.

I wish I only needed 3-4 hrs of sleep of night, but alas, at least 6 or 7 required.

I think it's less about total sleep and more about what you do with teh time you're awake, recognizing that a high mental state requires energy and you have to recover from it.

btw. I love naps. Naps are good things. :P

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I wish I could set a bedtime and stick to it! I would kill to be able to go to sleep when I want to - which is usually around 10:30 or so - but pretty much every night there's something else that needs to be done (laundry, preparing for an appt with a client the next day, etc) that I usually end up staying up past that point. I don't even get home from the gym until after 10 for crying out loud! Then, when I do finally get to bed, I end up laying there awake for a long time: sometimes two or three hours more. I have tried to make the best of that time, to be "productive," but even though I am not tired enough to fall asleep, my mind is exhausted. I seem to have one window of opportunity in which I will get this feeling where I know, "Okay, if I lay down now I will be asleep within ten minutes," which is great if I can lay down then. But, when I have to force myself to stay awake through that "window" I then find it impossible to sleep. What's really annoying is that I seem to be unable to prevent myself from crashing every Sunday: I end up having to nap for two to three hours every Sunday now, to catch up. So where you think you're gaining hours of productivity, I would contend that you actually lose them later, so you're not really making any gains at all. Does anyone else recall that Seinfeld episode where Kramer tried to implement DaVinci's supposed and strange sleeping cycle? And then he ended up being tossed into the river in a body bag by a bunch of mobsters... Hilarious!

Of course, maybe I am not the right person to ask: I couldn't fall asleep at all two nights ago because I was so troubled by the 17th amendment, of all things. :P Yes, the Constitution (or rather, our government's historical interpretation and lack of understanding of it) denies me of sleep quite often.

Thus I would recommend setting a bedtime and sticking to it: it's healthier and will make your waking hours more efficiently productive. Just staying up more hours doesn't seem to do the trick; I remember staying awake a lot in college to work on some plans at the drafting studio, or to cram for a final and you know what: the work I got done in those hours that I stayed awake didn't do anything for me. What I drew was crappy, and anything I tried to memorize when tired was never remembered.

If you CAN sleep then sleep, and consider yourself lucky!

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I value the physical health of my body as much, if not more, than productivity. Therefore I sleep between 7 and 9 hours a night. There are nights when I break these rules such as midterms, but I've made the conscious decision to rank sleep highly in my personal priorities.

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At my job I often have to work long hours, often well past the point of exhaustion. For example, one time we started work on a Tuesday at 8 am, and dind't quit til Wednesday at 7 pm. That's almost 36 hours straight with a very short nap sometime on Wedneasday. We've done worse than that, too. Last week we quit at 5 am twice running (and had to be back on at 9).

I don't recommend it. Well before you're exhausted you'll be tired and fatigued. When that happens the quality of your work goes way down. You'll probably make a lot of mistakes you'll need to correct later on (when we do the marathonic sessions it's because we're on deadline, so there isn't a chance to correct things later); that may wind up taking up more productive time, so you'll acomplish less rather than more.

I've even ahve a short story languishing because even when we do rest on weekends I'm too mentally tired to write well. I can put words on the screen, but I can knit scenes and dialogue effectively. I wind up re-writing afterwards.

As has been said some people can make do with very little sleep. That's partly a function of age, partly a personal quirk. Back in high school I could stay up 36 hours straight and don't feel any mental sluggishness at all. No more. I've known people who don't sleep more than 4 hours a night and don't even need coffee the following day. If you're like that, great. But I don't think it's simply a habit that can be acquired. I do ok with 6 hours, better with 7 or 8.

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Interesting question, it's an attitude I took when I was younger and under the influence of Rand ("drunk on Rand," even.) I thought that to be productive and a superman I had to force myself to exhaustion in the manner of Roark or Reardon. It was the depiction of Reardon at his desk, working on a problem while fighting off sleep, which Rand depicted as a "Herculean" task. And Rearden DID fight off sleep. But I know NOW that Rand wasn't writing that as a prescription. I remember reading somewhere the idea that Rearden was actually AVOIDING his home life with this feat of strength. And it should be weighted against Hugh Akston's "motherly" chiding of his three favorite students for pushing too hard, sitting on the ground outside in the cold, etc. There are times when you need to push, yes, but not as a rule.

Besides, your brain does need sleep. Ever stay awake too long after working to exhaustion? All those images from the day just start flashing by uncontrollably! Overstimulated, overworked, chemicals depleted...hallucinations...

This may seem like an odd topic, but how much do you sleep in proportion to how productive you are?

Since I feel like I am behind on a lifetime of productivity and also because I want to integrate some better traits (looking to Walt Disney and the fictional heroine Dagny Taggart), I have been entertaining the idea of trying to remain productive until my mind is entirely wearied and sleep is absolutely necessary. I've noticed that the more exhausted I am when I go to bed the less sleep I need, and if I go to bed otherwise I sleep longer. But I am hesitant: is this really a good thing? Would I be better off working with a set bedtime?

So I inquire as to what you guys do. Do you try remaining productive until your last drop of energy, or do you set bedtimes? Right now I set a bedtime of ten o' clock or so, but I find that it is not a sufficient enough time for me to get tired, which is why I am entertaining this idea.

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If I don't get 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night, I feel it. I will need caffeine to make it through the day (which I don't always drink), I will be noticeably less productive and I will feel rundown.

Naps don't work for me, unfortunately. Once I take a nap, I'm groggy, slow and tired the rest of the day. If I don't get a good night's sleep, I just drink caffeine and struggle through my day, then go to bed at my normal time.

Just based on the people I know, it seems that most people don't get enough sleep. Either they just don't allow enough time for sleep, they wake up several times throughout the night or they have trouble falling /staying asleep. I've always wondered how productive, happy and wonderful a day would be if everyone got a good night's sleep and drank enough water all on the same day. (I don't think people drink enough water regularly either.) :blush:

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Thanks for the replies all. Lots to think about.

To be clear, I do not mean necessarily depriving oneself of sleep, but rather of being productive of the point where sleep is required and then resting as much as needed or possible. In my personal case I think it may be a good thing for me to work until mental exhaustion (as opposed from the exhaustion of the body) because not only do I find I need less sleep when I go to bed brain-tired, but I also get a better quality sleep! Absolutely no grogginess whatsoever. It is strange, but convenient! I think I shall try it tonight...

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Well, it appears that it has worked. What I did last night was, instead of trying to see how far I could go until I got tired, read a nonfiction book riiiiiiight up until my normally set bedtime; I fell asleep sooner and woke up an hour before my alarm was to go off! It seems as if though I ought to set up a routine.

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