Sleep has been a constant battle for me. The two issues have been below 8 hours of sleep, or sleeping at inconsistent times.
I would be able to tyrannise myself into a routine of 8 hours a night at a consistent time, however, no matter what, with no lifestyle or dietary changes, one night I week I am just not tired, physically or mentally, and will be awake for about 16-20 hours. This then causes the routine to go out of whack, as now I am tired when I should be awake, or awake when I should be asleep, and requires more than a dozen lost hours over a week being completely nonfunctional to get the routine back in order. It would always turn out ruthlessly horrible for me.
I have tried everything over the years to enforce a schedule. I have even tried various combinations of supplementation. To enforce sleep: circadian rhythm fasting diets, natural sleeping tablets and syrups (including GABA, Magnesium, Melatonin, etc.). To enforce wakefulness: modafinil and coffee. And varying routines of exercise from none to lots (10km runs a day).
The past while, I decided to stop tyrannising myself, and just do what comes naturally to me, which makes it effortless. So be awake for as long as productive, then collapse for a few hours in a slumber. This has been extremely effective for me. This manifests like so: be awake and functional for about 12-24 hours, wind down for about 2 hours, then sleep for about 4-6 hours. I’ve also noticed this pattern is what I’ve accidentally fallen into during my most productive months over many years.
A few days ago I saw an interview with Elon Musk, where he says he lives on 4-6 hours sleep too, but finds he is most productive with 6 hours sleep.
This is really interesting to me. Is the whole follow a strict routine, and get a minimum of 8 hours sleep a night, just a conspiracy to keep the population inefficient for the majority of their waking life? Or perhaps it is just based on emerging science that is still too incomplete to be one glove fits all yet (I know fasting data is nearly all derived from mice and not humans).
As such, let’s open this topic up for the thing we do with 1/4 of our lives. What have you found gives you more productive wakefulness and sleep? And what sleep pattern works best for you? Is the 8 hour block of sleep at the same time in each 24 hour cycle, just a myth?