Hyper Sleep

February 21, 2012

“Early to bed and early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

In my previous post about the Big Cleanse, I mentioned that I had been waking up every night at about 3am.  I would be up for hours before finally catching an hour or two of sleep before work. At first, this brought up a lot of fear in me… “What if I’m so tired I can’t work?  What if something is wrong with me?”


And then I thought, what if I just went with this?


I quickly recalled a fascinating conversation with my friend Dahyu Patel (an amazing coach, entrepreneur and life hacker). He studies the habits of interesting sects of society such as the Navy Seals, or in this case, native american tribes. “They (the tribe) told me that every hour you sleep before midnight, counts as two hours of sleep if they were after midnight.”  And so he sleeps from 8:30pm – 2:30am and by that math, he gets 8 hours of sleep every night.


When I first heard it, I was totally intrigued but thought there’s no way I could do it. What kind of life could I have that ends every day at 8pm!?  But now that I’ve eliminated every vice possible, I though, “Shit, what have I got to lose?” So I tried it out for a week.  Everyday I get into bed by 8:30pm and drift off to sleep. Some nights I wake up at 3am and start my day. Other nights I sleep all the way through to 6am. Or other nights I rise from 2am to 5am and then go back to sleep.
And I have to say, it feels like a luxurious indulgence.


I find that I am getting more done than ever. My dreams are longer and more vivid. I am no longer waking up with pain all over my body. I am no longer cranky in the morning. And I don’t miss the late nights.


My old pattern was to go home, feel like I could fall asleep around 8, push through it to work on my passion projects, find that I had no energy to do so, and instead watch TV or mess around on Facebook.


I looked around the web for any supporting evidence of how this might be beneficial and found this:
“It seems the liver is involved in a good night’s sleep. It regulates our energy level for the next day. The liver follows the cycle of the sun. Around six in the evening it wants to go to sleep and starts to store up the sugars (glycogen) to be used for the next day. When we stay up late at night we affect the liver’s metabolism. It can no longer simply store sugar. Our body, by being awake and active, needs sugar in the blood stream, and so we force the liver to reverse its process and break down glycogen to provide this sugar. We get a second wind, a burst of sugar in our blood stream, and yet we are really depleting our energy for the next day. Our liver can’t store up the glycogen it needs for the next day and so the next day we have a liver that is depleted of glycogen.”

I’m sure many people think I’m weird or crazy for doing this, but if there’s anything I’m learning doing this cleanse (and growing up) it’s that I’m the only one living my life, so I’m the one who lives with my choices and ultimately decides what works best.  


So… If this intrigues you at all. I hope you’ll stop thinking about it intellectually and try it out and decide for yourself!