Group rationality diary, 8/20/12

post by cata · 2012-08-21T09:42:35.016Z · score: 4 (5 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 68 comments

This is the public group instrumental rationality diary for the week of August 20th. It's a place to record and chat about it if you have done, or are actively doing, things like:

  • Established a useful new habit
  • Obtained new evidence that made you change your mind about some belief
  • Decided to behave in a different way in some set of situations
  • Optimized some part of a common routine or cached behavior
  • Consciously changed your emotions or affect with respect to something
  • Consciously pursued new valuable information about something that could make a big difference in your life
  • Learned something new about your beliefs, behavior, or life that surprised you
  • Tried doing any of the above and failed

Or anything else interesting which you want to share, so that other people can think about it, and perhaps be inspired to take action themselves.  Try to include enough details so that everyone can use each other's experiences to learn about what tends to work out, and what doesn't tend to work out.

Thanks to everyone who contributes!

Last week's diaryarchive of prior diaries.

68 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by MileyCyrus · 2012-08-21T10:09:02.675Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

At Katja's recommendation, I've signed up for Beeminder. I've set an modest goal of practicing programming for 40 minutes a day. Will report on my progress next week.

comment by palladias · 2012-08-21T19:22:10.345Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And reading this entry made me sign up for Beeminder. I'm tracking pomodoros for a writing project and inbox zero.

comment by palladias · 2012-08-21T21:02:40.161Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

My parents were visiting this past weekend, so I broke up all my cleaning tasks over a week and assigned them to specific days in RTM. This got the job done, but one thing I notices is that cleaning took vastly less time than I imagined when I was dreading it. (Example: scrubbing my bathroom floor took about 10-12 min counting grabbing supplies and I had imagined about 20-30 min).

So I learned: (a) I do have time to clean and put it at as recurring every other month task in RTM to assign these tasks over a week (b) Ugh fields screw with my time estimates, leading me to procrastinate or strike goals entirely, since when will I ever find the time?

Two possible countermoves to (b):

  1. Visualize in detail what the task requires, notice that cleaning my mirror cannot take more than 5 min. Go do it.
  2. Do 5 or 10 min worth of work on a task so my estimate of how long it will take is more accurate. It's fine to not complete the task during the trial, but if I'm surprised by how close I am to done, go for it!

I think I favor 2, since I'll have an easier time psyching myself up for "Five minutes of data gathering! My model of the world is getting more accurate" than experiencing something I don't want to do twice, once as visualization, once as reality. I'll try to find another task to test this way this week. Something I expect will take a while, but that I also notice I don't like.

comment by maia · 2012-08-21T22:39:55.805Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Without trying too hard, I stopped biting my nails last week. I used the "notice when you are doing it and focus all your attention on stopping" technique, and haven't thought about it much otherwise. They are much longer now.

Although I have noticed that when I admire how long my nails have gotten, I get an urge to bite them. Maybe should try to replace this with a mental note to clip/file them.

comment by MileyCyrus · 2012-08-21T15:45:35.964Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

While researching career options, I've come to the conclusion that most people believe their industry is in the decline. Accountants, nurses, actuaries, programmers, ESL teachers, oil riggers and Australian backpackers agree that jobs are scarce and their market is flooded with new labor. Pretty much no one thinks that their industry is doing well and now is a good time to enter the job market. This is true even when I look at old forums that pre-date the recession.

I will now heavily discount these complaints when I'm researching whether a career is worth pursuing. Instead, I will seek objective information about entry-level pay and typical qualifications needed to start.

comment by juliawise · 2012-08-21T23:54:51.767Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I do hear social workers complain about this, despite the fact that our field is growing. I try to base my idea of growth/decline in a field on the Bureau of Labor Statistics rather than people currently in a field (especially unemployed ones, who are the most likely to be writing about such things online). Plus a general metric than anything that caters to old people will be a good bet for the next few decades.

comment by gwern · 2012-08-21T16:09:54.674Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What makes you think they're wrong? I could very much believe accountants & actuaries (computerizable to a large degree), ESL teacher similarly face pressure from rising foreign countries (I follow South Korea mostly, and over the last decade they've put substantial pressure on foreigners in favor of indigenous teachers); Australian backpackers don't seem like a job or industry, but to the extent it is, I understand food and other prices have been under pressure in Australia due to the major growth in mining distorting the economy (I forget what this economic effect is called - Dutch disease?). Oil riggers seem unlikely, but the materials I've read about working on rigs and drilling pads didn't sound like declinist so I wonder your basis for this. As for programming, I'm too close to the topic to judge.

comment by MileyCyrus · 2012-08-21T17:57:10.953Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

It just seems like a large coincidence that I would pick the wrong thing to look at every time. Your justifications sound post-hoc and too specific. Either I'm systematically picking out overrated careers, or people are systematically pessimistic about their jobs. Now I might be inclined to believe the former if the objective sources agreed that these jobs were overrated. But the objective sources (official statistics, articles written by people who have done research) provide some reasons to be optimistic, such as:

  • Computerization of accounting an actuaries seems to be a non-issue at least, for the moment. BLS statistics indicate that these are still fairly easy jobs to get, if you have the qualifications.

  • It's true that the Korean and Japanese ESL markets are getting more competitive, but the Middle East offers salaries that are 50% higher and growing 6% a year. Saudi Arabia said that it was going to place new restrictions on foreign workers "soon", but that was a year ago and they haven't made any announcements since.

  • The Australian government loves backpackers and will probably approve yet another round of WHV deregulation this year. On the table: allowing all nationalities to get a second WHV, raising the age limit to 35, giving backpacker incentives to work in the tourism industry, and lowering the application fee.

Now there is negative evidence too, but the ratio of positive to negative evidence in objective sources seems to have no correlation to how these jobs are discussed among forums and personal blogs. So I conclude that forums and personal blogs probably have little value to someone who wants to know if a job market is doing well.

comment by NancyLebovitz · 2012-08-22T03:58:26.939Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I suggest asking people why they believe their field is in decline. What's their evidence and line of reasoning?

comment by gwern · 2012-08-22T01:06:00.521Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Actuaries: you may be right here, although my vague impression of actuarial science was that there should be a squeeze, and I would want to look carefully at the statistics to see how they might be misleading - eg. is there a Simpson's paradox going on? Are people being squeezed out later in their career? Is the data for a uselessly narrow - or uselessly broad - category of 'actuaries'? etc.
  2. So you do agree some fields are in decline! When the Japanese and Korean ESLs complain that the field is getting worse for them (=becoming more competitive), you agree they are. I specifically mentioned Korea because of this potential for you to just say 'ah, but if you look somewhere else....' See comment #1 about definitions and sizes of categories.
  3. The broader economic point is still true; Australia's mining rise is the defining characteristic of their economy for the past decade or more. Your regulation points are interesting, though, but point to other possibilities: maybe the complained about decline is precisely the growth or increases - how well do you understand what the existing backpackers value or are complaining about? (A personal parallel that comes to mind is the growth of anime in the late '90s and early '00s in the USA: old-time fans were more than a little bitter because the growth shattered the old fanzines and blew up convention sizes and introduced so many people that a kind of Eternal September set in.)

So I conclude that forums and personal blogs probably have little value to someone who wants to know if a job market is doing well.

An unduly harsh appraisal. I'd phrase it more as 'vague opinion not backed by specifics or statistics are of little value for assessing large-scale trends', which is not an appraisal I'd consider unjustified in very many areas!

comment by MileyCyrus · 2012-08-22T03:56:01.306Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Is the data for a uselessly narrow - or uselessly broad - category of 'actuaries'? etc.

The actuarial field has a bright line around it's borders: if you haven't passed your country's standardized exams, you're not an actuary.

So you do agree some fields are in decline!

Well yeah, I'd expect half the fields to be doing worse than median. My point was that it was unlikely that all fields I look at are in decline.

I specifically mentioned Korea because of this potential for you to just say 'ah, but if you look somewhere else....' See comment #1 about definitions and sizes of categories.

So.... you got me? I didn't single out Korean ESL teachers in my OP, so I don't think can accuse me of broadening the definition.

Your regulation points are interesting, though, but point to other possibilities: maybe the complained about decline is precisely the growth or increases - how well do you understand what the existing backpackers value or are complaining about?

So if Korea makes it harder to enter the job market, that's bad for workers; and if Australia makes it easier to enter the job market, that's also bad for workers?

comment by gwern · 2012-08-22T14:34:14.156Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well yeah, I'd expect half the fields to be doing worse than median. My point was that it was unlikely that all fields I look at are in decline.

I think you're tying yourself in circles. You can't argue 'every field I look at is not in decline' and then immediately turn around and admit that some fields are in decline. More generally, your median point applies to the self-assessments too: even if self-assessment is completely random and actual field performance is random too, you'd still expect a quarter to be - by sheer luck - above the median in actual performance and self-assessed performance. So if a full quarter are optimistic and outperforming, how did you miss them?

So if Korea makes it harder to enter the job market, that's bad for workers; and if Australia makes it easier to enter the job market, that's also bad for workers?

Sure. Someone drowning has too much water, and someone dying of thirst in the desert has too little water; is it really so absurd to say that 'some people need more water, and some people need less water'?

comment by MileyCyrus · 2012-08-22T21:47:54.867Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You can't argue 'every field I look at is not in decline'

I never said that. I said the evidence was mixed.

More generally, your median point applies to the self-assessments too: even if self-assessment is completely random and actual field performance is random too, you'd still expect a quarter to be - by sheer luck - above the median in actual performance and self-assessed performance. So if a full quarter are optimistic and outperforming, how did you miss them?

By "self-assessment" you mean forum posts and personal blogs? Well that was exactly the point I made originally. It seems the is bias that causes that vast majority of self-assessment to pessimistic, even when field performance is good.

Someone drowning has too much water, and someone dying of thirst in the desert has too little water; is it really so absurd to say that 'some people need more water, and some people need less water'?

If I tell you "Sarah will get more water next year.", it would be absurd to tell me that that is a good thing or a bad thing, unless you have information about how much water Sarah already has. You can't say that Korea's stricter laws will be a bad thing, unless you have information suggesting Korea's. You can't say that Australia's more lenient laws will be a bad thing, unless you have information suggesting Australia's laws were already optimal or too lenient.

Now maybe you have this information about Korea, but I doubt you have it about Australia. And I doubt the that backpackers have this information either, considering that they don't even seem to know about new deregulation.

comment by gjm · 2012-08-21T23:46:46.465Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

If I understand correctly, your argument is: (1) People in lots of fields believe employment in that field is in decline. (2) It seems improbable that these fields all just happen to be the ones with the worst prospects. (3) Therefore, many of these people are probably wrong.

But I don't see how you get to #3, unless you take these people to mean that their fields are in decline relative to other fields. Surely it's perfectly possible that all fields, or at least a large fraction, are in decline in absolute terms. Economic growth has been bobbling along somewhere between "negative" and "positive but very small" for the last few years, and arguably for more if you take the pessimistic view that much of the apparent growth has been from a series of bubbles, the fall from each being cushioned by the growth of the next, which can't be sustained.

Since you're trying to choose a career, then of course relative job prospects are what you mostly want to know about. Fair enough. But all those people complaining that their field is in decline might not have meant that.

comment by MileyCyrus · 2012-08-22T03:47:56.286Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I thought about that but then I noticed that forum posts from before 2008 were also pessimistic. "Now" always seems to be the worst time to break into a job market.

comment by zntneo · 2012-08-22T07:30:36.169Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I have been trying to find ways to compensate for some of the worse problems of my low conscientiousness. I tend to not be thorough when it comes to things I do (for instance checking spelling before posting comments,checking to see if I made a mistake in a project I am working on, making sure I pay attention to detail). I really haven't found anything worth noting so any help would be appreciated. (The seriousness of this is I am close to being fired for it and fear I wont be able to compensate well enough)

(I realize I cant change my conscientiousness score I am trying to compensate for having a severely low one)

I have also started rereading HPMOR so I can get caught up.

I have been thinking a lot about career choices and maybe long term goals lately and I feel like I am lost on both fronts. The goals/dreams I have had in the past are gone (due to me not being conscientious enough see above, being talked out of the other option , having medical problems that prevent me from doing them). So I feel kind of like I am a leaf being blown around by the winds of the situation I am in. Instead of an agent acting in the world (sorry for the rambling)

comment by philh · 2012-08-21T13:51:16.590Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Listening to To Touch The Stars has helped me to understand the Olympics.

Some of the tracks caused me to feel an emotion which I think was pride. I don't recall ever feeling pride in my country, or my local sports team, and I used to justify this by saying other people's actions were nothing to do with me. If a British person happens to run really fast, it's no thanks to me, and I didn't even choose to be born in the same country as them, so why should I feel pride? But it's not like I had anything to do with space flight either, so I can't use that explanation any more.

I still don't care about the Olympics, but I think I have a better grip on why other people do.

comment by matt · 2012-08-21T12:42:47.868Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I tried Bacopa, found in some studies to improve learning and memory. It made me very sleepy in the day following taking it:

10 Aug  Bacopa  Good

11 Aug  Bacopa  Lethargic all day

12 Aug  Bacopa  Lethargic all day

13 Aug  -       Lethargic all day

14 Aug  -       Good

15 Aug  Bacopa  Good

16 Aug  Bacopa  Morning lethargy, clearing after 3hrs

17 Aug  Bacopa  Lethargic all day

18 Aug  Bacopa  Lethargic all morning

19 Aug  Bacopa  Lethargic, less than other days

20 Aug  -       Good

I've stopped.

Important: I'm a polyphasic sleeper: 3hr core, 3x 20min naps, stable for 18 months.

(http://www.australianvitamins.com/products/view/1808)

[Edited to increase visibility of polyphasic sleep.]

comment by gwern · 2012-08-21T15:33:28.703Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It made me very sleepy in the day following taking it

I'd point out that being a polyphasic sleeper is a major confound here: we all know that sleep is necessary for learning & long-term memory formation...

Incidentally, do you do spaced repetition? I and Wozniak would be interested in your statistics/database if you started it before the polyphasic sleeping.

comment by matt · 2012-08-21T22:11:22.483Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I'd point out that being a polyphasic sleeper is a major confound here

Agreed.

… we all know that sleep is necessary for learning & long-term memory formation...

With some sleep phases more important than others. High quality evidence is thin on the ground here, but what is available says I'm getting a normal amount of REM and slow wave sleep, and nearly none of the other phases. Wiki (and other sources I've found) suggest that those are the sleep phases important in memory formation. (Note some studies listed on that wiki page have found napping to improve memory - my schedule gives me REM naps during the day (which is right at the top of the list of my super powers).)
[Lots of speculation here ↑. Available data below.]

Incidentally, do you do spaced repetition? I and Wozniak would be interested in your statistics/database if you started it before the polyphasic sleeping.

Before polyphasic sleeping I didn't have enough time to do spaced repetition :)
[That was the available data - sorry about that.]

There are moves afoot to organise the several July minicampers who plan to try a polyphasic schedule to gather before and after data. Do you want an introduction to the organisers of that effort?

comment by gwern · 2012-08-22T00:23:56.473Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Before polyphasic sleeping I didn't have enough time to do spaced repetition :)

Oh well.

Do you want an introduction to the organisers of that effort?

Nah; my advice would be simply to start spaced repetition in advance, and look into getting a Zeo for recording sleep data. Not complex, but also not advice they're likely to take.

comment by JGWeissman · 2012-08-22T01:39:02.964Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think they are likely to take your advice, and I would encourage them to do so.

I myself plan to adapt to polyphasic starting September 7th, and would interested in any tests you think I should do.

comment by gwern · 2012-08-22T02:13:49.117Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

would interested in any tests you think I should do.

Having tried to do polyphasic myself twice, and having read a good deal of material from other people, I really would not suggest many tests for 2 reasons:

  1. as far as I know, there are ~0 extant records of either long-term spaced repetition users or Zeo users. The latter is particularly striking since multiple Zeo users were supposedly doing polyphasic (see the Zeo blog & forum). Any dataset is good, so there is no point risking someone returning no useful results by demanding they maintain 3 or 4 separate metrics - as valuable as they all might be.
  2. Keeping up unautomated metrics like spaced repetition is particularly risky for polyphasic sleepers, since willpower & energy are precisely what is most lacking in the transition phase. Something dropped in the transition phase may never be resumed.

So, that's my basic suggestion. Pick 1 metric, at most, which requires effort on your part.

Zeos require little-to-no effort, so you can add on 1 metric. My suggestion is spaced repetition (Wozniak would also thank you for data), but also valid would be something like dual n-back (DNB) or the Psychomotor vigilance task (PVT).

comment by JGWeissman · 2012-08-21T22:40:12.722Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

There are moves afoot to organise the several July minicampers who plan to try a polyphasic schedule to gather before and after data. Do you want an introduction to the organisers of that effort?

I have emailed them to point them at this thread.

comment by aelephant · 2012-08-21T13:40:06.071Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Sorry to sidetrack, but is there any chance you could share your experience with polyphasic sleep? I did a search of your submissions & only found that you were interested in it but no history of how you came to actually start doing it successfully.

comment by matt · 2012-08-21T22:28:36.569Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

(Note that there are a few LWers attempting or contemplating polyphasic sleep right now. If you are considering it seriously we'd love your participation in a data collection effort on before and after cognitive performance.)

Polyphasic Sleep
How to have 19-22hrs of fun every day

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/107056/Minicamp2012/PolyphasicSleep/index.html
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/107056/Minicamp2012/PolyphasicSleep.zip

which includes at slides 114 and 115

Theory:
http://trypolyphasic.com/forum/post/8455/#p8455
http://trypolyphasic.com/forum/topic/876/uber-and-everyman-theory-analysis/
Experience:
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/10/polyphasic-sleep/ ... and see links at bottom, particularly...
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/11/polyphasic-sleep-log-days-25-30-final-update/
Note that Steve's experience of the flexibility of his near-uberman schedule doesn't match with other reports. I think this flexibility may be available after stabilisation, but come at a high cost before.
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/01/polyphasic-sleep-update-day-90/
Steve's report of euphoric mood is fairly common on the Uberman schedule, and much less common on schedules that include regular core sleep.
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/02/polyphasic-sleep-20/ Some experiments in flexibility
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/04/polyphasic-sleep-the-return-to-monophasic/ Why did he stop?
http://trypolyphasic.com/forum/forum/17/adaptation/
And https://groups.google.com/d/topic/polyphasic/FTWKW0pvKZ0/discussion

and finally

My sleep tracks (which include masking sound including walla to drown out distracting conversation):

My schedule calculator: http://bit.ly/poly-schedule-tool

comment by Risto_Saarelma · 2012-08-26T07:58:41.700Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Going to mention my crackpot theory on why polyphasic sleeping might end up killing you again:

Polyphasic sleep drastically reduces the amount of deep sleep you get. Sleep helps the body heal. Human aging and mortality seem to be modeled well by a Gompertz curve, where the thing that kills you at old age is the body's diminished healing ability, which lets cancer precursors in the body stay unfixed long enough to grow into something that kills you.

So for all we know, throwing out 4 hours of deep sleep daily(*) for years on end might make you look a lot more like an 80-year-old, as far as the Gompertz curve modeled mortality is concerned.

ETA: (*) All non-REM sleep isn't deep (SWS) sleep, see below. According to online hypnograms of sleep stages, the deepest sleep stages mostly happen during the first three hours of sleep, so a sleep cycle that maintains a 3-hour core sleep should be significantly better than a sleep cycle like Uberman that runs solely on power naps. The 4 hours of deep sleep bit is probably an oversimplification.

ETA2: If the first three hours of sleep are the most important for making the body heal, would a sleep cycle where you have two core sleeps daily, for example 3 to 6 AM and 3 to 6 PM, keep you more healthy than a single 8-hour sleep?

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-04-09T02:02:54.441Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm currently adapting to polyphasic sleep and have been consistently getting about 2h of deep sleep during my ~3h core (according to my Zeo). Contrast that with e.g. gwern's Zeo charts which show about 1h of SWS during an entire night of 8 hours. Note that even when his ZQ (~sleep quality) was about 100 (a "good" score) he was still getting about an hour.

...and I'm not even fully adapted. That said, I'm currently not getting quite enough REM, but I'm working on this.

comment by Risto_Saarelma · 2013-04-09T04:25:55.654Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

How long have you been on the 3h core sleep so far?

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-04-09T16:29:31.540Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

About a week now. Just last night I had a much more appropriate distribution in my core, with a standard 1h of deep sleep and about 55mins of REM. This was accompanied by about 45mins of (wasteful) light sleep as well, but I woke feeling very refreshed thanks to the REM.

I'm planning to blog about this soon. Will link when I do.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2013-07-29T01:12:47.885Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The aforementioned blog post, which I wrote days later but forgot to post (and I just saw this thread again now).

comment by gwern · 2014-04-09T00:36:43.226Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Any more news?

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2014-05-08T14:52:16.936Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

I'm now biphasic—I sleep about 6h at night plus a 20min nap every day. This is by far the most stable & rested sleep schedule I've ever had. Before, when I was monophasic, if I tried getting a full night's sleep, I would typically be unable to fall asleep again at the same time as the night before, after a few days. Which meant that I would stay up a bit later (since I couldn't fall asleep anyway) and end up getting about 7h or so. On 7h of sleep, I was chronically sleep-deprived (would doze off in lectures etc) but at least I could fall asleep at the same time each night.

I've been biphasic for the majority of the last 8 months (except for christmas and missing a few miscellaneous days) and I love it. It just feels totally normal now.

comment by gwern · 2014-05-08T23:47:26.702Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

What happened to the polyphasic phase? And how does the biphasic look on Zeo?

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2014-07-04T03:30:08.878Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Oh, and the first question.

The polyphasic phase got messed up, I believe because I made my first nap too close to my core (2.5h) and so I wasn't properly waking up at that time. I tried fixing this over the course of a month or so, but by then I had really bad sleep habits (in terms of how I would respond to tiredness). Then I tried re-adapting (using an exaptation approach) at the end of last summer (about in time with Leverage), but it failed due to insufficient self-control / systems to keep me awake.

Then I switched to biphasic and have been really happy with it. I could see me trying a 2-nap, 4.5h core at some point, but at the moment I'm happy here.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2014-07-04T03:24:11.171Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Wow, I haven't been signed into LW in awhile.

Zeo has typically recorded about 2h each of REM, Light, and Deep sleep during my core, plus 8 mins REM during my naps.

I finally started actually charting this stuff just about a month ago, and so far can report: (all times in minutes)

Average bedtime = 230 minutes past midnight (stddev 62)

  • REM = 124 (25)
  • Light = 122 (28.6)
  • Deep = 104 (14.8)

Nap typically 229.6 minutes after wake (76)

  • REM = 124 (25)
  • Light = 122 (28.6)
  • Deep = 104 (14.8)

I am totally not a statistician, but models of sleep and my own data definitely support the conclusion that I get much more deep sleep when I go to bed earlier. Given this, I really need to start doing that. The three datapoints I have where I went to bed by 2:30, I got >= 2h deep, which only happened in one later-bedtime case (during which I also slept 7h total, fwiw, due to having missed a nap or something).

So I predict that when I start sleeping earlier I'll be back to the 2h of deep I mentioned initially.

I'm happy to throw this data at you for analysis. In theory my zeo has been logging it since over a year ago (and decrypted, thank god) but I don't know how to get it off so I've just been logging it in a spreadsheet daily. If you want the raw zeo file, you can have that too.

comment by gwern · 2014-07-04T15:33:24.577Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm happy to throw this data at you for analysis.

Yes please. What questions did you have in mind?

In theory my zeo has been logging it since over a year ago (and decrypted, thank god) but I don't know how to get it off so I've just been logging it in a spreadsheet daily. If you want the raw zeo file, you can have that too.

If it's decrypted, then you can use the ZeoDataDecoder Java library to convert it to CSV (see https://forum.quantifiedself.com/thread-zeo-shutting-down-export-your-data ). It's what I use for my own data right now. It's a little annoying to set up the dependencies in Debian because the error messages are opaque, but not that bad.

comment by matt · 2012-08-26T21:58:40.225Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

We get about as much REM and SWS (deep sleep) as monophasic sleepers - about 90mins each per 24hrs. This is one hypothesis to explain why so many people (me included) have so much trouble adapting to the original Uberman schedule (which, properly adapted, gives you 50+ mins each).

comment by Risto_Saarelma · 2012-08-27T01:26:24.942Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Hm, right. So the really deep SWS sleep seems to mostly happen during the first 3 hours of sleep, and the rest is alternation between REM and lighter sleep. Based on that, the Everyman cycle does look a lot more sustainable than full-on Uberman.

comment by matt · 2012-08-27T05:47:31.022Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

And, your body repartitions your sleep on a polyphasic schedule. My sleep really isn't like yours any more. See the bar charts waaaay down the page here: http://trypolyphasic.com/forum/post/8455/#p8455

comment by aelephant · 2012-08-22T00:31:14.396Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for sharing all of the info. You mentioned the effects on cognitive performance, which is my main concern. There is an article here that is skeptical / critical of polyphasic sleep, claiming that it will have negative effects on cognition. I'm curious, do you have data for yourself? Just a subjective assessment? Either would be welcome, although of course the former would be more valuable.

comment by matt · 2012-08-22T01:30:08.686Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yah - Wozniak is fairly well known in the polyphasic community for having very strongly held views that are directly contradicted by the experience of polyphasic sleepers. See for example http://www.puredoxyk.com/index.php/2006/11/01/an-attack-on-polyphasic-sleep/.

I did not gather objective evidence of the differences in my cognition before and after polyphasic sleep, but any differences are small enough that they're invisible to me and those who live with me.

comment by ryjm · 2012-08-22T08:28:20.898Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think Wozniak is only evangelical about the Uberman schedule being a horrible idea. He states in his 2010 update that the Everyman 3-hour core sounds "pretty sustainable".

comment by aelephant · 2012-08-26T01:50:54.315Z · score: -1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I tried the Everyman-3 for 1 day & found it completely intolerable. I slept for 3 hours late at night, took a nap before work, at lunch, & when I returned home. All day I was basically useless. I felt as if I had the Flu. My mood was severely depressed, my head felt as if it were in a vice, & I was "zoning out" continuously. If this only lasts a few days, I think I could push through it, but my main consideration is that if I make a mistake at my job or miss some minor detail, someone could have a serious reaction or die. For this reason I feel like this is an unacceptable price to pay.

Is there something I'm missing or is this only viable for people who are either unemployed or have work that is not cognitively demanding?

comment by ryjm · 2012-08-28T09:16:30.900Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

The first couple times I tried it, I had the exact same experience, though it took me a little longer to give up. What really helped me finally adjust was using nootropics. I had a lot of success with piracetam + choline + l-theanine after each nap, sometimes adding coffee when I needed it. I also used modafinil every other day for the first two weeks (I wouldn't recommend this though, since most people can't sleep on it).

The coolest thing about the modafinil (and to a lesser extent piracetam, etc) use during this period was that I could really see the difference between my sleep deprived self and my normal self, since modafinil completely erases all of the effects of sleep deprivation. On my previous attempts I did feel very useless, but I didn't realize the extent to which I just couldn't do things until I took modafinil on a particularly difficult day - it felt like someone gave me an entirely new brain. So it's really clear to me how much sleep dep actually impairs my ability to do things.

comment by aelephant · 2012-08-29T00:19:42.606Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for sharing your experience, it is valuable data to have. From what I've read most people recommend NOT using stimulants & nootropics because they can damage sleep. Interesting that you were successful with it. Just out of curiosity, what sleep schedule are you on now & how long have you been doing it?

comment by ryjm · 2012-08-29T09:08:25.558Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I'm still on the Everyman-3, and have been for about 7 months now.

comment by aelephant · 2012-08-29T13:42:00.025Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Do you still regularly use nootropics and/or stimulants or was that just to get you through the adaptation period?

comment by ryjm · 2012-08-30T09:09:30.041Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

With regard to the piracetam combo, yes I still use that regularly. With modafinil, I wouldn't say regularly, since it's a little expensive to keep that up. But I didn't actively stop using it. I pretty much use the same amount as I did when I was monophasic - i.e when I have it, I take it on a semi-regular basis.

comment by JGWeissman · 2012-08-26T02:37:15.240Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have scheduled a week off of work to adapt to polyphasic sleep, so I don't have to worry about making mistakes while sleep deprived.

Following Matt's advice, I am not just adopting my desired schedule of everyman-3, but instead temporarily adopt a "uberman-12" schedule, that is, 12 20 minute naps a day, 1 every 2 hours. The idea is to train myself to get REM sleep during the 20 minute naps, because that is all the sleep that is available, while running off of reserves of slow wave sleep. I am going in expecting 3 hard days before I start getting the REM, at which point I start backing off the naps to 1 every four hours (standard uberman) until I run out of slow wave reserves at the end of the week when I add in the core and cut back to 3 naps a day.

I will also be skipping lunch and dinner on the day of my first night of adaption, which is supposed to help me adapt to a new sleep schedule. And keeping up an exercise routine. And I will have friends help keep me on schedule.

comment by aelephant · 2012-08-26T09:40:25.346Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

This sounds like a good plan. I admit I didn't do much research before giving it a try. I found a blog here where the author seems to be attempting a similar approach. The last entry is "Night 45" & he still seems to be struggling to adapt, so I would be cautious that scheduling 1 week may be on the optimistic side.

comment by Risto_Saarelma · 2012-08-26T07:26:26.485Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

PureDoxyk writes about the adaptation periods in her Ubersleep book. She claims that the Everyman cycle takes a longer time to fully adapt into than the full Uberman. She says that it should take about a week of adaptation to feel mostly normal. She also tested her cognitive skill with a memorization test, and only got back to the pre-adaption level after 6 weeks, even though she was feeling subjectively fine after 3 weeks.

comment by aelephant · 2012-08-26T09:41:49.752Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Yikes. 6 weeks of impaired cognitive function would be psychologically difficult for me to deal with, I think.

comment by Risto_Saarelma · 2012-08-26T09:48:52.964Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Even when 3 of them are weeks where you wouldn't notice the impairment unless you were specifically testing for it?

comment by aelephant · 2012-08-26T10:37:49.442Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Well now that I know I can't un-know. Point taken though, I imagine the 1st 3 weeks would be bad & the last 3 more bearable.

comment by MalcolmOcean (malcolmocean) · 2017-04-15T16:14:04.958Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The nap tracks are no longer available from Matt's dropbox, but fortunately I saved all except the 15min one and have made them available here:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BwP3_2aUw0uPczVqVHpKUFhMd1E

comment by matt · 2017-04-28T01:56:41.843Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Dropbox broke old public links with no way I could see of preventing the link rot (https://www.dropbox.com/help/files-folders/public-folder). See https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BxlExVbPZSCRdUNaZUFId05YY1k for all of my audio tracks.

comment by Paul Crowley (ciphergoth) · 2014-01-16T17:32:45.030Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/107056/Minicamp2012/PolyphasicSleep/index.html

This is now a 404.

(Came here to re-download the nap tracks, which still work fine :))

comment by Risto_Saarelma · 2012-08-29T05:08:11.931Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Another random fun thing I realized. I addition to being a lot like the first half of the reported archaic human bimodal sleep, an Everyman core sleep is also a lot like the first phase of the night's sleep done in the Wake-Back-To-Bed lucid dream induction technique.

Just tried a WBTB with 5 hours of initial sleep, and it led to a lucid dream (slept another 3 hours afterwards). 5 hours is pretty close to the Everyman-2 core sleep. I wonder if, in addition to being potentially nice for lucid dreams, adopting a bimodal schedule for a full night's sleep could be used as a stepping stone to adopting an Everyman sleep schedule, since you're training yourself to sleep no more than 4+ hours at a time.

comment by ryjm · 2012-08-22T08:36:28.590Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I wish I had that schedule calculator earlier - I must have spent a couple of hours googling (#1 failure of my rationality skills) for one because I was sure someone had to have made it, given that all these polyphasic sleepers have oodles of free time.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2012-08-25T10:42:53.567Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Matt, how important is it in Everyman 3 to have your naps distributed evenly through the day? Basicly I am thinking about optimizing for too many things at once -- less sleep time, 8-hour job without sleep (plus commute time), and being somehow synchronized with my significant other; so here are the two schedules I was considering:

a) core 03:00 -- 06:00; nap at 16:00; nap at 19:00; nap at 22:00

b) core 22:00 -- 01:00; nap at 6:00; nap at 16:00; nap at 19:00

Do you think any of them would be sustainable? If yes, which would be better: would having the core sleep right before the long wake make it easier?

comment by matt · 2012-08-26T01:09:12.220Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think 10hrs awake, especially while adapting, is going to be very tough. I think you want to aim for 4 to 6:30 hr periods awake. I know that that requires a nap during normal working hours - as I said in my minicamp unconference presentation (unconference: polyphasic sleep isn't endorsed by CfAR) I think you're going to have to try talking to your employer about it, or sneaking off during a break.

Duplicate http://bit.ly/poly-schedule-tool and play with the times in blue for my advice - the blue cells will turn red if I think what you're attempting is going to be hard to make work.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2012-08-26T02:47:05.582Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for your answer! If I succeed to have a nap at work, then I have no reason for having awake periods outside of the 4-6 hours range. I would go with this schedule:

core 02:45 -- 06:00 (5:00 hours awake: breakfast, commute, work)
nap 11:00 -- 11:20 (4:40 hours awake: lunch, work, commute)
nap 16:00 -- 16:20 (5:40 hours free time)
nap 22:00 -- 22:20 (4:25 hours free time)

comment by [deleted] · 2012-08-25T10:02:40.739Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I've set up a system for taking screenshots on my laptop automatically, with 1/20 probability each moment, and then automatically uploading them to my recently-started blog.

I intend this as a sort of precommitment to productivity. If anyone else wants to try this, I can help.

I also reconnected my laptop to the internet (previously I kept it disconnected to boost productivity), because I need that to be able to post the screenshots. If this turns out to not be a net gain, I'll change it back.

comment by gyokuro · 2012-08-21T20:51:21.794Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

100 pages left of GEB-- the last few days I've read 300 pages, the only problem is not comprehending half of it.

Also, I started writing daily for 750words.com after hearing about it from OnTheOtherHandle in this. I've kept it up for 20 days so far and will try to keep doing it-- My writing won't improve by doing 3 pages of stream-of-consciousness, but if I have emails/essays to write I draft them there. Since I procrastinate the most on writing tasks, this encourages starting right away. When school starts I might stop using it, but I hope I find time.

comment by alexvermeer · 2012-08-22T14:47:51.421Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I've been using the pomodoro technique for over three weeks with great success. I was skeptical, b/c I've tried similar techniques before, with much less success. Previous to this test, I was doing 90 minute chunks of work, which evidently made it much easier for me to burn out. My own details/log are here.

The pomodoro cheat sheet is an excellent summary of the technique, for those interested.

I switch between using a pomodoro app and e.ggtimer.com/25minutes. I plan/track my pomodoros weekly using mind maps.