Lack of sleep

How many days straight have you guys on around 4 hours (or less) of sleep per night. I am on my fourth and it's getting tough now (bit new to this). How do you guys go about it?

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Comments (21)

May 17, 2020 - 12:40am

Take 30 min naps to refresh any time you get but no more than 1 hour at a time. I've gone 1.5 weeks on just 4 hours of contiguous sleep a night using this method. Also, don't eat heavy meals with a lot of carbs.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

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May 17, 2020 - 4:14pm

I started doing this a few months ago, shutting my office door at work and taking 15-20 minute naps during lunch. It seriously upped my afternoon productivity at least twofold and I no longer need caffeine. The only problem with WFM is that when using my comfy couch at home for naps, sometimes the 15 minute naps accidentally go for an hour haha.

May 18, 2020 - 5:33pm

I try to maintain a normal sleep schedule of 8hrs a night when I'm not in crunchtime, I kinda find naps hard to manage but I'm glad it works for you

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

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May 17, 2020 - 1:58am
  • Take supplements (magnesium is important).
  • Eat salads and be as healthy as possible
  • Take naps whenever you can. Given covid19, it should be easier to get away with this.
  • Don't drink more than 2-3 cups of coffee per day. Your body needs sleep in order for caffeine to work.
  • Let the adrenaline do its magic. Let the fear of not having enough money to pay for rent takeover while you work long hours.

Also keep in mind if you're sleeping 4 hours, make sure to triple check your work. No matter how confident you are, I guarantee you've made a mistake somewhere because of lack of sleep.

I've gone 3-5 days getting 4-5 hours of sleep. The adrenaline is what worked for me. I really need the money and can't afford to fail.

Music is also important. Alesso has some nice sets on youtube and I would just play that in the background. Netsky (Liquid dnb) was played when I really needed to pick up the pace.

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May 17, 2020 - 1:22pm

Agreed on all points. Apples are really good for waking you up as well. I used to average 4-5 hours a night consistently at my last job. Make sure to make sure you're feeling okay, lack of sleep really does a number on the mind. Have a goal in mind and keep pushing forward.

You can also listen to some deep house at 1.25x speed for more variety of music. Or classical music at 1.25-1.5x.

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
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May 17, 2020 - 11:16am

Since Covid19 I have had around 3 weeks in a row working 7-3am with some more relax on weekends.

Thats why I have been sleeping as much as possible (9-10h) on sat anf sund that has been working well for me.

Also have changes my diet to salads, have reduced carbs and have reduced my coffee intake to 1 cup a day (not sure why, maybe no appetite...)

May 17, 2020 - 1:39pm

I think my record was 20 days straight with less than 4 hours of sleep per night.

Ended it with 48 hours straight to generate a report for a Director who proceeded to forget to bring the actual decks to the client meeting (he left them in his home) and instead took the client out for drinks and got them wasted.

May 17, 2020 - 3:42pm

Sleep is more important than diet and exercise. Check out an expert named Matthew Walker if you need convincing.

So resort to whatever extremes necessary to get a little more sleep. When I was in IB, I'd take mid-day naps in a nearby church sometimes because mid-day was often quieter than nights.

I also learned to get "first thing in the morning" deadline work done in the morning when I'm fresh. When you're new that's hard because of the risk of missing the deadline. But eventually you develop some confidence and the work gets done faster if you do it when fresh.

I also made sleep my 2nd priority after work. Missed more social plans and gym trips than even the typical banker, but getting more sleep means not becoming one of those analysts who looks 35 after 2 years on the job.

May 17, 2020 - 3:46pm

Nutritionally, avoid any form of "heavy foods", and drink plenty of water. When your body is too worn out to function properly, you can't even digest things the right way (I'm sure there's quite a few WSO users here who can agree with me when I say you end up having a weird bloated feeling at 3 pm the next day even though you skipped breakfast following last night's 1am "dinner" ), so you have to save your stomach the effort by giving it easy to digest stuff. The water helps your metabolism function as best it can.

On actually staying awake and functioning properly, naps obviously are useful. But not all of us can control that during fire drills and live diligence times. The best way to control for this is to strategically temper your caffeine sensitivity. This means drinking just enough to the point where you feel alert, but cutting back whenever you start feeling uncomfortably flushed and sweaty from too much in your system at a time.

The last thing I'd like to point out is that you can also strategically push back against managers/VPs who are assigning you all this work. The first way is simply digging into the assignment to force them to realize the magnitude of what they are assigning you (ask questions about concepts and start talking through process points so they have to put themselves in your shoes). The second, is that you can indirectly force them into the trenches with you so that if you suffer, they do too. This often results in them lightening the load on you because they recognize that if they give you unreasonable demands, then you'll be trying to work through key items with them when they otherwise expected to have free time to themselves

Now I'm going to caveat this by saying those two suggestions go 1,2 in that order because you should give them the benefit of the doubt. People are only human, so it's natural those assigning tasks don't always recognize when it may be too much for those they assign it to, so it's helpful to bring that up. A great manager will proactively know/attempt to understand the weight of what they assign, but not all manager's are great, so it's up to you to highlight this to them so they don't inadvertently screw you over. But if they choose to go ahead knowing this, then you have to defend yourself or you WILL start to get the reputation as the go to analyst (or whatever your position is) for the most time intensive tasks.

May 18, 2020 - 3:15pm

do the 30min early afternoon (2-3pm) caffeine nap. right before you fall asleep to take a nap, swallow a green tea caffeine pill (1 cup of green tea worth). It will take 30min for the caffeine to 30min of sleep will fully refresh you. you have to get the timing right...but it really works

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May 18, 2020 - 4:02pm

Anyone here watch Matthew Walker's talk or podcast with Joe Rogan? his research scared the shit out of me. I always try to prioritize at least 6 if not 7 hours of sleep, but obviously this isn't always possible. Naps are key, skip the caffeine unless you know you'll be working late as it's been proven to disrupt your sleep cycle (even if you fall asleep).

anyway, he says that the science says you can't repay sleep debt i.e. sleep in on the weekends to make up for lost sleep in the weekdays.

May 18, 2020 - 6:31pm

make sure the sleep you do get is high quality. Hack it. Use a face mask, blackout curtains, and use sounds (like MP3 of ocean sounds) to drop you quickly into deep sleep. There's an old US Airforce technique for making yourself fall asleep faster by intentionally relaxing your body one part at a time in succession. You can Youtube it. Some people also swear by melatonin. Look into that too. Also hydrate well an hour before bed, avoid screentime if you can, and pee before you sleep.

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