Dealing with sleep deprivation

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Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Random » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:37 am

I'm about to take a 1-month course ,which is highly intensive. Nothing physical about it ,only mental , a lot to learn ,lots of info to be assimilated, book researching and writing essays.

The teachers already warned me that I will certainly have to sleep less ,go to bed at late hours , and manage my time of course.

What measures could I take ,in order to cope with sleep deprivation?

I know there are many army people on the forum , also a lot of students who have certainly dealt with this before,............any hint ,advice ,idea is greatly appreciated.

Of course ,I cannot compare this course with Navy Seal training or survival skills....... :words:
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Neptune Glory » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:03 pm

Random wrote:I'm about to take a 1-month course ,which is highly intensive. Nothing physical about it ,only mental , a lot to learn ,lots of info to be assimilated, book researching and writing essays.

The teachers already warned me that I will certainly have to sleep less ,go to bed at late hours , and manage my time of course.

What measures could I take ,in order to cope with sleep deprivation?

I know there are many army people on the forum , also a lot of students who have certainly dealt with this before,............any hint ,advice ,idea is greatly appreciated.

Of course ,I cannot compare this course with Navy Seal training or survival skills....... :words:
I used to have to regulate my sleep a lot more, when I was working the night shift. My tricks were simple: caffeine to extend the waking hours, to a certain point anyway, then dedicated sleep time (even if only about four hours) with an alarm clock that I *absolutely* had to get up for. The body adapts.

Nothing beats getting a full sleep in, but over time, I learned to function on less and catch up when I could.
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Boondock » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:07 pm

Twenty seven cups of coffee and four packs of cigarettes a day. I'm not joking.

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by The_bangfrog_MK23 » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:28 pm

Boondock wrote:Twenty seven cups of coffee and four packs of cigarettes a day. I'm not joking.
:shock: That seems like a good way to kill yourself within weeks.

I usually try to eat lightly with lots of fresh stuff like apples and salads and drink a lot of water. I spread my meals out (coworkers usually comment on my seemingly constantly being munching...) but eat less at lunch to avoid afternoon-munch-coma.

Vits, carbs and water are your friend here, as long as you don't have to do hard physical labor.
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Towanda » Sun Aug 23, 2015 1:38 pm

This sounds like the semester I took 12 credits and worked full time. Set yourself a strict schedule and don't deviate from it. When you're not in class, you need to be studying or sleeping. You need a hard bedtime and a hard waking-up time. No snooze button. Coffee as soon as you can in the morning; take a travel mug to class if you need to. No caffeine or energy drinks within three hours of bedtime. If you get days off from class, sleep in a bit but still study your ass off.

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by boskone » Sun Aug 23, 2015 3:56 pm

If at all possible, an afternoon nap does wonders. It helped quite a lot in college; I was a full time worker and student, so 8 hours at a stretch just for sleep were rare. 4-5 hours at night was doable, but I seemed to do better with 3-4 hours at night and a nap during the afternoon between 3 and 5.

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Shiloh » Sun Aug 23, 2015 4:23 pm

-Coffee is your best friend now. Get used to that.
-Don't overdo it with the naps, 30 minutes seemed to be primo for me but everyone varies. Anything over an hour or so is probably a bad idea.
-Find healthy stuff to snack on constantly, or sunflower seeds/peppermints.
-Getting up and walking around helps too, just sitting in one place for too long will knock you out quick.
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by duodecima » Sun Aug 23, 2015 4:34 pm

Yeah, there simply is no replacement for sleep, except sleep. All of the advice (except way too much coffee and cigarettes) has been pretty good, especially the bit about no snooze alarms. Nap when you can and/or must. Sleep deprivation decreases creativity and vigilence first, so don't expect to do your best brainstorming and proofreading right before bed, and plan around it. At some points you're so tired that your learining is much less efficient and effective, so taking a nap for an hour so you'll be more productive later may be the right thing to do.

When you need something to stay awake and alert but your within 3-4h of scheduled sleep time, snacking can be helpful to stay up without caffiene that may not let you sleep. (This was NOT good for my waistline, at that point in my life).

Anything you can do NOW so you don't have to do it during that month - maybe prepay bills, cook&freeze meals, start with a clean house/apartment/room. Try to keep on with at least some healthy habits - some physical activity (go for a walk while brainstorming, or listening to material), not a complete junkfood diet - since you're already short sleep try to keep up some of the other habits that will keep your brain and body in better shape. A month is a long time, maybe plan some short brain breaks in (favorite tv watching for a half hour a couple times a week, or 10-30 min leisure reading) if that's possible. Or maybe something as simple as budgeting for your favorite daily fancy coffee and making sure to take 2 minutes to savor it.

(From an educational design perspective, good sleep improves learning, so imo this is a stupid way to design a course if it's true you're ACTUALLY going to need to sleep <7h/nite regularly with no catch-up time, unless the hardship/sleep deprivation is part of the training/testing. Which it may be. And even when it's not true I'm aware that many programs of study are designed that stupidly.)

Good luck!
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Boondock » Sun Aug 23, 2015 4:52 pm

Boondock wrote:Twenty seven cups of coffee and four packs of cigarettes a day. I'm not joking.
Forgot to add, slam a six pack of beer daily for those precious hours when you need to sleep. Still not joking.

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Boom40mm » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:00 pm

Staying awake during post: caffeine, nicotine, and physical activity. If you're starting to get too tired take a minute and knock out some pushups/squats/lunges, it will keep you going for a bit.

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by ineffableone » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:41 pm

I have done a lot of sleep deprivation.

Eating high energy foods, when your starting to get sluggish and tired can help a lot. Letting your body release some of the energy it was holding back now it knows you have more coming in.

A shower can also help refresh and wake you up.

Avoid monotony when tired. Watching TV or movies, is a bad idea if your really tired. You will fall asleep quickly. If your tired and don't want to sleep yet, stay active somehow. Even if it is performing some task while watching TV, it will keep you awake. Fold laundry, reload magazines, sharpen knifes, etc... keep your mind and body active.

Since it sounds like your still going to get some sleep, supplement with cat naps. Short 15 min naps, through the day will help a lot. When napping don't nap longer than 1 hr, better if it is only 15-30 min. This is due to what part of the sleep cycle you reach. Wake in the wrong part and it can actually make you more tired.

Something about sleep that we modernly don't seem to remember much is we used to sleep 2 times in a night, called segmented or broken sleep. Before electric lights, we would go to sleep early, wake in the middle of the night, then go back to sleep for the rest of the night. This split sleep is actually our normal sleep cycle. Sleeping one long straight through is not our natural cycle. We used to have a 2-3 hr awake period in the middle of the night. This was often used as a time to be intimate, to socialize with family and even neighbors, read, meditate or pray, etc.

Rather than trying to stay awake late into the night studying, you might try such a split sleep cycle, and do some of your study in the middle of the night then go back to bed. This would mean you would need to go to bed earlier, and might seem counter productive. But if you do it right it could work better than trying to deal with sleep deprivation. Especially since sleep actually helps you digest new information. While asleep your mind sorts and filters new info, organizing and making connections to previous information. So studying then sleeping for a few hours, then studying more than sleeping the rest of the night could help you digest info a lot better.

More info https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segmented_sleep
In one experiment Thomas Wehr had eight healthy men be confined to a room for fourteen hours of darkness every day for a month. At first the participants slept for about eleven hours, presumably making up for their sleep debt. After this the subjects began to sleep much as people in pre-industrial times had. They would sleep for about four hours, wake up for two to three hours, then go back to bed for another four hours. They also took about two hours to fall asleep.
And there are lots more articles and info out there. But as mentioned in the above quote, watch out for sleep debt. Your body remembers the sleep it didn't get for a surprisingly long time, and likes to try and catch up when it gets the chance. If you are going to try segmented sleep, I would highly recommend you start early, allow yourself a longer period for sleep such as 11 hrs, and let your body catch up on lost sleep. Then start seeing if you wake in the middle of the night, if not maybe set an alarm for 4hrs in to try and encourage the segmentation.
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Stercutus » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:15 am

Boondock wrote:
Boondock wrote:Twenty seven cups of coffee and four packs of cigarettes a day. I'm not joking.
Forgot to add, slam a six pack of beer daily for those precious hours when you need to sleep. Still not joking.
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Boondock » Mon Aug 24, 2015 7:15 am

Yup. Mostly on the night shift crime beat. And in the infantry, once upon a time. When it's time to run and gun, you do what you gotta do.

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by DementedDigital » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:15 pm

Having worked several jobs at once and also worked for a few startup companies, I understand sleep deprivation very well.

There is no substitute for sleep. Get as much of it as you can. I'd probably skip a meal every other day to get a little extra sleep. Load up on calories now and gain a little weight if you think you might need it.

Streamline everything you do, so you don't have to think about it. Get clothes that you don't need to iron, make sure all shirts match all pants, cut your hair short, and take care of any medical issues before you start. Minimize what you bring with you, so there is less to maintain / look after.

Exercise. If you're reasonably fit and you exercise, you're going to sleep better, and you're going to have more energy during the day.

I'm not sure where you're located, but I'd be tempted to get some Modafinil for days where you really need it. If you are in the US, it's a prescription medicine. If you don't want to get a prescription (or buy online), you can try Adrafinil (no prescription needed), which is metabolized in the liver into Modafinil.

Military pilots and CEOs use Modafinil. It's an "alertness promoter," but it is not a stimulant. It isn't habit forming. It is prescribed for shift workers and people with narcolepsy. If you talk to your doctor and tell him what you're going to do, he will probably give you a prescription for it. I've used Adrafinil, and it works a little for me. I have not tried Modafinil, but I hear that you take it and you are just awake and alert. It's a drug, so it might have a different effect on your body or you might not react to it at all, but it might help you on a bad day.

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by duodecima » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:05 am

DementedDigital wrote: I'm not sure where you're located, but I'd be tempted to get some Modafinil for days where you really need it. If you are in the US, it's a prescription medicine. If you don't want to get a prescription (or buy online), you can try Adrafinil (no prescription needed), which is metabolized in the liver into Modafinil.
Adrafinil was discontinued by its major manufacturer last year- you can buy alleged adrafinil on line but I'd have to be really damn sure the supplement company was completely reputable (and frankly not sure how I'd be sure since I'm a suspicious person), since unregulated means nobody's checking. (It's certainly producible by other manufacturers, just saying checking authenticity is tough.) In the US, I think it's just small amounts for research that are legal but it's supposedly a minor issue if it gets caught at the border. It was pulled in Europe due to being less effective with more potential for side effects than modafinil or armodafinil.

Modafinil otoh, the issue may be the prescription - your doc may be willing to prescribe it but don't just assume, it is a Schedule IV controlled (as is its more expensive cousin armodafanil). Some people do abuse it but it doesn't seem to be nearly as addictive as a lot of other scheduled meds.

Overall a ton of great advice in this thread.
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by arentol » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:58 am

I eat sunflower seeds when I am not going to get enough sleep or otherwise expect to be tired. By nature I tend to get very sleepy on long drives at about four hours. However if I eat seeds for a while every time I get tired I can drive for far longer. I can do a 20 hour drive with seeds without needing an energy drink at all, and after 20 hours seeds plus an energy drink every 5 hours will easily get me to 30 hours, and probably considerably more (I have just never actually gone longer than that).

I think they work because they require so many distinct actions that your brain really can't shut down while you are doing all of them AND doing something else as well like driving. Also if you chipmunk them then your gums get raw and start to hurt after a couple hours of eating them, so the pain also helps keep you awake. However, they still work even if you don't chipmunk because not doing so increases the number of actions needed to eat each one. You will need to drink lots of liquids though to offset the salt.

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by DementedDigital » Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:59 am

duodecima wrote: Adrafinil was discontinued by its major manufacturer last year
I hadn't been following that. Bummer. I took my last Adrafinil capsules a month ago when I was working on a project and burning the candle at both ends. I do see bulk Adrafinil powder online, but I'm suspicious too. Modafinil seems to be more potent (as reported by those who have tried both). It's worth the trip to the doc, I think.

Re: the OP, I just saw this today: http://lifehacker.com/this-video-explai ... 1726229885

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Myana » Wed Aug 26, 2015 5:55 pm

Some really good advice. All I'd add is, know your biorhythms. For instance, I get groggy early in the evening, but I wake up early just fine. So during college I never pulled an 'all-nighter'... but I did pull 'all-morningers'. I'd sleep from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am, then get up and study. My roommate had trouble falling sleep before midnight so he'd stay up studying until 4:00 am and sleep 4-9 am or so.

By knowing your body's rhythms, you can sort of work with it rather than fully against it.

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Asymetryczna » Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:57 am

I think know your biorhythms is a good answer. Provigil and such are used more for extremes. An informative piece found in Slate's "Superman Section" one year: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_an ... diers.html

I've learned and taught. I'd like to offer suggestions but I cannot help but be plagued with more questions from reading your post. What is the nothing physical only mental highly intensive course? How many hours do you sleep regularly? What time of the day is your mental focus the strongest? When are the classes? How far are the classes from where you sleep? Do you have a sleeping area that you can create a night time effect?

Many are the sleep deprived who now depend often on caffeine and nicotine. Use sparingly...as needed...the former at the beginning and the latter at the end.

The reason I ask the first question is because your question might be answered differently by those who have taken the same or similar course.
This is August so it does not marry up with summer sessions and a month does not fit into most fall semesters. A high school quarter is approximately 9 weeks, so if you are younger the month does not fit.

If it is a trade or other cert than I'll bet someone on any forum has knowledge of it. You might worry needlessly.
Even the most rigorous military courses has standards for the amount of rest a student gets and this has improved (in the student's favor) quite a bit over the years. So it's on you to rest.

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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by RoneKiln » Sat Aug 29, 2015 1:21 am

Get a standing work station to study at. And jump rope. Takes very little time to get the heart racing with a jump rope. It will help bring your metabolism up, both keeping you alert and helping you sleep at night.
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Kutter_0311 » Sat Aug 29, 2015 6:46 am

Pushing too late is a waste. I should have stopped and slept HOURS before I did. Your brain really does start to fail, so just sleep already!

5 Hour Energy works well for me, but 2 MAX each day, or that goes badly, as well. Better just to have one mid-morning (with food!) and nurse a Mt Dew.

Good food in small doses, good multivitamins when you wake, 3-5mg Melatonin 'nightcap' at bedtime.
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Random » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:07 am

A big thanks to each and every one of you, I managed to pull through and achieve my goals. You are great!!
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by Zimmy » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:30 am

I used to put the instant coffee packet from an MRE and a few drops of tobasco in my copenhagen can. It was was godawful, but worked at keeping me up.

Attempting to maintain a dedicated sleep period will give you a goal to stay up for.

Also, watch for when you get irrational and emotional. I'm sure the study doesn't condone violence no matter how well self justified.
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Re: Dealing with sleep deprivation

Post by duodecima » Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:41 am

Random wrote:A big thanks to each and every one of you, I managed to pull through and achieve my goals. You are great!!
Congrats!!!
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