How to Sleep Less and Function Better

Interesting article on Provigil and sleeping less. Many here have mentioned Provigil, I’m on it myself. I sleep 2-3 hours a day generally.

I just finished reading a profile of Democratic presidential candidate General Wesley Clark, and I gotta say, the man is a go-getter: first in his class at West Point, Rhodes scholar, victorious commander of the war in Kosovo, polished CNN analyst. But what really struck me is that, back in 1999, he conducted the entire 78-day Balkan campaign on roughly two hours of sleep per night. Clark seems to be just another in a long line of history’s success stories who required bizarrely small amounts of sleep. There was Alexander the Great, who famously slept hardly at all en route to conquering much of the known world by age 26; Napoleon, whose personal motto was “six hours of sleep for a man, seven hours for a woman, and eight for a fool”; Thomas Edison; Winston Churchill; former commander in chief Bill Clinton. Then there are the people like me who consistently snooze eight to nine hours a night while these supersleepers (or should that be alpha wakers?) are up, changing the path of history.

You only sleep two or three hours in a 24 hour period? Wow.

This is definitely something to ponder. I like the idea that this could really help people fighting off narcolepsy. But that sentence in the last paragraph really hit me in a odd way…

“Someday there may be drugs everyone takes to allow them to sleep just three hours a night.”

There is drug for that already, and I spent a long time in rehab because of it.

Yeah, I have severe sleep apnea and for a number of reasons I don’t use a sleep machine. I wake up usually after an hour or two of sleep. Once I wake up, I just can’t get back to sleep so I end up staying up. Sometimes I sleep twice in a 24 hour period.

The other day I slept for 3.5 hours. It was the longest duration of sleep I’ve had in recent memory.

Sorry to hear of the sleep apnea. It sounds like you’ve found something that works for you. Very cool.

If I don’t get at least 6 hours in a 24 hour period… things get a little less lucid for me.

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Wow, sorry to hear about the sleep apnea that’s a raw deal. I have the opposite problem. With my med, Saphris, I routinely sleep 12-14 hours (when I forget to take it I’m manic and sleep 2-3 hrs it great!). My pdoc mentioned provigil at my last visit but i’m wary because of the side effects.

Doing without a lot of sleep for a short period of time (ie. days) seems ok - but it seems like a bad idea over longer periods of time:

Lack of sleep implants ‘false’ memories in brain
Sleep deprived people are more likely to misremember events and hold ‘false’ memories of the past, scientists have discovered

Everyone is different; I don’t function well without 8 hours - there have been plenty of times when I’ve needed to function on less (much less) and sure, I survived…but had to rely on caffeine during the day.

The body regenerates during sleep - 3 hours is not enough to get to REM so it’s merely a nap. There is no way that is healthy long-term and the majority of literature suggests it is not. People with chronic insomnia, for example, experience a multitude of issues…some hallucinate, for example - not because they have a mental illness but because they’re so sleep deprived.

After a few years on Provigil, it happened to me as well. I’ve barely slept at all since Christmas. I seem to be doing fine.