Tagged With insomnia


Last night I was up until midnight watching old episodes of The Office. I'm now regretting that decision, not because I thought Dwight shouldn't have pummelled Jim with all those snowballs, but because my tired-arse-looking face is literally making me look sick to other people, according to a May report from the Royal Society of Open Science. Good thing I hate talking to people.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.


Modern life is all about innovating our way out of our inabilities. We're not meant to fly, or live 20 stories in the air, or speak to a friend in New Zealand. And (buzzkill alert) we're not meant to be awake when the sun don't shine. Of all that we can now do, the latter may be the most universal. If we've mastered anything, it's light. For the large part, this is good news; extra hours in the "day" mean we can socialise longer and get more work done.


We all have a poor night's sleep from time to time: those nights when you lie awake for hours trying desperately to go to sleep but can't stop worrying about tomorrow. Or when you repeatedly wake up throughout the night, or can't get back to sleep in the early hours of the morning.


It doesn't take a genius to know that too much TV can affect kids' sleeping habits. However, a new study has found that school-aged children experience shorter sleep duration after watching just 1.5 hours of television per day. In other words, all it takes is three episodes of a typical kids' TV show for sleep deprivation to kick in.


We tend to apply ergonomics as it relates to our waking activities. But utilizing the right sleep posture is just as important as having the right PC posture, especially if you want to enjoy a pain-free morning and day.


Insomniac and coder Chad Perrin says that hackers who stay up all night coding can get more done in those hours than most people can in a month because an all-nighter lends itself to getting into "hack mode," or the state of flow. The Jargon Wiki defines hack mode as:

A Zen-like state of total focus on The Problem that may be achieved when one is hacking (this is why every good hacker is part mystic).

Perrin says that insomniac coders kick into hack mode because there's no one else around to distract them and they have to stay quiet (and avoid the television) so not to disturb others sleeping. He also says the surreal perspective one gets at sunrise after a whole night awake encourages "crazy," creative thoughts and new ideas to emerge. Insomnia can really suck, but if you have to be awake all night, knocking something out in hack mode seems like the best way to do it.

Insomnia and productivity


The New York Times' Well blog points out that behavioral modifications worked faster and better than sleeping drugs when it came to beating insomnia, according to numerous medical studies. Many of the reinforcements mentioned—exercise, shutting off the TV/computer and regular wake times in particular—have been covered here before, but the article points out one meta-strategy:

Don't try too hard to fall asleep, and turn the clock around so you can't see it. Watching time pass is one of the worst things to do when you're trying to fall asleep.

Those looking for more insomnia-busting tips could try contributor Ryan Irelan's "Blue Energy" technique or check out 12 strategies for getting to sleep. Ever had a bout with insomnia, or find yourself fighting it now? Feel free to share your experiences and victory stories in the comments. Photo by littledan77. Thanks, Jay!

Curing Insomnia Without the Pills