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Any ideas to minimize the impact of broken sleep?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 08, 2011 at 12:34 AM

I work in the webhosting industry as a Linux engineer and one week a month I get given the on-call phone of doom, providing hours of joy when at some point from 20:00 to 8:00am I will be woken up to resolve a server issue. It's a small company so I am expected at work again at 10:00am.

An average week (mon - sun) I will be woken up around 3:00am every morning. A bad week would consist of being woken up every 3 hours resulting in around 4 hours of deep sleep a night. I am now (00:21) actually just reading paleohacks while I wait for a server reboot.

Anyone who has experienced real sleep deprivation knows quite how seriously this effects your health, emotions and personality. I am sure there are a few parents on here who have experienced months of this with their new babies.

Does anyone have any ideas would could be done to minimize the damage of interrupted sleep?

Now the only caveat is that I would worry about taking a supplement such as Magnesium on the on-call week in case I deep-sleep through an alert or am too groggy to work. I am guessing that post on-call week effort is the way forward, but would be interested to know if I can maximize my diet during the on-call week to make things easier?

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on November 09, 2011
at 03:20 AM

Can't say I do unfortunately. Good for you on the supplement free approach though.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 08, 2011
at 10:45 AM

I first read about this from Tim Ferris' 4HB. I might go back and look again, even if just making a habit of taking a nap at lunch or just as I get home before dinner. Clocking up a few minutes around the day may be the best way forward.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 08, 2011
at 10:37 AM

Do you know any foods which would aid this rather than a direct supplement?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 08, 2011
at 10:34 AM

I first read a about this from Tim Ferris' 4HB. I might go back and look again, even if just making a habit of taking a nap at lunch or just as I get home before dinner. Clocking up a few minutes around the day may be the best way forward.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 08, 2011
at 10:30 AM

You have made me think actually. I have not reduced my exercise at all during these weeks, although my performance is reduced for obvious reasons. Thanks, good advice.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on November 08, 2011
at 03:13 AM

sudo (sleep 30000; echo 'I quit')

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 08, 2011
at 12:39 AM

In your case, with this happening day after day, I have no sure-fire remedy to offer!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 08, 2011
at 12:38 AM

The experts will chime in, I'm sure, so I'll just speak from personal experience. Where possible, I don't go back to bed after such a wake-up; instead, I plan a longish nap later. If I try to finish sleeping right away, I have vivid dreams and wake up feeling awful.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 08, 2011
at 12:35 AM

Right I'm off to sleep, will read the answers tomorrow. Thanks.

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4 Answers

best answer

1
9c215d66a663fbae3a16cf5515889d7f

(260)

on November 08, 2011
at 03:06 AM

Our second child, now seven months old, is a lousy sleeper. Most nights I have to get up at some point - I probably have had three or four blocks of sleep longer than four hours in the last seven months. My advice is to keep your eating as clean as possible, and moderate your exercise to match your ability to recover. I'd like to do a lot more than I'm doing right now, but I know that would put me over the edge. I have a stand-up desk, will periodically drop and do some push ups or air squats. I also walk past a chin-up bar between my parking desk and office and I'll knock out some pull ups a few days a week. Someday (hopefully soon) the little one will start sleeping and I can ramp it up. Until then, it's just maintenance mode.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 08, 2011
at 10:30 AM

You have made me think actually. I have not reduced my exercise at all during these weeks, although my performance is reduced for obvious reasons. Thanks, good advice.

2
7c2a558ab6fed8f886120f7763b67ad4

(45)

on November 08, 2011
at 03:50 AM

Once awake, keeping the lights to a bare minimum and using F.lux on my pc have helped me in the past. http://stereopsis.com/flux/

1
3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

on November 08, 2011
at 01:03 AM

Maybe you could work polyphasic sleep into your schedule? The military has done a bunch of studies on stuff like this.

I know Art De Vany discusses using intermittent fasting to increase stress resistance (a sort of nutritional hormesis). YMMV with that, as studies in support of intermittent fasting in humans are sparse and contradictory in what benefits they suggest.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 08, 2011
at 10:34 AM

I first read a about this from Tim Ferris' 4HB. I might go back and look again, even if just making a habit of taking a nap at lunch or just as I get home before dinner. Clocking up a few minutes around the day may be the best way forward.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 08, 2011
at 10:45 AM

I first read about this from Tim Ferris' 4HB. I might go back and look again, even if just making a habit of taking a nap at lunch or just as I get home before dinner. Clocking up a few minutes around the day may be the best way forward.

0
6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on November 08, 2011
at 12:59 AM

It has been my experience (I too have this very issue) that taking melatonin maximizes sleep quality. On the nights that you are on call, take a melatonin before bed and you should feel better with the broken sleep that you do get.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on November 08, 2011
at 10:37 AM

Do you know any foods which would aid this rather than a direct supplement?

6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on November 09, 2011
at 03:20 AM

Can't say I do unfortunately. Good for you on the supplement free approach though.

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