What the study actually demonstrates is more narrow, as befits science:
"Overweight young adults who usually sleep less then 6.5 hours a day and are coached in sleep hygiene tend to sleep about an hour longer, consume fewer calories proportional to how much more they sleep, and have no significant change in today daily energy expenditure"
> No significant treatment effect in total energy expenditure was found, resulting in weight reduction in the sleep extension group vs the control group.
I don't see any way in which the headline made stronger claims than the science. Simplification, or omitting details, is not the same as hyperbole or misrepresentation.
The study has no demonstrated applicability to:
* older adults
* teenagers or children
* BMI obese individuals
* BMI normal/underweight individuals
* people who already sleep more than 6.5 hours per night
* people who sleep longer without being counseled in sleep hygiene as performed by the clinicians -- which presumably involves a comprehensive set of sleep guidelines and possibly even personalized assignment of guidelines and other forms of coaching
Do you think most people reading the headline or even the article would recognize that? Do you think most commenters did?
As for the rest - I think everything you note here falls in the class of omitting details, which is not in itself misleading. Classifying any headline that omits any details as misleading sets an impossible standard. It basically makes it impossible to provide a responsible headline of any kind.
Even the title of the original scientific article itself fails to disclose several of the limitations you list here. Is a popular media article required to have a title that discloses limitations more comprehensively than the scientific article it reports on?
As far as I can tell, I'm just sharing the details that the headline left out with a community who has the scientific literacy to make sense of them.
A lot of us have a hair trigger around "Can't Trust That Damn Media!" claims (myself included), so I understand why you're trying to stand up for the article here. But if you look back over what I wrote, you'll see that I wasn't criticizing it. Digging deeper is what we want to do so that we can trust the imperfect media that we know we receive.
There are multiple factors in sleep that would have an influence on weight.
1) when you are sleep deprived, or don't get enough sleep, you have increased insulin resistence, which is related to increased fat stores 
2) reduced sleep causes you to crave sugary and fatty foods as a source 
The idea from the article that sleep gained over x years would result in a * b reduction in weight is ludicrous. It doesn't work that way.
I work in the sleep space as the founder of https://soundmind.co we're focused on improving Sleep Performance, the neurological function of sleep. Our DeepWave auditory stimulation is focused on some of the brains mechanisms that are associated with the insulin resistance mentioned above (https://soundmind.co/research).
Happy to answer any questions.
absolutely. I've definitely noticed this. Its a big part of how I'm trying to manage my weight gain, just being aware of this effect.
The only real issue is that if I have to think particularly hard on a problem I might have to step off of the treadmill/turn it off for a bit.
I work from home and most of my work isn’t mentally challenging, so I know I have it better than most. Still, for anyone who thinks it might be doable for them I’d recommend it. It takes a while to get used to, but it happens. Right now I’d love to find a way to incline the treadmill easily to increase the challenge without increasing the speed.
Plus, you should see my calves. The bottom half of some pants look like leggings on me.
All that said you absolutely get what you pay for, and it's much nicer to walk on higher end models.
The hourly reminders to move really do show the science is right on when it comes to how effective even a few minutes of movement regularly throughout the day improves your health.
That said there might be better stuff on the market now as I purchased a while ago.
For hard problems I also need to sit down (that's why I do it in the afternoon).
So you are "walking" 8 to 10 miles a day, that is pretty awesome just being stationary so to speak, which translates to 700-900 calories burned a day. Just curious do you get tired at the end of the week?
There are days where I push more time than usual and I still feel it at night in my thighs.
When I exercise I trade off incline for speed.
So I incline it to max (12%) and walk so I'm able to read but increase my heart rate.
I can usually talk on the phone too (but limited circumstances out of politeness)
On the plus side it's definitely held up.
True fact: when I was seriously losing weight I found that more sleep was key to my success.
I don’t snack when I’m sleeping!
My weakness with food is always when stress and sleep hit some critical level where I can’t look at bad food and say “that’s not worth it”. It’s strange to think/admit but I am at the mercy of chemicals in that situation. My will power is best put towards getting to sleep on time and not buying junk in the first place. I tend to lose the battle if I’m tired and there is junk around.
Here I am playing 1.5D chess with my biology, but what the hell. I’m no Jocko Willink.
These are nuanced and difficult things to find solutions for in any case.
The next time you buy junk food, the first thing you do as you get home is that you divide that junk food into two piles: That which you intend to consume today, and that which you were planning on saving for tomorrow.
Then throw the part you were saving for tomorrow into the garbage.
Now you are no longer at risk of overeating, because the excess is not there to tempt you, and you can enjoy the first pile without reservation, fear, or guilt.
The easiest way to resist junk food in your pantry is to not put it in there in the first place.
I used to swim/gym around 3 years ago everyday for about 2 years. I used to sleep from 9.30pm to 7.30am because I used to be tired. Sleep used to help me recover a lot! And because I used to be asleep for such a long time, I never had time to binge watch or eat. I lost about 40kgs because of exercise, diet and mostly sleep.
Fast forward to now, I'm working in the night to match my colleagues schedule till my wife's and infant's visa arrive and I can travel to the university, this is about a timezone difference of 9.30 hours. I've never been more bloated, tired and depressed. I've also have gotten more ill, and have had a plethora or gastric issues.
Maybe I'm exaggerating, but I don't think most people can fall asleep on demand during the middle of the day. Personally, I fall asleep within 5 minutes at night though.
The key for me is to be mindful that I'm trying to relax.
At night, I can often find myself laying awake for hours. The quickest way to fall asleep in those instances is to turn on something I find relaxing and close my eyes. Note: what I find relaxing isn't stereotypical all of the time. Recently, I've been listening to people scream at each other about online politics. Other times it's smooth jazz. Do what works for you that day.
Routines and habits are also very powerful. If you want to take a nap after lunch, try and lie down every day after lunch. After a few days of repeatedly taking a lunch nap, your body will naturally start to fall into that habit and it will get easier to fall asleep. I'm guessing habit is largely what drives the siesta culture in many places.
For what it’s worth, the opposite also works for me. I have a standing desk and walking treadmill and I find walking helps keep me alert.
At 8:30p: Last big glass of water. Put phone on charger in non-bedroom and don’t touch until 7a. Keep the lights low and warm. Do low stimulation activities like reading fiction or watching semi-boring TV or chatting with your family. Lay down when you can’t keep your eyes open anymore.
Big change for me. The phone especially is poison for evening tranquillity.
To maintain your circadian rhythm during normal times, try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day and eat only during three meals per day at the same time each day, avoid caffeine later in the day and also follow the advice of others here. Keep the room you are going to sleep in very dark and quiet. Don't go to bed until you are ready to fall asleep - don't use tv/phone/computer in bed.
Reminds me of my career military grandfather. It was something along the lines of "march long enough and you'll have no problem sleeping."
Light exercise like going for a walk is ok though.
And if you work from an office “I have gym at X hour” is a super socially acceptable reason to leave on time. Nobody questions a gym schedule. Especially if you have a class.
Which might be for the best anyway, but it is so tempting to still try to keep up with movies, TV, video games, side-projects, social media, et c, even though you're effectively working damn near an 80-hour week. Easier to fit in exercise after the kids are asleep, too, unless you save all that for the weekend or take time out of paying work to do it instead. Or get up stupid early. Like, much earlier than 7.
Uh...it really isn't.
Unless your job requires being on-call, such as IT, incident response, or site reliability, you shouldn't be getting Slack messages that late. There's no reason a software engineer should be responding to messages 14 hours/day.
Do you get paid oncall for your availability past 8 hours?
I'm a consultant (get paid salary but work at a customer site) and I turn off Slack notifications and Teams after 5pm. My boss and core team know how to reach me if something critical comes up. The only time that isn't the case is when I'm oncall, which I don't do in my current role. I'm also not an account manager, but I also don't get paid half a million a year.
And the answer to "screen time afterward" is "don't use a phone screen". The point is to avoid the interactivity of the phone at night. Grab a book/e-book or put on some longer-form video such as a TV show.
If you are young and grinding to climb up the corporate ladder or in an executive position at a default dead startup and happy doing it then your comment makes sense to me.
If you're not either of those things then your comment is extreme and sounds like you'd be happy in a 996 company. If software was 996 everywhere I would find a different career as I enjoy the rest of life too much.
I get almost no personal screen time—or other personal time, for that matter—before that (aside from time I steal to post on HN, like everyone else)
Giving a very generous 1 hour for every meal and daily 1-hour workout, that still gets you 12.5 hours of non-working screen time for your work week, and 7.5 hours of lower-stimulation entertainment. And then you have your weekends for weekend stuff. What does your schedule look like where this is a serious problem?
Being constantly socially online with people you don't live with is honestly overrated. Cutting out social media is a good first step, and strengthened my most important social connections, and completely eliminated ones that I hadn't realized were empty and meaningless (do you really need to be "friends" with everybody you knew from high school?)
Oh and this is the weird one... I sleep with one airpod/bluetooth headphone in. I have ADHD and if I'm not tired enough I'll wake up around 2-4 to pee then be awake thinking about work/family/stupid things I did 10 years ago. I don't know how I got started doing this but now I listen to an audiobook at very low volume on a 15 minute sleep timer. I only listen to books I've read a bunch (currently I cycle between Hyperion books, enders game, LOTR, a handful of King novels, Stoner, The Great Gatsby - pretty much any book where I can pick up at any time and know whats going on without being too interested) and fall asleep to that.
It prevents my mind from drifting and helps me sleep a lot better. As a bonus I get to reread/listen to classics I enjoy several times a year.
I don't know anyone else who does this but I've been doing it for 2-3 years and its changed sleep for me dramatically.
Wow, this is me, I do the exact same thing. Concentrating on the audio gives me something different to focus on and inevitably puts me back to sleep.
I can't tell you why I do it, mind. I don't think I'd claim it drowns out unwelcome thoughts - if anything, when my mental health is poor the thoughts drown out the audio. I basically just don't really get on well with silence. To my knowledge I don't have ADHD.
I've never tried with a Bluetooth headphone but have always used a wired one, with one line cut off a the Y junction to help avoid tangling. Sometimes have to use a player which supports sending stereo as mono, otherwise you often only get one side of the dialog in dramatisations, like Hitchhiker's.
The only difference is that I set the timer to 30min, sometimes 40min. Something about having a 15 minute timer, gives me sleep anxiety.
That's a good idea on listening to books I've already read, as I definitely don't remember anything or know where to jump back into the next night.
I thought your body habituated to externally-supplied melatonin and it became less effective with time; are you using it only sometimes or did I misunderstand?
Lots of info here: https://slatestarcodex.com/2018/07/10/melatonin-much-more-th...
Melatonin solves this for me. It takes very little (~0.3mg) to achieve about the largest clinically-observed effect. Makes it easier for me to stay asleep.
For getting to sleep earlier (or even just at a normal, but still fairly late time) reliably, I've found two solutions:
1) Approximately no electricity after sundown (or just a little after sundown, in the Winter). No light sources brighter than a few candles (enough to read by). Warm light only. Nothing with a screen except an e-ink reader. You can still: play music; listen to music (if you can be disciplined about it, a couple moments of screen to put on another album is probably fine, if you don't have a screen-free way to do that, or otherwise, find a screen-free way, it can be done cheaply); listen to podcasts or radio (ditto); play board and card games (~10-20 candle power scattered around a room is a tiny fraction of typical nighttime house lighting for a room, but is plenty to do this to); read (aloud!); write; talk. But you must turn off the electricity-powered 24/7 carnival. Entirely. Ultra-bright lighting (once you're used to low-light the amount of light we flood our houses with at night will seem outright insane), computers, video games, Netflix. Zero, zero of that.
2) Weed. [EDIT: I have tried prescription meds for this, too—the ones I tried did work, but not as well, left me feeling like shit in the morning even if I got a solid 8 hours of sleep, and especially left me feeling like shit if I tried to use them late in the evening after I realized I was going to have trouble falling asleep, rather than just taking them every day at a set, earlier time]
Jesus God, where do you live? The sun goes down at 17:00-17:30 for most of the year here. I'd lose all of my free time if I did that.
IME melatonin an hour before bedtime, and setting screen color temperature to a really low value works wonders (I've been using 2000K at night and 3200K in daytime, sometimes even 1800K). I can stare at the screen for 16 hours and then go straight to bed, and be off in a few minutes.
Medium-ish Northern latitude. Dark around 1700 in the depth of Winter, maybe 2130 or 2200 at the height of Summer. Of course that includes daylight savings fucking with the clocks.
Just _Intentionally_ relaxing the muscles in your face can make such a profound difference when trying to get to sleep. Especially when you don't even realize those muscles are not relaxed by default when laying around in bed.
TLDR actively defend your sleep time. People think it’s wasted time, but it’s the most important work for long term health (including long term brain health). Money doesn’t buy back beating your body into the ground.
I have a lot of trouble with eye masks, ear plugs.
Not necessarily that I can fall asleep with them (I do), but they cause me to wake at some point in the night to remove. Maybe I have to develop the habit.
I'm not sure if your problem is noise or what but I'd wager that a machine like this could be helpful in a plethora of situations. It's just pretty calming.
Play with the other inputs to your circadian rhythms: Meal timing and physical activity are huge inputs. Try different dinner times earlier and later and you might be surprised to discover some large effects.
Adjust what you eat and how frequently. Some people wake up early because they’ve trained their bodies to run on a constant stream of carbs or sugar, which obviously can’t be sustained while you’re sleeping for many hours.
Stress reduction and addressing any mental health issues is also important. Early morning waking isn’t uncommon in depressed patients and often resolves with depression treatment. Even non-depressed people can benefit from stress reduction and relaxation exercises.
For example, if you usually spend 7 hours 30 from the moment you go into bed to the moment you get out of it, you could try 6 hours and 45 minutes: you would probably be sleep-deprived for a few days until your body can't take it anymore and will have to use that smaller time-window more efficiently. You could then adjust time in bed depending on your results.
Things that had an impact too, but probably more minor:
- Being exposed to direct sunlight ("direct" meaning with no window in between, looking at the sky for example, not at the sun directly!) as early as possible after waking-up
- Cold shower in the morning (in the evening, better if the shower is warm/hot) for its thermogenic effect
+ of course, the usual advice: no screen in the evening, exercise, dinner early, etc.
Also not drinking caffeine later then 10 hours before sleep.
• Consistent sleep / wake up schedule
• No meals at least 3 hours before bed
• Same story with sugar as caffeine
• Proper temperature in room
• If you want consistency, sleep in a consistent posture and don't move
• Turn off any electronics 30 mins before bed
• Limit alcohol and other substances like User23 said
Sleep is one of those things that has "obvious" solutions and is one of the easiest things to fix in life assuming no underlying medical problems.
The ONLY other thing "this simple" is exercise and rote memorization.
Also eliminating caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol altogether. For me there was a big difference between "a little caffeine in the morning" and "none at all."
Heavy weight training is like magic for sleep.
When I was in the military on guard duty (very funky sleep schedule, you have 4 hours of duty then 2 hours for "sleep"), I was constantly hungry.
When I saw the title I suspected it was related to eating more if you slept less. I find myself doing this when I cheat myself out of a goodnight's sleep.
Anecdotally, I can also attest that I'm much more likely to want junk food if I haven't slept enough. Just do a quick google search for "lack of sleep hunger" and you'll see tons of articles and papers popup.
They've been saying for so long that
1. Sleeping more means less eating (both because you're asleep, duh, and because ghrelin is reduced)
2. Sleeping more means weight loss is higher % from body fat (not lean mass)
3. Sleep is important for recovery for training and then you can exercise again sooner
For me I have a guideline that Sleep > Nutrition > Exercise > <bucket for all the other things, eg supplements> -- such that I will sacrifice the lesser thing if it means I do better with the greater thing.
If I have to choose between getting at least 7 hours sleep or exercise, I sleep. (Ideally getting 8-9hrs sleep for my body)
If I have to choose between having satiating, low calorie - high nutrition foods in the house, and exercising, I go grocery shopping or get chopping.
Among other things, sleep is when the majority of most people's fat loss occurs, because the body is in a fasted state, oxidizing lipids for basal energy needs, and expelling the resultant Carbon Dioxide and water.
There are a great many other metabolic systems in the body that are detrimentally affected by a lack of sleep too. It's quite important to get enough!
Also, anyone know of ways laypersons can assess whether their sleep is non-restorative?
- deep sleep is restorative (AIUI the brain needs deep sleep otherwise it poisons itself, whereas e.g muscles don't, they need rest)
- light sleep is important too but I feel that was not the question
- I noticed I had a hard time falling asleep early/at "normal" hours
- even if I did, waking up before 9am made me feel terrible through the day until 4pm, even though I had 8-12h of sleep
- I got a fitness device (back then fitbit charge HR, now garmin forerunner 735xt) for unrelated reasons but figured out any data could be helpful as long as I'm aware of the limitations and error margins. Either device I had/have cannot record REM sleep, only deep+light+movement (via HR monitor+accelerometers)
- over five years, data shows that either I sleep no earlier than 1am, or when I sleep before, it's only light sleep and a lot of movement, deep sleep starting between 1-3am
- also, attempts at imposing myself an earlier sleep schedule (in order to get 8h of sleep given I started work at 9am) resulted in worse sleep/later deep sleep
- sometimes on a given night, cumulative deep sleep as reported may look to be enough (e.g 3-4h) but looking at that night timeline graph showed that it was extremely segmented instead of a couple or three chunks
- even if I'm extremely tired I cannot sleep before 1am. it's that or I sleep at 7-9pm and wake up within an hour after 23pm, theb can't get back to sleep until 3-4am
- exercise helps (1h a day), circadian lighting helps (via home assistant + ikea tradfri), reading before sleep helps, time outside helps, sex helps, but any of that does not offset my schedule, it only makes it so I get more/better deep sleep
- food doesn't seem to have much of an effect on me, except sugary stuff which makes me twitchy, and pasta which makes me sleepy but sleep quality is no better (and actually worse because it screws up my schedule)
- caffeine has a measurable effect when taken after 2pm, non measurable before that
- alcohol ruins my deep sleep with some linear-ish correlation
- I also tracked weight, with bad sleep I could eat very little and not lose extra weight, but as soon as I get good sleep over a long enough duration, I can shed extra weight quickly, irrespective of food or exercise
Overall, the device helped a lot in clearing some biases and understanding myself better, even though its data is imperfect and imprecise (e.g sometimes data is obviously messed up, sometimes it can't account for odd sleeping events) but being cognizant of that allowed me to interpret said data, understand specific events and long term trends, and manage my sleep schedule.
EDIT: scratch the 5 years, I just checked and it's actually 8 years, with some gaps. goddammit time flies.
I'd basically have to give up caffeine to achieve this.
I get it though, we all like our pleasures in life. But some of them aren't good for us, so we have to choose between the short term pleasure of substance use versus the long term pleasure of not just longer life, but higher quality life when we're older.
I don't smoke.
I don't drink.
I don't toke.
I don't gamble.
Only vice I have is drinking coffee and eating burgers.
Coffee is one of those few things that brings me a lotta joy.
so can dysentery
burn more calories than you take
don't eat transformed food
eat 1 cheat meal a week to wake up your metabolism, it can be anything, really, ice cream, pizza, burgers, anything
LOL. That’s not how this stuff works, as any dieter can tell you.
Too many people go on a diet when they should really be changing their diet.
> if the sleep extension was maintained for a period of 3 years, it would result in approximately 12kg of weight loss.
Sounds a bit simplistic.
Nothing wrong with promoting healthy eating and exercise, but unfortunately, this often turns into negative judgement against people that do not deserve it. These negative judgements often cause real harm. I know people whose doctors have dismissed all symptoms of real diseases, simply because they were obese. "Just lose weight" is what they've been told, far too often, when, in fact, there were serious conditions that needed immediate treatment.
So yes, promote healthy habits, but please do so carefully, and without judgement.
> we need to eat less, and exercise more.
I interpret the “we” to refer to the collective as a whole (society that ChrisMarshallNY and the other readers on this forum belong to).
I just do enough to try keeping the ticker going. Last time I checked, I was about 40 lbs over what I should be.
I walk three miles, each morning, and have (regretfully) stopped eating a lot of stuff I used to love (as I get older, more and more stuff disagrees with me. It's been years since I've had ice cream).
Nevertheless, I still wear pants with a waist bigger than the inseam, which is why I'm skeptical of their "math."
Sleep is good but what you eat and how much you eat is the key
Matthew Walker has been on a half dozen podcasts addressing this and almost all the data available in sleep research seems to suggest a lot of the same shit.
Get 8 hours of sleep. No you can't function on 6. You just think you can.
Have a sleep study done to see if you have sleep apnea, need a CPAP / BPAP.
Don't drink alcohol and caffeine before bedtime.
Don't look at screens about 2-3 hours before bedtime.
This applies to over 99% of all the individuals they tested.
Only on Hacker News... maybe Reddit, could you find this level of confusion.
Yeah no. All of the no. Reality is king. If somebody with some fancy titles and a few podcasts tells you that they sky is green when anybody can walk out the door and see it, are you going to believe him? Authority figures and those with supposedly prestigious titles are sometimes completely wrong, and nobody should be believed blindly.
But those figures are usually at least trying. I think rather less of the person whose knowledge consists of listening to a half dozen podcasts from one guy and believes that qualifies him to go around the internet lecturing people about how ignorant they supposedly are because they don't bow down to the one self-proclaimed expert that they somehow stumbled upon.