10 Surprising Facts About Sleep

The unsung hero of male self-improvement is sleep.  A lack of sleep, or “sleep debt,” will retard your progress in weightlifting, womanizing, and just about any other worthwhile pursuit you could care to name.  The authors of Sugar, Sleep and Survival, a popular treatment of the latest sleep research:  “Not enough sleep makes you fat, hungry, impotent, hypertensive, and cancerous, with a bad heart.”  Well then.  In the interest of avoiding this parade of horribles, here are ten more facts you didn’t know about sleep.  Many of these are culled from Sugar, Sleep and Survival (an excellent read.)  The rest are from various scientific studies.

1.  Night owls are less healthy

People who stay up late and sleep late, even if they get adequate sleep, exhibit a marked increase in psychopathology, i.e. mental disorders.  Early birds, or morning types, also tend to have healthier lifestyles.

2.  Night owls are smarter

Friend of the manosphere Satoshi Kanazawa examined ethnographies of hunter-gatherer groups, and found that nocturnal activities were relatively rare in these societies.  Since smart people are more likely to behave evolutionary novel ways, he theorized that higher IQ individuals were more likely to be night owls.  A longitudinal study of American adolescents proved him right.

3.  Peak performance comes two hours after waking

A cross-cultural study of 2.4 million (!) users of social media showed that people post the most positive messages on twitter around two hours after waking.  Since a positive mood is important for “physical and emotional well-being, working memory, creativity, decision-making, and immune response” it’s probably best to schedule difficult tasks around this time.

4.  Night owls are more politically radical

This one made me laugh.  A 1988 study of 200 paid volunteers showed that political radicalism and anxiety were both positively correlated with staying up late.  The general habit of 2am manosphere blog posts is now totally understandable.

5. You probably need more sleep than you thought

Long days signal to your body that it’s late summertime.  In the late summer, mammals begin to store fat for the winter.  Humans “develop diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and severe depression on anything less than 9.5 hours of sleep a night for at least seven months out of the year.”  Yes, you read that right.  Nine and a half folks.

 6.  Sleep deprivation makes you crave carbohydrates

If you’ve tried any of the diet recommendations promulgated by ROK and other sites, you know how bad the carbohydrate cravings are in week two of paleo.  Sleep will help you through to the week three promised land.

7.  Computer screens are the enemy of sleep

When it’s time to sleep, your body produces a hormone called melatonin.  While all forms of artificial light damage melatonin production, the blue light of your computer screen or plasma television has a particularly large negative impact.  Staying off the web in the hours before bed is a smart move.

8.  Showering before bed helps you fall asleep

When you sleep, blood flows from the abdomen into your extremities, bringing down your overall body temperature.  The water evaporating from your skin after a shower mimics this effect, leading to drowsiness.  You can also mimic the heat flow to your extremities by placing a hot water bottle at your feet.

9.  Cooler ambient air temperature makes falling asleep easier

The same mechanism in fact number eight is at work here.

10.  Sleep makes you more attractive

Sleep debt causes your cortisol levels to rise.  Cortisol levels are a primary determinant in male facial symmetry and oxidative stress, both of which are profoundly correlated with perceived attractiveness.

Read Next: 60 Myths on Learning, Sleep, and Creativity

48 thoughts on “10 Surprising Facts About Sleep”

  1. “7. …the blue light of your computer screen or plasma television has a particularly large negative impact”
    This program should fix that:
    I have no problems looking at my screen at night anymore and it helped me sleeping much better.

  2. “Cortisol levels are a primary determinant in male facial symmetry and oxidative stress, both of which are profoundly correlated with perceived attractiveness.”

    Surely you meant “negatively correlated” here, right?

      1. I know that. But cortisol is a stress hormone—I’m pretty sure it’s negatively correlated with perceived attractiveness, which means that as cortisol levels increase, perceived attractiveness declines and vice versa. If they were positively correlated, then increased cortisol levels would mean an increase in perceived attractiveness. I highly doubt the latter to be the case.
        I’m pretty sure the author made a typo here.

  3. fact #3 made me laugh. You did research on twitter? are you fucking kidding me? I couldnt take this post seriously after that

  4. Great article. I often sleep with white noise playing in the background, and I always try to sleep in 90 minute intervals.
    Another thing that many seldom talk about is that nootropics and caffeine and all of that are much less effective if you didn’t get a good night’s sleep. I’m sure it’s different if you’re taking modafinil, but I wouldn’t choose a pill over the pure advantages of a good 7.5 hours.

    1. I second the endorsement – have been using flux and my eyes are much more refreshed. I can shut my computer off and fall asleep in bed much faster as well.

  5. i try to avoid getting up before midday, and regularly stay up until 3-4am… it rocks…. the night hours are peaceful and productive….. 7am is for fools….

    1. I spent the last 10 years working in the late afternoon early evenings. So much better.
      Never use an alarm.
      The bosses are gone for the day.
      And shit gets done with no hassle.
      And then you can still go out afterwards. It’s in my opinion the best schedule for someone who does not own their own business.

      1. yeah, in my opinion, the morning is for farmers and builders, manual
        labor that is done outside and needs an early start for reasons of
        the army move their troops under cover of darkness… i always try to travel at night, it’s more relaxing and not as busy.
        some of the great minds were awake most of the night, in the quiet hours, inspiration comes.
        there is no reality that needs most offices to run 9-5, the evening is a giant waste of time… better for offices to start at 11 and go until 7….or 12-8, or 1-9…
        a lot of business is non local and done across time zones… when i lived in australia and worked with guys in new york, it was not uncommon for me to stay up all night… and i was the one importing all the great products, while everyone else was zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        1. Yep. The Night shifts basically get the real work done. Which makes you more proficient in your craft. The day time shifts are too bureaucratic in nature.
          Most 9-5 shifts are in my opinion designed for family oriented people who have children and obligations involving them. For me it really sucks when you HAVE to go to bed at a certain time so that you get up at a certain time because you have to. In my previous job I worked from 4pm to 11pm. So on some days when I did not go out, I managed to go to bed around the time most day shift workers went to bed. I always went to work refreshed and not feeling rushed.

  6. i try to avoid getting up before midday, and regularly stay up until 3-4am… it rocks…. the night hours are peaceful and productive….. 7am is for fools….

    1. Alcohol and Tobacco also reduce potential height. These are the drugs advocated by those in power. Let us call them The Elites.
      They give you the illussion of feeling strong, being under control. Slowly and not so subtly, they destroy your body and mind and those of your future children.
      You have been tamed. Now you are under their control.

        1. How old are you?
          If you’re less than 20 years of age, you might ask a doctor to prescribe HGH, and you may get a few more inches. Lots of men don’t stop growing until early 20’s. I was 5’6″ at age 17, and reached 5’9″ by my early 20’s.

  7. This article seems to agree with at least one of the findings in a documentary I just watched.
    Okinawa has the most people who live to be 100 years old of any place in the world. The best line was from a 106-year-old woman who said her longevity is due to the fact she drinks sake every evening, goes to bed early and sleeps a lot.

  8. Useful stuff here…#3, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are particularly important to remember and apply. The part about political radicalism is hilarious, and in my experience true (btw are we radicals? News to me).

  9. Interesting article. I recall being told that only 6 hours of rem sleep was required to get one’s basic fill, but I always suspected that was an underestimate. 9.5 sounds more accurate. Curious to note that while high IQ folks are night owls, they also as a result suffer more psychological issues. This is in addition to the psychological pressure of simply being smarter let alone their late hours they keep.

  10. Human sleep happens in multiples of 18 and 90 minutes:
    18 minutes = smallest interval of normal sleep
    5 X 18 minutes = 90 minutes = one REM cycle
    5 X 90 minutes = 7.5 hours = minimum needed for health
    9 hours gives you 1 extra 90 minute section.

    1. I work on timing my sleep in 90m increments, with 9 hours being the goal.
      The result: most nights I get 9 hours, but some weekend nights I get 6 (staying up late, and don’t like to sleep in very often.). So my average sleep is well above 7.5 hours a night, and I wake feeling rested and positive. R

  11. Remember that before the electric light, everybody slept an average of 11 hours a night, just because they didn’t have anything else to do.
    Forget the caveman diet. Go for the caveman sleep if you want optimal health.

  12. #1 If you’re working out seriously, sleep is very important for muscular growth.

  13. i got the opposite problem. if i dont force myself to wake up i will sleep 12 hours or more.
    granted, im handsome, healthy, all that. but having to choose between being tired on 8 hours and having a day to get things done or 12 hours and awake with not enough time for me… ill force myself to get up even if that means i will have to pay slightly more attention to my health.

  14. >The general habit of 2am manosphere blog posts is now totally understandable.
    Yeah, because everybody lives in the same time zone.

  15. I can not imagine sleeping for nine hours. I sleep between 4-6 hours each night, but I do drink coffee during the day. Maybe if it were not for the coffee then I might become drowsy during the day…might have to run an experiment and cut down on the coffee and see what that does to my sleep patterns.

  16. Some say sleep 10h, some say that’s too much, some say sleep after 12, some say before.
    Fuck sleeping advice.

  17. The most intelligent guy in my class back in the day slept 11h daily. And before you call me out on that n=1 anecdotal sample, there are studies showing the correlation between sleeping hours needed and intelligence.

  18. The only thing I would add is to get more “HBMs”.
    The more “hours before midnight” the better.
    10pm-7am is better then 2am-11am.
    Alot better.

  19. Did you kill the redpilltheory wordpress blog? Are you forming a new blog, and will you post some of your old material there? I enjoyed those articles. Thanks.

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