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  • Sleep: Walking Contradiction?

    Clever, I know...

    Anyways, this question has been festering in my mind for months now and I have not been able to find a satisfactory answer.

    Why do I have to sleep at least seven hours EVERY NIGHT? That seems completely contradictory to the primal lifestyle, yet almost every resource that I have found says it is important. I also notice a huge difference when I get less than seven hours.

    However, to me, the primal lifestyle is about variety. eating different foods, IF, workout variations, etc. So, going with that theme, you would think that it would be good to vary the amount of sleep you get. I am pretty sure that Grok didn't go to bed and rise at the same time every night. We know that his sleep patterns changed seasonally as the days lengthened and shortened, but I also think he probably got carried away with stuff in the evening and failed to get to bed "on time."

    Am I the only one in this camp? Why isn't sleep variety good for us? Is it because of the artificial environment that we have created? I feel like I have the food and exercise legs of the tripod figured out, but sleep is still confounding me.

  • #2
    What is Biphasic Sleep? | Mark's Daily Apple

    Mark tackled that recently.
    Me? I like a solid night's sleep. I've recently been sleeping through the night, without sleeping pills, and it feels good. I hope it continues, I could get used to it.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Nomad1 View Post
      What is Biphasic Sleep? | Mark's Daily Apple

      Mark tackled that recently.
      Me? I like a solid night's sleep. I've recently been sleeping through the night, without sleeping pills, and it feels good. I hope it continues, I could get used to it.
      Yeah, I mean, I sleep fine now, but I am more curious why the rules with it are so rigid, unless the rest of the primal lifestyle.

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      • #4
        The rules are rigid because it's easier to set rules than to say "work it out for yourself", but some people really are fine with less, and some need more. Sleep is one of those things that self-regulates when you have the appropriate environment (dark, quiet room, minimum of emotional and physical stress, etc). "Sleep when tired" is probably a good way to go by things.

        There are benefits to having a (relatively) fixed sleep/wake schedule, and for this shooting for 7-8 hours of sleep generally works. If you keep at it consistently you'll figure if you're more towards 7 or 8. Thing is, it's most effective when the schedule is adhered to every day of the week, where most of us tend to sleep in on the weekends (even if just by a little), and this throws off the body's attempt to get used to it.

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        • #5
          yeah, weekends are a huge problem. i live in the real world (with my fiancee,) so it is nearly impossible to adhere to a strict schedule seven days a week.

          but, am i the only one who thinks it is contradictory? everything else paleo is about self-regulation. "eat when you're hungry." but sleep is super rigid. it just does not feel right to me.

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          • #6
            I agree that it doesn't seem very Primal to sleep exactly 7-8 hours at the same time every night, but then we don't have the same kind of "downtime" at night that people had before artificial lighting, cable television, and bars open until 4am. It seems forced, but then we have created this artificial environment that requires us to set some limits to rest, whether natural or not.

            Backpacking has made me more aware of this. There are only limited options of what to do once it gets dark. If you have 10-12 hours until the sun comes up again, you are free to get to sleep early, sit around a fire, or sleep in 2 phases, whatever. So yes, variety in sleeping times, but almost always having ample downtime, which most of us lack in modern life.
            Jen, former Midwesterner, living in the middle of nowhere.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by iammysticyte View Post
              Clever, I know...

              Anyways, this question has been festering in my mind for months now and I have not been able to find a satisfactory answer.

              Why do I have to sleep at least seven hours EVERY NIGHT? That seems completely contradictory to the primal lifestyle, yet almost every resource that I have found says it is important. I also notice a huge difference when I get less than seven hours.

              However, to me, the primal lifestyle is about variety. eating different foods, IF, workout variations, etc. So, going with that theme, you would think that it would be good to vary the amount of sleep you get. I am pretty sure that Grok didn't go to bed and rise at the same time every night. We know that his sleep patterns changed seasonally as the days lengthened and shortened, but I also think he probably got carried away with stuff in the evening and failed to get to bed "on time."

              Am I the only one in this camp? Why isn't sleep variety good for us? Is it because of the artificial environment that we have created? I feel like I have the food and exercise legs of the tripod figured out, but sleep is still confounding me.
              This is a very interesting point...I had thought about it myself in a way, since my sleep tends to vary. I agree that it's hard to be "natural" about sleep in our unnatural environment, but that goes for anything these days. I agree with the above posters to just listen to your body, as you do with food and exercise in relation to energy levels. If I feel tired, I sleep, if I can.
              "The mountains are calling and I must go."
              --John Muir


              "I don't know what's wrong with me, but I love this shit."
              --Tommy Caldwell


              ‎"Think like a geek. Eat like a hunter. Train like a fighter. Look like a model. Live beyond."
              --Hyperlithic

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              • #8
                Grok didn't work 9 to 5, run kids around for two hours, etc. He probably could sleep when the mood hit him, plus he didn't have his world lighted up like we do, so more likely slept easily without the interferences we do. I think the convention of 7+ hours of sleep is one of those rules of CW to remind people that they do need adequate sleep. I've always had sleep problems, and only learned in recent years that I am one of those bi-phasic sleepers who naturally go to sleep easily, but after four hours I'm wide awake, usually around 2-3am; then I get sleepy again about 5am, and will sleep another 2-3 hours. During my career this was a big problem, since I got up to go exercise at 6am (trying to do what was then supposed to be th key to being lean and fit), then had to be at work by 8am. Now I'm retired, I can sleep as my body wants, though often it's hard to go back to sleep because my partner is getting up and wants to begin his day after a sound 8 hours. Not getting enough sleep makes most people crave carbs; this was certainly my experience; and can lead to mild depression. But, I agree, our ideas about routine probably are mostly CW, and work for lots of people. But we all know people who need a lot more sleep or a lot less than this "norm."
                This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson

                Any given day you are surrounded by 10,000 idiots.
                Lao Tsu, founder of Taoism

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                • #9
                  I think you're looking at it entirely wrong. "Eat when you're hungry" is the mantra for PB, and I think "Sleep when you're tired" pretty much is too.

                  Now, there may be excuses as to why you can't sleep on that schedule, but they're much like the excuses people make when they can't eat paleo (it was a potluck, I didn't want to offend!) They are obstacles and hurdles to be overcome, managed, and primalized as much as possible.

                  I'm sure Grok went to bed when it was dark, took naps during the day, and rested when he didn't have anything else to do. We find ways to occupy every waking moment, leaving ourselves just barely enough time to get adequate sleep. I'm not sure even 7 hours is adequate at that. So much happens when we sleep that the body needs. Repair processes are sped up, damage gets undone, hormone levels normalize... More sleep is probably a good thing, but spread throughout the day. I wish I lived in a society where the siesta as an acceptable practice.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Yaish View Post
                    I wish I lived in a society where the siesta as an acceptable practice.
                    +1
                    Jen, former Midwesterner, living in the middle of nowhere.

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                    • #11
                      Sleep is not rigid on primal.....if you eliminate modern lighting & distractions, not to mention work obligations I am sure you will find your natural sleep pattern. I know mine tends to be sleep 4-5ish hours wake for 1.5ish, sleep 2 ish with a long nap in the afternoon. Unfortunately not terribly friendly to the working world.

                      The rigid part is encouraging you to actually get restful sleep as so many do not.

                      The daylight driven sleep also prevents a seasonal problem for me. Did Grok really live this far north? In the winter I could not possibly sleep that much so that would be a lot of awake downtime. In the summer, I could not possibly sleep that little. I almost always need to nap in the summer because nighttime is so short
                      MTA: because it is rare I dont have more to say

                      "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - my daughter Age 7

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, I'm not seeing the big contradiction. I know I've read a fair amount about naps. Sleep when you're tired, and if you wake up without an alarm you're probably getting about the right amount for you.

                        Great nights of sleep was the first benefit I enjoyed from primal living, and if nothing else had changed I would still be on this path for that benefit alone. Some nights I'm down for 10 hours, sometimes for 7, sometimes I'm up in the middle, sometimes I sleep all the way through. It varies. I don't worry about it. Literally it's all good.

                        Speaking of which, time to walk away from the glowing screen. Happy trails!
                        "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
                        "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
                        If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

                        beachrat's new primal journal

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by iammysticyte View Post
                          . So, going with that theme, you would think that it would be good to vary the amount of sleep you get.
                          In Lights Out that is the recommendation. She says to get to bed +/- 2 hours after sunset and sleep 'til dawn. In the winter months, that's a whole lot of sleep. In the summer, not so much. Underground Wellness---> Lights Out Sugar Sleep and Survival with T.S. Wiley 2/17/2011 - Sean Croxton | Internet Radio | Blog Talk Radio
                          Retirement has afforded me the ultimate affluence, that of free time (Sahlins/Wells)

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                          • #14
                            Lately I've been sleeping like 3 or 4 hours. I go to bed at 10.30 pm and I wake at 2.00 am. I still continue in bed up until 6.30 or 7, but still... I'm not losing consciousness.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by iammysticyte View Post
                              .

                              Why do I have to sleep at least seven hours EVERY NIGHT? That seems completely contradictory to the primal lifestyle, yet almost every resource that I have found says it is important. I also notice a huge difference when I get less than seven hours.

                              Am I the only one in this camp? Why isn't sleep variety good for us? Is it because of the artificial environment that we have created? I feel like I have the food and exercise legs of the tripod figured out, but sleep is still confounding me.
                              No, you are not the only one. I mean, i sleep pretty well i think, most of the time through the night. But i also have been dwelling on the sleep aspect. For me, going to bed at the same time every night and sleeping a full 8 hrs is quite boring and knocks the spontaneous out of life a bit. Sometimes i will stay up reading until 2 in the morning. i might sleep in but if i can't then it doesn't effect me. Sometimes it's bed at 10, up at 6/7 and so on.

                              We do live in an artificial society though(most of us anyway), and therefore out of synch with natural cycles. I think what counts most is what you do at night. I always feel better in the morning when i have not been on the computer or watched t.v the previous night.

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