Science in Action: Why Did I Sleep So Well? (part 14)

Two more people have gotten results similar to mine. From a comment on an earlier post:

I’ve been doing these exercises – standing on one leg – and it’s helped my sleep immensely. About a year ago, I went through a pretty traumatic experience that disrupted my sleep patterns. The end result was that I couldn’t sleep for longer than 3 or 4 hours at night without waking up. For several months, the lack of sleep was like living in a nightmare, and prescription drugs just made the problem worse. I finally decided to go off medication all together and change my attitude, which worked wonders – I could get back to sleep after I woke up – but I’d still only sleep in 4 hour chunks.

About a month ago, I began doing these exercises, and now I’m sleeping 6 to 7 hours at a time. It’s amazing; and on the days I don’t do them, I don’t sleep well at all.

It’s amazing how easy they are to do – if I find myself standing in line, meeting friends for a happy hour, or even watching tv, I’ll do them.

Last night I told a friend to do them while he was at a happy hour, and this morning, he said he slept “like a log.”

As Pale Fire says:

If on some nameless island Captain Schmidt
Sees a new animal and captures it,
And if, a little later, Captain Smith
Brings back a skin, that island is no myth.

I have started to measure my sleep with a SleepTracker so I will have another way to measure the effects, in addition to (a) how rested I feel when I awake and (b) how long I sleep.

More The SleepTracker — my second, the first didn’t work — worked correctly for the first three nights but failed on the fourth.

11 Replies to “Science in Action: Why Did I Sleep So Well? (part 14)”

  1. The SleepTracker is a neat idea, but I think wearing a watch to bed would make it harder for me to get to sleep. I’m also surprised you have to set the “to bed” time to when you anticipate falling asleep. Should it be able to tell? The way I would want it to work is to push a button when I go to bed, then have it tell me how long it takes me to fall asleep as part of the data it collects.

  2. I want to add my name to the list of those getting the same amazing results, since I started the standing on each leg exercise I have been able to go back to sleep if I wake up in the night and feel like I have gotten good rest for the first time in 8 years. Also to check I have intermittently (every couple of weeks or so) not done the exercises for a day or two and without an exception the nights I fail to do the exercise I sleep in only 2 or 3 hour spells, I am so happy to have been made aware of this and thanks for your efforts

  3. David, the SleepTracker has a feature where you press a button when you go to bed and it automatically sets your “to-bed” time to be 30 minutes later. I don’t know why it doesn’t record for the 1st 30 minutes but it makes sense that it should not start recording until you’re very likely to be asleep.

    Baker, glad to hear it!

  4. I was finding it impossible to do this correctly during the day due to the often frantic nature of my work. I did manage it watching the early morning news and again in the evening. Time to fatigue has increased considerably from less than 1 minute to about 8 minutes, with the effort to actually balance requiring more effort and causing earlier collapse. I worried that just these two instances would not be effective. Then, I gradually realized that the Zopiclone tablet I would reluctantly leave on the table in case I woke again after two hours sleep, and stay awake as I frequently do, was still there after 6 hours. I haven’t had 6 hours straight sleep for as long as I can remember. Thank you for this and for all that you have done.

  5. Seth (and others), I’m wondering if you have tried closing your eyes while standing. Eyesight is important for balance, so in theory this would make it harder to balance, causing more rapid fatigue, and thus create an exercise more easily fit into hectic schedules. 1-3 minutes instead of 5-15 minutes.

    I had posted before about having trouble getting fatigued after even 20 minutes. I tried your advice, Seth, and made sure my other foot was positioned far enough up on my leg. This did make a significant difference, simply by shifting the center of gravity and making it harder to balance. But, it still can take upwards of 10-20 minutes to feel any kind of fatigue, and I just haven’t had enough time to get any kind of consistent data.

    Balancing with the eyes closed increases the challenge, but I wonder if the effect remains undiminished.

  6. Adam, I don’t bother to balance. I hold on to something. I believe what matters is stressing muscles so much that they send out a growth signal. This has little to do with balance, which mostly exercises the brain. While standing on one leg, to get tired more quickly , you might try keeping your standing leg bent all the time.

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