Clock Your Sleep With WNYC

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

An image from the WNYC clock your sleep project.

John Keefe, head of the Data News team at WNYC Radio explains how people can track their sleep with WNYC -- and takes calls on the potential benefits of the quantified self.


John Keefe

Comments [30]

menorahrotenberg from Teaneck, NJ07666

If this only works for people with Iphones then a lot of us are out of this game.
I have monitored my sleep patterns for several weeks. I wake up every 2 hours (go pee) and back to sleep. I never feel rested even tho I am getting 9-10 hours of sleep. I don't drink liquids after 7 PM (try not to) go to sleep between 12-2 AM. wake up 9 or 10 am.

I am not sure if I am a light sleeper and wake up evey 2 hours and then go pee or having to urinate wakes me up.

May. 30 2014 06:16 PM
Joe Pearce from Brooklyn

I am now 75, have no problems sleeping, and never had have any. However, I was one of those kids who hit the sack very late due to very open-minded parents. I would watch the old Steve Allen TONIGHT Show and then watch the repeats of the Army-McCarthy hearings with Mom until about 2am. I had to be up by 6am since I was my high school's Herald Tribune 'representative' and had to arrive by 7am in order to deliver stacks of that paper to classrooms all over the four-story building before 8am. Never bothered me, never fell asleep in class, was very active in sports and more intellectual activities all day and evening, etc. When I worked, I usually went to be bed around 1am and got up around 6am, but on weekends I would stay up even later and just sleep until I woke up, usually about ten hours, if I recall correctly. In retirement since age 66, I usually retire seven days per week somewhere between 2am and 3am and sleep until I wake up, which is almost invariably between 9:30am and 10:30am (perhaps I am internally clocked to hear Mr. Lehrer?), so I guess all these years I should have been averaging about 7 and 1/2 hours per night. Also, when I worked, as well as now, I have told friends to call me at any time of the night, as I could talk to them for as long as necessary and fall asleep as soon as I went back to bed. I have never felt, then or now, any ill effects from this, and to this day it is a rarity if I am not asleep within 2 or 3 minutes of going to bed. I sleep soundly, feel rested when I awaken, and, quite honestly, even now go to bed at the time I do more out of habit than out of necessity, as I rarely feel tired - although since I read a great deal, my eyes often feel like they need the night's rest more than does the rest of my body. I don't know how any of this equates with other people's reporting, but I do think that a lot of the reports I hear of insomnia and lack of sleep are engendered more by people's FEAR of something going wrong with their internal clocks than by anything ACTUALLY going wrong with them. I know I'm lucky, and hope this doesn't come over as bragging, but I know at least a few people who seem to approach going to sleep with a kind of trepidation, won't drink coffee for five or six hours before retiring, take a warm bath before doing so, etc., etc. My parents both used to come home and have a cup or two of coffee as the last thing they did before going to bed, and I can do the same. As we all know, little kids have no trouble going to sleep immediately upon their wanting to, and I really do think that's because they haven't been infested with the 'fear' of doing so. My ultimate secret? Don't fuss!

Apr. 16 2014 11:26 AM
piers from downtown nyc

surprised you are not including age in the wnyc sleep study. I have issues sleeping and so does my teenage daughter -- but for different reasons and at different times. it would have been so interesting to see how sleep patterns vary in NYC by age groups...

Apr. 03 2014 10:02 PM
Polly from Hastings-on-Hudson

I listen to youtube videos made by a woman named Jody Whitely - very sloooow quiet voice, little content, intended to lull the insomniac to sleep. I use under-pillow speakers because I don't like the feel of earbuds. It doesn't bother my partner, he doesn't hear it.

If you do this again I'd include a few more questions:

sleep pattern - problem falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up too early
number of times you wake up
sleep aids used that night: prescription meds, OTC meds, ear plugs, music or relaxation tapes, etc

Apr. 03 2014 12:44 PM
Pearlie from Broookyn

I wish I had been able to call!

I have a totally different but related problem.

For 30 years I fall asleep, stay asleep, but wake up unrested, exhausted.
It has severely affected my health,work and other things.
I have had 3 sleep studies.

The last one they said it was brain chemistry.
This problem is true in all times of my life and sometimes includes pain in my eyes and arms when waking. I can barely move when I wake up.

Even the smallest amount of antidepressants in the morning make it so that I cannot stay asleep. St. Johns Wort does not give me that problem. This problem is so strange. I go to sleep early around 10:30 and get some exercise… but nothing helps…

Thank you!

Apr. 02 2014 12:02 PM
Bklyn Nanette

Great project, Brian! To touch on the white noise machine: It reminds me of the sound when television stations actually went off the air......... Because that sound lulled me to sleep for many of my adolescent/teen years, white noise feels like a sense memory, and helps me snooze. Ultimately, no matter what combination of factors, I am thrilled when I get my 6 to. 8 hours!

Apr. 02 2014 11:50 AM
Bernie from Upstate

I've been tracking my sleep since the beginning of the year with the jawbone up device. I was concerned that my sleep habits were negatively affecting my health. My normal night is going to bed around 11:30, watching an hour of TV before sleeping, then waking up at 6am. Sometimes work requires me to work 20+ hours at a time for weeks at a time. What my tracking has shown is that I sleep too little (average 6:03 per night with one busy work week where I averaged only 3:10 per night), but that my sleep is more restful than I thought (averaging 36% deep/sound sleep, waking once during the night on average). Since I started tracking, I have found myself making conscious decisions about my sleep. Like the calorie counts on menus, I hope that having this info will guide me to healthier choices.

Apr. 02 2014 11:40 AM
ST from NYC

What about snoring?
My husband snores and wake me up!
I may be snoring and waking myself up? ( no joking )

Apr. 02 2014 11:40 AM
Bob from NJ

Earplugs or music of Erik Satie, Brian Eno Ambient music.

Apr. 02 2014 11:39 AM
Paul Giardina from Ringwood NJ

When I wake up in the middle of the night I listen to WNYC. The dulcet tones of the BBC put me right back to sleep.

Apr. 02 2014 11:37 AM
Paul from Hoboken

What's the idea that when you don't get to bed at a certain time you get your second wind and become wide awake for a few more hours? Is this nonsense that my mind is playing games?

Apr. 02 2014 11:28 AM

i am a "light sleeper". i can 'sleep' for 8 hours but never feel rested. i don't ever feel fully rested. are there any tips to get more REM sleep?

Apr. 02 2014 11:24 AM
napa from NY

I hope you can create a map where we can see what neighborhoods in the city get the best sleep - it probably won't be scientific b/c it will only reflect those who choose to represent themselves. But it would be so cool if there were a map.

Also, as a future month long topic could wnyc pick gender identity and orientation. I find there has been increasing visibility for these issues in the media in the last year...there is so much I don't know about this topic.

Apr. 02 2014 11:17 AM
Barry Ouimet from new windsor, ny

has there been any attempt in the medical field to emphisize exersize routine before prescribing a drug like Ambian? Pushing pharmaceuticals is easy, but lac of proper excersize is a basic reality.

Apr. 02 2014 11:15 AM
Marsha Andrews from UWS

Is it healthy wearing the fitbit? Isn't it drawing radiation to you all night long?

Apr. 02 2014 11:12 AM
sherman yellen from New York City

have not slept more than five-six hours in years - no complaint - I feel that eight hours sleep robs me of precious life - and I like the morning at 5AM - I can read, write, feed the cat, have a cuppa tea, figure out how to save the world, but I am getting up at 8-9AM now since a recent hospital stay because of pneumonia - and I am perhaps the only person I know who wants less sleep. I miss my early mornings - they felt private and inviolate and the Times doesn't get delivered until 6AM- (not that I read it until late in the day) but I guess my body is now saying "Go to sleepy little baby" although I fully intend to get back on the 5AM schedule as soon as my body and the meds allow.. I understand that many people who work evenings, late afternoons, need their own eight hours sleep, but I think it is a scientific myth that we need those eight hours or put ourselves at risk. How often scientists reverse themselves - just this week they removed the fatwa against fat - butter has been freed and margarine is now a shame food - whole milk will surely be next restored to good repute - so that except for smoking and immoderate drinking - I can see where all the no nos become yes yes in a year or so. And you never get an apology from the scientists who destroyed your natural diet - even if we all turn orange and green from an excess of carrots and broccoli. Obsessing about sleep can only destroy the pleasure of sleep when it comes.

Apr. 02 2014 11:08 AM

I signed up for the WNYC Sleep Study. I wake up at different periods during the night sometimes. There is no field in the "clock your sleep" survey to indicate at what point during the night you were awake. There is a "how long were you up during the night" but I thought it would be helpful if there were specific time ranges. Also, it asks you what wakes you up, I picked 'all of the above' regarding city noise but really it is my girlfriend's snoring that wakes me up. (sorry honey) There is no option for a partner disturbing ones sleep by snoring or moving around in the bed. One last thing, I wear earplugs while sleeping because I am a light sleeper. It would be interesting to see how many people in this survey use earplugs or some sort of white noise machines and/or sleep medications. I'm interested to see the results of this survey. Thank you.

Apr. 02 2014 11:07 AM
The Truth from Becky

I sleep in two shifts - 6am to 11pm when I get home from work and 2am - 6am - If I didn't have to work, I would stay up all night or until when I got sleepy again the next day...I am ok with this.

Apr. 02 2014 11:04 AM
CLAIRE HAMILTON from White Plains

This is not truly a "community" event since you are excluding all but Iphone users.

Apr. 02 2014 11:04 AM
Mason from Quees

If I understand this correctly the sleep app is specifically for the iPhone. Doesn't that skew the validity of the results which will be based solely on apple users which seem to be a very limited demographic.

Apr. 02 2014 11:04 AM

I just started tracking my sleep two days ago with the Basis. I'll share if you support this software.

Apr. 02 2014 10:59 AM

Here's a song to use for your show:

Who Needs Sleep - by Bare Naked Ladies

"Who Needs Sleep?"

Now I lay me down not to sleep
I just get tangled in the sheets
I swim in sweat three inches deep
I just lay back and claim defeat

There's more . . .

Apr. 02 2014 10:58 AM
sharon frankel from New York City

I have personal experience with the drug Ambien, which your guest defines as benign.
It can produce dangerous symptoms and there are even class action suits pending.

Apr. 02 2014 10:53 AM
Dee from NYC

I find that drinking tart cherry juice helps because it is a natural source of melatonin. With that I fall asleep fine but I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. Any suggestions?

Apr. 02 2014 10:50 AM
KEN from nYC


Apr. 02 2014 10:32 AM
Ellen Mammen from NYC

I was a terrible sleeper for more than a decade due to crazy overnight work hours. For years after I stopped working those hours, I had to use sleep aids every night. I learned to do Transcendental Meditation this past fall and from the very first night of the very first session learning how to meditate, I have slept like a baby, better than I can ever remember sleeping. I'm not sure why and I don't even care but I have been meditating ever since and I sleep through the night and the I and my covers barely move. True Story!!

Apr. 02 2014 10:28 AM
Ted Shapiro

My sleep experience is that I dream for a large percentage of sleep time -- I wake up exhausted from dreaming so much. Is there such a thing as excessive dreaming?

Apr. 02 2014 10:27 AM
Nydia Delgado

I wake up around 2am and can't go back to sleep. By the time I can get back to sleep it is after 4am. It helps to take ZZZZ'z a Nightquill product which you can buy over the counter but you have to make sure you are going to get eight hours otherwise you will be exhausted in the morning.

Apr. 02 2014 10:24 AM
Bettina from Manhattan

When I was younger my partner used to call me Cleopatra, he said I would fold my arms across my chest and just be asleep. Now I'm retired, not stressed and have sleep problems, though not when I'm in the theater or concert hall where the relaxed darkness just puts me out, bummer. I try camomile tea or mint tea, deep breathing, used to use melatonin before I found out it can be dangerous, initiate sex (that helps). Went for acupuncture, that helped for about a year, now I'm thinking of foot reflexology.... last night had a nighmare that the refrigerator broke, actually got up to look....

Apr. 02 2014 10:13 AM

for the sleep project, can you add the option for sleeping with a partner and a pet on the profile?

Apr. 02 2014 10:07 AM

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