Does anyone else think life would be easier if a day was slightly longer?

I find that most days I am not that tired around ‘bed time’ and I am quite tired when I need to wake up. I have often wondered what would happen if I decided to follow a 24 and a half hour day, so that every day I would go to sleep a little later and wake up a little later, and in 48 days, I will be back where I started. Would this eliminate my problem?
I can’t be the only one this has occurred to. If I was a navy man, I would certainly want to run this experiment on a submarine crew to see if it makes them more or less effective. It’s not like they would notice the shifting sunrise/sunset time.

No, crap expands to fill the space available.

I think you may have missed the point. I am talking about sleep cycles.

The human sleep/wake cycle is naturally set at around 25 hours long. This prevents a person from getting trapped in a loop of sleeping earlier and earlier every evening … but results in trouble falling asleep, as you note.

I think things I’ve read about studies with volunteers isolating themselves from daily cycle clues say that we tend to adopt a cycle that’s a bit longer than 24 hours, maybe an hour or two longer.

Crap would expand to fill the space. It’s Parkinson’s Law. You’d get the same amount of sleep and have to be awake more.

One can, in perhaps two minutes of effort on Google, find any number of studies and claims that contradict this. One study claimed the human sleep cycle was precisely 24 hours and 11 minutes long.

Frankly, it would be an rather astounding evolutionary failure if the human sleep cycle did not match the length of a day by a miss of an entire hour.

That sounds pretty good to me. It means I would be more tired when I go to bed.

Bolding mine.

No it would not.

The problem you have is that your natural sleep time doesn’t align with your clock-driven life. For example: your body wants to sleep for 8 hours starting at 11pm, but your job requires a wakeup at 6am. So every day you’re either shorting the hours or trying to go to sleep an hour earlier than your body wants. Neither of those is good for you.

Changing the length of the day is not the way to fix it though, even if it was possible.

Your body’s natural go-to-sleep time varies with the seasons and varies with your age. Your job’s start time doesn’t. Some people’s bodies are pretty flexible about this stuff and others are deeply troubled by any mismatch.

There are several things you can do to train yourself to more readily go to sleep earlier in the evening. Here’s some ideas:

Make you pre-bed ritual as simple as possible. Not 30 minutes of messing in the bathroom first. When you feel sleepy, just walk directly to bed, shedding clothes on the way, then fall in. If you want to floss, brush, and whiten your teeth then do that earlier in the evening after dinner; not right before bed.

No TV in bed. No TV for an hour before bedtime. And no computers for at least an hour before bed, better two. The bright blueish light stimulates chemicals in your brain that maintain wakefulness. So does the rapidly moving images.

Have dim lights in your residence. Turn lights down from bright to half-light about 2 hours before bed. Enough light to walk and read a book with mild effort, but no more. No loud noises (including loud music) either.

Zero caffeine in any form after about 12 noon. No soda, no coffee, no tea, no red bul.

And do not stay up late on weekends. Stick to the same schedule all 7 days.

Do these things every single night. Pretty soon you’ll have trained your brain to go readily to sleep at the correct time to make your wakeup time.

After you’ve become expert at this you may be able to relax some of these requirements a bit. But depending on your physiology that may never be possible.

Years ago for my job I learned to get 8 full hours of sleep starting anywhere from 3pm to 3 am. And to do it almost regardless of when I got up yesterday. It takes all these tricks. But for most people it can be done.

But what if a day was longer? What it it took the earth 26 hours or 30 hours to spin on its axis instead of 24? From an evolutionary perspective, everything works on a 24 hour cycle, but that’s because we live on a planet that works on a 24 hour cycle. You’re begging the question.

It makes sense to me that we might expect a 24 hr cycle on our planet, though, and a different cycle on a different planet.

I’m not sure what the “natural” cycle really should be measured as, but I would note that people receive input from light/dark and hot/cold cycles of the day. We’re not just operating on an internal clock, but on a clock that is constantly regulated by outside inputs. It would be like designing a digital clock that goes to 25:00, but having it reset to 0:00 at dawn. It would never actually get to 25:00 and so the “natural cycle” would be irrelevant

Exactly my point. We expect a 24 hour day because we have a 24 hour day. Life on the planet adapted to it, but it would have adapted to a 28 hour day if that’s how the earth wound up 4.5 billion years ago. Saying that life on this planet is only fit for a 24 hour day is begging the question. It’s fit for a 24 hour day because we have a 24 hour day. If it were different, it would be different.

Oh, hell, yeah! If I could find a job and lifestyle that was 36 hours long, I’d be golden. I hate having to go to bed when I’m not sleepy, in order to get up in the morning when I’m not rested.

My ideal day would be 30 hours long because I need to be awake 22 to 24 hours in order to actually be tired when I go to bed. Since days are considerably shorter, I’m forcing myself to try to sleep every single night.

In Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Mars” novel series, he dealt with Mar’s 24.5 hour day by having the colonists have a 30 minute “time slip” between 2400 and 0001. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to go through redefining a “second” to make a non standard 24 hour period of rotation work out to 24 new duration hours.

My completely unscientific and unproven theory is that this is why we have “morning people” and “night people” - because we all have different length sleep cycles. I am definitely a night person. I hate going to bed at night, and I hate getting up in the morning. I would function great on a 30-hour day, rather than trying to “compress” my natural 30-hour cycle into 24. People who are “morning” people are champing at the bit to get up in the morning, and always ready to go to bed too early. They have to “stretch” their 18-hour or so natural cycle into 24.

I could be wrong, but it makes sense to me.

Quite right. But the earlier point was that some folks upthread folks were insisting that people were adapted to a 25 hour day but stuck on a 24 hour planet. And so that’s why they were having sleeping problems.

That point was debunked. Humans are actually well-matched to the planet they’re on.

Which is also consistent with your point that if the planet was different, so would be the inhabitants.

Well this is from life on earth started on mars, which has a 25 hour or so day. I’d suggest getting a job at NASA as a rover driver. You will work on sol’s (martian days) instead of earth days.

I don’t think you understand my post or what “begging the question” means.

Of course if the Earth had a 26 hour day we’d be adapted to that. So what? It doesn’t.

If you had a natural 30 hour sleep cycle, which you don’t but let’s pretend you do, then you’d be a morning person every fourth day.

Not if you forced yourself to sleep for 8 hours every 24 hours.