Better Software through Snoozing

Guy Kawasaki recommended the article “Can a Lack of Sleep Set Back Your Child’s Cognitive Abilities?”. Whilst it tends toward alarmist, inflammatory language (it actually uses the word “epidemic”), it included two lines that started germinating in my mind:

The more you learned during the day, the more you need to sleep that night.

[During sleep] New inferences and associations are drawn, leading to insights the next day.

I have earned my release from academia, but my days of learning are far from over. Software development is a process of continuing discovery. Thus it stands to reason that software developers need sleep to synthesize the data discovered and the more, the better.

I guess it’s time to lobby for naps at work. Snacks and then naps.

2 Responses

  1. I wonder if this is somehow similar to that phenomenon where you finally give up trying to figure out a problem and head home for the night, and on the way home you come up with the answer. It’s as if the thinking process has to shift from the immediate to the subconscious, and maybe sleep is like that.

  2. Two-fifths of the time I think of the solution on the drive home (or even in the parking lot still walking to the car); two-fifths of the time I think of the solution in the shower the next morning; and the remainder of the time I think of the solution whilst during a workout, walking around campus, kibbitzing with coworkers, or somesuch. There was a Dilbert cartoon that proposed that engineers could take their hot water bill as a work-related tax write-off. I find that very true.

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