We asked some of the most active players on the GipsyTeam Poker forum about the relationship between sleep and poker. Many players let their sleeping habits slip, just to hit the tables during peak traffic, but when should you stop counting chips and start counting sheep? Here are some insights from eight different poker players around the world.
I used to have a mixed sleep pattern, I played different disciplines, so I constantly had to adjust it. Now everything has changed – on working days I get up at 5:50-6:00 AM and go to bed at 10-11 PM, and on weekends I give myself the opportunity to not follow any regimen. Although I try to get up at the same time, I usually see how the days go naturally.
At the beginning of my poker career, I had a night mode, went to bed at 6-9 in the morning, and felt great. I finished griding at about five in the morning and, if possible, tried to go for a walk. With empty streets and music, you can take a break from the hustle and bustle, remember everything that happened during the session, and think about the key points. At such moments, cool ideas about the game and strategy come up. Then the city starts to wake up, and everyone is in a hurry to work, and you can safely go home, go to bed and give yourself a day off.
Then the times changed, and there was a little more work due to training. I had to adjust the regimen also for them, since now not only the poker grind influenced my schedule. Usually, I always set training for the day, and play poker for morning-evening-night, in my free time I rested.
I can easily rearrange the schedule because of my past work, there was an interesting schedule – you work 12 hours, after 24 hours a new shift, that is, we work a day, from 8 am to 8 pm, tomorrow we have to work at 8 pm, and so on in a circle. Saturday and Sunday are days off.
It was there that they “revealed” the secret of how you can easily get enough sleep. You just need to arrange a “sleeping” day once a week, and if you really want to sleep, then you can power nap for 10 minutes and get back to work. The main thing is not to sleep for more than 20 minutes and not to go into a deep sleep phase, then you will not feel rested after waking up. You can try setting an alarm clock and being half asleep for 15-20 minutes. The secret is that falling asleep during these 15-20 minutes is not necessary, and people think that you need to fall asleep and get enough sleep. It should be noted that this technique can fail – if you are very tired, it can knock you out. But if the skill is fine-tuned, then you can sleep anywhere, even on a chair.
Thus, in two months we will learn: to sleep whenever you want; sleep anywhere; sleep for the future, if necessary. Conclusion: if you want to learn how to change your daily routine, go to the factory, they will teach you everything there.
And if nothing else, then once a week you should sleep more than you should, this gives you more strength and the ability to save any schedule, although I probably do it better than others, I like not to sleep at night :)
For the last 3.5 months, I have been on a morning routine. It was my old dream :) I think this mode is ideal for people over 30 years old. I get up at 8:30 am, I try to go to bed around 12 at night. On weekends, I sometimes go to bed later, but I always try to wake up at the same time, otherwise, the regimen will go astray. I would like to get up half an hour earlier and fall asleep before midnight, but so far this is unattainable for me.
I build a regimen depending on how I feel and the opportunity to spend time with loved ones. In the morning, the brain is not clogged with unnecessary information, so at this time your brain is as collected and concentrated as possible. In the evening I play already on autopilot and lose a lot of small pots. Even though there is no tracker at Pokerdom, I know that my red line drops a lot in the evening. :)) I play the lowest limit, so there is always a game, of course, after seven in the evening it is more than one and a half times, but often I have evening sessions come out negative. I finish playing poker 4-4.5 hours before bed, because I think it interferes with sleep. I spend this time with my loved ones, playing Dota or watching TV shows :)
It is quite difficult for me to change the mode. For about 13 years I lived in a night mode, falling asleep at five in the morning and getting up at 12-1:00 PM. I severely broke my circadian rhythms and it was very difficult to return to normal. For the last two years, I tried to change the regimen and get up at 10 am, but often the regimen broke down due to various circumstances. I was able to come to the morning routine only due to the fact that I was in the hospital in the summer, and the sunrise there was at six in the morning, so I had to adapt.
Best of all, I feel just in the morning, during the day you seem to have time to do more things, although you are also awake 16 hours. When I woke up at 12-1:00, I walked like a log for another four hours, could not sit down to play poker, and the peak of activity was eventually in the evening. Also, when you get up early, you have more time for family and friends. You can have time to work normally in the morning, and in the evening, after 5:00 PM, you can already rest. With the night mode, this was almost impossible and I had to choose between poker and loved ones.
I try to follow my regimen, it's nice to fall asleep when it's dark and wake up when it's light, and not vice versa. But if there is a need to adapt to something, then I act according to the circumstances. I usually go to bed at 5-6 in the morning and wake up at 2:00 PM. I feel quite comfortable (Note: Ilya is 24 years old). I have no problems with changing the regimen – you can always change it if you force yourself not to sleep for a day.
I realized that the most important thing is to listen to the body. You can convince yourself 1,000 times that you are an owl, but he knows who you'd better be in a certain period of your life.
Now I have become an owl again, I go to bed at 6 in the morning after a night grind and wake up at lunchtime. Recently, there was a period when I went to bed like most people – at 11 PM lights out. However, for some reason, I got up not at seven in the morning, but at three or four at night, though I felt great. It is a pity that this period is over – during the move, when I spent 32 hours on the bus, I couldn’t sleep at night, as a result, I had to change the regimen again.
I spent most of my life in owl mode, I always felt more comfortable like that, because no matter how many times I tried to get up in the morning, I always walk like a zombie until 12 noon. I even remember the period when I went to work and was always late, although I had to go to work by 9 am :)
Now again I want to return to lights out at 11:00 PM (due to health), but it’s very difficult to change the schedule, because the closer to the night, the more vigor I have – I can build plans for life, vacuum (but I feel sorry for my neighbors, so I I still don’t touch the vacuum cleaner). Changing the schedule is another quest, today I wanted to go to bed at 12 at night, and what was the result? At 5 am I am answering these questions. Ideally, I would like to go to bed at 12 am, get up at 7 and feel good, will it work? Let's see. :)
The most important thing is health, you begin to understand this only with age. I’m not a grandfather yet, but I’m not 18 years old either, I already feel that the fuse is not the same as before. I need to monitor my health. Therefore, now the mode, first of all, depends on well-being, and secondly, on the presence of the game. To spend time with my family, I try to set aside a separate day off, although when necessary, I am always free for my loved ones, but sometimes time is really running out ...
Regimen change is a very individual thing. I read about a huge number of different methods, but nothing worked for me except for two:
1. Every day try to go to bed half an hour or an hour or two earlier than the previous one in order to smoothly change the schedule without shock therapy.
2. Shock therapy. For example, you need to change the time of going to bed from six in the morning to 12 at night – you don’t go to bed at all for a day or two until the next day at 11-12 at night you are knocked out. That is, you just need to endure until this time, and then the next day again, closer to 12 at night, you will want to sleep. Sometimes it turned out to change the schedule only in this way, since gradually it didn’t work out, I had to adjust quickly.
For me personally, all the methods “If you properly prepare for sleep, you will fall asleep without problems,” such as darkness in the room, airing the room out, do not work. Only going to bed earlier in stages or shock therapy for me ... Otherwise, nothing worked.
Arkhip "ButovoEPT" Apstrikov
I try to fall asleep before 3-4 at night and get up before 11-12. I live approximately in this mode, although ideally, I would like to get up before 10 am and fall asleep before 1-2 am, but not until something changes, most likely due to the fact that I constantly sit at the computer. Even after playing poker, I watch videos on YouTube and Twitch, and then I can’t fall asleep for a long time.
I usually build my regimen depending on how I feel. There was a period when I played at night until 5-6 in the morning and slept until lunch – I felt like no poker, so I shifted the schedule towards a night's sleep. There are difficulties with restructuring the regimen. Usually, when I can’t fall asleep for a long time, the Melatonin-SZ tablet helps me – literally half an hour after taking it, it knocks me out. :)
Andrew "Winged_Guy" Petukhov
I have been wandering around the world for a month and a half in search of a home, and during this time I have not played a single hand.
Before that, in Armenia, for a long time, I used the option of a two-time sleep:
5:00 – rise, grind
12:00 – daytime sleep under melatonin
16:00 – rise, theory, and fun
00:00 – lights out
At first, I felt great, then average, and then the batteries ran out. It took me about five months. Then the body began to give out – just ran out of strength.
I switched to a one-sleep mode: at 11:00 bedtime, at 7:00 I got up and sat down to play.
After leaving the Russian Federation, the regimen was tough for grinding. Ideally, I would like to play from 01:00 GMT around 5-6 pm. And for me it was morning. Thailand is suitable for this: there it will be from 9:00 – a great time. But Thailand does not stand out for me yet.
I will spend the next period of time in Argentina, I will have to change to grinding in the evening according to European time.
Krasnov "register" Vasily // twitch.tv/funfarmpoker
Usually, I try to fall asleep at about the same time, but now I have moved to a slightly different zone, and this does not always work out. For five years, I have already been sleeping from four in the morning until 11-12 in the afternoon. Chose this mode to always be able to play in prime time. Another plus is that I always have "my" time at night, even if I'm not playing. When you have two children, sometimes having the opportunity to do something "for yourself" – is often needed.
Now my regimen depends more on the broadcasts – sometimes there are daytime streams, and sometimes evening or nighttime ones – I try to build on this. In my time slot, all options are "accounted for". I haven’t radically changed my routine for quite a long time, the only thing is that after relocation and living alone, it’s not always possible to fall asleep at 4-5 in the morning. But maybe it's my age. :)
Koval "Phenomenico" Vyacheslav
By a strange coincidence, I am writing this on the very day when my regimen went wrong for the first time in the last six months, and I did not sleep for almost a day for the sake of racing up the daily leaderboard.
Speaking about the regimen, it is worth noting that until this year I played MTTs and for more than 10 years I lived in the “night” mode, sleeping during the day. Just in the evening/at night, the MTT grid was the most saturated and suitable for my needs. After a forced change of discipline this spring (I switched to rush&cash PLO at GGPoker), the regimen has become more classic. This discipline allows you to conveniently lay out the game time during the day since the game is available around the clock, and there is no pronounced “fishy” period of time. The only prerequisite is that in order to qualify for high places in the daily leaderboard, I need to play two hours of happy hours in the morning with double points (from 9 to 11 GMT). Actually, this determines my regime – I get up at about 8:40, immediately sit down to play, and then, depending on the opportunities and other things.
Because of the races, I wake up at the same time, so I try to fall asleep, if possible, too. It doesn’t always work out, in case of lack of sleep I can take a nap during the day for a couple of hours. In this mode, I feel quite comfortable. Of the minuses – before, when I worked at night, it was always a calm grind in silence – everyone is sleeping, no one interferes. Now I play during the day when the children are at home, so it can be noisy :)) But I'm already used to it, and as the children grow up slowly, it becomes easier to deal with them.
The current regimen allows me to adjust the mode to my needs. In general, this is complete freedom. I play poker whenever I want, I can pause for a couple of minutes or several hours at any time, and this is a huge plus compared to regular cash tables or, moreover, MTTs. I'm afraid it will be very difficult for me to return to MTT now, even if I want to.