Tracking Daily Sleep: Problems with the Buffer, Ratchet, and Derailing

Goal: Sleep 8 hours per day

Beeminder kept saying I only had to sleep 1 or 2 hours a day to be OK in a large # of days (e.g. sleep 1 hour in 5 days). That seemed obviously wrong (if I was to truly only sleep 2 hours in the next 5 days, I might actually die).

I saw that there’s something called a “ratchet” and “safety buffer” so I changed the buffer to “2 days” but it’s still wrong. It says I have to sleep 8 hours in 2 days and 9 hours. If I took that seriously, life would be pretty bad.

How do I get Beeminder to actually follow my goal? I want to derail if I’m below 8 hours for multiple days with some leeway that doesn’t cause death or major illness.

Current Graph:


I had a similar conundrum myself.

If you want to strictly have 8 hours per day, then you would set the safety buffer to 0 days.

This would mean that regardless of how much you slept, the goal would reset to require the 8hrs. every single day, making each day an automatic beemergency.

I give myself 1 day of buffer on my sleep goal, which means if I don’t sleep enough for 1 night, then I still have a day to get extra sleep and not derail, so it’s almost always in the “orange” zone if I’m getting my minimum sleep, and the “blue” zone if I’m getting more than enough sleep.

A caveat to this is that the system rewards oversleeping, which I’m also wary of. Beeminder has an experimental “skatesum” goal, where you aim for a specific amount, rather than do-more or do-less, but I haven’t tried that out yet.

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