Last year I was unemployed and did a 32 day sleep study where I was not allowed to leave my room or have real time contact with the outside world. I never knew the time or when I was going to go to sleep or wake up.


Me hooked up to EKG device the week before to make sure I didn't have sleep apnea

Edit some additional info:

  • light was kept at ~4 lux when awake 0 lux when i was asleep (regular life is about 90 lux i think)
  • i was hookep up with wires 24-7
  • had an iv 24-7 for fluids and blood samples
  • was awake 13 hours and asleep 6 (regular body function around a 24-25 hour cycle) think of it as a wake sleep cycle and not a day. It makes more sense.
  • dietitians prepared my food so that i would stay at a constant weight
  • i was screened for 3 weeks (need to be healthy and no mental issues)
  • when i went to sleep i was not allowed to get up because of the wires so i had to pee in a bottle. They collected 100% of my pee.
  • was not allowed to exercise but the athrophy was t bad. The blood they took hurt the most. Back to full strength in 3 weeks.

Edit 2: I'm going to sleep will answer more tomorrow. Edit 3: thanks for all the upvotes I'll try to keep answering questions! Edit 4: I'm done! I might answer more later in the day. Thanks for all the questions I hope you all enjoyed!

Comments: 1809 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

RacksDiciprine2902 karma

32 days cutoff from the outside world for 9 grand? Sign me up for 2 months.

ididasleepstudy1264 karma

i know right?

Mining_For_Gold600 karma

How did they approach you?

ididasleepstudy1102 karma

they didnt. i found them on craiglist after looking at ways to make money. after that they screened me for 3 weeks and then i started.

pocono_indy_4001110 karma

that sounds sketchy as fuck... were you not concerned?

ididasleepstudy1791 karma

top 10 hospital in the country. not concerned =)

Mining_For_Gold128 karma

Cool. Were there any qualifications or qualities they were looking for? Or just your average dude?

ididasleepstudy328 karma

23-30, healthy, no mental issues or history. i also had to maintain a regular sleep schedule for a few weeks prior to starting.

aveeight195 karma

Alternate (and slightly more boring) beginning to 28 days later...

ididasleepstudy154 karma

LMAO. Wayyyyy more boring..

Albert_G0re1098 karma

So, did they ever catch you masturbating?

ididasleepstudy2710 karma

Funny story. They have cameras everywhere except for the bathroom. At first my goal was to not fap. After what I think were the first 15 days I realized this was not possible. What I forgot was that I constantly have an electrode measuring my heart rate. So yea, I fapped in the bathroom, I wasn't caught but they knew.

LeJisemika716 karma

To be honest they probably expected it.

ididasleepstudy667 karma


MzScarlet033238 karma

The study was actually about how long you could go without fapping. The sleep study part was just a ruse.

ididasleepstudy1673 karma

Mind. Blown.

achemicaldream188 karma

Did they explicitly said you weren't allowed to fap in 'public'? What would have happened if you just did it out in public?

ididasleepstudy369 karma

There was no explanation of the fapping rules. I feel like the women on the staff wouldn't appreciate it.

PartTimeBarbarian320 karma

But the men would?

ididasleepstudy846 karma

They would understand. They would.

Elroy_Bubbins803 karma

How did you combat your primal urge to play a solo on the skin flute?

ididasleepstudy837 karma

i caved at what i think was day 15.

e9one2197 karma

Felt like 15, but it was actually on the 2nd day

ididasleepstudy572 karma

True facts.

eazyb33zy678 karma

was it worth the 9k?

ididasleepstudy872 karma


Wishyouamerry529 karma

Ha, I remember all those wires from my sleep study for narcolepsy. What a great way to make sure you absolutely don't sleep in your normal fashion, right?

So did you do the study on site or at your own home? What did you do all day long? Any access to sunlight?

ididasleepstudy496 karma

it was on site and i read a lot of books as well as hung with all the medical staff. there was no sunlight and they kept me at approximately 4 lux when i was awake, no light when i was sleeping.

tinclan503 karma

You said that "regular life is 90 lux". I don't know what the heck is a lux, but is 4.5% of the regular amount of light enough for you to read?

ididasleepstudy818 karma

Oddly it is! And I'm surprised you're the first to ask this. Your eyes adjust and there is no risk to your eyes. The staff have issues adjusting when they would come in to see me.

tinclan145 karma

I have another question if you don't mind. Did they have special TVs (for movies) that had a backlight that didn't exceed 4 lux?

ididasleepstudy265 karma

No they adjust the brightness and measure it with a weird device

SteelWorm6507 karma

What did you do while you were there?

ididasleepstudy982 karma

I read over 20 books and got to hang out with the study staff a bunch. i also learned a little bit of piano and they do let you watch pre-approved movies.

jimmy2885326 karma

Were the movies dimmed too?

ididasleepstudy518 karma

Yes. They have a weird contraption used to measure the light levels

Spread_Eagle_Jesus295 karma

Wouldn't watching movies be a form of keeping track of the time?

ididasleepstudy678 karma

the dvd timer was taped black. also if you dont know the start time its hard to figure that out. i mean i did know that time was passing so knowing that a movie was 2 hours wasnt that helpful.

HobBope1148 karma

Why did they have to be pre-approved?

ididasleepstudy430 karma

So that I would not get overly excited and produce anxiety hormones. That affects sleep.

PittsburghJon484 karma

If they offered you $108k but you had to do a whole year, would you?

ididasleepstudy1039 karma

Umm. Probably not. Double it and make it tax free. Now were talking.

mankind_is_beautiful416 karma

So what was it about? No clocks and just see what natural cycle you'd end up in?

ididasleepstudy563 karma

sorta. its so that my sleep cycle would be independent from me knowing that it was day or night. after i was done i found out they kept me up for 13 hours and then i slept for 6. so i was not on a 24 hr clock and sometimes i would be wide awake in the middle of the night and not know it. they also controlled the amount of light i got (about 4 lux) so that would not affect my cycle either.

mankind_is_beautiful251 karma

Aside from the weirdness of not knowing what time it was, were there any weird effects? Not being able to sleep or being sleepy too soon?

ididasleepstudy399 karma

since i was not on a 24 hr schedule my bodies regular rhythm was off. i would be awake when my body thought it should sleep so i was super sleepy. but sometimes i would be awake when my body thought i should be and then i was awesome.

Spread_Eagle_Jesus178 karma

So I'm guessing that the room you were in had no windows. Were you confined to the room for the entire month?

ididasleepstudy267 karma

Yes and yea. the ceiling was a big light fixture they could control completely

AllfatherPidgeon93 karma

Say you wanted to get some cool breeze on you. Take a cold shower in the middle of the day or whatever. Did you have access to a fan, control the temperature somewhat?

ididasleepstudy167 karma

No I could only take scheduled shower because it was a long process to put on all the electrodes. I could ask them to change the temperature though.

spherenine97 karma

Referring to your previous post about masturbation, why didn't you just jerk it in the shower?

ididasleepstudy132 karma

In between the tests they administer I have to take off the electrodes take a shower and put them back on (this takes a long time). I was in a huge rush to do this before the next test would come up.

AllfatherPidgeon6 karma

Fuck. I would go crazy. Somedays I'm just hot and need to cool down by dipping my head in the shower and drinking large amounts of cold water.

this would be torture.

ididasleepstudy16 karma

One day I got a rash due to the gel they used for the electrodes. It was terrible. But then they switched it and I got better.

desolation_crow360 karma

How did the month without any outside contact effect you?

ididasleepstudy662 karma

I was relatively OK. It was probably harder for my gf to deal with it. While I did not have access to people on the outside I was around people all the time. There were people whose job it was to sit with me a few hours everyday to keep me company and make sure I stayed awake. I also had a bunch of test per day and met with a psychologist and nurse very frequently.

Spread_Eagle_Jesus258 karma

Did you have access to the internet?

ididasleepstudy570 karma

No because there was no way to do that without guaranteeing i would not see the time.

s97kazi103 karma

Why couldn't you know the time? And what was this whole study for?

ididasleepstudy244 karma

so that my circadian rhythm wasn't affected by me knowing that i should or should not be asleep. the study was to find out what sleep schedule affected performance on cognitive test. i was on 13 hours awake 6 asleep but others where on 13 awake 4 asleep. while others where on a schedule closer to 24hrs

s97kazi79 karma

Doesn't that make it a whole lot weirder? Like I would feel like I was living a whole different life if I never knew the time. Wasn't it hard to adjust to it and then readjust back?

ididasleepstudy199 karma

It was hard at first. But after a few wake sleep cycles I was like fuck time it doesn't make sense anymore. When I got out time was fine. Texting was weird though.

raunchyfartbomb73 karma

Why did texting make a difference?

ididasleepstudy131 karma

It didn't it was just weird to talk to people I knew/use a phone e.

tjtocker13 karma

Wait, why was texting weird?

ididasleepstudy36 karma

Because I was able to talk to people outside of the study in real time again. I was able to get letters that were given to me delayed so I wouldn't know when they were written.

APhello65 karma

Did the staff come in at what you perceived as regular intervals? Meaning, were you able to at least somewhat grasp the timeline of ~1 day with each visit from these researchers? Better yet, maybe even pick up a few clues while chit-chatting. (e.g. "I had dinner with my family last night" --> you: today must be a new day)

ididasleepstudy135 karma

Yes everything was at regular intervals but i was not sleeping based on a 24 hour schedule. i had roughly 47 sleep wake cycles so i t was hard to tell using that. the staff are trained to not talk to you about anything to do with time.

pewc19 karma

Did you get any computer/laptop to read something/probram or do whatever you can? Books? Something to do at all?

ididasleepstudy38 karma

books and movies. no laptops.

about90frogs19 karma

Favorite movie and favorite book from the time of the study?

ididasleepstudy46 karma

i read Xstatix and watched the john adams series with paul giamatti. both i would not have watched before the boredome but both are awesome!

EnderBoy13 karma

Did they randomize the time of day they kept you company? Also, why would they try to keep you awake? Wouldn't the point be to see when you fell asleep naturally?

ididasleepstudy30 karma

no the point was to see how i performed in test based on the sleep cycle i was in. so i was awake 13 hours asleep for 6 so my "night" and "day" would switch every few days. some days i was super sleepy and others i was wide awake depending on what my body thought i should be doing. some days i would do good on the test others i did not. they kept me company a few hours before i would sleep which gave me no indications of when that actually was.

dkwnsepw271 karma

What is the craziest thing you did due to boredom?

ididasleepstudy676 karma

I counted how many seconds between each IV drip (i was hooked up all the time for fluids and blood samples) and then calculated how long it took them to replace the IV to estimate how long i was there. i was pretty accurate =)

Sipdippity149 karma

How is counting seconds in between drips and the time it takes to replace an IV used to determine your length of stay?

ididasleepstudy230 karma

It helped me determine the length of my sleep wake cycle and I kept track of how many I had.

greengrasser1182 karma

Given how much time you were investing in all of this, didn't you feel a little bad trying to keep time in some ways? Did you ever tell them?

ididasleepstudy19 karma

I didn't feel bad because it kept me sane

_SynthesizerPatel_228 karma

How bad was it? Were there moments of desperation where you had to get out of there?

ididasleepstudy375 karma

no but there were days when all i wanted was to sleep. that was the hardest, being sleepy is the worst.

balugabe218 karma

Are they hiring?

ididasleepstudy323 karma

All the time. I live in a city with lots of research hospital so it was prob easier for me to find.

Wishyouamerry110 karma

What term would we google to find a study like this?

ididasleepstudy251 karma

"Sleep study in 'insert city'" worked for me!

Wishyouamerry90 karma

Hmmm. That got me a bunch of hits for sleep studies where you're a patient, not a participant. Adding "volunteer" didn't help because I want to get paid.

ididasleepstudy110 karma

not many hospitals have it. like i said i live in a well funded city. these are expensive trials.

DirtyDrummer183 karma

What entertainment were you allowed? Books, movies? Could I bring a guitar?

Sounds kinda like private jail but with better food and pay.

Sign me the hell up!

ididasleepstudy147 karma

yes you can bring all those things!

OfficialKingJulian170 karma

What was your favourite moment in there? Was the experience at all fun (having time to read etc.) or were you just in it for the money?

ididasleepstudy394 karma

my favorite moment was when one of the staff who i was teaching how to play chess beat me! i was pretty sleepy, but i was happy that i finally had some competition. the staff was overall pretty cool and it was nice to disconnect from the world for a bit.

treyw3st149 karma

How did you get food or supplies? Could you opt out at any time?

ididasleepstudy264 karma

They provided me with enough food to maintain my weight. They had a staff of dietician that would prepare my food. I could opt out whenever and they were really cool about making sure I knew this.

Frosted_Anything118 karma

What kind of food?

ididasleepstudy272 karma

low salt diet. regular food though, just plain. a day would go like this: hard boiled eggs yogurt toast for breakfast, chicken sandwich with pudding and salad for lunch. pasta and meatballs for dinner.

TinCupChallace97 karma


ididasleepstudy193 karma

None. For four week before hand as well.

richardboucher132 karma

What were the terms of this agreement? Like if you decided to opt out 15 days in, would you get paid partially? Or would you not get paid at all?

ididasleepstudy239 karma

Yes I would get partial payment and i would not get the bonuses for completing the study. these were very substantial.

ohyupp35 karma

What was the bonus?

ididasleepstudy37 karma

Like 2-3k of the final amount

littlesox10129 karma

How did you adjust afterwards? Was your sleep schedule off in any way?

ididasleepstudy269 karma

my schedule was weird for like 3 days. but i gave a lot of blood and was sedentary for a long time so my body was weak. the gym was hard on me. i went out the following week and puked after 4 shots of tequila ( i can usually handle 8-12 before i puke if im going hard)

BigSquirrelSmallTree90 karma

Would you do it again?

ididasleepstudy183 karma

if i had the time and needed the money i would.

s97kazi51 karma

How'd you get the time for this one?

ididasleepstudy117 karma

i quit my job.

BatmanClubSandwich43 karma

Was it worth it?

ididasleepstudy180 karma

Quitting my job? Yea! I got a much better one after the study.

tjtocker23 karma

What do you do now and what did you do before?

ididasleepstudy149 karma

I worked at the hospital that I did the study at. I was part of a team doing research on people with CAD and history of MI. Now I work a corporate job that is challenging and offers me room for growth.

michaelbrett88 karma

How much interaction did you have with the medics while you were there? Also, did they bring you meals at regular times or only when you asked for it?

ididasleepstudy111 karma

"regular times" is relative because they could have woken me up at 3 am and given me breakfast. I got three meals a day in between the testing. i got to interact with the staff all the time. they were great!

RafRedd51 karma

Were you able to figure out the time of day by reading the staff's demeanor? What I mean is, if they sent someone with food or to hang out with you (and it was 3-4 in the morning) could you tell if they were sleepy or that kind of thing?

Maybe im just going way too deep down the rabbit hole...

ididasleepstudy37 karma

They were always sleepy. They had terrible schedules

crazybay88 karma

How selective was the application process?

ididasleepstudy298 karma

you need to be healthy and not have any history of psychological disorders in your family. i told my psychologist my sister was depressed at one point and he was going to disqualify me because he thought i meant clinically depressed. i just meant she was sad after her BF broke up with her.

s97kazi95 karma

Woah haha didn't think that was such a big deal

ididasleepstudy154 karma

yea he was worried the sleep study could trigger the depression "gene" in me.

TTTT2781 karma

Where were you, actually? Was it just a hospital room where they bkacked out the windows and locked the door, or somewhere purpose built for this?

I've heard of experiments where they put people in caves for a sleep study. that would be a lot harder to deal with.

ididasleepstudy102 karma

yea it was built for this. they have a ceiling covered in lights that they can control and set to whatever "lux" they want.

dougde75 karma

very interesting AMA. So at the end of the study, did they tell you what times you actually slept or no? Like were you sleeping 6 hours during the day or was it mostly at night?

ididasleepstudy80 karma

It varied because of the 19 hour day. One day I would wake up at 8 am be awake for 13 hours sleep at 9 pm and then Wake back up at 3 am. See what I'm saying?

SirAnusTheBrave74 karma

How often were you able to exercise? Did you get the opportunity to go outside often?

ididasleepstudy106 karma

i was never aloud to go outside or exercise. they did not want this to affect my circadian rhythm.

InjuredGods62 karma

Is that 9K pre or post Taxes? How much in taxes did you end up paying?

ididasleepstudy113 karma

Pre. Like 1.5k.

Spifffyy58 karma

I am doing this as part of my University course next year, but only for 3 days and sleeping in tent in a secluded area. What advice would you give?

Another question; what did you do to keep yourself entertained?

ididasleepstudy109 karma

slowly weaned yourself off internet and phone before you get there. also have fun and try to interact with the staff as much as possible. they are the ones that keep you going. I read all the books and played chess with the staff sometimes. also when sleepy do not take it out on the staff.

wooskies57 karma

When it was over did were u surprised how long/short you were there?

ididasleepstudy129 karma

I was surprised when I was done because I was so used to being there and when they turned the light back on I realized how weird the last month was. But it felt really long. Especially on the days I was sleepy.

Spread_Eagle_Jesus26 karma

How are your normal sleep habits? Did that have any effect on the study or your acceptance into it? I tried to participate in a sleep study years ago but I didn't make it past the pre-screening because my sleep habits were too irregular.

ididasleepstudy28 karma

for a few weeks before they made me sleep 9 hours a day everyday and had me wear a sleep watch. so for my study it wasnt necessary but i could see how other trials might dq you.

jgon349122 karma

How long after you finished did they give you the money? What did you do with the money?

ididasleepstudy79 karma

3 weeks. I payed for my living expenses for 5 months, renewed my gym membership got some Omaha steaks. I was really worried about running out before getting a new job.

BigG12318 karma

Could you listen to music?

ididasleepstudy37 karma

Pre approve music

jed_PK18 karma

Did you have access at a computer? As an IT guy no computers would drive me crazy. I could get pretty good at ksp in that time.

ididasleepstudy11 karma


grapexsoda17 karma

Was not having sleep apnea the only credentials needed? How did you get the job?

ididasleepstudy22 karma

overall healthy. no mental issues.

Divineheart4412 karma

Did they allow you to move around? Also what did they feed you?

ididasleepstudy17 karma

I was able to move around but i was pretty much on a leash with all the wires on me all the time. they feed me a low salt diet that maintained my weight the whole time i was there. it was plain but i didnt mind it.

AnarchyBurger1015 karma

So they were trying to turn you into Gollum from Lord of the Rings? ;)

ididasleepstudy15 karma

Yes. Yes they precious.

BadgerDancer5 karma

Was this out of the norm or do you have allot of alone time?

ididasleepstudy6 karma

out of the norm

iamacraneoperator5 karma

What would you do without you know... smart phones, and TV etc.? Did you go a little crazy or did they have things for you to do in all that free time?

ididasleepstudy7 karma

I did have a tv to watch some pre-approved movies. but i did get bored sometimes.

xZaggin4 karma

were you competing with any other applicants for the position?

ididasleepstudy12 karma

no. there are not that many people willing to do this for this long of a time. most people do studies for a week or two.