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March 05, 2013


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Strange. Your last sentence is tempting, a short solo retreat, of course I can not skip work, but still it can work.

jill i

I'm curious about the possible effects of sleep deprivation, looks like you only got 3.5 hours a night? Health experts talk about the negative effects on our body of not getting enough sleep (e.g., growth hormone disruption, just read about that yesterday, etc.). Did you nap at all?

BUT your statement about the simplicity is appealing. Thanks for sharing your experience to those of us who haven't undertaken such a long retreat.

Barry Briggs

Jill, at night I got a 2.5 hour stretch of sleep between 9:30 and midnight (actually, about 2 hours), and a 3.5 hour from 1 -4:30 am (actually about 3 hours). So that's five hours, plus a 45 minute nap in the afternoon. Enough to get by, but also pretty disruptive.


Why not just budget six hours of straight sleep from, say, 10 PM to 4 AM or (for night owl's like me) 12 AM to 6 AM or even, go crazy, and sleep until 7 AM?

As a Zen guy who has a sleep disorder and is a night owl, this is one thing that bugs me about most Zen retreats (not yours, it is for you so do what works for you!). People often seem to confuse sleep deprivation for intense practice.

For myself, when I go on retreats and sleep less than six hours a night, all that means is that I get to fight to stay awake on the cushion by late morning and definitely by late afternoon. Trying stay focused and awake does not lend itself to good practice (at least for me).

Joseph Bengivenni

I don't know about solo retreats but I know images and this is a beautiful one! Thanks for sharing, image & experience.


I feel like sleeping 4.5 hours is a really bad idea. Especially when one is alone with no social support, in the middle of winter when sunlight is scarce. Isn't anyone concerned about the physiological consequences of this?


I read wrong, 5 hours and 45 minutes, ok that's a little better. But I'm still gonna echo the concerns above. That seems rough.

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