back to article Most coders have sleep problems, need 'hygiene and care'

A study conducted among software engineers indicates that a high proportion of coders suffer from "severe insomnia" and that a majority have sleep problems of some sort, putting their mental health and "hygiene" at risk. According to the study authors, the primary reason for the sleeplessness of software engineers is that "job …

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  1. Steve 13
    FAIL

    generalise much

    The study used engineers at one specific local company as the subjects.

    It would appear that the engineers at this specific company have a high level of sleep problems, but what kind of academic would then extrapolate that across an entire industry?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Look at the location of the company

      Capitalism in action. Nuff said.

    2. Yann BZH
      Coat

      I call Bullshit!

      "The test subjects were 91 software engineers working at a Mysore-based development firm"

      That's hardly an unbiased survey. Shame on you El Reg for reporting on this obvious piece of trash.

      Mine's the one with a copy of the Daily Mail in the back pocket.

    3. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Happy

      Exactly!

      Start asking the management and HR dept of said company, what on earth are they are doing to these poor sods!

    4. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: generalise much

      "...what kind of academic would then extrapolate that across an entire industry?"

      The kind who can only get published in "Applied Research In Quality of Life". This doesn't just reflect badly on the authors. Their publishers are clearly desperate for material, too.

  2. Raumkraut

    Hypothesising Zs

    Here's my hypothesis:

    Most coders have natural sleep patterns which don't mesh with the "requirements" of the standard working day. There are many an anecdotal tale of developers coding late into the night. Perhaps the reason for that is that those inclined toward coding are also inclined toward being extreme "owls" - those who are most awake and functional in the late evening, and would preferentially sleep through most of the day.

    Forcing such people to be awake and at work during the time when their body expects to sleep is surely not conducive to a healthy and well rested individual?

    1. Ammaross Danan
      Coat

      Coders, from a Coder

      As a programmer, I an attest to this hypothesis. Most coders I'm associated with tend to be night owls, staying up well into the night/morning. I, personally, do the same, but it is not related to any form of Insomnia: I just don't care to go to sleep. It's the problem of trying to cram 28 hours into a day. Coders tend to have side projects or personal interests that eat up a lot of personal time, and that's before the wife,etc enter the picture.

      As for the hygeine issue, it fits into the "not enough time" picture, but I actually tend to keep myself fairly well. Therefore, it's likely strongly coorelated to social ineptness. No friends, no wife, no life? No shower apparently. And there's always that one that clouds the room with that "musk" from their corner....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      a title

      Nocturnal by habit, because software development is all about managing complexity and needs must hold lots of detail in mind at once. My working day starts when everyone else goes home because only then am I sure to be uninterrupted and able to put my mind to a complex task requiring concentration and attention to detail.

      Each year I go on holiday for a month, I don't touch a computer and I get up at dawn to make the most of that big blue room.

      It's taken years to get my employers to appreciate that I am most productive when they can't see me at work.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Which WAI to the AIRevolution, ...... Crafted in Global Great Games Foundries

        "It's taken years to get my employers to appreciate that I am most productive when they can't see me at work." .... The_Noble_Rot Posted Tuesday 23rd November 2010 21:51 GMT

        Some Magic Apps Presented to them for Systems Deployment, The_Noble_Rot, would be an Astutely Active Assurance they are Unable to Plausibly Deny. The Greedy Gorge is easily Tempted with that which they Lack and would Feast Upon. Provide it with IT and they will Guarantee Delivery of Earth's Treasures for Heavenly Pleasures

        Do you have any Magic Apps for Mysterious Systems ......which Currently Regularly Cyber Blitz Colonies with Virtual Disinfectant and Sensitive Unclassified Information for Eradication of Dodgy Bugs MODifying Code with a DCoding Upgrade/Critical Command Source Rewrite Utility and Facility. .... A Fab Space Place.

      2. markfiend
        Badgers

        28-hour day

        http://xkcd.com/320/

    3. David Hicks

      I wouldn't like to extrapolate from anecdotes

      But I 'suffer' from the same. Give me a block of time off work and I turn pretty much nocturnal in only a couple of days.

      Not that I actually like it that way, waking up late afternoon with most of the day gone and then staying up all night at the computer when the rest of the world is long asleep, it just seems to be what I gravitate to. I've always had trouble with mornings and get most of my best stuff done when everyone else has gone.

      I've worked with others like me, but I've also worked with the opposite - talented coders that are in at 7am every day, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Freaks!

    4. OMGROFLSKATES
      Thumb Up

      $0.02 for added value to this

      I work night shift 23:30-08:00 and during the day I am stressed out beyond belief and get no sleep on a "normal world 9-5 schedule". On my "Extreme Owl" schedule im in bed by noon, up by 22:00. So by following what my body wants, I get 10h+ sleep versus maybe 6 on a "normal world" schedule, maybe the coder does not listen too much?

      it also helps that my Social Life starts at 00:00 and doesn't end till 10:00 the following morning.

      The weekend has landed. All that exists now is clubs, drugs, pubs and parties. I've got 48 hours off from the world, man. I'm gonna blow steam out my head like a screaming kettle, I'm gonna talk cod shit to strangers all night, I'm gonna lose the plot on the dancefloor. The free radicals inside me are freakin', man! Tonight I'm Jip Travolta, I'm Peter Popper, I'm going to never-never land with my chosen family, man. We're gonna get more spaced out than Neil Armstrong ever did, anything could happen tonight, you know? This could be the best night of my life. I've got 73 quid in my back burner - I'm gonna wax the lot, man! The Milky Bars are on me! Yeah!

      9-5 is for the birds.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      this is a title

      I'd agree with this as well... I spend most nights now trying to force myself to sleep, around 12ish, when I'd rather be awake until 2-3am. I have unfortunately got to be in work by 9am now, and have to be awake by 6:45 to actually get there in time. Admittedly, I do sleep on the train on the way in...

      I do all my best coding in the evening as well, which is what the really annoying part is.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    endless demands, worse than a GF

    Oh, so you want me to write you a "lifestyle management program" as well huh? Sure thing I'll just add it to the list what is the business case, do you have signoff and let me guess, you want it done yesterday and for free...

  4. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    FAIL

    Wow. 91 coders in a single company.

    Such a statistically relevant sample.

  5. Deebster
    Thumb Down

    "hygiene" != "sleep hygiene"

    'putting their mental health and "hygiene" at risk' should be 'putting their mental health and sleep hygiene at risk.'

    This report is not claiming that us coders are smelly (in this study, at least); it's saying that we have bad habits like using computers before bed and having erratic bed times.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But "sleep hygiene"

      What is this, or maybe I dont want to know!

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
        Happy

        What's hygiene?!

        ( Keeping IT 'old-skool'! )

      2. tim-e

        sleep hygiene

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_hygiene

        Wikipedia is your friend.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Fatuous research 101

    Link goes to paid content.

    We're supposed to pay 34 euros to find out that software engineers in Indian companies are overworked, underpaid and stressed out.

    If you send me 5 euros I'll tell you where bacon comes from.

    1. Lottie
      Coat

      The principality of baconia!

      I believe in free information!

      1. maclovinz

        Huh...

        "I believe in free information!"

        You must be SOCIALIST!

        Ah...I HATE this side of the pond...... sigh....

      2. Yann BZH

        Actually...

        Kevin's from Philadelphia!

        (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Bacon)

        1. maclovinz

          Yah...joke.

          Yeah, it was a joke, b/c people that want free and open information and common playing ground for all are called Socialists.

          Mind you, by people that don't know the meaning of it! XD

          1. Paul 4
            Linux

            I demand

            Open source bacon! Penguin bacon? Banux!

  7. Si 1
    Flame

    Sleep hygiene?

    That's right, tell them they're unhygienic even when sleeping, that's bound to do wonders for their mental health problems.

    What the hell is sleep hygiene and why do only programmers fail at it? Should we be flossing in our sleep and wearing clean room suits to hide our dirty and sinful nakedness?

  8. techulture

    Late habits (Re: Hypothesising Zs)

    Speaking for myself, I find late hours at the office means less interruptions and better concentration. I don't think I have a different circadian rhythm.

  9. Lars Silver badge
    Happy

    Nothing new here

    Most coders work for companies run bye idiots. I did that for 35 years.

    The most common stupidity is time schedules based on unrealistic optimism.

    No wonder coders are drawn towards open source, the only surrounding for producing quality code.

    1. Jimbo 6

      "Most coders work for companies run by idiots"

      So coders are exactly like the rest of the population then !

  10. Jon Double Nice
    Black Helicopters

    Sleep is pretty dull anyway

    I'd rather be playing COD BOps online, or drinking lovely gin, or doing my own code tinkering when I'm out of the office.

    Black helicopter because... the numbers! what do they mean?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "University of Mysore"

    Hey Lewis, you're a Great Comic !

    Next, we get pieces from

    "University of Vertical Takeoff/Rolls Royce"

    and

    "Lockheed Martin Global Relations Institute"

    or

    "Boeing Air Dominance Academy".

    Looking forward for good fun !

  12. maclovinz
    FAIL

    Admins, In General

    Show me ONE sleep-deprived developer, who CAN (and should) write code during the day, and I'll show you 10 admins who HAVE to work late nights/overnight, AND then be expected to show up the next day after 1-2 hours of sleep.

    1. BinaryDad
      Flame

      Admins in general, are nice people.

      Oh, you poor wretched soul! Imagine having gone to University only to land a job as a tech janitor. No wonder you're so bitter.

      The simple fact is, most coders are up late anyway having to work just like poor over stressed Admins. Poor project management or poor personal time management and a lack of social skills are the main cause of this though.

      There is also the catch 22 situation that a lot of coders find themselves in. The day has only so many hours, but there are so many things that they want to do with that time. By our very nature, our brains are constantly whirling around and around, thinking about all the neat problems we could solve with code and sleep sort of gets in the way of actually doing that.

      There are also the coders who just sit up all night watching porn, or playing Wow but we have a name for those miscreants; Java Coders.

      1. maclovinz
        WTF?

        Bah!

        ROFL, not really a poor wretched soul, just tired. And, I spend time developing as well, as we admins have to also do some of the same things you "coding-types" do, on top of everything else. we have to deal with.

        "Tech janitor", really?? Since most of those "coding"/development jobs have been shipped overseas....

        So, admins don't have a "so many hours" situation as well? Really?

        In my (actual) experience, when developing in ANY way, shape or form, you are not working on a LIVE system. This means that it is a system that is not in use during standard business hours.

        Yes, I understand the wheel turning in the head, but if anyone has that syndrome, it would be us sysadmins/netadmins.

        We can't pass the blame like programmers do either, saying that it must be "over"-configuration, etc. Yes, that's actually been used on me by multiple programmers I deal with. And, then I proceed to tell them exactly how their software WORKS. And, then I tell them how it should work. They tell me it's the machine's fault, I show then exactly when it was working last, then show them when they logged in last to make changes, then show them the time it stopped working....huh, funny isn't it?

        Although I stilll believe admins have it far worse, I understand developers, in cases, have to deal with the same.

        I have to say the "tech janitor" made me laugh. I wonder who is considered the "Tech Elite". Simon might have something to say about that, too!

        1. Pandy06269

          A response to your comment

          I'm not getting into the debate of who has it worse - programmers or admins (because I've actually done both jobs and know that each has its own pressures) but I'd like to respond to some of your constructive arguments:

          "In my (actual) experience, when developing in ANY way, shape or form, you are not working on a LIVE system. This means that it is a system that is not in use during standard business hours."

          Except for when a system is not tested and pushed out to live, then the customer complains that it's causing business critical issues because they wanted it in live yesterday regardless of whether they'd tested it properly.

          There is such a thing as DR - if a live system fails, the DR environment should be able to take over if necessary. You can't correct a malfunctioning bit of functionality so easily.

          "We can't pass the blame like programmers do either"

          Believe me, I've seen so many more cases of sys admins passing the blame. "The server's up, but I can't investigate it any more than checking I can log in because I don't know what the application's supposed to be doing."

          "Although I stilll believe admins have it far worse, I understand developers, in cases, have to deal with the same."

          I have to disagree. In all the businesses I've worked with, the first point-of-contact for a frustrated client whose system isn't working is the developer. "The developer made it so they should know what's wrong." Most of the admins I've known only ever had to deal with the developers or the support desk.

        2. BinaryDad
          Flame

          Oh dear...

          See, there you are bandying around your superiority to the programmers and all I can think is "this bloke must be pure hell to work with". I think you have issues, matey...there's nowt wrong with being a Janitor...it just means that you have to clean up other peoples shit, is all.

          No wonder your coders are blaming "over configuration". They must live in dread about that tit of a sys admin who gives them a lecture every time they have a problem and need to verify that it's not the system that's wonky, but in fact, their code. Because he's going to throw a spaz, and explain how their code SHOULD work without knowing the full requirements of the system.

          Thankfully, I don't work on stuff that requires live servers like that, I don't think I could deal with some Precious Paula giving me the verbal.

          I work in video games, and I've run into the same "precious ego must be handled with care" scenario with the guys that generate content. Sweet jesus...the number of times I've had to calm down some over sensitive 3d artist after asking "can I just check the data on your side first" when trying to find why the game breaks with their new art assets (or their art assets won't build, because of error checking).

          You know, some times we really are just ticking all of the boxes to try and find the solution to a problem as quickly as possible. We're not passing the buck. We're just doing our job.

          1. maclovinz
            FAIL

            @BinaryDad

            "Thankfully, I don't work on stuff that requires live servers like that..."

            Well, now we know...and yet, your comments try to imply knowledge about such things...

            1. Additives

              Enemy of my enemy

              You guys have it all wrong. I'm a sysadmin that works closely with several dev teams. The issue IS often with the code, mostly things like untested code being pushed into a live system, but in most cases it isn't the devs fault at all. It's the business units.

              A typical situation goes along these lines:

              Dev: "We are deploying version x tomorrow"

              Admin: "I haven't seen this go through Change Management"

              Exec: "We need it today, tomorrow is already a compromise, just put it in"

              Dev and admin exchange a resigned look, knowing what is to come.

              -Time Passes-

              Exec: "Minor feature in Software version x isn't working"

              Admin: "Well we didn't have time to tes-"

              Exec: "But you are supposed to test everything that goes live, that's what Change Managment is for!"

              Admin: (sighs) "I'll get the devs to update the code to fix the issue, but it will take a week to code and test, at least"

              Exec: "Oh don't worry about the testing, it's already broken, we need this yesterday!"

              -Admin explains conversation to dev, complete with conversation re-enactment-

              Dev: "Sooo....Beer?"

            2. BinaryDad
              Grenade

              Little Napolean's

              I'm a programmer. I think I probably know enough to make comments on the article, instead of say, some tech janitor with a chip on his shoulder who occasionaly writes some Python or shell script.

              Look at it this way. You, are a service provider and it is your job to make the lives of your customers (that would be the actual developers) easier, not harder. With your apprent attiitude, you're only doing the latter because you seem to be suffering from a "little Napolean complex" and constantly berating your customers for getting something wrong.

              I've terminated or decided not to renew peoples contracts because of that sort of behaviour in the past. Do you think your employer will stand for it, if enough people complain?

      2. Robert Heffernan
        Joke

        Oi!

        I take offense to that last statement... I DO NOT code in Java!

        1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

          As do I

          Plays WoW. Does *NOT* code in Java. Unless absolutely necessary :D

          (Recently converted some code to Java. Ran 3-5x slower than c).

      3. It wasnt me
        Thumb Down

        Err....

        Isn't "Java code" an oxymoron ?

  13. Pete 2

    Looking around, I can see he's wrong

    <via smartphone from a very boring meeting>

    None of the software engineers I can see at the moment appear to have any trouble sleeping.

  14. Peter Fox

    Useless study but no surprise

    It shouldn't be a surprise that mental athletes don't suddenly switch-on, run for eight hours and then stop. We sprint, rest, have terrible off-days caused by 'a virus' and do our best work when not being interrupted by others. It doesn't take long to discover that unusual (OMG abnormal!) periods of attempting to cut-off from the world and fanatical attention to detail are more productive and satisfying than for the average person.

    There are two key implications:

    1 Recognise the need for mental relaxation - Different people chill-out differently. An athlete uses a varied training regime and has rest and recovery periods.

    2 Expect unusual traits of inter-personal interaction and scheduling. What's important to them isn't easily understood by others.

    For a mental athlete 'stress' is not caused by hard work but by people expecting them to fit in with their sofa-led, chattering 'normal' and plodding lifestyle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Halo

      Inaccessible reference + Peopleware

      The author linked to pay-for content, I don't see how we can verify the conclusion, without wasting 34 Euros.

      Agreed, developers needs must be taken into account, to avoid sabotaging their productivity.

      A lot of these problems would be solved by managers reading classic books, like say "Peopleware", and subscribed to Tech Republic (free), so they know how to construct a suitable working environment, not stuck in the 70's, with just a 21st century gloss. If this was done it would help creative people, including developers, to concentrate, and not get fatigued or lose a chain of thought from avoidable distractions or discomfort. e.g. it can take as long as 30 minutes to get back to a higher-productivity "flow" or "zone" mind-state after some distractions.

      The anti-Java developer troll can stick his head back in the sand.

  15. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Research? Wot research

    Many moons ago I came across an article that described people as A and B types, where As are at their best if they get up and go to bed early, while Bs are best up late and to bed late. I quite happily found I came in the B category.

    If I try to work an A schedule my sleep is crap, part of which is due to not having sufficient wind-down time, like I do if I go to bed at my normal midnight to 1am.

    1. maclovinz

      I understand...

      I HAVE to be here at ~9am, and they don't get it, that it would make MUCH more sense, for me to work schedule like 1pm-10pm, so I could knock out ALL this crap I need to get done while people aren't one, without disrupting sleep.

      They're so worried about WATCHING me, even though they can't see what I'm doing (I'M the one in control! jkjk). They just like to see that I'm physically here, no caring about what I got done. It's like I'm asking to pull a molar when I ask to leave a bit early so I can come back later to start a 14 hour process.....and then be expected to come back a couple hours after finishing...wtf!

      But, this requires management to actually KNOW about managing people, and we all know how that works out...

  16. Bracknellexile
    FAIL

    Cause and effect

    So coders are poor sleepers, this is nothing new. However, I see nothing in this to show that being a coder makes you a poor sleeper, any more than being a poor sleeper means you're inclined to take up a career in coding.

    Why oh why do so many media articles these days (and occasionally the research papers themselves) imply a cause and effect when the research merely shows a correlation? It drives me up the wall!

    1. Daniel Evans

      Correlation DOESN'T mean cause?

      Reminds me of the "more people suffer from hayfever on days when more ice cream is sold - does ice cream cause hayfever?" example given to us by a maths teacher. It certainly stuck in my mind!

  17. Michael C

    This is simple

    Its not even so much about being over worked, not so much even stress. People who write code often have large chunks of it floating around in their conscious mind. They're constantly chewing on logic problems. More of their brain is active more hours of the day than most people. They also very frequently end their day with large amounts of unsolved problems.

    We sleep to take what we've learned during the day and convert that information into new brain pathways and permanent memories. However, the brain does not like to do that when it still has lingering questions or unsolved problems. This translates into stress, as the brain fights to solve issues, or sleep is imperfect and incomplete as the brain can not commit a lot of data.

    I usually sleep very well, but recently, I started working on a large series of shell scripts to handle processes. I haven't coded in a decade. Its about a dozen big scripts that work almost as a larger program would. A few thousand lines of bash. I've been sleeping terrible, having dreams about processes failing, errors unchecked, and then some really out-there dreams I can't even begin to explain... I had the same issues years ago as a programmer. Job was great, fun workplace, low stress, minimal hours, but just having all that logic in my head all day, I was worn out, yet I could not get good sleep...

  18. Yesnomaybe

    I'm not a programmer,

    but a friend of mine is. He spent a couple of years working on his own project. He very early on, totally reversed his sleep-cycle. He'd typically go to bed at around 8-ish in the morning, up again at 4 in the afternoon. Claimed to get more done that way, as he'd have less distractions at night.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Insomnia

    I remember back in 1995 Insomnia by Faithless became an instant hit with all the programming teams.

  20. Aaron Em

    I don't doubt their conclusions...

    ...but I don't see how having a nosy-assed "human resources" department get into my business about my sleep habits is supposed to *help*.

    1. maclovinz

      Yeah

      They're just as bad themselves in many cases, kinda like how psychologists/psychiatrists are just as crazy as the people they are treating!

      The problem with many HR reps, is that they don't know solid facts, and look at a paper. Case in point, when hiring....missing experience, etc.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Some Beggar
    Troll

    Can somebody put a safety gate across the stairs

    little Lewis keeps wandering out of the nursery and trying to play with science.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Shoot the messenger?

    > little Lewis keeps wandering out of the nursery and trying to play with science.

    Now, now, we shouldn't be so cruel - he's just reporting what someone else concluded, seems like.

    That said, it was nevertheless an amusing post :)

  24. Simon 6

    Night owl coding is so much more productive

    I have always coded better at night and it's probably because I've suffered from insomnia for the best part of 20 years. Having my 9-5 job ruins everything.

    Without a day time job my peak coding level is12 hours long (4pm to 4am). With my 9-5 job my peak coding level is only 4 hours long (9am and 1pm). I swear my body clock is operating in a completely different time-zone to the rest of me.

    If I could come in late afternoon and work through the night my performance would be so much better. If only those jobs existed :-/

  25. Richard Jukes

    Aye

    I fully agree with Michael C - programming is a job that it is nigh on impossible to wind down from, one is always thinking about the next problem and how to tackle it. Hence why I quit my Uni course and didnt go any further.

    I do also agree that night coding is the best, when your mind is among nestled loops within loops within loops etc its good not to have any interuptions :)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sloppy

    might explain the sloppy code seen out there.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Correction to article

    "Lifestyle management programmes which include sleep, hygiene, and care should be incorporated as a policy matter in the IT industry."

    There, I added the missing commas. Now it reads correctly.

    Mine's the smelly one with the coffee stains.

    1. Matthew 25
      Headmaster

      @AC

      Actually it read correctly before you added the commas.

      P.S. if you are writing a list the word before and shouldn't have a comma after it.

      1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: @AC

        As we are being pedantic...

        The Oxford comma - the comma immediately before "and" is fairly standard U.S. usage - and it is not wrong in British usage, just uncommon.

      2. Some Beggar
        Stop

        Re: PS: unless you want to.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_comma

        On the other hand, I think we can all agree that you should have put the word "and" in quotes and put a comma after the word "Actually".

        Internet Rule 5: posts correcting grammar or spelling will almost inevitably feature worse mistakes

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        <facepalm>

        You've got the pedant hat on, not the troll one, so I'll risk the reply.

        The joke is that before the recommendation was that programmers needed a program including:

        * "sleep hygiene"

        * "sleep care"

        .. and that my "fix" was to suggest that programmers need a program including:

        * "sleep"

        * "hygiene"

        * "care"

        see, I make funny because programmers are uncaring, stinky, sleep-deprived people!

  28. Martin Usher
    Unhappy

    Correllate this with overwork

    please....

  29. Autonomous Cowherd
    Boffin

    Guild of Coders

    I can imagine a world where we allow for different peoples working styles and habits. Perhaps the coders would have a monastic-ish lifestyle, living in well kept grounds with 100MB broadband, games consoles, pizza and coffee available through the night.

    There would even be secuirty tasked with filtering annoying disturbances. (in the form of last minute changes/counter productive pressure being applied by those who dont understand quite what a craft coding is. The ones who suspect that you're not doing anything really valulable because you need time to work a problem through without having endless meetings/appearing externally that you are doing something productive.)

    The world would be more fun if we had some trust, freedom and a guild system. :)

    1. Mr Grumblefish

      Monastic?

      You mean no sex?

  30. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    sleep

    is for quitters. I sleep when I can no longer stay awake. Otherwise it's just a huge waste of time.

    As my father used to say, "You can sleep when you die, boy. Right now you've got work to do."

  31. Robinson
    Thumb Down

    Yes.

    Anecdotal (as this study doesn't seem to give any real empirical evidence), I have sleep problems. I agree that night is a good time to code. I don't know why. But the question I have therefore is am I a software developer because I find it easier to concentrate in the evenings/at night, or despite it? It seems to me this study didn't control for that at all. It also seems to me that waking up early in the morning is and always has been a jarring experience. My natural body clock runs from around 2am until 10am. It's always been like this (since I was 17/18 or so) and I've never found 10pm - 7am at all natural.

  32. skeptical i
    Badgers

    Hygiene and care? Maybe.

    Strong coffee and to be left the hell alone until $project is done? Yes.

    Punching in at 9:00AM solely so that "management" can more easily interrupt me (usually to ask "is it done yet?")? No. Oh, no.

  33. Doug Glass
    Go

    So? What's Your Point?

    So the stay up all night (and shun the daylight where most people are), they smell bad and they need some sort of care. Now that's a career the youth of the world are just screaming to get into. Wow, who'd a thunk it.

  34. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    I don't think that it's so easy to generalise

    In my experience, coders fall into several categories.

    Those who code for the joy of it, code whenever they can. I know several who got up at 6am just so that they could get an hour or two on their pet project done before sauntering into work. Age plays a factor in terms of common sense. Those in their 20s went out drinking & socialising in the evening and burnt the candle at both ends. Eventually their health suffered and they looked like the walking dead. A wake-up call usually came in their early 30's.

    Those who for whom coding is just a job tend, I have noticed, to work 9-to-5 and the overtime required to get projects finished. They also tended to look healthier. Those in their 20s usually moved into another field and those older who were/are good enough to get the job done within the time allotted.

    The poor bastards in this study are in India. I suspect that Mysore is a sorry pun for the workers there. The image that comes to mind from this study are the people who built the pyramids. My experience with Indian coding companies dealing with outsourced work is that the coders there last about 6-9 months before they disappear. Now, it may be that they were moved to other projects, but I suspect not.

  35. Paul 172
    Thumb Down

    Title here

    I resigned from a company who off-shored all of the development work to India... They were treated appallingly, often having to stay for weeks at a time, sleeping in bunks at the office and away from their families.

    Unsurprisingly, the suicide rate amongst these Indian developers was significantly increased.

  36. Jethro Q. Bunn Whackett Buzzard Stubble and Boot Walrustitty
    Coffee/keyboard

    Well ....

    there's absolutely no problem herezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  37. GeorgeTuk
    Thumb Down

    Coders aren't so special...

    ...I know its going to get me down thumbed to kingdom come but why do coders think that they are so special to work different hours to everyone else?

    Its simply adapting to make fit, so for when I have coders working for me I created quiet zones and if they don't wnat to be contacted they can turn the phone off, BUT you should not be working nights.

    I also find that reducing the amount of coffee and caffiene energy drinks, plus less late night stints of gaming improve productivity and in general improve codies lives by makign them happier at work.

    Must say I am disappointed with El Reg for even drawing attention to such narrow "reasearch". It'll be on the BBC News front page before we know it. I do love how Angry Birds develper isn't getting great free advertising out of the Beeb, was on main Radio 1 "newsbeat" last night around 3 minutes free, and is now on the most looked at on the BBC News website.

  38. MineHandle
    Grenade

    Cause and effect

    To all those saying they work best in the evenings or late at night, I have a few questions.

    - Maybe you're younger, but don't you have family and kids to be with in the evenings?

    - How do you manage your clients if your sleeping when they're working and vice versa?

    - No client facing work? How do you manage your boss? No boss? No idea how you make ends meet but I want a bit of that: no boss and no clients!

    However I also wonder if this is all being looked at backwards. Why do coders like working late at night? Because they don't like being interrupted in their work. Lets say you start coding in your teens. When are you going to get least interruptions? That's right, when Mum and Dad are asleep - late at night. So whilst people do have different body clocks I also wonder how much of this is conditioning from an early age? I also find I can work more concentrated at night. But that's not how business works. Nor is it conducive to a happy family life or to life in our world in general. Most living in the world happens during the day. Why, because that's what nature wanted, otherwise we wouldn't have eyes that work best in the "daylight" portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  39. This post has been deleted by its author

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    30 Hour Days

    When left to my own devices I usually end up moving to a 30 hour day, sleeping for 10-12 hours and awake for 18-20. But these days I have to be in work at 9am every week day and it's still a struggle every morning.

    As for the study in the article, conditions in India are significally different from in the UK. We have part of our development team based in India, it's standard for them to stay in work until 7-8pm, and it's not uncommon for me to leave work before some of them (they are 4.5 hours ahead of UK time). This isn't through a company policy or slave driving managers, but it seems to me that it's just the culture in India to work long hours in order to show you are dedicated, and not wanted to be the first person to leave in case you're singled out as lazy.

  41. Sean

    Sleep deprived? Poor Hygeine? Questionable mental health?

    Are they sure this research was focused on Dev and not Ops?

  42. Firewalker

    It's called job security

    Coding without enough sleep ensures that the programmer will be busy the next day debugging and undoing the damage done today.

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