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9 Years of Sleep

For the last ten years or so, I used to turn on my PC when I came home from school or work and shut it down again right before I went to bed. So most of the time when my PC is running, I'm awake. I've also been idling in IRC for as long as I had Internet – when my PC is running, so is my IRC client.

I still have all my IRC logs since 2001 lying on my HDD. The log format of mIRC changed slightly over the years, but it's all easily parsable with some basic Regexp. I quickly wrote a PHP script that extracts the Session Start and Sessions Close markers and timestamps from these logs and transfers them into an image.

IRC Sleep Log
Open image in a new window

As you can see, I tend to stay up late. I also tend to go into a free-running sleep mode when I don't have to get up early every morning. At May 2004, after my A-Level exams and before my apprenticeship started, I “rotated” my sleep cycle three times. This has been even more extreme for the last two years, where we only had few lectures in university but instead worked on a lot of projects. I should really get one of these daylight lamps.

There's so much more interesting information hidden in these IRC logs. Maybe I can bring myself to parse and import all of them into a database, so I can run some simple queries on them. Maybe I can even find my pre-2001 IRC logs on some backup CDs.

Saturday, May 1st 2010
— Dominic Szablewski, @phoboslab


#1Ruben Berenguel – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 13:55

Interesting graph! Thanks for sharing this little piece of your computer life.


#2 – mommy – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 14:19

Those shifting, spiral-like patterns, are those during your holidays when you turn your night and day around? :D

#3Dominic – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 14:29

Yep, exactly. Though lately, I've been doing that more often, as I work from home and also can do my university projects at any time of the day.

#4Fritz – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 14:34

awesome. I love how you have 'normal' sleep rhythms every 2 months for a few days since summer 2009

#5 – Khaled – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 14:47

mIRC - Worst IRC client ever!

#6deakaz – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 15:13

This is interesting, and a great thing to look back on to see what you've been up to.

I'm also experimenting with my sleep cycle, to see how much I need per night to function and be productive.

#7 – freddy – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 16:01

Your graphs look a lot like graphs I used to analyze in a "circadian rhythms" Physio course in grad school.

#8k00pa – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 16:13


My problem with irc logs is that I have lost some of them as I have changed the shell. Another problem is that I can't do that kind of graphs as I am online 24/7 because of the irssi running in shell :P

#9 – Mikuro – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 16:50

This graph reminds me of that one round in Life Force for the NES.

#10 – Rockwell – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 17:30

Would love to see a word cloud from the text of all your logs, à la . You would probably want to parse out things like timestamps, user names, joins and parts, etc.

#11 – snorelax – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 18:00

Cool, I just learned I probably have freerunning sleep disorder, and wikipedia says it emerges at 20, which is me. Having flexible work and school hours doesnt help.

#12steve – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 18:01

Wow, amazing visualisation there. Good work

#13 – Ramesh – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 20:42

Great stuff... Amazing visualisation

#14John – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 21:33

You should graph everyone else who's in your IRC logs just to see how angry they get :-)

#15 – jns – Saturday, May 1st 2010, 23:50

#9 Mikuro: funny, I thought the life force game as well looking at it, before i browsed to the comments :)

#16Stuart – Sunday, May 2nd 2010, 05:25

I was semi expecting a "this is when I got addicted to WOW" annotation then a sea of purple :p

#17preschool-toys – Sunday, May 2nd 2010, 18:45

Then we'd all live to be 57 and we'd never see our Social Security that the gov't keeps taking out of our paycheques. If anything, make it a 20 hour day. Lots of people wouldn't have waited so long for the Olsen Twins.

#18fish – Sunday, May 2nd 2010, 18:53

Weird! This is the kind of information that I wouldn't want people to know.

#19dre_dila – Sunday, May 2nd 2010, 19:04

This is the most inpiring piece of visualization I've seen in a loooong time. Many thanks for the detailed description of you process !!!

#20 – Lhun – Sunday, May 2nd 2010, 19:10

ZOMG ! I think the inventor of mIRC client has seen this. :D

#21 – Rick – Sunday, May 2nd 2010, 19:21

A sociologists dream. Thanks for sharing

#22Graham – Sunday, May 2nd 2010, 19:34

That is really cool.

Its funny when you start your apprenticeship you can see when you get home and leave for work ( I assume thats whats going on )

#23Graham – Sunday, May 2nd 2010, 19:36

Oh and , apart from this being awesome.. Would you care to share your php script that generated the image?

Maybe it would be cool seeing others as well?

#24 – Lou Ming – Sunday, May 2nd 2010, 19:55

Wow, thats pretty cool. Havent been on IRC in years but this article kinda re sparked my interest.


#25Kenneth J – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 01:14

"Free running sleep", now I have a name for it! Thanks :)

#26Phil – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 01:25

2001 - the year I stopped using IRC :-)

#27Andrew – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 01:32

Any chance you'll release the parsing code? I think it would be fun to compare statistics or see what other information you can pull out of logs.

Interesting none the less, I've been regularly using IRC since about 2000, little bit before. Wish I had logs dating back that far, it would have been fun to analyze them.

I've since switched to irssi, but as soon as I had DSL at my house, I was on 24/7 anyway.

#28Pranav – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 02:32

if somehow I had access to logs of my gtalk I could have had a similar graph :)

#29 – Lupin – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 03:12

Ahhh, free running sleep... the only way I can really feel rested every day. Damn those social obligations ;-) , so I could only do this twice until now. A rotation takes me about 10 days (without the weeks before trying and failing not to slip to a later time every day).

#30 – cm – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 04:42

amazing concept and visualizaiton, I love when you are freelancing/uni and it starts connecting hah thats dedication! :)

#31 – freekazoid – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 05:37

Very cool. I'm always curious about my sleep patterns.

#32 – Peter – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 05:53

SUPER COOL - You are just like me.

#33 – MD – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 06:08

Time to get some Ambiem + melatonin

#34 – laskjdkal – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 06:21

diurnal cycles.

natural language toolkit.

#35 – sbob – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 07:23

do u go on vacation around august? u have some small gaps

#36Simon – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 09:01

Wow, impressive! Thanks for sharing. How did you plot this graph?

#37 – Jeremy – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 09:17


#38 – madsfaerch – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 10:18

What the...? Have you had the same computer for the past 9 years??

#39 – Billy Buttcheeks – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 10:24

Wow....your computer is old

#40 – TR – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 14:50

You need to get a life.

#41ball valves – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 17:52

This sounds about right...

#42 – Angelo – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 18:02

You could parse not-afk into a 3rd colour.

#43 – Robby – Monday, May 3rd 2010, 20:00

Dirty logger.

#44 – Claudius – Tuesday, May 4th 2010, 15:09

Awesome idea!

#45 – toze – Tuesday, May 4th 2010, 18:47

can you share the php file you used to parse the logs? i have about 6 years of logs i'd like to give it a go as well :)

#46 – Mazziosi – Thursday, May 6th 2010, 09:35

and again, a great idea by domo! :)

#47 – KIF – Thursday, June 3rd 2010, 00:53

I thought you were going to show us some interesting conversations you had on IRC over the last 9 years instead I get to see when you left your computer on. What a waste of time. You owe me.

#48Jon – Friday, June 4th 2010, 08:52

Beautiful data here. Makes up for all the useless infographics that are circling the internet as a trend recently.

#49James – Monday, June 7th 2010, 04:36

Great data :D I liked this stumble.

#50 – G – Tuesday, June 8th 2010, 02:58

You could share this information with sleep scientists

#51Spencer Drager – Friday, June 11th 2010, 01:39

Interesting topic and great visualization of it. It must be kind of cool to have this kind of record of your life. I always wondered what it would be like to have some kind of "life statistics"... hours slept, calories consumed, showered taken, dollars spent, heart rate, etc... especially the heart rate one.

You've got an interesting sleep cycle too. When I was in college I went through a phase where I would go to sleep around 8am and wake up around 4pm-ish. It was... interesting seeing the sun rise and going to bed.

#52Rob Picard – Saturday, June 19th 2010, 04:04

That's really cool. I would be interested in seeing more graphs of different information you pull from these logs.

#53Wierzbicki – Friday, July 30th 2010, 02:14

Great visualizaiton :) Good work!

#54Benedikt Rausch – Tuesday, September 14th 2010, 10:52

Sieht nach h_da aus :)
Und die Sommerferien sieht man auch immer wieder :)

Coole sache!

#55Tegan Brady – Tuesday, September 28th 2010, 09:24

Wow.... I'd be very afraid to run that parser on my own Logs. Been on the IRC since 1997 and I know I spent a lot of time on there!

#56tommy – Sunday, October 17th 2010, 09:42

<3 irc-ing

#57cherouvim – Monday, December 20th 2010, 18:43

Great idea! Did you just invent 26 hour days after Aug 2008?

Thanks for sharing.

#58Savannah Boardley – Tuesday, September 20th 2011, 22:04

Wow, I haven't IRC'd since like 1996! Doing some research on it for my masters in network engineering. Back then there weren't many girls on there. I had to change my nick to a male sounding name so guys would stop hitting on me!

#59 – str8 – Thursday, March 1st 2012, 22:11

thats awesome man, you should update it for 3d webgl
so you can move around it in 3d, x y z axis's, x could be years, y could be months and z could be days

<-Years ->
\ \
\ \ days
| |
| | months
|________________ |

#60Patrick Feinstein – Saturday, March 2nd 2013, 11:59

Though I've been on IRC for a while, I'd be hesitant to parse my log with this!