Friday, May 31, 2002

Day 2

Well, I've made it to day 2. I think this will be the real start of the adjustment period. I am pretty brain dead this morning. Thoughts are slower, and I find myself spacing out if I am not activly engaged in some task. Coffee, mmm. Not sure how coffee will effect my naps, but its helping me to stay awake. I am tried, but not as tired as I expected.

According to Dr. Stampi, the adjustment time to this schedule is 3.5 days with a 1.5 day deviation. So at best, I will be adjusted sometime today! I doubt that, but definitely tomorrow or the next day. I can do that. I am kind of worried it will take over a week like some people reported. We'll see, I am optimistic that I will make it through to the otherside.

And to keep with the spirit of this journal to report my progress truthfully, I must confess a slight slip. My alarm clock did not go off this morning (or I slept right through it, but that is doubtful). I managed to wake up on my own tho, only 40 minutes after the time I was supposed to get up. So core sleep last night was the 3 hours, plus an extra 40. And since it took me a little while to fall asleep, I think the slip is minor, but what suprised me is that I woke up on my own. Thats a good sign, I think. To prevent further slips, I am going to use two alarms.
I've just risen from my midnight nap. Now the home stretch to 4am when I can sleep soundly for 3 hours...

I just have to make a brief comment about time. Our lives are so structured and patterned. We wake up the same time every day. We go to the same school or job and put in our time, rushing home to catch our favorite TV show, get some chores done, and maybe have a little time for a hobby or a social life in the mix somewhere.

Well, today I stood and peered into the vast expanse of ... time. I have bucket loads of it! I know I started this experiment with the idea of getting 4 to 6 extra hours per day, but it did not really hit me till today what that really means. I am so locked into my patterns of daily life, that I do not know what to do with all this extra time! From the time I left work at 6pm till my real sleep at 4am, I have 10 hours! Oh. My. God.

I woke up at midnight and realized I still had four hours of quite time. Time when all sane people are asleep. And let me tell you, late night TV is not something I wish to get accustomed to... So here I am. I've done my TV, my reading, my chores. Its 1am, and I have three hours to enjoy. Guess its time to do some thinking and find something to fill this time with. Something. Time. Here I am with exactly what I wished for, and have no clue how to use it!

Sorry for the side path, its just I find it extremely amusing.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

8pm nap is over. I fell into a very sound sleep, even though there is a heat wave and the room was a sauna! Kinda sleepy dazed right now tho. Need to do something to clear the head -- EQ? Sure =)
Just a quick update. Noon nap was great, felt good and refreshed after 20 minutes. Prior to nap, I had a few periods where I was pretty drowsy. I can just imagine it getting worse over the next few days before the body adjusts. I would recommend anyone tying this to minimize driving or operating heavy machinery during the adjustment time!

About to hit the 4pm nap. Been wide awake since the noon nap.
Day 1 - 9:30am

Well, Karl, Mark and I have been through one day. Its been 24 hours since we started anyway. I am very sleepy as you can imagine. We met at a local diner at 2am for decaf coffee and pie. Then I slept from 4am to 7am. It was hard to wake up, but not impossible. First core sleep is passed, now I am looking forward to the naps! Yesterday's naps were kind of meaningless -- I never really fell asleep -- as we started into the nap cycle with a full nights sleep behind us. But today with only 3 hours of sleep, the naps should be for real.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Some notes:

Most people are monophasic sleepers, that is, they get all their daily sleep in a single long period. I believe that we are perfectly capable of polyphasic sleep, which just means that we can get our sleep in several sleeping periods instead of one long one. But how long do you need to sleep? Polyphasic sleep is not very common and the most cited examples are from popular pop-myth of Thomas Edison and DaVinci never sleeping, just taking catnaps throughout the day. But there is very little documented examples of polyphasic sleep. So to help fill that void, some friends and I are donating our sleep to science and attempting some polyphasic sleep schedules.

After some perliminary research, it seems that 15-20 minutes is an ideal time to nap. Any longer and "sleep inertia" over comes the benefits of a short nap. Sleep inertia is the groggy disorientation after a nap longer than 20 minutes. If a nap is longer than 20 minutes, then it should be at least 1.5 hours to overcome the negatives of the sleep inertia.

Sleep Cycles:
Another tid bit I found is the claim that people sleep in 1.5 hour cycles. So ideal sleep times are in multiples of 1.5 hours, ie. 3 hours, 4.5 hours, 6 hours, 7.5 hours (or my past favorite 9 hours!).

The Conjecture:
I am making the conjecture that people are designed to have 6 sleep cycles. I further conjecture that missed sleep cycles can be made up for with a 20 minute nap (to avoid sleep inertia but get the benefits of the nap).

Thus a five cycle person (who sleeps 7.5 hours a night) can get great benefit from a single 20 minute nap during the day.

And at its furthest extreme, some one who never sleeps a full cycle can function with six 20 minute naps, once every 4 hours -- the ideal uberman schedule.

For this experiment, we are thinking of doing a 3 hour core sleep, which is two cycles, so we will need to get four additional naps throughout the day. If we sleep from 4am to 7am, that leaves 21 hours of wakeful time, with four 20 minute naps -- one every 4 hours or so, at noon, 4pm, 8pm, and midnight. On a full uberman cycle, you would also nap at 4am and 8am and skip the core sleep.
Welcome. This blog was created to keep a running journal/diary of an experiment with alternative sleep methods. In particular, a small group of us are attempting to adjust to the Uberman Sleep Schedule, more technically described as a polyphasic sleep schedule. The essence of it is a short 3 hour core sleep time in the early morning, and several 20 minute naps (every 4 hours) spaced throughout the day.

A few months ago, there was a post on Slashdot that led to two articles about the Uberman Sleep schedule. You can find them here:

Intrigued, I tried to find more information, but sadly, there was little to be found. But some co-workers I sent the links to were also intrigued, and we are now setting off on an experimental trial of this sleep shcedule to see if it actually delivers its promise: 6 extra wakeful and productive hours a day with no side effects.

A few days ago, it was discovered that there is actually a lot of information out there about Uberman Sleep, but its technical title is "polyphasic sleep". There is even a book written by a Dr. Stampi, C. (1992). Why we nap: Evolution, chronobiology, and functions of polyphasic and ultrashort sleep. Boston: Birkhauser.

One person's experiences:
Royal Airforce article on napping:

I'll keep a running journal of how it goes, and any research links I come across.