Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Day 20

Wow, I can't believe its already day 20!

Welcome, Shane, to the world of the polyphasic sleepers! My friend Shane just decided to join us. I've added his blog as a link of the left hand column. He's decided to live with that egg timer by setting it for 30 minutes and waking on that first 10 minute warning beep. See, we polys are creative!

Brief note on "reboot" days. Every now and then, I've hit a wall or just had an overwhelming need to sleep. I try to make it to Sunday in order to do this so as not to disrupt the other days that are usually filled with various activities. What are "reboot" days? It a day when you get a nice long period of sleep, in essence, rebooting your body to flush out the fatigue and refresh the mind. Harken back to the days when it was recommended to reboot Windows periodically to maintain a healthy computer.

"Reboot" days are not a weekly thing, but I've done it twice in the last 20 days. Basically I turn off all the alarms, egg timers, unplug the phone and just sleep till I wake up. I think its healthy, as it lets your body decide what it needs -- I am not pretending that this polyphasic sleep schedule is good for you, and doing a "reboot" day probably helps a lot in letting the body do what it needs to do while one sleeps.

The day after a "reboot" is pretty good. In fact, I can't nap at all since I've slept for so long. So I nap only when I am tired again (usually around midnight or 1am) and then go back to the core sleep at 4am and the naps. The next day I am very tired but that first nap at noon is a deep refreshing one. Then I feel fine and am back on the polyphasic schedule.

I put this out there as a tool for anyone trying to do this sleep schedule. I think the body will sabotage you and you will find yourself "rebooting" even if you don't plan on doing it. Don't treat that as a slip and get depressed, use it as a tool to keep yourself sane and healthy =)

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

When choosing an egg timer to act as your nap companion, its very important to give it a test drive! The other day, we went out to buy egg timers for a friend that is thinking of joining us in the polyphase world. It was a small, digital egg timer. It seemed very nice and had a fairly loud beep. Good stuff... or was it?

The problem was that this little device decides its a good thing to beep 10 minutes before zero, just to let you know its coming... then beep again at 5 minutes. Not good at all for napping! So these things are worthless and will be returned.
Day 19

Well, I am still officially polyphasic, but I've been modifying my core sleep time depending on my schedule and need to be awake. I am tending closer to 4 hours of core sleep these days as I do not have any pressing or urgent projects at the moment. And I've decided to allow Sundays to be the "reboot" days. Basically I will return to monophasic sleep if I feel the need to "reboot". Which is what I did this past Sunday. I did not set my alarm for my midnight nap, and slept through till morning.

I had forgotten how good it feels to sleep for 10 hours =) But I am back on. The original three are still meeting at the local diner at 1am, 2am and sipping our decaf coffee and wondering what rest of the sleepy city is dreaming...

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Day 15 and 16

Well its day 16. A Saturday, no less, and I managed to get up at 7am! Its been a long productive day and I am actually happy today that I am on this schedule! I was able to do so much stuff, and still get my fill of TV, vids, games, reading and just hanging out.

I think from this point on, I am going to post less. We've been through all the adjustment stories, the tips, tricks, and other notable events. I think from here on out it will be pretty much just trying to fit this schedule into my life and reap the benefits.

I will post when I decide to quit tho, so we can see how many days I continued.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Day 14

Today was very sloppy. I did not roll out of bed till 9:30am... Picture this: Alarm goes off at 7:00am. I get out of bed, walk across the room and hit snooze. I crawl back into bed. 9 minutes later, the alarm goes off again. I get out of bed, walk across the room and hit snooze. I crawl back into bed. 9 minutes later, the alarm goes off again... repeat every 9 minutes for an hour and a half... *smirk* Does that count as 10 naps? The ultimate polyphasic pattern? No, just amusing.

If some alien were watching studying me, I wonder what they would have thought of the intelligence level of this poor creature!

But, yay! Its been two weeks! Now I have to find a way to get motivated to get out of bed in the mornings and stay out of bed and I think I will be fine.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Day 12 and 13

Its pretty important to stick to a semi-strict schedule. The last few nights I've gotten a little sloppy and hit the snooze button a few times. And occasionally skiped a nap because I felt fine... Well it kind of caught up to me today. I was not really falling sleep during my naps anymore, and I thought that was a little odd. This morning it took a monumental effort to get out of bed. I think I was getting sleep deprived and slipping back into monophasic habits. The good thing is that for my noon nap, I fell asleep fast and slept like a baby. It was great and now I feel a lot better. I guess it just takes a day of horrible sleep inertia and then a couple of true naps to get back on track.

For me, mornings are traditionally not a productive time. I've been thinking of moving my core sleep back and getting up at 4am instead of going to sleep at that time, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that may be a bad idea. The chances are that I will just sleep through and hit snooze till its 7 or 8am. So for now, I will keep to the same schedule - core sleep from 4am to 7am and naps at noon, 4pm, 8pm, and midnight.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Other tips for the polyphasic sleeper

  • Get an egg timer - Preferably something that is small enough to carry in your pocket. Being able to nap where ever you happen to be is a good thing. With an egg timer, you can find a shady piece of grass, or curl up under your desk, or even nap in your car and not fear oversleeping. Get an egg timer that has a constant alarm, and not just a single *bing*. It should be something that you have to turn off.

  • Take your vitamins - You body will be under unusual stress as you adjust, so I would recommend some form of vitamin supplements to give you that added edge and lessen the chance of catching a cold or getting ill.

  • Hydrate! - Drink lots of water. It helps to keep the body healthy and prevents dehydration and headaches.

  • No caffine - Caffine is a bad idea during the adjustment phase. It might prevent you from napping properly and that will mess you up and you will just feel worse, and the chance of oversleeping when you do manage to drift off is greater. I've started moderate caffine now that I am adjusted, but during the first 10 days, it was definitely helpful to avoid it.

  • Avoid alcohol - Drinking will mess you up during the adjustment phase. You might fall asleep too soon, or oversleep, or both. Since you are sleep deprived during the adjustment phase, drinking will affect you more than normal. Your body is having a hard enough time getting adjusted. So avoid the beer, wine, etc.

Day 12

I am feeling pretty good today! I am wide awake, able to work, and clear headed. I am in the same mental state as when I was a monophasic sleeper. I guess I am now fully adjusted to this sleep schedule, and have been for the last few days. We'll see in the next few days to make sure, but it looks like 10 days is the time it takes to fully adjust to this cycle.

So if you are thinking of doing this, give yourself at least 10 days to get adjusted. Its a long time, and its easy to quit, but keep at it and you will break through.

I don't think I could have gotten this far without the "support" I've had. Its been in various forms. But taken together, all the things added up and gave me the motivation to continue, even during the worst of it when all I wanted was to sleep.

Things that will help you get through the first 10 days:

  • Start a blog! - For me, it was important to update this blog, so I kept at it to report to you my progress.

  • Do it with friends! - Three of us are doing this currently. Its so much easier when you can talk about how you feel and how its progressing when you have someone who is doing it with you. Plus the slight peer pressure to keep at it definitely helps.

  • Get a list of things to do during those extra hours! Don't start this with no idea what to do during those extra hours you will get. Its too tempting to fall asleep if you are just sitting around bored and waiting for that next nap.

  • Dont let slips discourage you - You will slip and oversleep from time to time. Don't let this discourage you. You'll just sleep more =) Chalk it up to experience and get back on the wagon. From my experience, it does not hurt the adjustment time much, and you are not starting over from day one. Its just a little extra sleep and might even help you to get through the next few days.

BTW, I've pushed through the funk and have been doing little projects all night. Guess it was just a phase and I've gotten over it. Maybe it was a Sunday thing and I just needed to be lazy.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

Day 11

Hit all my naps at the proper times, plus of minus half an hour. Felt pretty good today, although I got hit with a case of apathy. I sat and watched TV most of the day. Totally unproductive. Not sure why, I had several things planned, but I just never seemed to get the motivation to get dressed and going. Instead I loafed on the couch in my sweats all day. I guess thats a pretty normal Sunday for me, but now I just have more time to be a potato.

One would think that with all this extra time, I would be jazzed and diving into a lot of projects... We'll actually thinking back, I did finish the book I was reading. I've been reading it for the past few months, and in the last few days I read the last half.

I am going to try hitting the gym in the morning before work. Hopefully that will give me some extra energy and motivation.

I've also had a low grade headache all day. My eyes hurt as well. Might be the withdrawl from caffine, but more likely my sleep schedule is starting to manifest physically.

Saturday, June 08, 2002

Day 10

Its now day 10. I think that I've started to adjust. I am usually not tired during my waking times, except for just before the nap times. I am still not hitting REM suring naps. But new theory is that we should not be getting REM sleep during naps anyway. We should be getting the light sleep, the kind that is supposed to rejuvinate without leaving you tired. There are so many conflicting articles and notions about sleep, that its hard to know what to believe.

I guess that is part of what this is about, seeing what happens thought first hand experience.

One event that happened today, I lay down for my noon nap. I guess I did not set my egg timer, so I slept on for 4 and a half hours. Oops. Another slip. Funny thing is that now I feel as if I've overslept, that wet blanket type of fog that is a little different from the zombie state of not enough sleep. Ah well. I will skip all the rest of my naps today till the core sleep at 4am since I've gotten the equivalent of 7 and a half hours of sleep now =)

Friday, June 07, 2002

Day 8 and 9

Sorry I could not post yesterday. The power went out yesterday. They say it was a tree, but can a single tree take out a city? It was the alien space craft, I just know it. (just kidding, I am not the victim of sleep deprived illusions).

Yesterday was hot, and there was no power. Amazing how reliant we are on electricity. My life just kinda stopped. No TV, no Internet, no nothing. I couldn't even read in the evening since it was dark. I was feeling pretty miserable from the heat. Naps were all light.

Today I got up and feel really good. Its hard to believe that I have been going to bed at 4:30am each day and getting up at 7:30am, plus a couple of snooze buttons here and there. This cycle seems to work for me.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

4pm nap. Was feeling sleepy just before. It was the good drool-all-over-the-pillow kind of sleep. Felt great after.

Talk today about moving the core sleep about a bit. 2am - 5am or 3am - 6am. Its summer and it would be nice to get more core sleep time in. I think 1am to 4am might fit my own schedule well.
Day 7

One week has passed! So I am half way through the initial two week trial. If I am fully functional at the end of the next 7 days, I will continue this throughout the summer and see how it goes.

Today feels fairly normal. Took a nap at 11:20am and did manage to fall asleep. Good sign. Getting up after 3 hours of sleep is getting easier, but its still by no means easy. I've been able to attend meetings and even fix bugs (I am a programmer by trade) so I think I am over the hump and can be productive and not dangerous =)

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

I've been hitting all the naps on time, and I am actually falling asleep now. Thats a good thing. I was a bit worried that I was not falling asleep, thus missing out on the important REM sleep, but I've started to adjust. Its really quite hard to sleep when its bright out. I may have to invest in a pair of sleeping shades, you know, the kind you get on airplanes to sleep. Reminds me of my friend Roger who wore them on his head all the time as a kind of hat... but that is another story.
Day 6

Today I feel pretty good. I am not tired, and my brain seems to be working. I've been hitting all my naps and not oversleeping. This morning, I awoke from core sleep a few minutes before the alarm went off. I actually felt really good at that time, even though I had only been asleep for 3 hours. I was pleasantly suprised! Of course I shut my eyes to wait for the alarm and was awoken 4 minutes later feeling pretty tired. Morale of the story: get your butt out of bed as soon as you wake up!

I am clear headed, alert and ready to go today. I hope that I've passed over the hump and things get easier from now on. Of course, this could be one of those random things and there is no hump, just endless days of tired torture... We'll see over the next week how it goes.

Monday, June 03, 2002

Day 5

It was pretty hard to get up this morning, but not as hard as it was on Saturday. Back to work starting today, so things should be easier. Its more convenient to regiment a schedule with work to provide the skeleton. Plus Karl and Mark are about so there is that mutual support thing which helps a lot. I probably could not have done this alone, this long. So if you out there are thinking of doing this, grab a friend or two and make them do it with you =) It will increase your odds of success, I guarantee it.

Took till about 10am for the sleep inertia to wear off. But after it did, I feel relatively normal and alert.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

My ISP has been out most of the day, and it still drops the connection every five minutes, but fear not! I have not forgotten day 4!

The day started in tradgedy for this experiment. I lay down for my midnight nap, and set the egg timer for 20 minutes. Well, the egg timer either did not work, or I rolled over on it and paused it, or I slept right throught it. Lets just say that I got many naps worth of sleep all at once this time.

I was so upset when I did wake up, but then I realised that this is not a life or death situation, its just a bunch of guys changing their sleep patterns. But I am disappointed since I have no idea how this will effect the cycle. I have been taking naps all day afterwards at the proper times, so hopefully I did not reset back to day one.

Oh well. We forge on! I knew there would be slip ups, and I guess its a good sign that it took till day 4 for it to happen. What one really needs during the adjustment phase is a master seargant yelling at you to get your lazy butt out of bed! when the times to wake up roll around. =)

I've been avoiding caffine all day, and you know what? Its easier to fall asleep for the naps. And I have not felt all caffine deprived at all since I am mildly tired all the time anyway =)

Saturday, June 01, 2002

No caffine today for me. After this mornings fatigue wore off, I've been feeling okay all day. My naps are starting to work; I am falling sleep during the naps at last. I am a little concerned about the sleep inertia (the grogginess you feel after sleeping more than 20 minutes) from the core sleep. This morning sucked, plain and simple. It was painful. I am contemplating a move to the full blown Uberman with naps at 4am and 8am to replace the core sleep and avoid that sleep inertia. But I will continue with this current schedule for at least another week to give it a good run for its money. Hopefully waking from core sleep wont be as bad in the next few days.
Day 3

I always thought that today would be the worst day. You know what? It is! I woke up this morning after core sleep and was completely zombifed. I think that today, I will have no problems falling asleep for the naps. Up till now, I've only fallen asleep during a couple of the naps and none were REM sleep naps, just light sleep. Today I hope to crash down through the sleep stages and hit REM. We'll see. The way I feel right now, I think that will be no problem.

Duh.... Brain. Not. Working. Sorry this is not my most eloquent entry, my brain is not quite working yet.

Oh yeah, I wanted to mention caffine. I think that its not a good idea to use if you are a polyphasic sleeper. It messes with naps and prevents deep restful sleep during them. I could be wrong, but I am going to try the next couple days without caffine and see if I can nap better.