May 9, 2002 14:23
The End Of The Tour
Okay, after thinking it over a lot last night, and this morning (after 8 hours of sleep), I’ve decided to put off the polyphasic sleeping experiment, for now. There are a number of reasons for this, but it really all comes down to my life being a bit too crazy right now.The point of this experiment was that I wanted more free time to do things like code until the wee hours of morning, without having to make sacrifices at my job, or elsewhere in my life. In actuality, the energy required to keep this schedule going is turning out to be greater than what it’s generating. I know that my body just needs to find a schedule that’s right, and adjust to it, but I don’t have the time to wait for that to happen. My life is pretty chaotic right now, and I need a few weeks of order and stability to get it sorted out. Once that’s all done with, I should be able to attempt this again.

In the meantime, I still want to put something here to offer to those of you that are trying or want to try a new sleep schedule. This site has been getting a surprising number of visitors since I started keeping this journal. Before, I mentioned putting up message boards and such for people to share their experiences. I may see if I can throw something quick and dirty together. I’ll probably also organize things a bit more, and maybe throw together a sort of how-to document.

I’m curious if anyone who’s been reading this has been trying it? I’d like to hear from you, if you are.

Good night (for now),

May 8, 2002 10:12
Day 2 (schedule 2)
Today is National Night-Shift & Third-Shift Workers Day. I can certainly respect that these days. Most people forced to work a night shift for economical reasons would probably laugh at me if they knew I was intentionally submitting myself to this. Either way, I celebrated by sleeping 5 hours last night. Ugh. I actually woke up 4 or 5 times throughout the course of it (not counting about 30 minutes of hitting the snooze button), but was so tired I was basically paralyzed. I simply could not get up. It wasn’t happening.It’s kind of odd, because I didn’t drink or do anything that usually causes that, yesterday. I blame it on the removal of the 22:00 nap. I think I’ll try going back to taking it tonight.
May 7, 2002 07:33
Day 1 (schedule 2)
So far, so good, on schedule 2. I took my naps as scheduled, all day, then went to bed at 02:30. I actually turned out the lights and got into bed, so that I would get some quality rest. I hooked up 2 alarm clocks, and a full spectrum daylight lamp on a timer, all to go off at 4:30. It turns out that the timer on the lamp was wrong, though, so it didn’t turn on until about 10 minutes after I was awake. I think it should help, though. Sunlight is a big trigger to me for waking up (I always over sleep on rainy days).I went for a nice bike ride, which felt really good. Now I’m going to go have a shower and a nap.
May 6, 2002 15:11
Day 0 (schedule 2)
Well, I let myself sleep about 6 hours Friday & Saturday nights, and 8 or so hours last night, so I feel up to a pretty good, fresh start on the new schedule. I took my 14:00 nap on schedule. I’ll do likewise with my 18:00, then it’s theoretically through the long stretch until 02:00, when I get my 120 minutes.We’ll see how it goes. I may have to stick the 22:00 back in there, but I really feel that the 10:00 is so disruptive to my work schedule, that I’m going to work to keep it out. If I have to, I’ll move the 120 minute stretch to 06:00. It might make for a rushed morning, but it’ll certainly remove the need for that 10:00. It might be an even better idea to simply push the 06:00 to 07:00 or 08:00. In the latter case, I’d probably get ready for work and take care of my morning stuff before the nap, and then head right out the door as soon as I wake up from it. That might work well, actually. I think I’ll try it tomorrow morning.

It’s interesting to note that, even though I was getting a somewhat normal amount of sleep all weekend, my body was still craving naps. This is interesting, because I’m not usually a napping type of person, but they really do wonders for your mood, even if you’re not that tired.

May 3, 2002 10:57
Day 12
I got a pretty refreshing night’s sleep last night. 6 hours. That feels like an eternity these days. I went out dancing last night, and had 2 drinks. I actually felt fine when I got home, and was planning on sleeping from only 4-6, but I crashed at 3, thinking I had set an alarm, when I actually hadn’t. No biggie, although it may make it a bit harder to adjust over the weekend. I woke up after about 5 hours, actually, with a truly horrible feeling in my head, that’s worth mentioning. Have you ever been really hung over, and stared at the sun? Alicia describes it as having lemon juice in her brain. I had that feeling more intensely than I can ever remember having it when the alarm woke me up at 08:00. I think I may have been waking up from a deep sleep cycle at the time. I just went back to sleep, and it was pretty much gone when I woke up at 09:00.I think tonight is a good night to seriously start trying the new cycle. I’m going to Alicia’s sister’s 15th birthday party tonight, so it’s not like I’ll be drinking heavily or anything. I’ll also be sure to get my naps in. That was another big failing yesterday. I hadn’t had a nap since 18:00, when I fell asleep at 03:00.

It’s interesting to think that, even though this experiment has been going pretty poorly for me, I’ve still been managing to get through life pretty functionally on just 4 or 5 hours of sleep every day. While that’s not neccesarily too unusual, or tough to do, it would have been catching up to me a lot more by now, normally.

May 2, 2002 10:55
Day 11
Despite my best efforts last night, I fell asleep in my chair at around 03:00. At some point, I must have rolled out of the chair and onto the bed, as that’s where I woke up at 07:00. I was fighting a losing battle, I think.What that means to me is that I probably simply can’t get by on only 3 hours of light sleep. Either I can’t, or I simply don’t have the will to make myself stay awake through the adjustment period. Either way, I’m never going to be able to successfully make it through 10 consecutive days of this without slipping up like I have been. I could keep trying, but it’s beginning to put really serious stress on my relationship with my girlfriend. I know the goal of this was to have more free time, but living by myself again may be a bit more than I was planning.

This is pretty disappointing to me, as I have really gotten used to the concept of all this extra free time. So, I’m going to strike some sort of a compromise between my body and my mind. When I think about it, while I’ve been trying to do the 30/30/30/30/30/30 schedule, what my body has been forcing me into most days (through over sleeping) seems to be about 30/30/30/30/30/120. Maybe I should just listen to my body and do that intentionally. That would be 30 minute naps at 06:00, 10:00, 14:00, 18:00, 22:00, plus a 2 hour rest from 02:00-04:00. That’s 4.5 total hours of sleep, still well below my standard 7-8.

I even feel like the nap schedule may be flexible. I could probably drop them back down to 20 minutes. Maybe I could even cut out a couple. Like the 10:00 (screws with my workday a bit) and the 22:00 (makes it tough to go out at night). That would actually bring it down to 3 hours of sleep, total. The main concert I have with this is it may drop me down to dangerously low levels of REM. The 3 naps would probably be pure REM, so that’s an hour right there, but could I get another full hour out of the 120 minutes? Probably not. In a “normal” night’s rest, the first 90 minutes are a progression of stages 1-4, followed by 10 minutes of REM, then starting over. The question is whether or not my body would adjust, like it does in the naps, and find a way to get 60 minutes of REM in there.

Another possibility might be something like this: 2 120 minute rests at 02:00 and 12:00, plus 1 or 2 20 minutes naps throughout the day, as needed.

The reason for the using 120 minutes is explained pretty well here, on sleepnet. It’s backed up by the fact that almost all of my “slips” have been either 2 hours, or 4 hours. I’m guessing that I get about 20 minutes of REM sleep in each 120 minute rest (2 complete cycles of stages 1-5, each yielding 10 minutes of REM).

I’ll be experimenting with this through the weekend, and I’ll hopefully decide on something specific to begin Monday.

May 1, 2002 09:46
Day 10
No sleep and no beer make Homer something something …
May 1, 2002 03:29
Day 10
Wow, tonight has been really tough. I’m not sure what it is specifically about tonight. Probably because my body still wants to continue recovering from the last week, as it was over the weekend. This puts some doubt on my theory about being able to sleep on the weekends. I’m a bit surprised at myself that I haven’t fallen asleep yet, and I’ll be very proud of myself if I make it through the morning without one of my little 2 hour nap incidents.I’m keeping myself in reality with ice water and washing my face frequently. I tried to eat something a few minutes ago, and got really nauseous.

Speaking of food, it’s been mentioned by others that they get weird food cravings when under this schedule. For me, it’s been trail mix. Not that unusual, since I have always like trail mix, but I’ve been getting pretty serious urges for dried fruit and nuts. It may well be simply that my body is craving the pure, concentrated calories.

April 30, 2002 16:49
Day 9
Last night was probably the best night of this experiment, yet! I took all of my naps on time, and woke up on time from every one of them! I feel very good today, because of it. I had expected today to basically feel like last Monday, since my body should have reset itself over the weekend. This is not, in fact, the case. I feel like I was able to readjust fairly quickly, and even woke up a minute or 2 before the alarm a couple times.This makes me feel very hopeful that I’ll be able to adapt to this, after all! Hopefully, once I’ve fully adjusted, the occasional drunken weekend will even be tolerable without throwing the whole thing off. This is a great relief to me ;) .

Also, thank you to everyone who’s been emailing me to wish me good luck! I got a few of those Friday morning, when I was feeling pretty hopeless about the whole thing, and knowing that there’s people out there actually watching this journal with some interest is a really powerful motivator for me!

I’ve actually been toying with the idea of putting up a section of the site devoted entirely to alternative sleeping methods. I’m thinking along the lines of a collection of links and howtos, and a message board. I’m probably not going to do anything serious before June 1, though, as our office is moving, and there may be lots of chaos and a little down time at the end of this month.

April 29, 2002 17:30
Day 8
It’s been a long weekend, so I haven’t had much of a chance to update until now. Friday night, I did really well. Made it through the entire night, actually, although I was a bit sluggish in the morning, so I didn’t get much done.Saturday, I had a really active day. I helped a friend move large, heavy furniture. Then, I went to a sort of festival at a local college, and got sucked into the evil depths of a beer garden. I had been avoiding alcohol up until that point, but I figured, “what the hey? It’s Saturday!” After that, I went and gorged myself on Italian sausage and an horriffic item known as a “funnel cake.” I had never tried one before. It tasted of lard, and made me want to vomit. All was not well. On top of wanting to vomit, my body ached, and I was a bit drunk. I still, of course, had plans to go out to a goth club that evening. To make a long story short, both Alicia and I ended up falling asleep on the couch, as she was waiting for her dinner to be delivered. I slept 12 hours.

Sunday, I shrugged off the initial disappointment of failure (as well as missing the club), and got on with the day. My body was completely confused, and off-cycle. I hung out with a bunch of people drinking on a pier, and managed to miss my 18:00 nap. I only drank 2 beers, so I didn’t think it would be an issue. I planned to get home at 22:00, take my nap, then code all night, in a desperate attempt to complete a wayward project. My 22:00 lasted until 04:00, at which point I decided to just go to bed and start fresh Monday.

So, here I am, back on schedule with my naps, and staying away from the drink for a while (at least until I fell that I’ve adjusted). I’m committing myself at least through the end of the week, but, if this week goes as poorly as the last, I may have to accept that this schedule isn’t right for me, or at least for my life right now. I am, however, in the process of devising alternate plans, which I may attempt if this fails. The big one I’m looking at is something along the lines of sleeping from 04:00-08:00, then taking a nap from 18:00-20:00. Either that, or the 4-8 combined with a series of short naps. I’ll look into it more, especially whether or not I’d hit the appropriate cycles with those, if it looks like I will be abandoning this method.

Pretty much the hardest thing about this, so far, has been living with a monophasic sleeper. A lot of my oversleepings have been a result of me latching onto my girlfriend’s sleep schedule. Having somebody asleep right next to you is a great way to get really, really tired. I’d recommend to anyone else trying this, that shares a bed with somebody, to try to get them to do it, as well.

April 26, 2002 11:04
Day 5
Well, I managed to wake up after 20 minutes of my 22:00 nap, a great triumph. This was accomplished by setting up the alarm clock and egg timer on the chair at my desk, and sleeping on the bed next to it (not my bedroom bed). This meant I had to get up to turn them off, and, since I’m already at my desk, I may as well sit down and keep myself active. This worked great. Unfortunately, my 02:00 nap then lasted until about 06:30 :( . I’ve learned two things from this.One, I may not be getting enough sleep. I had figured the reason the 22:00 was so hard is that it’s close to my normal bedtime, so my body is expecting a full night’s sleep. The fact that it carried over to the 02:00 tells me that maybe it’s just my body forcing me to get the sleep I need. It still may be a temporary thing, though. My body may simply need to adjust to getting so little sleep, and then it will cease to be an issue. My solution to this is that I will extend my nap times from 20 minutes to 30. My choosing of 20 was fairly arbitrary, as 20, 25, and 30 all seem to get about equal advocacy from different people. That extra hour a day could save me an average 3 hours a day of over sleeping. I can always switch back down to 20 after I feel that I’ve adjusted.

Two, I should not nap in an environment in which I used to sleep for extended periods. It’s too tempting to sleep all night. I was previously taking my 02:00 and 06:00 in bed with Alicia, which is just too comfortable of a situation. Last night, for instance, I woke up to turn off the timer, and decided to “just give Alicia a little hug.” I’ll take all of my nighttime naps in the situation I described above, until I feel that I’ve adjusted enough to make it safe.

Another issue is that the weekend is here. Tonight should be okay to deal with, but Saturdays, I go to a goth club. Part of my reason for the 2, 6, 10 schedule I’m on is that this makes clubbing possible without missing a nap (at least by much). I can get dressed, take my 22:00 on the couch, the head out the door. I then head straight home after the club closes, and should be able to take my 02:00 by 02:30. I’m not going to be too hard on myself if I screw up this weekend. I can always get a fresh start on Monday, powered by everything I’ve learned this week.

April 25, 2002 04:56
Day 4
I over slept on my 22:00 again. Not too bad this time, though. I actually didn’t lay down until 22:40, and then slept until 01:00. My schedule’s been off all day, usually 30-60 minutes behind. That, combined with all that sleep I got last night, had me pretty off all day, yesterday. Hopefully, today will be better. Then, if I can manage to keep my 22:00 under control tonight, I might actually be able to puck up the rhythm.
April 24, 2002 03:17
Day 3
Today has been a definite setback, so far. My 22:00 lasted straight through until 02:40. That pretty much qualifies as a disaster. I woke up feeling like I had completely screwed up, and should just abandon the experiment. Thankfully, I recognized this as FUD from my tired body. My schedule is pretty screwed up, and I’m sure that tomorrow will be difficult because of it. Just when I felt like I was starting to adjust, too. I don’t remember any of my dreams, so it’s hard to say what kind of a cycle I was on.I think I need a better alarm. The egg timer only goes off for a minute or so, which I must have just slept right through. Maybe if something is really blaring at me over and over again, it’ll wake me up. I’m just nervous about using anything with a snooze button, but I can probably force myself up if I actually wake up. It’s not a matter of discipline or laziness, it’s purely just sleeping straight through.

I won’t give up. No matter what setbacks I hit, I think I should try it for at least 10 days (unless my friends tell me that I appear to be endangering myself). If another incident like this happens, actually, I may even up my minimum trial period to 14 days or more, to account for a prolonged adjustment period.

April 23, 2002 13:40
Day 2
Things are going much better than expected today. I went for a jog after my 06:00, which was quite possibly the first time I’ve ever “gone for a jog.” It felt good, but the maybe .25 miles that I went left me feeling very tired. I was pretty groggy all morning, after that, until a bit after my 10:00. By 11:00 I was feeling wide awake, and actually more energetic than yesterday. I feel fairly normal, except my eyes and ears are really sensitive, and my body feels a bit fatigued. My reactions seem like they may be slowed a bit, but it’s not noticeable except when I talk to people.I had a strange feeling after I woke up from the 06:00, to see the sun coming up. I was too tired to notice it on day 1, but it’s really odd for me to be awake that early. The sun was shining in at that harsh angle, and everything in the house looked so different. I got this strange sense that I was returning to a more primitive level, yet I was doing this by denying my animal instincts, and abusing modern technology.

It’s like there were too sides to me at once: the stereotypical hacker, staying up all night coding to nothing but the glow of the crt, and something very basic and natural, like when you go camping. It was really cool having the cats around all night, too. I can finally keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not breaking things while I sleep.

It’s obvious to me that all of the above is the result of some sort of a weird sleep-dep high, and there’s really nothing wrong with that, I hope it lasts. I also finally managed to get some significant code written last night, which is cool, since that’s really the main goal of this project.

April 23, 2002 03:59
Day 1
I had my first over sleeping incident today. I went upstairs to take my 22:00 nap, and ended up sleeping until after midnight. It actually felt really good, so my body must have needed it. I don’t think it’ll screw me up too badly. I did some (extremely) brief yoga to wake myself up after the 02:00, which (probably combined with the 2 hours of sleep I got earlier) has me running pretty well right now.I had dreams in both the 22:00 and 02:00 sleep sessions. The former had something to do with a woman on a bus. I was riding the bus, and she was talking to another woman on the bus with her. She started talking about how upset she was that her son was dead. I started to say something to console her. Some sort of analogy to something that happened in my life, and how I worked through it. Before I said anything, though, I realized that, not only was I trivializing her pain by comparing it to my inane issues, but I was rudely butting into somebody else’s conversation.

I don’t remember the second dream, just that I know I had one. Usually, when I wake up, my reams are pretty easy to recall. It may take a few minutes of thinking about it, or talking about it, but it usually comes back eventually. The dreams I had tonight were much more slippery. There was a lot more to the bus dream. I don’t even think the woman on the bus was the most interesting part, but I can’t even get the slightest handle on what it was. The second dream may have had something to do with typing and Alicia’s mom.

My appetite is still pretty weak. Over the course of the day, about 5 zits appeared on my face. It’s very unusual for me to get that many, so suddenly. I’m sure it has something to do with sleep, but I can’t really figure out the connection.

April 22, 2002 12:15
Day 1
The morning was tricky. I was stupid, and just took my 06:00 on the couch. The worst part is that I just sat up, put my laptop on top of my lap, and expected to be awake. I didn’t even take the blanket off, or stretch my legs. I won’t do that again. I didn’t fall asleep, per se, but I spent about an hour nodding off, then snapping my head back up, trying to be entertained by dreadful 6am cable tv, since I couldn’t concentrate enough to code.Then I went upstairs to wake up Alicia, got into bed with her, and fell into much the same trap. I really hope I didn’t screw up my cycles too much. I’ll have to be much more careful from now on, if this is to work.

I feel really good right now, even though my 10:00 nap at my desk was fairly unsuccessful. I’m a bit groggy, but that’s not surprising, as I’ve had no coffee, just 3 or 4 Penguins. I don’t really feel like I missed a night’s sleep, more like I just didn’t sleep that deeply, like if I had nightmares that kept waking me up, or something. The only negative affect I can feel is a decreased appetite. I’m going to exercise tonight, which should help with that.

April 22, 2002 4:22am
Day 0
So far, so good. I woke up at about 10:30 this morning, having had about 5 hours of sleep. I didn’t attemp my 2pm nap, as I was eating lunch, and didn’t feel the slightest bit tired. By 6, though, I was ready. I laid down on the couch, and set the egg timer for 20 minutes. Fell asleep almost immediately, and woke up as soon as the timer went off.My 10pm went much the same. I decided to sleep on the guest bed, in a dark room, for that one. In the 2am nap (I crawled into bed with Alicia for that one), I fell asleep after a few minutes, and actually had a dream, and even woke up before the time went off (I think out of fear of oversleeping). I was really afraid of oversleeping, and immediately checked that the timer was still running, before immediately falling back asleep.

The dream had something to do with driving in my car. My car was really dirty, and I was resentful towards my passengers, as they were adding to the trash. I got on the highway to go to our destination, and they told me I was going the wrong way. I had actually just assumed their destination, without being told. I then had trouble turning around, and got stuck on some road where it didn’t seem like a car belonged, then I was riding a bicycle. I think I was making my passengers late, as there was a feeling of nervous ungency.

April 18, 2002
I’m thinking of trying out The Uberman’s Sleep Schedule (aka polyphasic sleep). I figure adjusting to the schedule couldn’t be that much harder than quitting smoking was (I know, that sounds a lot like famous last words). I’ll have to wait until after the 420 party this weekend, and I know that would really screw me up in the initial adjustment. If I still feel up to it, I’ll start Sunday or Monday, that way I should be adjusted to it before I start my next project at work. I wouldn’t want to be too incoherent during the design phase ;) .