Polyphasic sleep: Two weeks along
This last week was fairly difficult in some ways. I don’t think it was because of polyphasic sleeping per se, but this was generally a tough week to be sleepy. So I’ll start with the negatives, partly ’cause I think they kinda built on each other…um…to make a hole…?
Anyway. Bad stuff first. (And don’t skip ahead! Because I’ll know if you do! We has allz our zombie-tracking and mind-control lasers up and running on this here blog. You think it’s hard to follow an eyeball or two with our setup? It’s just not. But go on. Test me. See what happens. You have been warned.)
- I got slightly sick. No big deal; just lots of congestion, a sore throat, and dry/itchy eyes…that kind of thing. It made some of my naps difficult, ’cause I hate not being able to breathe through my nose. And the eye thing meant I felt extra-sleepy all the time. Also there weren’t a lot of drugs I was willing to take under the circumstances, so I just had to bull through. I did try some “natural tears” eye drops by Visine, but I think I’d have been better off with shellac. Just: ouch! I heartily disrecommend them.
- I got terrifically hungry. A lot. So my regular fasting was suddenly neither of those things. I decided polyphasic adaptation was a higher priority for me in the short term, and extreme hunger plus sleep deprivation just came to seem like too much trouble. Plus, cooking/eating pass the time and don’t put me to sleep.
- To add to the mix…you know how I quit drinking caffeine? Well, I stuck to that (aside from some minor experimentation). But until recently I drank lots of very strong coffee of a mornin’, and also drank tea by the gallon throughout the day. Doing without the caffeine per se was not an issue for me. But what the hell was I gonna drink instead? I never have liked drinking water unless it’s fresh from a creek or something. So…what the heck. I bought diet syrups for our Sodastream carbonating dingus and drank them. Even though I’d quit drinking stuff with artificial sweeteners a while back. So that was another healthy habit shot to shit. Again, it was all about prioritization. It totally made sense. Or so I kept telling myself.
- Overall I got much more groggy this week. I wasn’t quite sure what I should do about it–catch up via “oversleeping”? Take a bunch of “extranaps”? Revel in my barely-functional state? So I tried all three. The oversleeping didn’t really work, ’cause when I tried it (once!) I only slept for 38 minutes anyway and woke up groggy as hell. The extranaps worked okay, but sure did make it hard to think about anything else. Just letting myself get groggy was mostly okay, but one morning my eyes kinda went sideways on me and I realized I really shouldn’t be driving–the sleep-deprivation hadn’t seemed so bad, until it suddenly became obviously horrible. Fortunately I was only about two miles from home–but after that, since I was being a single parent for the week, I made sure I didn’t let things go that far. I don’t know whether that helped or hurt with the overall adaptation thing.
- My daughter (5 years old today!) was pretty wonderful, but I did need to be available for her. And she did interfere with a couple of naps. Still, I loved the way she tried so hard to let me sleep when I told her I needed to. It just…didn’t always work out.
- I moved all my nap times back by an hour when my wife got back into town. While she was gone I needed to be able to pick up our daughter in the afternoons. With her back in town, it’s better if I finish a nap right before they get home. Anyway, changing the schedule might have made adapting to it a bit harder. Or not–I’m still not sure the timing of the naps is all that important.
But then there were good things that happened!
- I dug a “Happy Light” out of storage. It had never done anything for me before. But it definitely helped me get going a few times.
- Night lights! I quit letting myself sleep (or, possibly more important, wake up) in a dark room.
- Exercise! I had to stay in at night because of my daughter, but a few sprints on an exercise bike worked wonders. Woke me up a bit, anyway.
- I noticed that barely getting to sleep during a nap for whatever reason, or waking up partway through and getting up right away, felt a hell of a lot better than waking up groggy. So I shortened my sleep timers again. Originally I’d given myself 30 minutes. Then 25. Then 20. And so far I’m happy right there–it’s helped a lot. I swear, completely missing a nap isn’t anywhere near as tough as trying to be alert after waking up at the wrong time. And I never seemed to wake up on my own if I went past 20 minutes for the nap anyway, so…I’m not sure any of the above makes sense, but it seems to work.
- I finally got some cool/vivid dreams out of this deal! That started a couple of days ago. It doesn’t happen every time I sleep (I suspect different sleep phases are occurring in different naps), but it’s a huge perk. I’m lovin’ tha dreamses.
- You know how I got sick? Well, I got over it about a day and a half ago.
- I’ve been fasting for nearly 24 hours now, and it feels great. I won’t be doing my normal 36 this time, because of birthday cake and ice cream and so forth this evening, but I expect to pick that right up later in the week. (Though I’ll note that 36 hours can seem a lot longer when it suddenly includes nine sleep/wake cycles! I may cut back to three 24-hour fasts/week. Or not. We’ll see how it goes.)
- I tried drinking a bit of coffee. No troubles with napping. Alcohol didn’t seem to matter either. So I’m still staying away from caffeine for the most part, but beer is back on the menu!
- Since my stupid cold-like issues went away? I haven’t needed or wanted any extranaps. I feel, in fact, pretty gosh-darned good.
By which I mean: in the last 36 hours or so I’ve been no worse than pleasantly sleepy at any time. Which was actually quite nice whilst cuddling with my girls after they (finally) woke up this morning. And even that level of sleepiness has, so far, gone away entirely after my next nap.
So okay, it was a semi-tough week. And I’m still not happy about my progress in finding something worth drinking (rooibos tea and carbonated water with lime juice are okay but not quite sufficient).
But, otherwise…man. No, Uberman! In spite of a few difficulties, this whole experiment seems to be working out quite well.
And I have lots of plans for the time it’s getting me. This website needs some work, for instance…but I think I’ll hold off on further polyphasic sleep updates until I’ve been doing it for a month. And maybe I’ll include a list of things I’ve found to be helpful along the way, and maybe also some links to more comprehensive resources (such as puredoxyk’s website). And stuff.
Meanwhile? Sleep well, and dream of large…no, never mind. Just: have fun out there!