Coming Soon: My Next Sleep Experiment – Biphasic Sleep

Because I’m just a bit of a masochist I thought I might screw around with my sleep patterns some more. This time; however, it’s a little less drastic and I have more scientific data on my side. I’m going to try biphasic sleep.

This time around I’m going to ease myself into it. Cut an hour off nightly sleep, take a midday nap; cut a bit more off the nightly, take a longer midday nap etc. Eventually I’m going to try a 50/50 approach.

There is some good reasoning to this: Firstly, circadian rhythms show that humans are naturally biphasic, secondly I can get alot more done at night when there are fewer distractions, but my third ‘its better for study’ theory is my favorite.

Think of it this way. We’re told all the time that ‘sleeping on it’ can help you learn. So I go to uni, get home at 4ish, sleep until 7ish then prepare dinner, eat etc and study until 4am. I then Sleep until 7am get ready for uni and repeat. Good for the brain, good for the lifestyle, not to mention its middayitis killing potential.

The advantages of this technique over others is I believe I can still get by on less sleep than if its all in one lump, its far more flexible and less drastic than polyphasic sleeping and it fits natural sleep cycles. Each full cycle is 90min so I get two full cycles per 3hr sleep, theoretically meaning I should easily get used to waking up at that point and will feel refreshed and relaxed.

I’m not starting this today because I have to head off for a volunteer induction at uni this afternoon but I’ll keep you all posted.

Imported from my old blog

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That didn’t take long (aka polyphasic sleep failure)

Last night after skipping one nap and then oversleeping on the next I was a wreak. Not just physically but emotionally too. I ended up crying through my shower (to wake myself up) and in the end decided to just go back to bed. Colin, upon finding me in bed crying softly, made a couple of attempts at motivating me to keep going but in the end just let me sleep.

I don’t regret stopping, nor do I regret trying it out. I’ve learned a few things about myself and I’ve also seen how this could work. I probably could have kept going for a bit if I hadn’t skipped a nap but I think even with adaption I ultimately would have stopped fairly quickly anyway.

The reason for this is loneliness. I am a very social person and I really couldn’t handle not being able to cuddle in bed before I went to sleep, and cuddle again when I wake up. I’m also fairly panicky and afraid of the dark so noises in the night freaked me out when I didn’t have Colin to cling to. Another massive problem with this method is that a simple thing like dinner and a movie doesn’t work if you need to sleep every 4 hours. Its like having a baby with you, except that you’re the baby.

If you have too much happening in your day to handle and want some spare time, and if you’re not a particularly social animal (or you can at least handle being alone at night) then this method could work for you. But if you’re life isn’t very flexible or you just want to try this out for the fun of it then its just not worth the effort.

In the end I’m confident that you can get a 22hr day, but you need to weigh up whether it’s really worth it.

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Polyphasic Sleep: Day One

Day one is not quite over but my mental faculties seem to be at a highpoint so I’ll take advantage of them while I can still think.
Last night was a little tough. I didn’t really sleep through my naps, I stayed in a sort of half-sleep relaxed state – similar to hypnosis. I was frequently hungry, but strangely I craved relatively healthy things like capsicum and scrambled eggs. I quickly discovered that if I could keep moving I didn’t get tired. As soon as I sat down at the computer I became drowsy.

The best pick-me-ups were juice and exercise. I did the New York City Ballet Workout DVD at 3.30am and found that I actually performed better than I normally do. A glass of orange juice seemed to immediately revive me even at my lowest points. I’ve bought a bottle of fruit and veg juice so I’ll compare results.

Another interesting thing I noticed was that I was very aware of my circadian rhythms. I could feel my heart rate and temperature drop at one point in the night and I started to really perk up around 5am. I also seemed to have an exaggerated startle reflex. I was listening to podcasts and every time there was a foreign noise in the background I jumped out of my skin.

I’ll be getting a heart rate monitor in the next week or two so it might be fun to do one night where I do an hour by hour log with a quick comment on my heart rate, perceived temperature and how I feel overall. Get a feel for what’s happening internally.

Colin is taking me to the movies tonight so this will be a bit of a challenge. I’ll pretty much end up skipping a nap so we’ll see how this effects me later tonight.

Wish me luck!

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Polyphasic Sleep: Nap One

I’ve started my polyphasic sleep experiment tonight whilst I’m still enthusiastic. I thought about best ways to start this but quickly realised that there was no good way to start. The entire aim of the first couple of days is sleep deprivation. That’s what triggers the adaption. So I’ve had my first nap.

I didn’t sleep particularly well, just sort of drifted in a semi-sleep, relaxed but not actually sleeping. Thats what you get for trying to go to sleep before you’re tired. I’m thinking the 3am sleep will be somewhat easier to get into.

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