Polyphasic Sleep: Day 1

25 Dec 2012sleep

Right now, it’s early afternoon on “Day 2”, just about 24 hours after I started this experiment. Things haven’t gone completely smoothly, but I’ve learnt a few things:

  1. I need a louder alarm than the one I started with! I went to bed for a 30-minute nap at 1 a.m. and woke up at about 5:10. Not really to plan! I slept right through the alarm. I’ve turned the volume up now and it seems to work better.

  2. People weren’t joking when they said the adaptation period wasn’t much fun. I’m feeling a bit poo and not able to get much work or serious thinking done. Fortunately, Rita is away visiting her parents this week, so she won’t be exposed to an even more grumpy than usual me.

  3. It’s going to feel like pulling an all-nighter every night for a few days. Urgh.

I’ve decided to work with a 1-5-9 nap plan, i.e. a 20-30 minute nap at 1:00, 5:00, 9:00, 13:00, 17:00 and 21:00 (and no other sleep, unless I feel like crap and need to insert another nap somewhere).

For naps, I’ve been setting a countdown timer for 30 minutes, lying down and trying to sleep. The first couple of times , no joy, since I wasn’t tired enough. By now though, I’m definitely sleeping. I’ll need to experiment with how long I set the timer for, since I’ve been feeling groggy after waking, but I’ll wait a week or so before trying that, since a). I’m not falling asleep right away, so don’t get the full 30 minutes, and b). I’m definitely not going straight into REM sleep and the timings would have to change once that starts happening (if it does).

Both of the work things I have to do at the moment are kind of tricky, so doing them while feeling a little zombified isn’t really possible. I had a Big Bang Theory TV marathon last night and will probably do something similar today. I’ve decided to go easy on myself for the first few days, and just do what I can.

One thing that’s kind of funny is that one “cycle” (the 3.5 hours between naps) is more or less completely consumed with walking Winnie. I got up from my 9:00 nap at 9:30 this morning and we were out the door at 9:45 (Winnie was still sleeping–she doesn’t seem impressed with her human being active all night!), arriving back about 12:05. After cleaning Winnie a little (since all the snow round here melted, she gets pretty filthy running through the fields and forest), it was 12:15. Just time for a quick bowl of muesli before bed time again! It’s really strange.

I think it ought to be possible to adapt to this regime physically relatively quickly, but it’s definitely going to take a lot longer for a new “daily” routine to stabilise.