Polyphasic Sleep: Day 2

26 Dec 2012sleep

Urgh. Well, that didn’t go quite as I was hoping. I discovered that I didn’t much enjoy being awake on my own through the 16 hours of darkness we currently have here. Not as a habit anyway. The trade-off between the vistas of potentially infinite extra time and feeling like a very slightly warmed-over turd in human form sent me off to bed for a proper sleep at about 4:00 this morning.

I’ve not quite decided why this sucked as much as it did. I could definitely have forced myself to continue, even though I was feeling shitty, but I just didn’t want to. There’s obviously a barrier to cross with this, to get the initial physical adaptation going, and I think it may just be too difficult (for me, at least) to cross that barrier in the depths of winter. At the moment, it gets dark about 5:00 in the evening here and the sun comes over the mountain behind our house just before 10:00 in the morning.

That’s a lot of time without the sun. I found it difficult to do anything much active during the night–I didn’t feel like exercising, and I didn’t really fancy the idea of dragging Winnie out for a walk. We have a nice lighted collar for her, so there’s no safety issue with walking at night, but she was already confused enough that I didn’t want to make it worse. (Last night, she spent a lot of the night sitting on the sofa with me looking at me as if to say “Ian, you do know that it’s sleepy-time, don’t you? Can we do some sleepy-time now? Please?”. I felt sad.) I also found myself thinking a lot about the practicalities of this sort of sleep schedule. Rita and I often have some of our best talks late at night in bed just before sleeping, and I really wouldn’t like to give that up. On top of that, the prospect of having to organise life so as to never be more than four hours from naptime seems a bit daft.

I might give it another go in six months, when the days are long (about 7.5 hours more daylight than now!). For now, I think I’ll try to do what I was originally planning, to switch to a sleep schedule with a short 4-5 hour “core sleep” and one nap in the afternoon. That seems a lot more achievable. Rita has been trying to sell me on the benefits of napping for years–she is well initiated into the Inner Mysteries of the Church Of The Short Sleep–maybe I should start listening?

So, that all sounds quite pathetic. Chapeau to anyone who can do this for real, especially if they start off when it’s dark and wintry.