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Sleep-Deprived in China

December 7, 2009

This is a brief announcement, that I’m on my way back into Polyphasic (uberman) sleep, starting the day after tomorrow (Wednesday my time). My original plan to be polyphasic in China was a bust. It would have been just fine except for one major problem: I there aren’t any clean places to take naps. I could nap at home, but that would require being able to GET home every 4 hours. That wasn’t possible with my school/touring schedule. I could have slept at school, but honestly there aren’t any clean places. So I’ve done China on monophasic sleep.

My re-adjustment will begin on Wednesday night, when I will deliberately take a late nap followed by short sleep. Thursday, I’ll begin regular naps. Unfortunately, I still have another week in China (living it up in Beijing), which means that I’ll probably still need to stick with a nightly core and daytime naps, just until I fly back to Virginia.

While in China, I’ve been surprised to find people emailing me about my blog. I’m shocked/touched that people have actually been reading this. You people inspire me. One of the most common topics you keep asking about is the Batman sleep Jorel mentioned on his blog. I’ve sent him a message to try to find out how it worked, and I’ll post my findings, maybe in my next post.

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Summer

July 25, 2009

I’ll start this post by admitting that I’m not currently on a polyphasic sleep schedule.

Why did I quit? It’s simple: I don’t have anything to do.

School is out. I’m in another city. Work is only part-time, and I work from home. This means I have nothing concrete happening in my day. No set schedules. No landmarks. Nothing.

I continued with the polyphasic sleep for a few weeks, but it was just boring when I don’t have anything to do, and it started to take extreme willpower to get up when I didn’t have anything to do. My sleep schedule quickly became erradic as I would just not bother to get up from certain naps.

I’m still experiencing a few artifacts from polyphasic sleep. Chief of those is the psychological adjustment, where I don’t have any problems staying up all night. I think this is primarily because I’m living with only one roommate who is a medical resident and never at home. In a week or so I’ll be back home with my family (for a month), and I think the family atmosphere will help me re-adjust.

I leave for school again in a month. This semester will actually be in China, so I’m considering going back to polyphasic sleep to enable me to better enjoy my time there. Also, it would prevent jet lag. 😉

Looking forward to a strict schedule again.

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Homeless, Camping, and a Regular Schedule

May 5, 2009

So I discovered that moving doesn’t help you maintain a polyphasic sleep schedule. Actually, I discovered that being homeless doesn’t help much either. Let me explain.

A week and three days ago the rental contract on my close-to-campus apartment expired. No big deal, since the semester was over, and I’d planned to move out of state anyway. Staying over with friends wasn’t terribly conducive to polyphasic sleep, but I managed to do fairly well. 

No, what killed me was camping. I went camping in southern Utah with my friends and my sister. The long drive to/from didn’t yield good opportunities for napping. Taking long hikes through slot canyons didn’t yield good opportunities for napping (actually they did, but nobody wanted to stop so sleep in the soft sand). That night, I got sick and went to bed early. I woke up sometime in the middle of the night feeling better, but realizing that I didn’t have a flashlight or anything to keep me busy. So I drifted in and out of sleep all night. 

After camping, I began the exodus to Omaha, where I’ll be spending the summer. I spent several days homeless. Let me tell you, it’s hard to 1) find places to nap when you don’t have  a place of your own and 2) find something to do in the middle of the night when you don’t have a home, lights, electrical outlets, and/or internet access. Consequently, my polyphasic sleep has deteriorated back into monophasic. This is something I plan to fix now that I have a place to stay for the summer.

I guess the bottom line is this: if you don’t have anything to do at night, you’l revert back to monophasic sleep, no matter how long you’ve been polyphasic. We sleep at night when we don’t have anything better to do.

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Stress, Tests, and Soup

May 5, 2009

Ok, I’m only finally finishing this draft a week after I started it. More, actually.

During the last week of my semester I had about 10 papers due (ranging in length from 1-8 pages). Polyphasic sleep was awesome becaue it gave me just enough time to finish everything. If I’d been sleeping normally, I would not have survived the end of the semester. Really.

However, I discoved a weakness in polyphasic sleep: stress. I was so stressed some nights that I couldn’t actually fall asleep for some of my naps. This meant that I was running through hectic days one after missing one or two naps. Inevitably, that means I need to double-up on naps or crash. 

I also made a ginormous pot of soup for a going-away party. Since I’ll be gone all summer (in the Midwest) and all fall (in China), I wanted to say good by to my friends, some of whom will graduate or leave before I come back. Staying up all night was the perfect time to make a great broth for the soup.

Also, I discovered the secret ingredient for perfect chicken noodle soup. Ready for this? It’s peanut butter. Yes, peanut butter. Try adding a little bit to the broth next time you make it. Just test the flavor and see how it is.

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Psychologically Adjusted

April 14, 2009

You know, the world is kinda charming at 4am. I’m making a giant pot of soup for a goodbye party tonight (after the sun comes up and does its thing). An epiphany hit at 4am about exactly which flavors to use in it, and I had to run to the store for ingredients. It was a lot of fun. Birds had started making a little noise, the clerks at the store weren’t too busy to chat, and I had a great time. 

I think I’m finally adjusting to the idea of being awake all the time. I think I can honestly say that I don’t have any particular bias towards sleeping at night or during the day. Both have become equal to me. Well, that’s not true. I actually value my night hours above the day hours because I tend to get more done during that time.

The soup is going to be amazing. I’ll post the receipe later, but right now I need to finish two papers and prepare for a test I have later today.

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Eating at Night and Zombie Dreams

April 7, 2009

My sister, Suzie, and I all stayed at the school library until it closed at 2am (extended hours right before finals). It’s nice to have a place to work at that hour. Afterwards, my sister went to bed while Suzie and I went to Denny’s. I ate a rather large “breakfast” of eggs, hashed browns, sausage, bacon, and two huge pancakes. Good stuff…at the time. We spent so long there that by the time we left, it was nap time for me. I lay down for 20 minutes but couldn’t fall alseep (!) within the allotted time. So I decided to restart my 20 minutes at the end. This is always, always a bad idea (no matter how smart it sounds).  Basically, I didn’t wake up after 20 minutes. Suzie tried calling me a few times and I didn’t hear my phone, even in my own pocket. I slept for about 2.5 hours. 

Waking up was really, really weird. I know that I lay there for at least ten minutes regestering some things about my surroundings, but not everything. It was like being in some sort of zombie state. After about ten minutes with my eyes open, I became awake enough to realize that I’d slept for a lot longer than 20 minutes and was not happy :-/

As I got up and did stuff, I could feel my “breakfast” sitting in my stomach like a brick. I’ve generally craved fresh fruits and veggies (easily digested stuff) during the late-night hours, and now I may have discovered why. It actually made me feel quite sick, having Denny’s just sitting in my stomach. Not so fun.

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~1.5 Months: Suzie is a Lifesaver

April 6, 2009

 

Suzie

Suzie

Yesterday my sister’s roommate decided to start polyphasic sleep. Since then, we’ve been helping to keep each other on a stricter schedule. Well, I should say that she’s been keeping me on a strict sleep schedule. She doesn’t seem to need the help. 

You’ve gotta admire her courage in this: finals are a week and a half away, and she has a paper due in a few days. Still, she’s going for it. Actually, I’m kinda jealous because she’s already having dreams during her naps after only 24 hours on polyphasic sleep. Still, she’s starting to imagine things, so I dont’ feel totally gypped. I might still get some entertainment out of this. 😛

Seriously, anyone trying polyphasic sleep should try their best to get a friend to do it with them. For a month and a half I’ve been following an erratic schedule, obnoxiously punctuated with 5:30 am naps that I didn’t wake up from. Now, before I go to sleep I ask Suzie to call me if I’m not back on-line at an exact time. She’s saved me from oversleeping twice now, and having someone watching makes me extra motivated to get up when I say I will. 

I’m discovering that keeping a strict schedule makes a world of difference. Core sleep seems to mess me up. I feel like I’m re-adjusting to Uberman all over again, but in a good way (without having my head in the haze). The hazy pseudo-dreams are starting again when I lie down for naps, even before I fall asleep.  The strict schedule, it turns out, makes me tired at exactly the times I’m supposed to be napping, give or take 10 minutes. I’m shocked at how well-timed the Uberman sleep schedule is. 

Having someone else up and awake at the same time as me helps me so much. We usually just chat online, which is good enough, but tonight we also went to Walmart together to kill some time. This is so helpful! Alone, it’s easy to sit in one place all night trying to get stuff done and eventually get really tired. Having someone else awake provides other options, (like shopping, going for a bike ride, doing laundry, playing pranks on happy couples at 4am, etc) and makes me that much more awake. I never fall into a blurry haze of boredom that inevitably leads to oversleeping. 

Having Suzie awake with me is probably the thing that will help me finally establish polyphasic sleep as a solid habit. I’m guessing that in a month the helpfulness will have passed for both of us and that the habit will be solid, but for the moment, it’s awesome. If you failed polyphasic sleep on your own, find a buddy to help you out.