More hints, tips and thoughts on Polyphasic Sleep

February 19, 2008 at 11:28 pm (February: Polyphasic Sleep)

Well I’m 19 days into the everyman schedule, and all is well. I’m still getting a lot done, and still enjoying this novel way of experiencing life. It is training me to make more use and better use of my time, because what’s the point of extra time if it’s not spent being productive?. I’m also getting so much better at getting up straight after an alarm goes off; I was previously a habitual ‘snoozer’ but such behaviour is punished on this routine, not on the core nap, but if I oversleep on a 20 minute nap I’m groggy for a couple of hours. I’ve had a few thoughts on my experiences so far, and a few tips for people who might want to try this:

  • Days = Blocks

I hear that on the hardcore uberman schedule people tend to lose track of days. I have experienced this to a degree on the everyman schedule. I find that I usually know what day it is (or I should say, I don’t lose track anymore than usual), but I lose track of what day I did things on. There is definitely a certain weirdness about time on this schedule. I don’t think of days as much as I do of ‘blocks’ between naps that last around 5 hours. It’s easier for me to know I did something 2 or 3 blocks ago than to know what day I did it on, probably because the 20 minute naps seem a lot longer than they actually are. So days are sort of less relevant, and I need to make use of a calendar much more often throughout a period of time that you might call a ‘day’. If I did something 2 blocks ago, it feels like what you would call ‘yesterday’, regardless of what ‘day’ I did it on. Also, I have to plan things so that what I do does not cross over into another block, which can be restrictive.

  • It’s not perfect (at this stage)

I previously stated that I had not experienced an ‘adaptation phase’ as such, due perhaps to occasional oversleeping allowing me to ‘catch up’. Well since then I’ve overslept only once, and that was for a mere 40 minutes (set my alarm incorrectly again, damnit!), and I can clearly see that I’m not adapted to this routine. I can function normally for the extra hours – I am still over-productive, and I do a lot of exercise too – but there’s an intuitive sense that I’m not at 100%. Maybe I’m at 80% of normal energy levels. Even if this did not change, and I came off the routine before adapting, I would easily call this an acceptable trade-off.

  • Gravity

Another weird thought I had: Would a polyphasic sleep routine tend to make a person shorter? Think about it, I’m spending an extra 4 hours a day in the upright position, with gravity pushing down upon my spine. Ubermanners spend 22 hours under such pressure, for the most part. If you’re monophasic this time is spent in a prone position, and so the gravity would not affect your height at all. I wonder if other people on polyphasic sleep routines for long periods have measured their heights, or if they might find hanging upside down a pleasant experience as the spine is stretched out?

  • Phone and text messages

I use my phone as my alarm when I nap. One perhaps obvious tip if you plan to do the same is to NOT send a few text messages before you nap! I usually can’t sleep if I have an un-replied-to text, as it’s like an open loop in my mind. You really have to deal with that if you don’t want to be woken up by your message alert tone, which in my case is Dexter’s Sgt Doakes proclaiming “That’s a good call Morgan….it’s a tough call…but that’s a good call, man”.

  • Eat more

If you’re awake extra hours, you need more food. It would be like driving your car an extra four hours each day; you need extra fuel. I think a danger here might be that people start polyphasic sleep routines, and neglect to eat more than they usually do. Then they naturally feel more tired than they normally would, and perhaps a little faint with it. Then because they are focused on the sleep pattern, they blame this on the routine, call it a bust and return to monophasic prematurely.

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