Polyphasic Sleep, Week 2 (ok, ok… 2 hours sleep isn’t enough, but 2:40…)

As of Week 2

Ggggrrrrr…. how dare I be tired after a full 3 hours of sleep!

The past few nights have not been any easier than the previous few.

My attempt at 6 x 20 min naps per 24 hour period is looking more like this:

  • 4am nap 20 mins (yay)
  • 8am nap 20 mins (yay)
  • 12am nap 20 mins (yay)
  • 4pm nap 20 mins (yay)
  • 8pm nap 20 mins (yay)
  • 12pm nap ….. 2.5 hours (Gggrrrr!)

NapChart http://napchart.com/etxhx provides a tool for creating a chart of polyphasic sleep schedules.

Despite having a schedule…

At least once a day I’m either sleeping through an alarm… or two different alarms! Or the alarms are not being set properly (self-sabotage due to zombification maybe…).

Either way, my body seems to be grabbing a small ‘core sleep’ of at least 1.5 hours sleep per night.

Such chutzpah!

On balance, I’m getting significantly less sleep time per day and generally feeling good from it — except for the struggle with drowsiness for about 4 hours each night (very unproductive hours).

Start of Week 3: Moving to 3-Hour Cycle

I now agree with Steve Pavlina (who adapted to Uberman and kept on it for 5.5 months) when he said:

“Whether you wake up from SWS (slow wave sleep) or just have a hard time getting up, you can’t trust yourself to be rational at this time. Self-discipline does not work in a cognitive fog”

I thought I could resist drowsiness, but that’s before I tried sleeping just 2 hours per day for over a week… it AIN’T EASY!

Self-Discipline really seems to be a lost cause during the cognitive fog of extreme drowsiness and chronic sleep deprivation.

After daily occurrences of oversleeping between 30 mins and 1.5 hours, plus way too many bouts of fighting against EXTREME drowsiness each night, I’m shifting to the alternative ‘Uberman’ cycle based on a 3 hourly rather than 4 hourly cycle to see if the extra sleep and different rhythm better suits my body.

Waiting 4 hours between naps is quite a drag. The alternative cycle means naps every 3 hours.

I’m also feeling something of a detox happening, perhaps due to metabolic changes due to sleep deprivation and possibly due to the extra clean diet I’ve been on and the new nutritional supplement I started taking which seems quite potent.

So starting week 3 here’s my schedule:

22 min naps at these times:

1am
4am
7am
10am
1pm
4pm (optional)
7pm
10pm (optional)

That’s a lot of naps, but even if I do all of them, that’s 2 hours 40 minutes total sleep time each 24 hours. I’ll try that first and then look to drop one or both of the optional naps at 4pm and 7pm.

Having stuck to this 3-hour cycle for the past 24 hours I’ve noticed that my body knows when it’s time to nap, as about 15-minutes before each nap time I start to feel drowsy and check the clock, surprised to see how close to the 3 hour nap time it is.

Each nap has a rich dream experience, some dreams I remember. I had 3 nightmares in the past day!

I also awake almost every time feeling as if I’ve slept for several hours, possibly because of the amount of dream activity that I feel aware of.

It also takes about 15 minutes after each nap to feel fully alert again.

More from me soon. Until then, here’s another polyphasic sleep journal that I’ve found useful http://everything2.com/title/Uberman%2527s+Sleep+Schedule

  • Darren says:

    A couple things Gav. Way to go, way to keep the battle going and giving. “The Sandman” everything you’ve got. I agree with you (and Steve) that in the face of Cognitive Fog brought on by chronic (or recent extended or extreme) sleep deprivation, willpower is basically irrelevant. Though never having put myself through the levels of sleep deprivation you are enduring through this experiment, I have often left myself with 3-5 hour sleep times in 24hr periods on a series of days or sometimes even weeks at a time. When driving during some of those times, I would find myself slipping slowly into total body shutdown and even knowing my life (and possibly others’) was on the line, often I could simply NOT will my eyes to stay open. Luckily I would immediately jerk “awake” and then pull over, have something to drink or eat (often caffeine or sugar) to spike my alertness short term or even take a power nap til my alertness returned and I felt safe to drive again. Finally, have you been using any Sleep Tracking Apps and/or Devices/Systems to record not just your sleep/nap duration but (possibly even more significant to interpreting results from this experiment) also your Sleep quality, time in each different sleep phase/brain wave states, etc. There’s a bunch of different types of systems and Apps now being sold/given away for these purposes. Take care, be safe. Happy Napping!