Today was outstanding. Sleep was dream-filled and restorative, mental clarity remained high, and my energy level was more consistent than yesterday. In this post I’ll share:
- An in-depth look at my note-taking throughout the day
- Unveil a dramatically improved chart for visualizing the experiment’s progress
- Tweaks that have helped
- Confess to cheating on the experiment’s original ground rules
- Notes from the day
- Tell you which song I’ve listened to 83 times today
First, I want to share a little number crunch that I did earlier: At the time of this blog post, I’ve slept a total of 6.25 hours in the past 78 hours – for an average of 1.92 hours of sleep per 24 hour period. When I consider these numbers and then look at my energy levels, state of mind, and productivity… wow, it’s shocking to me.
One of the things that attracted me to this experiment was that it seemed inconceivable to function on 2 hours a sleep per day. Yet, I’ve read reports of individuals doing it successfully. It seemed too good to be true. Skeptical but excited, I dove in head first to find out for myself. It may be too early for conclusions, but I’m blown away so far.
I’m at my computer for good part of my day, so I keep two documents open at all times: an excel document and a word document. The excel document is for recording my mental clarity, optimism, and energy level throughout the day. The word document is used for taking small notes throughout the day about everything from diet and strategy to thoughts and dreams.
The excel document ain’t pretty, but I use the data to produce these lovely charts to help visualize the experience. Which brings me to…
A new and improved chart
I realized today that the charts I have been posting (in the day one and day two posts for example) are really really bad. I mean, the concept is cool and they technically work… but they’re confusing and just plain gross to look at.
Well I spent some time making a better chart and I think you’ll agree its much easier to make comparisons between days, see patterns, and notice improvements.
Yesterday’s Chart (boo!)
Today’s Chart (woo!)
A couple things to note about the above chart:
- I’ve changed “want to sleep” to “energy level” (I calculated energy level by subtracting “want to sleep” from 10. Easy enough). This way, for each of the three categories UP represents a positive state and DOWN represents a negative state.
- Notice that today was overall better than the past two days!
- Notice that I still had the difficult “dip” in all three categories around 8am this morning. (remember, yesterday I nearly quit the experiment around that time)
Tweaks that have been helpful
- Until I learn to fall asleep faster (it currently takes me about 20 minutes), I’ve been giving myself 45 minutes for naps. However, this afternoon I cut it down to 40 minutes. I plan to continue cutting it down to 30 minutes this week – and possibly down to 20 minutes next week.
- Drink a ton of water. I find the naps dehydrating for some reason.
- Eating consistently throughout all awake sessions. Yesterday I made the mistake of eating less during the night (out of habit), but it made me feel worse. I am learning to ignore the time of day and act consistently during each cycle. I still feel drastically different between daylight and night (as evident in the charts), but I can tell this is a step in the right direction and I’m seeing improvement.
- Shower twice per day – after the 6am and 2pm rest is working well.
Cheating on the ground rules
I had a feeling the “no candy” rule would be the first out the window! I happened to have a large Hersey’s dark chocolate bar in my apartment so I had a few pieces today – always within 20 minutes of waking up to minimize any negative effect on my next nap. I didn’t notice any difficulty falling asleep or damage to sleep quality – so today at Wal-Mart I bought another dark chocolate bar I think next week I’ll experiment with having a coke and see what happens…
Notes from the day
- 10:47 pm – Had an amazing nap. I set my alarm for only 40 minutes this time (working back down from 45 to 30 as I am learning to fall asleep faster). I had several dreams and the total rest period seemed to be two hours long or so. Awesome. I finished up a dream a few seconds before the alarm went off (Liverpool FC was touring the US and played a match at Purdue). I woke up feeling fairly alert – although still in a bit of a fog, but much better than other sleep sessions.
- 11:50 pm – Feeling really good right now. Very sharp. I just wrote a new blog post “Why Polyphasic sleep? | A simple and compelling answer” and am very happy with the quality of my writing and how quickly I was able to write it after concept. Feeling very positive and happy and focused right now. Gonna tackle some web dev projects!
- 1:49 am – Fatigue has swept in pretty noticeably in just the last half hour. This is good. I want my body to get used to this short cycle, and I’d rather start to feel sleepy right before a nap then either not feel tired at all or feel tired during the entire wake cycle. This is a good sign of adaption. I’m on a roll with the last two sleep sessions involving a ton of REM sleep, dreams, and the sensation of sleeping for much longer than 20-30 minutes. We’ll see if that continues.
- 2:45 am – I don’t think I dreamt grr, and he rest seemed to go by in a flash. I guess I slept, but it doesn’t quite feel like it. Feeling fairly alert though.
- 4:15 am – I spent some time just mindlessly stumbling (stumbleupon), then made myself some chicken noodle soup. Feeling more awake after that. I think my mistake last night involved not drinking enough water and not eating enough. I should really be eating as much during the night cycles as I do during the day cycles. Now I’m thinking business strategy and building some actionable item lists in a mindmap.
- 8:03 am – I didn’t feel very alert after my 6am sleep – but that was expected. I think that’s the toughest one for me to wake up from at this point. However, it was a definite improvement over yesterday at the same time. I’m feeling pretty good right now – although still thirsty and hungry (all I’ve had is two pieces of chocolate and half a banana). I feel MUCH better than I did yesterday at 8am – when I was close to giving up. Glad I got over that hump. I just emailed a prospective client so it was good to get that moving. I took a few days too long to get back with him.
- 10:49 am – nice, long, dream filled nap! It still takes me 10-15 minutes to shake it off though and feel more alert upon awakening.
- 3:12 pm – My mom came to visit and we had lunch together! She even brought me a piece of homemade apple pie! Amazing. She let me ramble on in excitement about my experiment over our lunch together haha. I didn’t feel tired enough to sleep when it came time for my 2pm nap, but of course I slept anyways. It was a pretty good rest… I believe there were a couple dreams but they escape my memory. Now I’m in a bit of a fog trying to recovery. Overall, it’s pretty encouraging how much better today was than yesterday!
Today’s song obsession
Sometimes I get stuck on a certain song, and wow, today is a perfect example. The song is “Into the Fire” by Thirteen Senses. You can listen to it on Grooveshark right here. It’s very chill and hypnotic – great for clicking the ol’ repeat button The play count is now at 83 95 – all from today.
What a great day. I keep thinking how glad I am that I didn’t quit yesterday morning. This progress is exciting and I absolutely love all this extra time. Like I said yesterday in my post Why Polyphasic sleep? | A simple and compelling answer, “It’s as if I’ve slowed time, added hours to the day, or extended my life – pretty awesome however you want to look at it.”
Thanks for taking the time to read this update on the experiment. More to come tomorrow. [If you haven't already, you may want to subscribe by rss or by email to receive future updates automatically. Convenience FTW!]
- Polyphasic Sleep Experiment – Day Zero
- Polyphasic Sleep Experiment – Day One
- Polyphasic Sleep Experiment – Day Two
- Why Polyphasic sleep? | A simple and compelling answer
- Polyphasic Sleep Experiment – Day Three
- Polyphasic Sleep Experiment – Day Four
- Polyphasic Sleep Experiment – The Epic Napstake (nap + mistake)
- Polyphasic Sleep Experiment – The Success, Conclusion, and Addiction