It has now been 48 hours since I began my polyphasic sleep experiment (day zero, day one) – sleeping for 20 minutes every 4 hours around the clock – and I’ve found the last 24 hours were much tougher than the first 24. In fact, this morning around 8am the thought of quitting the experiment crossed my mind for the first time (see chart below). The desire to go back to sleep was so strong… it really caught me off guard.
I found myself having an inner dialogue, literally trying to convince myself to give up. “This experiment is doomed – just save yourself the pain and crawl back in bed,” I told myself. You’re probably familiar with this inner dialogue if you’ve ever talked yourself into hitting the snooze button or procrastinating on an important phone call (read as, “I’m not losing my mind, I promise”).
It was no small victory for me to silence that demon and press onward. But let me back up give a better snapshot of the past 24 hours from la-la land.
Last night’s blog post was published at 6:04pm, so I literally hit “publish” and headed to bed for my 6pm rest. I’ll pick up there…
- 6:04 pm – Publish yesterday’s blog post and then crash for my 6pm sleep.
- 7:07 pm – My nap left me feeling dazed and disoriented, feeling worse than before. My body isn’t used to jumping in and out of sleep so frequently. I’m grumpy. I catch myself getting annoyed with people on facebook and twitter – most likely because I’m jealous of their deliciously-normal sleep schedule.
- 11:02 pm – I think I was dreaming when my alarm went off, indicating REM sleep. Waking in this stage of sleep helped me pop right out of bed feeling alert. Progress!
- 12:04 am – Feeling really good right now. In fact, it almost feels like a normal night. Am I adapting that quickly? It seems too easy at this point. I’m spending the time reading blogs and watching educational/cool/inspirational videos online. I’m addicted to learning and the internet is my facilitator. Love it.
- 4:21 am – I spent the last couple hours watching videos online (hey, don’t judge me – at least I wasn’t sleeping like some people). If you’re interesting (of course you are), here are my favorites:
- 5:21 am – I’m looking forward to the 6am rest, but I’m already dreading having to get up after only 30 minutes. I’m craving sleep and lots of it. After my 2am rest I took a shower and had a breakfast type meal, but I’m still too out of it to be productive at all. Cue yawnstare.
- 6:48 am – I’m feeling, by far, the strongest desire to quit the experiment yet. I find myself trying to rationalize why I should give it up and go back to sleep. I’m tired. I hate my bed… sitting there, an arms reach away, taunting me. I want it to fold up and disappear, only coming out when I need it and staying out of sight / out of mind otherwise. My mind is consumed with the desire for sleep.
- 10:00 am – Feeling better now after some more food and sunlight. I took care of a couple hours worth of web dev work. Feels good. Now it’s 10 so time to lay down in that delicious bed again – I just hope that I feel alright when I get up.
- 10:52 am – This is good. A huge breakthrough. That last rest seemed longer, complete with 3 of 4 dreams of normal detail level punctuated by moments of semi-wakefullness – which actually had me wondering if my alarm wasn’t set properly and fearing that I was oversleeping. This is exactly what I want to happen more often – sleep that seems to last longer, contain dreams, and leaves me waking up alert and rested. Despite the progress I still feel quite tired (maybe because I just woke up a few minutes ago). I struggle with typing and spelling… feeling like I’m still 85% asleep. I’ll go for a walk around the block (the sun is out!).
- 12:12 pm – I’m back from my walk. I took my Dad’s camera that I’m borrowing and snapped a couple photos which I posted to heyitsdrew.com (direct link). The sun was bright and the sky was clear and crisp – just what I needed. I also dropped into a pawn shop and pretended to be interested in everything I saw – even picking up and examining a few random pieces of 90s technology.
- 2:57 pm – Just woke up. Really struggling to stay awake. I find myself nodding off while sitting at my computer and, this is a good sign, discovering that my eyes are closed without ever consciously deciding to close them in the first place. Stop that! Cue more yawnstare.
First of all, how has it only been 48 hours since I started the experiment? It seems as if 7 or 8 days have passed. Strange.
Today was a victory. I was dangerously close to giving up early this morning around 8am, but managed to press onward. I don’t want sympathy, but I do want to make sure I’m documenting the experiment well – including the psychological battles. Having said that, it is encouraging to me to know that my friends know about this experiment. I imagine that if I was doing this experiment in secret it would have been easier to give up this morning. Instead I knew I had to keep going and give myself a legit chance at adapting. Giving up now would make all of the work in the previous 48 hours for nothing.
- 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