Penelope Trunk recently made a passing mention of polyphasic sleeping on her blog. This intrigued me as my sleep schedule can be pretty all over the place when I’m neck deep in university work. It’s not uncommon for me to be up for over 48 hours when I’m pushing a deadline. I liked the idea of being able to do this without the horrible side effects.
Penelope’s post linked to Steve Pavlina, so thats where I started. I was intrigued about the experiment he did with polyphasic sleep, ultimately successful. So, I did a bit more reading and then a bit more reading . I really liked the idea of it. So, I decided to try it.
I knew it would be tough, but as I said, I routinely go 48+ hours without any sleep, so I really didn’t think it would be impossible. So, on Sunday 19th Sep I started the Uberman sleep schedule. Sleeping 30 minutes at a time 6x a day. (Well, more like 20-25 minutes)
My body did not like this, I did not like this. I stuck with it for three days. It started out ok, but by Tuesday I was really struggling to fall asleep during my daily naps, to the point where I think I was only getting about 15 minutes of sleep, if that, because I was jerking awake with 6-10 minutes left on the alarm, as well.
I also struggled with oversleeping, a huge no-no on the uberman schedule. I was fine during the day, but I overslept three times on my night naps. To the point where I wasn’t even waking to the alarm, I’d wake a few hours later with the alarm still blaring next to my head. I finally said “fuck this” last night when I again overslept, sleeping straight through the alarm. I had sought to avoid this by not sleeping in my bed at night and leaving a light on,no luck.
I am disappointed my own experiment was a failure. I would’ve have carried on if I felt it was going anywhere, but with the constant oversleeping and progressive inability to sleep during the day, I don’t see myself suddenly adjusting 100% by day 7. I also had to push my naps back to accommodate kids and life and thats also a no-no so might have been a big problem.
However all is not lost, I’ve decided maybe this was just a bit to intense for me and I should ease my way in. So, I’m going to give the “everyman sleep schedule” a try. This involves a core nap (about 3 hours), and then 3 short naps to supplement. I think this will be a bit more friendly to my lifestyle. I can still hold late hours, so I get more from my to-do list done, but still get the sleep I need to, you know, function.
My biggest worry is the sleep crazy. I tend to get the sleep crazy if I’ve not slept well for a few days or whatever and then during a long sleep, get woken up in the middle of the night. The crazy usually includes having conversations I don’t remember, having bizarre almost lucid dreams, and having completely nonsensical conversations that I unfortunately do remember. After a sleep deprived few days and a difficult evening I once woke for a crying infant and asked him why he was crying- did he lose his job? Had his stocks plummeted? With another infant some years ago, I woke to his hunger cry around 2am. I gently laid him in on his play mat and rushed into the kitchen to make him something to eat. A few minutes later I set a delicious ham and turkey sandwich with all the fixings on the table for him. He was three months old. These instances are the worst, because I’m fine otherwise, I can walk and talk and take care of an infant (woke to baby crys, laid baby down on play mat, and made him something to eat) but I am obviously not 100% with it. I don’t like being like that, and as I got further into uberman, I was having dreams during my naps and at least once I woke up during one and felt, really out of it, like I was still in a dream and not at all rational. With three kids to take care of, I don’t think it’s a good idea to carry on because if it doesn’t improve, it will start to fuck with my ability to be a good parent. And my kids get annoyed when I wake up in the middle of the night and start talking about purple swimming elephants, though technically it is their fault for waking me up.
So, I might find that for me, it’s either 8 hours or nothing to avoid the sleep crazy, but I’m going to give the core nap schedule a try.
For more information on uberman and everyman I recommend http://www.puredoxyk.com/