A Month of Polyphasic

It’s been almost a month since I took my first nap. The process has evened out, there’s less ups and downs. I feel pretty good. I’m starting to wonder if I need to start eating better. The days when I eat poorly are days when I have the most trouble waking up from my nap. I’ve had to start doing some “clever” tricks to get myself out of bed when my willpower isn’t quite enough.

Sleeping at work has become routine. I’ve found my place, I’ve adjusted my times, and I’ve worked out most of the issues with falling asleep. What was once panic at not falling asleep has been replaced with confidence that each nap will be a good one. Even the naps where I don’t fall asleep as quickly don’t bother me because I know the next one will be good.

Now, to work on honing my list of things to do while not sleeping. I’m going to finish my video games soon and I’ll need to have something else to occupy my mind. I worry about doing more programming in the evenings, just because I know my mind and body both need a break at some point during the day.

Almost there!

Polyphasic Schedule Update

I’ve been working on the schedule of 2, 6, 10 and it’s been okay, but I’ve noticed that my workday seems very staccato and broken up into pieces. I’ve decided to try shifting everything by 2 hours and see how that works. So far, it’s been better already. I’ll be taking 3 naps at work instead of two, but my day won’t be so rigidly focused on the last nap at 6 and whether I head home at 5 or 6:30 so I don’t miss my nap.

This means I’ll get to work a little early, take my first nap at 8, then one at lunch, and then one before I go home and my commute schedule is more flexible. I’m excited that my day will be more coherent.

Week 4

In a normal process, I’d be reasonably acclimated now, which explains why I’ve been having great naps and why I’m starting to notice when it’s time for my next one without looking at the clock. My brain’s getting used to the pattern and soon, I feel I’ll be really well set to continue this. This is my 6th or 7th attempt at adaptation and it’s definitely one of the most successful. It’s certainly the most successful since I got married. So, what changed?

My wife is more on board than usual. She reminds me to take my naps, she watches the kids with no guilt on my part, and she’s overall gung ho for me to have extra hours in my day. This is crucial to wanting to continue — happy wife, happy life and if she’s not on board, then I’m not sleeping.

My job is decently supportive. I didn’t mention the pattern change to my boss. I’ve been sleeping in various spots in the office, and a few people have noticed that something is up, but in general, I feel most people think I’m just eccentric, which, I guess I am. I’ve done the pattern will fill disclosure at the company before, so I don’t expect any trouble if word gets out, but it’s nice to have it be private-ish for now.

I’ve been sleeping 3-5 hours per day total, and I’d expect to be able to push that to closer to 2-3 come next weekend. Things have started to simplify and settle, and my brain and body should be more responsive to regular napping, I hope.

Rough Night

Last night, I ended up oversleeping about 3 hours more than I expected. Unsure why the tiredness hit me more than the other nights, but I had a few iffy naps throughout the day and maybe it all added up after a few later nights. Back on track today and things seem to be more normal.

As an added bonus, had my first lucid dream today. I’ve always wanted to get better at this process and I had forgotten how common they get when you do polyphasic. I should really read more about the process and suggestions on how to get better. If only I had enough time in the day to do stuff like this. Oh wait!

Almost Normal

It’s been two weeks since this whole thing kicked off, and I feel that the process has been awesome. Usually I have to really struggle and commit to finding the reasons to stay awake, the motivation to do things that require effort while I should be sleeping, and to not just collapse into bed around 2 AM every morning.

When oversleeping is the worst thing and the self control needed to keep the pattern up is close to 100%, so many other things fall to the wayside. Diet, exercise, proper parenting, being a good husband, these are all sacrificed to the process of acclimation. This time has been different. I feel like I’ve got extra time, the same motivation, and a reasonable outlook. If I can make it to the 2-3 hours of sleep per day mark, I’ll be ecstatic, but for now, I’m really pleased with the 4-5 hours a day I’ve been averaging.

The best thing about this time is how little I want to stop. After two weeks, I’m usually at the stage where I wonder if acclimation will ever end. I’m a little tired today, but it’s completely manageable.

I’ve Got a Feeling

Wit the first day of good naps comes the first day of tiredness. I stayed up till 4 am playing a new video game, and woke up around 6:30 or 7:00 with my natural alarm clocks, my kids, blaring in my ear. The feeling I got was not of having stayed up till 4 am, but rather having only gotten 6 hours of sleep instead of my usual 8. By the end of my first nap at 10 AM, I felt well-rested and a little bit jittery — par for the course with normal adaptation.

So far, the discomfort level of this process is significantly reduced and I’m curious if it will lead to a full adaptation later or if I’ll end up in the limbo place between mono and polyphasic, sleeping naps during the day, but needing a longer sleep at night. Time will tell. It usually takes two weeks of full adaptation to truly adapt, so I wouldn’t expect it to happen for at least another week, given how things are progressing.

I definitely feel more tired tonight than last night, but it’s tolerable, and doing things like blogging and playing more games should be plenty to keep me up for a while tonight. It’s comforting to know that if things get really rough, I can opt for a slightly longer morning sleep and still be okay. Perhaps the rigorous adaptation in the past was a hindrance in that way–perhaps it’s more important to keep adapting than to adapt perfectly?

Smooth Sailing

This has been the easiest adaptation ever. I have lots of experience with adapting to polyphasic, so take that with a grain of salt, but the way I feel during this process so far is not the torture I normally would associate with a major life shift. At this point, I’m only gaining about 3-5 hours per day of time, but to be able to do that with only a hint of tiredness at various points throughout the day is pretty amazing.

Today’s naps were the first naps that really felt productive. It’s been a little tough trying to train my brain to take naps when I don’t fall asleep. I know pattern building is more important than sleep in this kind of process, but it’s nice to feel like I need to take a nap instead of just wanting to.

I’ve found some decent places at my job to take a nap, and there’s an extra secret room I’m tempted to leverage if I can’t find a permanent home to sleep in. I feel awkward taking a nap at work twice a day, but I try to remind myself that it’s not much different than a smoke break or a short walk to go get coffee. Nobody’s seemed to notice so far and I’ve been mum on the process, too. I’m not keeping it to myself, per-se, but I don’t feel the need to share it with people that I’m doing this new, weird thing.

I’m curious how the next level of adaptation will go. At some point, I’m going to want to push the acclimation to the final phase, where I transition out my sleep between 2 AM and 6 AM. I haven’t even tried to do this yet, but I feel it’ll happen soon. Maybe tonight is the night, I’ve got a new game to play.

Day Two: The Reckoning

The feeling is intoxicating. The knowledge that even though your day is packed and that you’ve spent 1:20 sleeping through the course of it, you have at least an extra 4 hours in the day when everyone else is asleep. It’s not that I get to be alone, it’s that I now have time to do things, or at least to dream about doing things during the hours that used to be filled with sleep.

I’ve slept 6.5 hours in the last two days, which is a good ratio compared to my usual 16 hours/48 hours. It’s not a full Ubermann cycle yet, but I’m hopeful that after a few days of this, my naps will solidify and stop being so difficult.

Napping has become a bit of a chore the last few days. I feel tired, but when I lie down at work, especially in the morning, I just end up thinking about things instead of sleeping. I drift on the edge of sleep, feeling like I’m trying to catch a waterfall. When I grip too hard, I lose it and end up having to relax all over again.

I don’t know if this is because I’m just not dead tired like a normal acclimation or because I’ve changed in the last 2 years. I still can nap when I’m tired, and the main sleep I’ve been doing in the evenings/early mornings hasn’t been affected. I just feel like without the insane pressure of two days of no real sleep that the naps are harder. I know I need to have faith and that it takes 3 weeks to set a pattern in the brain, but for now, it’s hard to remember that the quiet time I spend almost sleeping is better than giving up.

Here’s to persistence.

Slow Polyphasic Adaptation

It’s become tradition that when the due date of a child approaches, I start going Polyphasic again. It’s been about a week since I started acclimating, and I’m trying a very non-committal method. It’s been reasonably effective, so far, and I figured I’d share the ups and downs.

I’ve always been a cold-turkey acclimator in the past. Give up sleep as much as possible as fast as possible and pray for the strength and willpower to get through the first 2-3 weeks. I’ve done it before with good success, but it’s never been a pleasant ride, especially now that I’m married with children.

My wife suggested that I just start taking naps for a week before starting acclimation to make sure that the schedule would work for me. I figured it probably wouldn’t hurt, it would help my body remember how to nap since it’s been almost 2 years since my last foray into polyphasic, and that maybe it would be a more pleasant want to acclimate.

So far, so good. The first week was a little odd. I didn’t nap well, mostly because I wan’t tired, but I’ve remembered a lot of the techniques for falling asleep quickly, and 7 days in, I feel like my naps are starting to become productive. I’ve always had success with the 2, 6, 10 schedule, so I’ve been doing that again this time. I plan to stay up till my 2 AM nap, then sleep till 6 am as the last step of acclimation before going full √úbermann. I expect to be tired but functional tomorrow, a big change from the usual completely useless for 3 days process I’ve done in the past.

Wish me luck, if this works, I’m going to be recommending it to people as a decent means of testing out the schedule in their lives.

Inbox -1

I’ve read about how keeping your inbox at 0 is a major life accomplishment and that many people have a daily struggle with it. Having had my email well in hand for more than 10 years, I’ll share with you my secrets for how to keep things in balance and never have more than 10 messages in your inbox per day (if that’s what you want).

Step 1: Service Provider.
If you’re getting your email through your website, unfiltered, and then loading it into outlook or something similar, you can cut down on massive amounts of spam by switching to something like gmail. Their service does a great job of screening messages, I get perhaps 3 spam messages a month that make it through the filters. If you can’t get gmail, look into spam software for your email client.

Step 2: To-Do Lists
A lot of people use their inbox as a to-do list. I far prefer using my calendar app and Google Keep for this. If it’s timely, it goes in the calendar. If it’s to be remembered, it’s in keep. If, for some amazing reason I have to email someone back, I do it then. Mails take less than 5 minutes and then you’ve saved yourself time later. Be a friend to future you, do things now.

Step 3: Unsubscribe Everything
This is by far the most useful tip ever. By law, mailing lists are required to provide a working unsubscribe link. A lot of companies out there will honor this request and just take you off their lists. This alone prevents thousands of messages a day in my inbox. If you have time to delete the message, you have time to unsubscribe, too.

Bonus Points: Filters
Gmail allows the creation of filters — processes that run in certain circumstances. If you don’t want to unsubscribe from a list but don’t always want to read the messages, you can save them for later and look for them when you want using filters. Tired of getting all of those fwd:s from grandma? filter everything with a fwd into a fwds folder and ignore them until the holidays.

What’s fun is the combination of these three things make your inbox almost bulletproof. You can happily share your email address with people, post it to CraigsList, etc. with little to no fear of long-term problems.