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!

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.

Polyphasic Week 1

It’s been seven days since I decided to kick off what is probably the tenth time I’ve tried polyphasic. It’s been about two years since my last real attempt at adaptation, and the amount of time between attempts shows. My naps have been a little less effective, and I’ve found a few different quirks than I remember when it comes to napping. On the bright side, I’ve got a wife who’s excited to keep me on track as well as a job where I feel comfortable taking naps during the day.

I’m in a different mental place than usual when adapting. I’ve always approached polyphasic with a hardcore attitude, focusing on a perfect first three days and then trying to keep everything calm for the next two to three weeks. This time, I’ve been very lax with my structure, skipping naps, taking a core nap some nights, and in general trying to enjoy the experience of adaptation. I’ve never really minded being tired, but knowing that I have an option to work on it while still moving forward (I hope) in adaptation is refreshing. It feels like I can’t possibly fail, since there’s no real way to do so.

I’ve been tracking my feelings about each nap in a Google spreadsheet that I’ve kept pinned. It’s more accessible than a blog post, since I don’t feel like I need to be witty or even grammatically correct when I make my updates. I don’t know how useful it is in terms of data gathering, but the consistency is easier, and nice. I’d still like to get hold of a brain wave analyzer or at least one of the sleep trackers that’s out there to do better data gathering/analysis.

I’ve always been a good napper, but before when I’d try adaptation for about one month every year, I could fall back into a routine without too much trouble. Three days after starting, I’d feel like I was well on my way to true polyphasic bliss. This time, I’m distracted by noises more easily, and I feel like I’ve lost some of my confidence when it comes to falling asleep quickly. I’ve gotten some of it back over the week, reminding myself that even missing a nap here and there during adaptation isn’t a big deal, but the stress of lying down, feeling so tired, and not being able to sleep is frustrating. It gets easier. I need to remember.

All in all, I’ve slept about 30 hours in the last week instead of the usual 56 hours. What have I been doing with my time? Playing a lot of Hearthstone in preparation for our 24-hour gaming marathon this Saturday, watching some True Detective, working on Gallerus, and building/painting things in the wood shop. I guess I’m enjoying hobbies a little more now that I have some time to do them. Do you think my neighbors would mind me using the weed eater at three AM?

Polyphasic and Sickness

Tuesday morning, I slowly developed a cold. It’s always only a matter of time, but eventually you’ll have to deal with sickness on polyphasic. There’s two ways to do that, muscle through or go monophasic until it blows over. During acclimation, this is compounded by a lack of habit and a lack of flexibility. I opted for the latter and slept monophasic for three days. It was an easy switch back, which is a sign that I’m still not acclimated. I’m back on the wagon tonight, but I worry that I’ll be going through the hellish first three days again. Every time gets easier, right?

On the bright side, the cold may have been just allergies, or was short lived. I don’t like playing around with sickness, so I think monophasic was the right choice, either way. I’ve started watching The Wire. It’s an interesting show–a bit more realistic than the cop shows I’m used to. I guess watching every episode of Castle will make The Wire seem pretty unfamiliar.