Monday, May 28, 2012

I am taking a break from my experiment in sleep-reduction, although I will continue on a polyphasic schedule. I have been recently diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, and on of the side effects is serious fatigue, so I currently sleep a good 8 or 9 hours a day. It still seems easiest for me to sleep in 80 or 90 minutes naps, which has been working out well in the hospital, what with the nurses showing up to take blood and vitals at all times of the day and night, so perhaps my Triphasic experiment has had more payoff than I would have otherwise thought. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dealing with conflicts - Part 2

Another time conflict that has come up several times are working my schedule around guests, or being a guest myself. The conflict of having guests is actually two-fold. First is the problem of me being up at night. My wife and I live in a small house, under 800 sf., so when I am up at night, I tend to be out of the bedroom, as it affects her ability to sleep through the night. On the other hand, when we have guests, it is inappropriate for me to be banging around in the living area, since our "guest room" is a nook off the same space. Because the this conflict impinges on the ability of other people to sleep, I have had to resolve it by moving to a monophasic sleep schedule while they are here. In the future this will be resolved when our den/ guest room is finished, so the guest will be in a different space. We have access to a camp down the road, so we have mostly been able to avoid this conflict by having our guest sleep in the camp. This is especially nice as it gives them some personal space as well.

The other issue that comes up with guest is that they are on vacation. My sleep schedule has a nap in the middle of the day. Usually, my afternoon nap coincides somewhat with most people's lunch, so it is not very inconvenient. Even on the weekends, most of my friends are not getting together socially until after about 2pm. However, hanging out with guests who are on vacation, they want to get together for lunch, and then go do something, or at least interact. It is often perceived as rude, or at least ... arrogant to insist on an afternoon nap. When my in-laws were staying up, there was also social pressure not to appear lazy. Even though I was working a full day, and then hanging out with them for several hours every day, the hours that I was awake at night do not count socially. My work around for having guests involves shifting my schedule slightly so that my morning nap happens earlier, and my afternoon nap is taken at around 10:15 instead of 1:30. This allowed me to meet them for lunch and have the afternoon with them. During the week, it was socially reasonable for me to beg off a little early (around 9:00pm) and I would have an early evening nap as well. 

So much of timing depends on your social mores. We live in the country, and so there is an expectation of getting up early and going to bed early. I suspect that if you live in the city there is more expectation that you would be staying up later, in which case you may need to imply that you have something pressing that you need to take care of and will meet back up with them in a few hours. It is funny, because all my friends and family know that I sleep triphasically, and only sleep for about 4 hrs total during a 24 hr period, and yet I get some grief any time I try to sleep when they are awake. Social peer pressure is huge and a higher hurdle to adopting a polyphasic lifestyle than many people might think. I wonder how people that work night shifts deal with having guests for extended periods.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dealing with conflicts in the routine - part 1

Triphasic works best if the nap times are pretty regular. However, life often has other plans and if you are doing this as a lifestyle, you will not want to interfere unduly with your work life or your social life. The morning nap has never been a problem. The evening nap can occasionally be moved back a couple of hours to accommodate the occasional late night social gathering. However, if I am going to a really late party - say one that starts at 10pm, then I take my evening nap just before I leave and then I do not need another nap until the morning. The biggest issue is with the afternoon nap which routinely conflicts with the typical work day.

I do not yet have a great solution for this problem, and I think that it is one of the major issues with fitting triphasic into a normal routine. I have tried a number of solutions with mixed results. Most of the time, I work at home at that is fine, but I also do carpentry. When I am doing carpentry, I work with a crew and typically have a 7-4 work day. I have tried moving my afternoon nap to 4:15 when I get off work, but it is too long to go straight through; I get far too tired by the end of the day, and I am working with power tools. There is no room to be less than completely awake and alert. I have tried slinging a hammock on the job site, but my co-workers mess with me during my nap. Mostly I have had to go to monophasic while I am working with a crew.

Recently, however, I think that I have found a work-around. I have set up a place to nap in my car. I have a hatch-back and the back seat folds down. It would be a lot easier if I had a mini-van, but with some prep, I can create a spot to take a nap. I have to have the back windows blocked, not just for privacy, but also because it simply gets too hot in the back with the sun beating through the hatchback window. An emergency blanket stuck to the inside with magnets has been the easiest and most effective way to do that. I move my car from the workplace to someplace more discrete, nap for 40 min. and return from "lunch". That seems to get me through till 4:30, when I take another 40 min nap. I use 40 minutes because that seems to be a length of time that is easiest for me to wake from. 45 min I will sleep right through the alarm. Go figure.

When I break my afternoon nap into two pieces, it is not as effective as just sleeping in one 1:30 chunk. I assume it is because I am breaking my sleep cycle. I am groggier, but that mostly passes. The real problem is that each time I do it, I seem to build up a little bit of sleep debt, and every 2 or 3 days, I find that I need extra sleep, so twice a week (Tue & Thr) I go to bed early for my morning nap and sleep a double cycle, which means that I get 5 hrs 50min of sleep on those days. That changes my average for the week to about 4:40/night, but that seems to be the price that I seem to have to pay.

I have thought about trying a 20 min nap at lunch, 20 min after work and then another 20 min nap around 8pm, which would be somewhat like the everyman or spamayl (sleep polyphasically as much as you like), but those systems seem to have a completely different basis. It would have the bonus of REDUCING my total time asleep per day, so it might be worth while to try.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 144 of triphasic sleeping, so nice to be back on schedule.

Back on schedule. As I wrote in my previous post, I had a little bit of trouble getting back on schedule. It turned out that I was a little under the weather. I am not sure what I was sick with, but it was some sort of mild flu-like malaise. I think that at this point in the experiment, I have to admit that the triphasic schedule does put some stress on my body - if my diet becomes sub-par, or I am a little run down with allergies, or have an injury, or stop exercising, or whatever, I start to become tired on this schedule. This seems to be the minimum sleep that I can get by on. When I am fit and healthy I have no problem maintaining this schedule, but if I am not at my peak, I seem to need to get a little extra sleep. The first method I try of adding in extra sleep is to make my evening nap a double cycle: ie, 180 minutes. Usually that seems to be enough, but if it is not, I sleep right through my night wake cycle, getting up at the usual time of 6:00 for my morning wake cycle. On day of that has been enough to get be back on track with only 2 exceptions since March - one exception was due to injury and one due to flu. On both occasions I slept throughout most of the day. Not including the days that I have slept in from injury or sickness, I have averaged 4.2 hrs a night. If I include the days that I have ended up "sleeping in", I have averaged 5.1 hrs of sleep per night since the end of March, when I started this. Before I did this experiment, I was averaging 8.2 hrs per night on average, so I have gained the equivalent of 28.25 days so far this year.

Triphasic sleeping is like having 
a discount time machine!

So, have I gotten an extra months worth of productive time? Certainly my projects have expanded to fill the extra time, and I really feel it when I go off schedule and only have 16 hrs in a day. I do a form of task tracking called "Getting things done (GTD)", and so I can compare what I have gotten done this year versus last year. Based on that, I would have to say that I probably gotten MORE than an extra months worth of work done. A substantial portion time has been used visiting my grandmother up in Dover-Foxcroft. I have been made 7 more trips up there than I did last year, and those take a full day. I have really appreciated having the time to do that. I have put surprising amount of time into this blog, which is sort of a wash since if I were not doing triphasic, I would not be doing this blog :). Other time has gone into my business start-up, leisure time, bread-making, and other little things. All in all, I really enjoy the quiet time to myself at night. No matter how crazy my days get, I get this little 4 hour time at night to catch up, or relax, or spend pursuing my personal projects.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Changing around my schedule - update

Well, that did not work very well. Two 45 minute naps are not the equivalent of one 90 minute nap, at least for me. Perhaps next time I will try breaking it into four 20 minute naps like the Uberman, but that seems awkward as well. Over the course of the last month I drifted off my triphasic schedule, only doing it about 1 or 2 days a week. I have found the monophasic schedule to be difficult. I still get very tired around 1:00 pm and I have been sleeping more than 8 hours a day. After the triphasic schedule, it feels very sluggish.

Now however, I have the flexibility to go back on my triphasic schedule. I tried to do it on Monday, but gave up during the night and went to sleep early (at 3:00am instead of my scheduled 4:30am). Last night I again went to sleep at 3:00 instead of 4:30 (still getting up at 6:00). I am not sure why it is harder to do the schedule this time than previous. I have not had trouble switching back and forth before. A few possibilities:

1) Allergies. I have seasonal allergies that make me feel groggy and tired. I am taking Loratadine, which mostly works, but perhaps not as well on a triphasic schedule as it does on a monophasic. I will try taking 2 tabs a day.

2) Standardizing my afternoon nap better. Yesterday I did not get to nap until 2:00, when the nap works best scheduled at 12:30. Today I have a dentist appointment at 11:15, but I think that I might be able to get back by 12:45, so that will be better.

3) Diet. I do substantially better on the schedule when I am eating very well, and while my diet is ok, I have been eating a lot of starch and skimping on the veggies. I will try to get back on CRON (optimal nutrition) and see if that makes a difference.

I will update in a few and let you all know how it is going.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Changing around my schedule

Since the start of this experiment, I have been able to set my own schedule. I work for myself and setting up meetings with clients is pretty flexible. Lately though, I have been the general contractor on a small remodel, which means that, not only am I working at the jobsite, I am working a number of subcontractors, and making sure that the they have the materials that they need, and that everything is staying on schedule. I was having a problem with my afternoon nap. I can't nap at the jobsite (partly because there is no place that is out-of the way and comfortable, but mostly because there is a perception that people who nap are lazy, and I will have a hard time getting the contractors to take me seriously.)

The phrase "Sleeping on the job" 
does not inspire confidence.

My schedule was getting up at 6am, napping from 1:30 to 3:00pm. The problem with this schedule was trying to match it to my subcontractors. They would arrive at 8, take lunch at noon, and then work from 1 till 4. If I am going to sleep at 1:30, then I need to leave the site at 1:00, and do not get back to the site until they are in the process of cleaning up. Additionally, I was trying to eat with them at noon, so my total work day would have only been 4 hours. For a couple days, I simply switched to monophasic sleeping, because it was easier. Now I am trying a new schedule. I get to the jobsite at 7:00, work solid until 12:30, nap for 45 minutes, return at 1:30 and work till 4:00 and then take another 45 min nap. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 100, thoughts, insights, and overviews.

One Hundred days into the experiment. Something that started out as being a wild experiment has become a normal, routine part of my life. Over the past 100 days, the schedule has become less rigid than the original, both in terms of when I have to sleep, and the amount of time that I sleep for each nap. I can start my afternoon nap anytime between 11:30 and 2:30, although around 1:00 is still optimal. My sleep length varies the most for my afternoon nap as well. Between 40min and 2hrs. I set my alarm for an hour and 30, but since I set it for "vibrate-dot", it will not wake me if I am not ready to get up.

However, I still can not miss my afternoon nap. If I skip my nap, I will sleep through the first wake period (12:30 am to 4:30 am). I CAN force myself to get up during that period, but depending on what I have planned, it is often not worth it. I measure the success of this sleep schedule by how productive I am, rather than just by how many hours I spend awake.

Stuff happens at night.

Things I have learned:
- I don't like to sleep 8 hours anymore. When I wake up from a long night, I hurt. My muscles are stiff, and my back is sore. I can not remember if that was typical, but I think that it might have been. I used to have a stretching routine that I did before I got out of bed. I do not need to do that anymore.

-My morning nap is the most rigid. I go to sleep at 4:30. I enjoy starting the day at 6:00. I do not know if this will slip a bit later as the year moves forward. I live pretty far north, so the daylength varies from 15 1/2 hrs to just under 9 hrs. In the winter, the sun does not rise until 8:30 am. I think that getting up after sunrise is important to resetting the circadian rhythm, but that is pretty late. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

- Injuries and illness require more sleep. I have had an injury to my shoulder, and I have had gotten sick twice since I started this experiment. Each time, I have extended my sleep time substantially. Technically, I have stayed polyphasic, but I have not stayed a short sleeper. On the other hand, this was true even when I was sleeping monophasically - I would sleep more when I was sick. There is interesting research that shows a strong correlation between sleeping less and getting sick more. For myself, getting sick twice in 100 days is more, but my core group of friends who, unbeknownst to them, I am using for a control, have also gotten sick with unusual frequency during the past 100 days. So, it is hard to make any definite conclusions, but it is something to keep my eye on. If there are any other extended short sleepers out there, I would be interested in hearing about your thoughts and experience. 

Because circadian triphasic does not require an "adaptation" phase, I have no problem shifting immediately back to my triphasic short sleep schedule. 

- Over time, I have shifted from a 90 minute cycle to an 80 minute cycle. Perhaps it is a slight adaptation to the routine, or a better ability to fall asleep.

In summary, I still find that I am more productive on this schedule than when I was on a monophasic schedule. I enjoy having every third wake-cycle entirely to myself. While I am not always as productive as I imagine that I could be during that night period, I get a lot of benefit out of spending some time reviewing the previous day and planning the next two wake-cycles.