So, this note is written for nobody in particular. More just a reference.
As several people are aware, I have been sleeping polyphasically recently. For those unaware of the meaning of polyphasic, it simply means that you sleep in installments throughout the day, as opposed to once per 24-hour cycle. For example, there is a polyphasic sleep schedule called the “Uberman” schedule, wherein the individual takes six 20-minute naps in a 24-hour period. Yup, two hours of sleep every 24 hours. I am not an “Uber man”, though, so I opted for a simpler one.
Basically, I wake up about the same time every morning, about 7:30. Yes, even weekends, and that is key. My classes end around 12:00 usually, so I come home for lunch, and take a half-hour nap (usually 12:30-1:00). I go to afternoon classes, which go to 4:30, come home, and take another half-hour nap from 5:00-5:30 or so. Finally, I sleep again from about 10:30-11:00.
These three half-hour naps are complemented by a big 3 to 5 hour sleep ending at around 7:30am. The length of this nap is variable, and depends on how tired I am any particular day. For example, I sometimes miss a nap in the day for one reason or another. If this is the case, I usually end up being tired at around 2am, and so go to sleep at this point. If I had three excellent naps during the day (as I did today), I’ll stay awake until 4 or so. No matter how awake I am, though, this big sleep needs to be at least 3 hours.
To be able to do this, you basically have to trick yourself into going into REM sleep almost instantly, eliminating all the tossing and turning that most people don’t realize they do. Meditation helps, looking at the clock worrying that you won’t get to sleep does not. I’ve only been doing this for a week, and I’m already getting into the swing of it. Not only do I fall asleep within a few minutes, but my body and mind are starting to feel tired right around whenever I usually take naps (this is why I don’t like skipping naps). I return to my point of waking up at 7:30 on weekends, which is because if you get out of schedule, you may have problems getting back into it.
Some people (my mother) have expressed concerns that this is not healthy. Although I am fairly certain that doing this for extended periods of time would have adverse effects, I will only be doing this until December, and do not believe that it will cause problems. My only complaint is that my legs occasionally hurt due to lack of rest, but this is a problem I have always had, and most people will probably not experience this.
The advantages of this sleep schedule are very apparent, and quite worth it so far. I have about 3 or 4 more hours of being awake every day, which is great. However, the biggest change I have noticed is that when I am awake, I am truly awake. I can work on programming assignments at 2:30 in the morning, and realize the next morning that I actually did them right. This, to me, is the greatest advantage. When sleeping monophasically (one big sleep every night), I would come home after lectures and be exhausted. After sitting around for a couple hours, I could get 2, maybe 3 hours of solid work done in the evening. But after this, I was again too tired to continue. Not anymore. I get about 6 to 8 hours of solid working time per day now, which is great. I can do groceries at 2am (yay 24h Sobey’s!) and not mistake Head and Shoulders for crackers. For the first time since arriving at Waterloo, I am almost on time with my assignments!
Hard sleep, hard… awakedness? I guess that’s what this comes down to. Once you’re into it, you sleep deeply, even during naps, and you are very awake when you are awake.
3:13am, and I can still type this. See how this works?