It’s after 1am, and here I am, 48 hours “in”. I’m surviving quite well.
My 10am nap was great, and 4pm was perfect (I awakened about 15 seconds before the timer went off!). At 10pm, though, I was awake for 5 minutes or more before I finally fell asleep. Oh, that sounds pretentious, huh? Please understand: normally, if I toss and turn for 5-10 minutes, I get up. If I’m tossing/turning even the slightest bit, then I’m not sleepy enough to go to bed. Emil and I have always joked that I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow. I’ve done that my whole life, so any time spent trying to fall asleep is frustrating.
My biggest challenge today was to stay focused on any sitting/thinking activities. If I’m moving around (photo shoots, errands), or with a group of people (#roundrockjelly or our Settlers of Catan group), I’m fine. I don’t notice any feeling of tired or sleepy. It’s when I sit in front of this giant monitor that resembles a tv—something I love to fall asleep to—that I struggle a little. And, little is the right word. It’s a little bit of a struggle. I still only feel like I was up late last night….and not at all like I’ve only had 11 hours of sleep across two days.
My other biggest challenge so far when it comes to sleeping is that I can’t always turn my brain off. Ideas and thoughts and words are buzzing through my head. If I can clear my mind, I fall fast asleep.
After Emil did me the favor of some research, I downloaded Alarm Clock Pro and set some sha-weet alarms for my computer. In each case, they raise the volume to the Mac and iTunes, display an alarm notice on the screen, and play music from a playlist I selected. They can also do a bunch of other things like sending emails and text messages, too. The alarms telling me to go to bed are soft and gentle. The ones telling me to wake up start gently and work their way up to peppy before they become obnoxious. I hope that this will get me used to waking up on my own (or at least while the sounds are still fairly quiet) so that I’m as little of a disruption to Emil as possible.
I think my biggest problem with the timing will be the 10pm nap. Whether it’s our favorite tv shows or a night out with friends, I’m going to have to take a break from it. Everything I’ve read says you can postpone a nap for up to about an hour, but that skipping them requires a lot of catch up. I’m also working out a plan for how I can nap at 4pm and then 10pm during the next wedding I have where portraits start at 3:30 and we should be home from the event by 10:30. The good thing about multiple photographers at weddings is that I have someone to lean on. So, my current plan is to nap early and then late.
Once I’m used to this and can focus a little better, this should result in more time for me for reading, more time for As You Wish for editing and marketing, and more time for Emil and our home. There are literally hundreds of items on my todo list at any point. They are all things I need and/or want to do. This should help me make a bigger dent in several aspects of my life.
Before I go on, I should clarify: if you do the research, you won’t see any negative health concerns. Again, huge numbers of people do this for their profession or so that the third shift worker can pick up the kids from school or whatever. And, from what I’ve read, it’s just about as difficult to switch back to monophasic sleep as it is to convert to polyphasic. So, the body can adapt. Besides, Emil’s always been polyphasic, just by a few hours at a time instead of in 20-minute increments! LOL.
If this works and I can adjust, my hope is that my sleep cycle shifts down to just 3 hours (2-5am or 3-6am) so I can squeeze one more hour out of it. My theory is that I lived on 5 hours of sleep each night in college…and of course, hardly any of that was good sleep. So, if I’m getting 5 hours per day now, then I can work down to 4 total and get the same quality of sleep. Waking up ahead of the alarm at 5:20 this morning proved me right, in my mind, at least.
[You can find our thread about polyphasic sleep on Twitter by searching for the hashtag, #polyphasicsleep.]