• 15Feb

    I hit another wave of some #polyphasicsleep challenges.

    I can nap easily and hit REM sleep almost instantly, now. I even start to feel a little sleepy ~40 minutes before each nap.

    Staying up until 3am has been tough for these last couple of days, though. So, I’ve been going to sleep at ~1:30. Now, this is still way better than 11:30ish in terms of adding hours to my day. However, it seems my body is still adjusting.

    Now that I’ve added all this time, I have to re-balance my time. For example, I can watch “my” tv in the afternoon, but if I wait until after Emil goes to sleep to try to watch stuff he doesn’t care for, I’m more likely to fall asleep before my 2:30 or 3am bedtime. There are also a lot of Internet things I used to do during the day that I now need to move to the wee hours.

    So, I’m not really struggling…just still mixing things up to suit the new lifestyle.

  • 09Feb

    My new #polyphasicsleep routine hit a couple of snags.

    The Superbowl didn’t interfere with my naps, but it did get me off to a bad start of the week. I just fell out of a routine. I had a meeting that conflicted with a nap, but forgot about it until it was too late to nap early. And then I fell asleep off schedule 3 times in two days. grrr.

    We are also adjusting the schedule to make it easier for Emil. A 6am wake up for me was just enough to disturb his last hour of sleep. So, we split down the middle for 6:30. I plan to stay up until 2:30 or 3am to make up the difference on the other side.

    New Schedule

    6:30 AM wake
    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM nap
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM nap
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM nap
    11:00 PM
    12:00 AM
    1:00 AM
    2:00 AM
    3:00 AM sleep
    4:00 AM sleep
    5:00 AM sleep
    6:00 AM sleep

    This gives me 3.5 hours at “night” and another hour during the day in the form of three 20-minute naps.

    They say the first week is the hardest. I was doing SO GOOD until the damn superbowl. Maybe the reason the first week is the hardest is not due to adjusting to the sleep pattern and the pseud0 jet lag. Maybe the reason the first week is hardest is because you have to work around the stuff that can interfere with the schedule…like life.

    Adjusted

    The other good news is that I’m sleeping almost instantly when I do nap. I think my adjustment period on that skill was really short. In fact, I’m starting to feel ready for my 10am nap. Since I have #AWTWX at 10:30 downtown today. I’m going to get all my stuff ready, drive there, and nap in the car before our meeting.

  • 07Feb

    It’s after 1am, and here I am, 48 hours “in”. I’m surviving quite well.

    Naps

    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.

    Challenge

    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.

    Alarms

    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.

    Future

    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.

    Ideals

    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.

    No Concerns

    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.

    Hopes

    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.]

  • 06Feb

    Poly Who What?

    I’ve begun a polyphasic sleeping routine known as the Everyman. There is a ton of information available via Google; and Dustin Curtis offers a great article with good visuals. The gist is this, we cycle in and out of REM sleep throughout the time we are sleeping. REM is the good quality sleep we need. So, the standard eight hours of sleep is very wasteful. Napping every few hours is far more efficient and will teach your body to get “just” REM sleep instead of wasting time drifting in/out of REM.

    Why

    I’ve been without enough time for too many years. I’ve given up too many things that I want to do for the sake of others, be they professional or personal obligations or just my nature to put others ahead of myself. I’ve missed reading the most.

    So, a few months ago, when I learned about polyphasic sleeping (via @maczter in #AWTWX), I was intrigued. I wanted to try it, but I’ve never been a very good napper. I wake up with a nap “hangover” that is far worse than going without sleep. (The only advice I’ve ever had on this is that I nap for too long. Since I don’t like napping, it has never been intentional. Thus, I didn’t have an alarm.) Anyway, I wanted to try it, but felt I needed a accountability/support buddy, so I put out a call on Twitter. No takers. Twice. :(

    How

    During that time I gained confidence. I thought about all the people who use this method of sleeping: military personnel, medical staff, shift workers. When you think about it, there are lot of them. No wonder Wal-Mart can be busy at 3am (so I hear). Well if all those people can do it, I can, too! After all, I had already reduced my caffeine by a lot.

    Over the next few weeks, I kept thinking I wanted to try this. At a #AWTWX blogging session, it came up again. I said I needed a buddy and just as @maczter was declining the opportunity to be on the phone with another man’s wife at 3am, I realized that a buddy is ideal, but terribly unrealistic. They’d have to want/need the exact same schedule as me. So, while @maczter and @jeremya started that very day, I designed my schedule and then waited a couple of days for my schedule to settle around the key nap times.

    The advice is to go cold turkey rather than phasing in. It supposedly takes most people about a week to adjust. The good news for me is that I already fall asleep quickly and soundly and enter REM almost immediately.

    I picked 2am-6am for my sleep time. I know I can stay up until 2am pretty easily, but 3am seemed too much of a challenge on a daily basis. Ditto on the other end. I’ve had to get up at 6am on a regular basis before. While it’s terribly difficult, I can do it. I know myself, though. I know that if my wake up time was 5am that I’d end up snoozing (a giant no-no of polyphasic sleeping) and then would ruin my plan.

    Spinning off a pattern that @maczter selected, I picked nap times at 10am, 4pm, and, 10pm.  10am is a tad early, but it gives me time to have an early morning appointment and then nap and gives me time to nap and then go to one of my many 11am-ish meetings. 4pm is the same thing, but on the other end. I can have afternoon appointments and then have my nap before Emil gets home from work. 10pm is in the middle of the rest of the time I’m awake for the “day”.

    6:00 AM wake
    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM nap
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM nap
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM nap
    11:00 PM
    12:00 AM
    1:00 AM
    2:00 AM sleep
    3:00 AM sleep
    4:00 AM sleep
    5:00 AM sleep

    When

    Day 1

    I planned on beginning this on Friday night, but then Thursday night, I was up until 2am working on some bridal images. By that time, I knew I could adjust Friday to fit, so I took advantage. I went to be at 2am and then got up at 7am when Emil’s alarm went off. It’s not quite cold turkey, but was far better than 6am for an impromptu start. At 10am, I wasn’t yet sleepy, but forced myself to nap. I actually entered REM.

    Friday is always a very busy day for me. Between #roundrockjelly and an afternoon portrait session in downtown Austin, my day was full. It kept me busy and I didn’t feel sleepy at all. Even when my 4pm nap rolled around, I was awake for the whole thing.

    We met Hilarie for happy hour. A little bit of alcohol was a little sleep-inducing, but I had no problem making it to my 10pm nap. And, for one of the only times in my life, I awoke from that nap refreshed.

    1am was a different story. I was getting a little fuzzy brained and didn’t want to do any real work for fear of messing something up. I watched a movie (Analyze This) and was dozing briefly near the end. Emil was so supportive. He had texted me at 4pm to wish me a good nap, and he stayed up with me until 2am to make sure I didn’t fall asleep.

    Day 2

    I awoke at 5:20am today. I wasn’t bright-eyed and busy-tailed, so I went back to sleep. I regret that. I should have gotten up ahead of the alarm. Instead, 6am caught me in the middle of REM (I think) and made it much harder to awaken.

    This first hour+ while I’ve written this post has been hard. I could easily go back to bed. But, it’s not much harder for me than being at work at 7 or 8am used to be. And, it’s only downhill from here.

    Now, I have to go out and get moving. I think I’ll take care of laundry and groceries.