Posted by [Polyphasic sleep] and tags . 2 Comments.on August 8, 2011 at 5:42 pm under catogories
Days like today have a strange effect on my mind. On the one hand, I’m crossing out one item after another on my to-do list as if I had a clone. On the other hand, I still have about half a dozen of tasks (including writing this post) to get done by the end of the day. Mid-July, I would have been mostly preoccupied with that second bit. But, today, I’m really just focusing on the positive aspect – the fact that I’m running full speed, and I’m feeling elevated.
The reason? Polyphasic sleep.
At least,… kinda.
It’s been a (very long) while since my last polyphasic sleep update. There are undoubtedly many, many things to talk about, however, I’ll stick to the essential of what has been going on in the period between June and now.
To begin, June was rather hectic: with two trips, one of which abroad and filled up nonstop meetings throughout the day, I was on and off polyphasic sleep, mostly following a biphasic schedule whenever I could. The rest of the time, in San Francisco, I kept my usual polyphasic sleep: 2x20min naps + 4.5 hours core sleep.
Then, on June 28th, there were some major changes to my schedule as you must have noticed from my other posts: I started my intensive language classes which, of course, coincided with my naps. For four weeks, I was off the polyphasic track and onto the monophasic one with a core of six hours: from about 10 p.m. / 10:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. / 4:30 a.m..
You’ll probably notice that this particular change cost me only fifty extra minutes – a price that might seem reasonable in order to avoid the disadvantages of a polyphasic schedule. Don’t be misled. In reality, this switch cost me much more. Eliminating my naps significantly decreased my energy and productivity: in class, I was focused, but, as soon as I got out of class, my will and ability to do anything else plummeted within two more hours. Around six-seven at night, any work I attempted took more time and efforts.
I hadn’t experienced such uneven energy distribution throughout the day since before I adopted the polyphasic lifestyle. To continue on monophasic sleep would mean to either increase my core by another hour or two, or to accept that I couldn’t be as efficient as I’d like during my waking hours.
Note: I don’t want my words to leave you with the wrong impression either. Being on monophasic sleep didn’t render me into a complete zombie. It is simply that, once you get to enjoy the bliss that it is to have constant, controlled energy with no slumps, it is difficult and irritating to “downgrade”.
Note 2: In case you were wondering… I don’t think that my months on polyphasic sleep have had any negative influence on my ability to follow a monophasic one.
Fortunately, after those four weeks, my program became once more flexible and, very naturally and on its own, my body requested its naps again. The Sunday after my language classes ended, I started taking a daily 20-30 min afternoon nap as soon as I felt a decline in concentration. And just that naturally, I would wake up on my own, before my alarm clock had a chance to ring.
It is true that for the past fortnight I’ve technically been on a biphasic schedule rather than a polyphasic one, but, this small modification has already had a great impact on how I feel. Right now for instance, I should really be half-asleep, sighing over a cup of coffee or yerba mate. Instead, my mind is as fresh as it was this morning. Elevated, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. It is really amazing to feel this way when the afternoon is actually about to end, and you’ve been up and productive for over thirteen hours.
When and will I return back to my old polyphasic schedule? I haven’t decided yet. Partially because of more obligations and trips coming up. And partially because I want to check whether a single nap will turn out to be enough. My current plan is: 11 p.m. – 4:30 a.m. core + 20 min nap in early afternoon (anytime between noon and two).
Whatever happens: you can be sure I’ll keep you regularly updated.