Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Suspension of the Experiment

As much as I hate doing this I am going to have to suspend the experiment simply because of the fact that I started too close to school and did not give myself enough time to transition. I started this experiment just over one week before classes started and I was still in recovery from a surgery (I still am). Seeing how one of the biggest things that helps staying awake is exercise, being strapped to a chair most of the time then it is near impossible. In my previous post I mentioned that I would try everyman and over the past week I have been and from what I can tell, it is very nice.

With everyman I was able to move my naps around up to an hour without causing any problems. Waking up was a lot easier with everyman and staying awake at late hours of the night was easier as well. With everyman I only entered the zombie state once or twice and it mostly was just extreme fatigue. Without this zombie state I was able to ovoid oversleeping much easier but I was always semi-tired and when I was in class I kept falling asleep. This is the main reason I am stopping, I cannot afford to sleep through my classes especially when I have a calculus test here in the second week of school. The biggest difference I noticed between the everyman transition and the uberman transition was that uberman was extreme sleep deprivation for a short period of time and then things start to get better while everyman has mild-to-extreme fatigue for a much longer period of time.

I really hate stopping this mainly because I was just beginning to experience lucid dreams. I had my very first one the other day and it was amazing. It was something to do with being on a rocket and I actually felt my body shaking when the rocket was taking off. Half way through the dream my brain was like "hey I've been asleep for like three hours, crap! I need to wake up" so I looked outside and it was still dark and was like "screw this, that's a cool dream" and then was able to consciously go back into the dream and start it up again...something I have never ever been able to do. Once back in the dream I was able to consciously control my actions and what went on in the dream. The coolest part was that apparently my alarm still had like five minutes on it and the three-hours was all mental. In fact just about every nap this past week while under everyman has felt like it was about three hours. I had at least five naps where I woke up on my own because I thought I overslept but I then look at my clock and I still had 3-5 minutes on the nap. So to those people who say that 20 minutes is not enough time to get a decent amount of sleep, I'm sorry but you are wrong and 20 minutes was actually just enough and your brain begins to compress the nightly sleep cycles into 20 minute blocks. Sadly I do not have enough time to transition to a system of solely naps but it is very possible.

Now please don't take this as saying I am quitting polyphasic or that I have failed in the transition...I don't fail. "Failure" is only the part of succeeding when you learn. I simply have run out of time this semester to transition into it and look forward to completing the transition either over the summer or next winter break. Heck, if I don't do anything cool for spring break then I might just try it then. In the mean time I have talked to very many people (mostly teachers) who live on four hours of sleep per night and am just going to do that so that I can complete my 20 credit hours. I have done four per night before just never long-term. I may throw a nap in there during the day but we will see. One of the advantages of doing this experiment is the fact that I can now fall asleep almost instantly for a nap and do so pretty much anywhere including couches, uncomfortable benches and propped up against a corner while sitting on the ground. I have also learned that, for finals week, taking a short nap every few hours will be much more productive than pulling an all-nighter and sleeping an hour or two right before class.

Now for anyone who is reading this and interested in trying out polyphasic sleep, here are a few dos and don'ts for ya.
1) Set multiple alarm clocks. If you have only one you WILL sleep through it. The best idea is to use a stereo as an alarm clock and set it extremely loud so that it rudely jolts you out of bed. Also, the "clocky" alarm clock is great, but it does not work well on carpet nor is it as likely to jolt you out of bed. Instead it will most likely send you groggily around the house finding the clock and then you will go to bad.
2) Set aside at least two weeks for the transition period. As you can tell from my experiences, I took a week and a half and still did not have enough time. If you do not oversleep you could theoretically do it in a week but it is very tough.
3) Do it with a friend, if I had someone doing this with me I might have actually made it because they would have been there to wake me if I overslept.
4) Make a list of things to do, nothing too hard just mindless stuff like sorting clothes or cleaning. Almost every oversleep I had was due to the fact that I had nothing to do so I either dozed off or went back to bed. If you pick things that are too hard to do then you will have zero desire to do them when in your zombie state. However, if you pick things that are too easy then they will get done too quickly and put you asleep as well.
5) Buy A LOT of food, mostly healthy stuff but a lot of snack food as well because you will get hungry more as well as having a weaker immune system; the more vitamins you have in your body the better.
6) Play video games, they make the time pass so much faster when you are groggy and they also force you to be mentally alert without actually doing much physically.
7) Take an extra nap if you have to. It is better to take another nap as opposed to oversleeping. However, be very very careful with this because the extra nap could soon become a habit. Also don't take this extra nap unless you have been up for at least two hours. If you do it sooner than that then it will just be another oversleep. Time and time again my brain was playing tricks on me and was like "oh, take another nap right now, it won't hurt and will prevent oversleep" but looking back that extra nap was the oversleep.
8) Exercise! Even simple pushups and crunches will keep you awake better than sitting in a chair.

1) Don't use any caffeine to stay awake. It will stay in your system for hours and hinder you from getting the REM sleep you need. You can use sugar in small amounts but if you do it within 45 minutes of your next nap then it is asking for trouble.
2) Don't eat right before you go to take a nap, it will make getting to sleep tougher and waking up harder as well.
3) Don't sleep in the same room that you are going to spend most of your time. You need a mental transition kind of thing. When you are that groggy your brain will sort of stay asleep if you just sit in the same room the whole time with the same scenery, so even if you just get up and move to the next room it will make a very big difference.
4) Don't hit the snooze button! I don't care how tired you are, I don't care how long it took you to get to sleep, don't do it. If you hit snooze and then wake up five minutes later (which you probably won't) your brain will be so foggy and out of it that you will most likely end up going back to sleep.
5) Don't sleep in your regular bed, you will be too comfortable and probably go back to sleep. Try the couch or a recliner instead.
6) When in zombie mode, don't try watching TV or movies, you will only fall asleep. I watched Crank and almost fell asleep. I mean Crank is like adrenaline in movie form and I was still out of it, imagine what anything else would do.

I think that is all for now, if I come up with any more I will be sure to post them here. Feel free to leave me your questions and comments if you are interested in trying this.
I look forward to completing this in a few months so keep checking back.
Till next time,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Polyphasic Day 7

I am not quite sure what to think about the past few days. I have had so many oversleeps that it isn't even funny and I am starting to get desperate. I went to the mail room at my old dorm and my clock wasn't there, which screws me up a lot. I ordered this clock over a month ago and I've yet to get it; this was going to be one of my main tools for helping me with the conversion.

Last night went well until 7am. I woke up and could not shake the feeling of sleep so I went and took a hot shower and then I ran out of hot water and took a cold shower. No matter what I could do I could not stay awake. It is interesting how when that tired you can literally feel the sleep advancing upon the body. It is also interesting how the will power is completely zapped away when the body is sleep deprived. I was so determined to beat this but then I just mentally gave up and my brain started to rationalize itself for all sorts of stupid things just to get me back in bed. I fought this stuff off for about 10 minutes but it didn't go to well so I figured that I would take another short nap...that short nap turned into 7 hours..

School starts in a few days and I really need to complete the transition before then so I am beginning to wonder what to do now. Tonight will be my last major push for Uberman and if I cannot make it through the 7-10:40am shift then I will go to Everyman instead. For those of you who don't know, everyman is where you get an hour or two of "core sleep" every night and then take a four or five naps through the day. Everyman is more flexible and if I miss or shift around a nap it won't be as bad. There are quite a few disadvantages to Everyman though. The first being that the transition is a little bit different and harder. For one my body will not be going into a complete sleep overhaul, only slightly modified. This means that my mental clock will still think I am doing the same basic thing I did in the past but only with less sleep which it will make up for through naps. Second that I will have a clear start and stop to my day unlike with Uberman where the days just come and go and there is no real end or beginning to anything. Finally I have heard that lucid dreams don't come as easily for those on the everyman schedule which is quite disappointing. I really wanted to experience the lucid dreams but eh, maybe next time.

Now I still am going to try my hardest tonight to make it through and transition to Uberman. To do this I have identified a few problems I had which helped me go back to sleep and so I am making some more changes. First off I am going to sleep in the living room instead of my bedroom. Since I am spending all my time here in the bedroom anyway because of the computer it provides no transition for waking up and doing other things. Second I am going to set my stereo as a backup alarm, lock my bedroom door and then go put the key in another room. This will get me up and walking around and force me to do it quickly or else the stereo will wake everyone up. Lastly I have some foods here to help me wake up. First off I have some wendy's chili hot sauce which I am going to swallow if I don't wake up and then also some EXTREMELY concentrated tea powder which is so sweet and bitter it is going to drive my tongue crazy.

Here is a chart explaining most of the different sleep cycles, I am currently trying Uberman and if that doesn't work then I am going to try and get Everyman 4.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Polyphasic Day 5

I don't really have much to say today other than the fact that it was total backsliding. I overslept (again) for like seven hours and then ended up skipping two naps and then with the latest nap I didn't fall asleep at all. The first nap I skipped because I went and saw Avatar with my sister (pretty cool, I'll admit I was a very big skeptic at first) and then by the time we got home after eating at 5 Guys (the one in Viera sucks btw) it was like an hour and a half past my other nap time so I was just like "screw it" and forced myself to stay awake. I feel like this has brought me back to day one and I hate it because with all of these oversleeps I might as well be taking a full night's rest. I look at tomorrow as the re-trial of polyphasic, sort of the rebirth of my determination. I will not let this get the best of me and I will not give up now; I have too much to lose.

Tomorrow I have so much stuff to do in the early morning that I cannot afford to oversleep so maybe my brain will get the drift and kick me out of bed. I also will be heading back to my apartment in Orlando today (today, tomorrow, it's all the same thing anymore. You don't realize how many days pass and how quickly it happens when you are awake all of the time) and picking up my clocky from the mail room at my old housing complex. This clock combined with more things to keep me awake in Orlando, more food there and the ability to turn the heat up as warm as I want should make this transition much easier.

Since all of my entries are beginning to sound the same, all like "I overslept" "I'm tired" "I'm cold," I am going to cut the posts back to one every other day. This should give me more time to think about stuff to write as well as make me less annoying to the readers on facebook.
See yall in two days,


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Polyphasic Day 4

I am not exactly sure how to describe today's sleep cycles. To start things off my 6:40am nap was a disaster, those tacos I ate around 4 finally caught up with me and as soon as I went down for the nap my stomach started to feel terrible. I didn't end up actually going to sleep for another half an hour and when I got up I (very stupidly) decided to add another 20minutes to my nap. The next few naps were fairly uneventful except I think I hit the snooze button once or twice. The biggest thing I am noticing about today is the fact that I am slightly more alert and undoubtedly less drowsy. Now this most likely has some relation to the fact that I have had two oversleeps in 24 hours but I'm still going to hope that it is my body getting used to the cycle.

I can tell that my circadian rhythm hasn't fully caught up with me yet because every day the 7-10:40am time period has been the most drowsy and unproductive. From what I am reading it could take up to one month to eliminate the drowsiness during that time of day. Other than that, once everyone wakes up and starts moving around I don't have too much of a problem with staying awake. I still get my old thoughts of "oh I'm tired, I will just lay down for a nap" and then have to catch myself. This is certainly harder than I thought and I have to keep telling myself my reasons for doing this to keep myself going. I think that if I were just doing it for the fun of it I might have quit by now.

Other than that I don't really know of what else to say. I think all of the times that my computer has gone on standby this week is about to kill my really old hard drives and they are making a terrible noise when I wake the computer back up. I guess I best start looking for a new drive before its too late.

Oh that also reminds me, the more I look into this whole polyphasic sleep stuff and the people doing it, the more I realize "wow, these people are just like me in almost every way imaginable." The majority that I have come across are linux users, libertarians and people who are not happy with your typical life that you get shoved into by default and instead want to do everything to get the most out of life. These people are so bent on self improvement that it has become an obsession for them and they try new and crazy things just so that it changes the status quo and helps them grow. These people, like me, ask "why not?" instead of always questioning why you should do something before you act. I find it so fascinating that I have just naturally begun to find the same type of people with the exact same interests in almost all areas. One guy who's blog I have been following since I found out about polyphasic sleep (tynan.net) took up professional gambling because of a math formula he made, put an inflatable swimming pool in his living room, lived nomadic for a year, currently lives in an RV so that he is able to move anywhere he wants instantly and moved out to California to see what it would be like to become a pickup artist. This is the type of life I am moving towards, one not controlled by the outside elements but instead one created by my own design and handiwork (no, not a pickup artist!). Man I love being in college, screw new years' resolutions I have new semester resolutions. This gives me three times per year to fix what I screwed up last time and even more opportunity to grow into the person I want to be.

Okay well now that my tangent is over with I shall go attempt to find something to eat, now lets hope I am done with these stupid oversleeps

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Polyphasic Day 3

Well today was a complete disaster. The night was alright and I thought I was going to make it but yet again in the 6:00am-10:40am block I crashed. Throughout the night I was so tired and nothing I could do would help me stay awake so instead I ended up dozing off a lot. By the time lunch came around I was so bad that I decided to take an emergency nap but then I must have hit my snooze button or something because I didn't wake up until 4:30pm which means that this was my first oversleep having been out for over 5 hours. I really hate it, I thought I would be able to make it the whole time without any oversleeps but eh, that's what I get for using only one alarm clock. This oversleep threw me off for my next nap at 6:40, it went alright but not very productive especially considering that my mom came pounding on the door half way through the nap. She like started yelling and saying that the door was locked and my little brother was locked out of the bedroom and couldn't come in...well no duh, this was exactly the reason I had locked the door!

When I started this experiment I ordered one of them crazy alarm clocks that like rolls off of the desk, starts making all sorts of crazy noises and you gotta get up and chase it down to turn it off. The only thing is that I accidentally left my paypal account linked to my old on-campus address so the clock got sent there from Hong Kong...lots of good that does me! Man I could have really used that thing on a day like today.

Anyway, my 10:40 nap went pretty well but then I started getting really hungry and had a taco. I think relying on so much junky food is not helping me transition well so I had my dad pick up a bunch of fruit from the store. Hunger under sleep deprivation is different from normal hunger. When I get hungry now I get this feeling like I about to puke and my stomach starts to tense up. I can put it off for a while but I certainly have to eat a lot more than usual. I started to get hungry at about 1:30am and had a bowl of cereal and a banana about 2 which I think was a mistake; when I went down for the 2:40 nap I could not sleep at all. I really hope I can make it through these next few hours without falling asleep, I need to stay awake or else I won't be able to complete the transition before school starts. I read on one site that taking a small wiff of amonia will help wake you up so if I am having trouble later I am going to try that. If that doesn't work then I am going to walk (more like hobble since I'm still recovering from this surgery) to walmart about 2 miles away in the freezing cold...if that doesn't wake me up then I don't know what will. If anyone has any ideas for ways to stay awake, wants to hang out, or just wants to chat leave me a comment here or hit me up on AIM: GrahamSoundnut I naturally will be on all day long.

And on a more positive note, I told my dad that I would give him $20 for the electric bill if they would keep the heater on until I go back to my apartment in Orlando on Thursday and he agreed. This is great, I am actually able to walk around the house and not have to sit in one spot shivering all night long. I still use the little portable heater while napping but other than that I'm all nice and warm!

Let's hope this next awake session is more productive,

Monday, January 4, 2010

Polyphasic Day 2

So the past 24 hours have been a pretty big mix of ups and downs. To start things off, last night went decently until my 6:40 nap. At about 4:00 I became so tired that I started dozing off and got up to walk around and must have walked around the kitchen table for 50 minutes waiting for my next nap to come; nothing I could do would keep me focussed or awake. Finally my 6:40 nap came and it was fairly decent; I slept a little and then I dreamed a little bit as well. When I woke up it took me over an hour for the fog to actually lift and for me to be able to focus but it quickly came back. I must have dozed off a dozen times this morning in my 7-10:40 awake time. I'm sure the fact that my parents refuse to turn the heater on when the house is like 40' didn't help much either. I even dozed off while holding a portable heater in my lap this morning. My mom then came in and started yelling at me when that happened and how stupid this was, how it's unhealthy, I should go to bed, etc.

By 9:00am I was too tired and had run out of stuff to do so I decided the best thing to do would be to add an emergency nap. I figure the real goal here is to make my body go into REM sleep instantly so it doesn't exactly matter when I take the naps, that is secondary as long as they are 20 minutes each time. Adding an extra nap looked safer than risking oversleeping later at 10:40 so I laid down for another 20 minute nap and woke up quite refreshed at 9:30. The problem with this was that it was very close to my next scheduled nap and by the time 10:40 rolled around I was not very tired but managed to sleep a little bit anyway. My uncle came by around 11 and that make staying awake easier but the freezing cold house made me not want to move very much so I almost fell asleep while he was still here.

The next nap was much more productive, actually felt much longer than it was and after that I was quite awake. I then went off to church and right before the service started I found a lone couch to sleep on. That nap was very rejuvenating as well and I got up instantly but towards the end of the service I started to doze off. I then went to diner with some friends and came back to my house a half an hour late for my 10:40 nap so I went and took it and woke up very refreshed again.

Being around people earlier certainly helped pass the time easier and made me focus less on how tired I was. Right now I feel very alert and awake but I can feel the fatigue coming on when I slow down for a second or just relax. I am not sure that the tough part is exactly behind me yet, but the fact that I am starting to dream just a little bit and am very alert right now is promising. A friend also dropped off his old PS1 here at my house and that will give me something to do later. It should help me a lot because sitting in one spot at a computer desk all night long isn't healthy nor does it help me stay awake. Oh also, I have noticed that skittles help keep me awake. I think it is the fact that I get a small sugar rush and there is no long-lasting effect like with caffeine. Every time I started dozing off I popped in some skittles and bam! I perked up again. If I have a hard time waking up after this next nap I'm going down to wal-mart and stocking up.

See yall tomorrow...whenever that is,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 1

So I have now been up for over 36 hour with somewhere around three hours of sleep...if you can call it that. I'm not really sure if I should call this day 0, 1, or what. Everything is like one big blur since there is no real end to the day and it just cycles over into another sunrise. I don't understand why I got so tired so soon though. I have pulled all-nighters before with virtually no problem but now that I have started this I was becoming very tired after just 18 hours or so. It might be the fact that I mentally prepared myself to transition into this cycle and my brain was already in the mood for getting to sleep quickly, eh w/e.

I have been keeping all of my naps on time and have not had any oversleeps which is good. My first few naps I noticed that my brain wasn't slowing down at all and I got up just as awake as when I laid down. Since those two I have been trying to listen to a little bit of classical music for about 5-10 minutes before I go for a nap to help my brain slow down and get to sleep quicker. So far it has been working and when my alarm goes off I can tell that I was beginning to doze off. I wouldn't go as far as to say that I am actually falling asleep or entering any type of dream sleep but I am in some kind of a fog. It might just be the whole thing of being more in touch with your subconscious when you are relaxes but hey, its better than nothing.

On a down side, I attempted to watch some type of documentary and ended up falling asleep for not more than twenty minutes. From now on it will only be action movies to keep me awake. I also went out and saw Sherlock Holmes with a friend and was having to force myself to stay awake during it even though there was a lot of action and it was a great movie. However when we were hanging out I seemed more alert and attentive although I suspect it might have been me just trying really hard to stay awake (after all I was all over the place with my conversation and couldn't remember a lot of things). I will have to remember this for finals week if I fail with the whole sleep cycle thing; instead of being up all night and then a short nap before the test I will try multiple 20 minute naps throughout the day to keep me going.

One thing that is going to be a problem here is remembering when to shower and brush my teeth. Usually I would do that right before and after I went to bed. Now that I am not going to bed like normal I need to set a time to go and shower (I didn't realize that I had forgot a shower until 4am). Other than that I am going out of my mind with boredom. I can't really exercise to keep awake because I just had surgery a week ago so it is pretty much up to movies, food and games to keep me awake. From reading other people's blogs and stuff it looks like tomorrow and the day after are going to be the worst...let's see how it goes!
Till tomorrow,