Polyphasic Sleep - Day 6

The lack of sleep was really starting to get to me, and the lack of real progress was demotivating. I was wondering if I was doing something wrong, because I had completed six full days of perfect schedule adherence (except the 4-minute oversleeping incident yesterday) without a significant result. Judging from what I’ve read, I should be seeing the effects of adaptation after 4-8 days.

So I started asking myself if I should change something. In particular, I had been pondering the following issues for about two days now:

  • Maybe the naps are too short, and I should lengthen them? It usually takes me about 5 minutes to fall asleep, so my actual sleeping time is roughly 22 - 5 = 17 minutes…
  • Maybe the naps are too long, and I should shorten them? puredoxyk says that the naps should be short, and Steve Pavlina also ended up shortening his naps (although he started at 30 minutes).
  • Maybe the white noise from the Placebo mp3 I was using was interfering with my sleep, and I’d be better off with silence? puredoxyk acknowledges this possibility in her book.
  • Maybe I should add extra naps in between the current naps? Extra naps should not interfere with the adaptation process (they have the same length as other naps), but they might help combat narcolepsy and pass the time. Steve Pavlina added a nap between his 1am and 5am naps with success.

I was wary to make changes; such changes might derail the adaptation process, potentially destroying my chance at success. But I was getting frustrated with the lack of progress, so I decided to remove the white noise mp3s from my naps. I simply modified the mp3s to replace the white noise with silence, but kept all the wakeup sounds.

For my 5pm nap, I used the “silent” mp3. I had trouble falling asleep, which is not surprising as I had conditioned myself to falling asleep listening to white noise. After the nap, I felt like crap.

A bit earlier, Diana mailed me to check up on me, I called her to tell her how I was doing. I felt (and sounded) like crap, and because of the lack of progress giving up was starting to sound tempting. Diana put things in perspective for me, assuring me that feeling like crap now was still normal and that I should really hang in there for at least a few more days before drawing conclusions.

For my 9pm nap, I used the “silent” mp3 again. No problems falling asleep this time. Alertness and energy after this nap were “the usual” (waking up groggy, increased fatigue during the post-nap waking period, narcoleptic symptoms after a while).

Fed up with spending my waking hours feeling like I’ve been put through a blender, I decided to add extra naps during the night (so 11pm, 3am, and 7am). These extra naps would decrease my total waking time (and thus the time spent feeling like crap), and they might hopefully relieve the sleep deprivation a bit. I had no trouble falling asleep for my 11pm nap, but I felt no less tired after it.

Fell asleep by accident

15 minutes before my 1am nap, I sat down in my comfortable chair with some light reading, to wind down before my nap — I’ve done this a lot, as it helps me fall asleep for naps. But before I picked up my book, I fell asleep and didn’t wake up before 1.55pm. Although it could have been worse (only slept for about 70 minutes), I felt ready to cry. Adaptation to Uberman is caused by the sleep deprivation pressure, and getting regular sleep decreases that pressure, potentially setting you back days. :(

I was already frustrated and losing motivation before this happened, and now, with this setback, I was very afraid that I had ruined my chance at success, and I wanted to give up and go to bed, just then and there. But I was still under Diana’s motivation spell from earlier that night, so ultimately I decided to tough it out and continue until at least the morning and make up my mind then.

Without Diana’s speech I’m sure I would just have given up, so that’s the second time she saved me. Thanks again, Diana! _O_

3am nap

About an hour after my accident, I lied down for my (extra) 3am nap. Falling asleep and the nap itself were alright. During the waking period after this nap, I felt better than I usual. I suspect that was because I had repaid some of my sleep debt with the accident.

Fell asleep by accident again

Same story as before, really. Before my 7am nap, I sat in my comfy chair to relax and wind down before the nap, and instead of relaxing I fell asleep. But… This time, I awoke after just 15 minutes rembering a dream!

For those not closely familiar with the Uberman sleep schedule: this is very very good news! Having a dream means my body got to REM sleep in this 15-minute nap. Normally, it’s very unusual that the mind enters REM sleep within 15 minutes of falling asleep, but for Uberman to work this is essential. This is in fact what the sleep deprivation of the adaptation is all about: convincing your brain to visit all required sleep stages (including REM sleep) in just a 15-minute nap. That means the adaptation is a success! :)

Waking up from the nap by myself is also very good. It suggests that my body got all the sleep it needed, and thus woke up naturally. It’s also convenient, because it means waking up exactly when your body is done instead of when the alarm happens to go off. And it makes me less dependent on alarm clocks.

Of course, having this successful Uberman nap is great, but it doesn’t mean I’m in the clear yet. There is still plenty of opportunity for screw ups, and it’s unlikely all of my naps will immediately go as well as this one. Now it’s important that I stick to the schedule for several weeks, and that I minimize the risk of oversleeping and other problems.

But still, things are looking good. You can’t imagine how happy I am with this! *O*

15 minutes after the nap, I felt awake, and clear! Over the course of two hours, I did get a bit tired, but I kept feeling fairly clear. I was never groggy, and I did not get narcoleptic symptoms.

My 9am nap seemed to be a return to the previous situation; I had some trouble falling asleep and waking up. I felt groggy but otherwise ok, and later I got a bit tired. Ah well, can’t win them all ;)

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  1. December 25th, 2009