Polyphasic Sleep - Diana’s Perspective

Diana is a close friend of mine who has been most interested in and supportive of my polyphasic sleep experiment. She briefly considered joining me in adapting to Uberman, but ultimately decided against it.

She helped me through night 3, she has called me after at least 15 naps to make sure I was awake and to check up on me, and she has offered mental support and motivation when I needed those. She has also made a few posts on her own blog (such as these).

We discussed the idea of posting her side of the story on my blog, and today she sent me something to post here.

Diana’s perspective on my adventure:

Since Marcel’s previous post wasn’t all that enthusiastic, I’ll just make a small contribution for his blog (on my own blog are a few more posts on Marcel’s experiment). When I talked to him yesterday [Day 6] evening around 8pm, he sounded tired. And not ’sleepy’ tired, but TIRED. The best comparison would be as if he’d been working for three weeks to reach deadline after deadline, each time finding a new deadline on his path… He’ll tell you all about the last two days in his post. I told him that it’s not that big a surprise, to find that it’s more difficult than first imagined (heck, even if you know that it’s going to be more difficult than you think, it’ll be even more difficult :S ). Another difficulty is that it seems as if he’s having difficulty in objectively analyzing his situation. The fact that from a third person’s point of view it’s just as difficult doesn’t help much. I can talk to him, sure, and I can ask him how he feels, but first of all, everything is subjective. And second of all, when you’re in the realm of sleep deprivation, what is good and bad, really?

Some pieces of advice I gave him:

  • Set additional alarm clocks :P
  • Hang in there while it’s bearable, but quit in time.
  • Try to be as objective as possible about the situation and set some reasonable deadlines. For how long a time should you feel like you’ve been chewed up and spit out before you can (and need to) say ‘enough is enough’?

The tricky part is that it’s difficult to discern between sensations (both physical and mental) caused by sleep dep and sensations that should be interpreted as alarm bells. Again: Sure, sleep deprivation is not a good idea in general, we’re already in a no-comfort zone, but where do you draw the line when you’re constantly in a ‘hang in there’ state of mind?

What’s also been mentioned before, is that maybe those few people who did succeed have certain traits or characteristics (besides, obviously, being stubborn enough to keep going) that made it “easier” for them to adapt than for those who didn’t succeed. I’m not saying it’s easy, but stubbornness may not be all there is to it, although it’s the most important ingredient to try this, of course.

- Diana

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