Polyphasic sleep: One week in
So far: fun and interesting, but not entirely within my control. Come to think of it, the bit about “control” is probably self-evident, redundant, and pointlessly repetitious–three writing sins I try never to commit, which is also like having two things and another thing I don’t want to do. Otherwise, how entertaining could all this be, really? Plus, control is a pretty lie at best.
Where was I? And why was I bothering?
Are you still here? Hmm.
Okay, fine. I’ll try to make this worth your time. Or at least worth my time. As I already told you I don’t have a lot of doubt left that this polyphasic sleeping thing, specifically the “Uberman” schedule, works. It feels kinda good actually. But it ain’t all roses and first blood at dawn–or anyway all ain’t yet. Specifically:
- Somebody or other promised me a bunch of vivid dreams. Maybe even lucid dreams. So far I haven’t remembered a single dream upon waking. Darn it. I want me some o’ them.
- Also I was told I might wake up after a very short nap with the impression that hours had passed. This has happened many times. Sounds nice and peaceful, doesn’t it? But there’s a hidden catch to this: it’s not all that pleasant a feeling. Not that it’s physically disabling or anything, but what I’m trying to do is train my body to sleep according to a somewhat bizarre and appealingly arbitrary set of rules…right? So when I wake up and think I may have screwed that up, sleeping through who knows how many alarms and possibly days or weeks…I feel much better when I check the actual time and realize it’s in fact been something like fifteen minutes since I started a timer. Maybe this aspect will become more enjoyable, or at least somewhat less discombobulating, as I get used to it.
- Sometimes I’m very alert, and other times I’m somewhat sleepy. I had the naive notion going into this that “adaptation” might happen, and it was all about training the body to sleep differently, possibly even more efficiently (as if any of us knew what–if anything–that might mean), and…you know. Once I was on the schedule, and getting by day to day, I’d have all this alert-time available. Well, it’s only sort of mostly true. I’m mostest alertest after my 9:30PM nap. But right after that? I get sleepy after my 1:30AM nap. Every night. If I just deal with it till after my 5:30AM nap, and sneak in what I call an “extranap” at 7:30AM? I’m awake and alert afterward, and seem to remain so until the following night. But! I become reasonably alert sometime during that cycle with or without the extranap. But! Trying to take an extranap prior to the 1:30AM nap doesn’t help at all. Neither does napping between 2:00AM and 5:30AM, as I just wake up all groggy. Bizarre! Is this failure??? Heh. Nope. Because it’s slowly getting better. The single biggest daily improvement came after I made myself get outside and hike on a trail (no bears that I happened to notice, but they were as always present in my mind) from about 2:30-5:00AM. See, I had nowhere to stop and sleep…but I can’t keep doing that for the next several days. More on why in a bit. Meanwhile I’ll just note that my body really, really didn’t want to get any kind of workout during those hours. But I had a nice time anyway.
- Sometimes I get a bit sore. And my eyes dry out. This particular complaint is purely in the “whining” category. I know this. And yet I continue! See, I’ve read various people’s theories about cellular repair whilst sleeping, and growth hormone production (never mind that those things can actually interfere with each other, bein’ this blog’s nohow scientific), and stuff. Some people say you can’t get much exercise unless you get a lot of sleep. Others simply do it and say they’re fine. You know what I say? My body was already accustomed to standing up or walking around (also known, often, as pacing…and using a goofy standing/pedaling desklike object dingus) for most of the day. But guess what? With less sleep, it gets more physical activity. Maybe I’m a bit sore of late…should I be surprised? Or hey, what about the dry-eye thing? Well, mine eyes are now expected to be mostly open for about six more hours a day than they used to be…hmm. This is not only simple whining, but also dumb, because in fact all that stuff is already fading away as I get into the swing of things. But if there’s at least one reader out there who actually tries this polywhateveritis for his/her/its/their ownself and feels a twinge of impending doom? Maybe this will prevent a panic attack. Maybe it’ll even count as a good deed and improve my karma so I don’t get reincarnated as a goldfish. Again. You know they can’t either talk or write, don’t you? It’s so frustrating. I say we should eat ’em all ASAP just to help their o’er-dampened little spirits move on to something better. But that’s another topic.
Truth: this has been really cool so far. Though I can’t get any of my relatives to agree with me. They just sort of say they’re glad I’m having fun but they don’t care about this any more than the last twelve things I got myself into. But don’t I want to look at pictures from their garden now? Or whatever. Tough, huh? Families are like that.
This next week will be especially fun, ’cause my wife will be out of town and my 5yo daughter will be much more able to interfere with my naps. I don’t think she will, though–she likes the idea that Daddy can work at night and play during the day an awful lot. But we’ll see. And this is why I can’t wander off into Alaskan summer non-darkness when the clock sez night for a few days. Maybe my stationary bike will work as a substitute, if I also go stand outside on a balcony for a bit? Or maybe decaf cold-brewed French Roast (at which concept my soul shudders and seems to fade a bit) will do the trick? With chicory, though? We’ll see.
This continues to get easier. I haven’t had trouble falling asleep for a nap in a few days now. I set my timer for 25 minutes, lie down, and often wake before it goes off. I haven’t “overslept” at all.
One more thought, or thoughtlet, before I go. When I got into fasting regularly, I eventually realized that hunger just isn’t that big a deal–because it goes away whether you eat or not, and in very nearly the same amount of time. Sleep seems to be somewhat similar of late, as I seem to be sleepiest during the hours my body is accustomed to sleeping…and that goes away whether I get in an extra nap (or extranap) or not. In other words, it seems to help to laugh at this stuff. Because there’s not much I can do about it that makes sense. Sure, I could modify my schedule and sleep away a few of the wee hours of the night/morning/whatever. But would I be any less sleepy afterward? I doubt it. Eventually, sure, I’d get used to it. But that’s happening anyway.
Let it happen, I say. Which strikes me as ridiculous, because letting go is precisely what I’m not doing in general with this sleeping schedule. And yet–maybe some things just take a bit longer than others.
Hope you’re having fun out there, and not hibernating your lives away!