Friday, 22 March 2013

Sleep pattern info and day 1

Polyphasic Paul

Hi guys, if your reading this, your just in time!! started Everyman (E3) last Friday 22nd March.

please comment and share. If you are also thinking of doing a polyphasic pattern it would be great to hear your news!

I'll be keeping a semi-serious blog of all my antics!!


The basics

Polyphasic sleep patterns are sleep patterns that include sleeping more than once in a 24hr period. The main reasons for employing different sleep patterns are:

  • Higher alertedness/more energy when awake.
  • Ability to lucid dream.
  • Extra waking hours per day.
  • More alone time.
  • Able to work without disruption.
  • Time stretches.
  • Euphoria
  • Easier to fall asleep

Monophasic.svg A normal sleeping pattern incorporating one 8hr sleep

Biphasic.svg A smaller core sleep with siesta

Everyman.svg 3hr core supplemented with 3x20min naps (selected pattern)

Dymaxion.svg 30mins every 6hrs; very difficult to climatise

Uberman.svg 20mins every 4hrs; also very difficult to climatise


I selected the Everyman +3 naps, E3, after researching the various sleep patterns, the Mono being my current, I wanted to try to increase my production day by day introducing new habits, hobbies and other activities in my new found time. Biphasic was too similar to mono and not very beneficial.
The Dymaxion and Uberman i felt were too extreme-being a person who loves sleep and often abuses it- I didn't want to suffer extreme sleep deprivation but still wanted to optimise my daily waking time this left the Everyman and its different variants.
One of the things that drew me to E3 was the flexibility of the pattern after the initial adjustment period had passed, also the ability to skip a daytime nap and not suffer the wrath later on unlike the Dymaxion and Uberman.
The average person requires 100mins of slow wave sleep, this is attained in the first hour and a half of the core sleep, SWS is important for consolidating memories. In addition we also need +70mins of REM sleep (rapid eye movement) this sleep traditionally occupies 20-25% of total sleep, about 90-120 minutes of a nights sleep, this is obtained in the latter part of the core and the proceeding naps. Usually REM sleep occurs 4-5 times a night and increases in duration as the night progresses. The time that can be gained in waking that is lost in sleeping is called the latency, this can be the latency going from being awake to going asleep or the latency periods between REM periods. Employing a  new sleep pattern forces the REM to activate faster, during the core and 3 naps this allows for vital healing, easy recollection of dreams and, with practice, their manipulation leading to lucid dreaming. The reason the body enters REM stage quicker is because during REM sleep we recuperate our energy reserves, changing our sleep pattern forces REM to activate much quicker to obtain the benefits in the smaller sleep window- making sleep time more efficient and giving us more waking time.

Leonardo Da Vinci, Buckminster Fuller and Thomas Edison were proponents of polyphasic sleep.

Anyone who wishes to read more visit one of the many websites dedicated to Polyphasic sleeping; there is a whole bunch of people coming up with experiences, tips and tricks via articles, webpages and blogs. This is a great way to get an idea of what to expect by reading about people that have been awake at 2am on a tuesday morning, in zombie mode, staring into the fridge looking for a friend.

This website is dedicated to polyphasic sleepers

(Below is linked the founder of the Everyman cycle who has been a cornerstone in the building of my attempt) is also a great resource for Polyphasers and everything else.

I am Irish but I've been spending some time in the South of France, doing some hiking in the Pyrenees, (blog here) trying to learn some French with a very accommodating and kind family, they are very patient when it comes to my diet, sleep patterns and other eccentricities!

On your marks, get set- stay awake...

DAY 1 - 21/03/13

Spent the previous couple of days researching the best cycle to suit me, my lifestyle and my aspirations as a person. After selecting E3 I went about trying to tailor a schedule to work with- this proved to be quite difficult. Difficult due to too much freedom of choice!

First schedule
core:     03:00 - 06:00
nap 1:   11:30 - 12:00 (20min nap plus 10min to prepare/relax)
nap 2:   17:30 - 18:00
nap 3:   23:00 - 00:00

Started cycle at 23:00 as nap 3, mistake!! rolled over confused as to why my phone was dingalinging, switched it off, laughed, rolled over and went back to sleep!

DAY 2 - 22/03/13

Changed schedule so nap 3 didn't conflict with old bedtime, also after some more research I discovered it was a better idea to keep the core sleep closer to dusk as my lifestyle would allow as natural serotonin levels rise with the moon.

Second schedule
core:    00:00 - 03:00
nap 1:  07:00 - 7:30
nap 2:  12:00 - 12:30
nap 3:   18:00 - 18:30

In theory, this schedule is much better, the gap between waking from core to nap 1 is the smallest waking section as it will most likely present the most difficulty adapting. So from waking after core sleep waking times are as follows:

4hrs, 4.5hrs, 5.5hrs and 5.5hrs

I will stick to these as best I can to give the body its best shot at adapting.

So my alarm went off at 03:00, went to the bathroom and wondered what the hell i was doing?
But since I have come downstairs I have had two cups of green tea, caught up on emails, started this blog and felt alert and fully awake... its now 05:50 going to practice some quiet guitar, wait for the sun to come up and take the dog for an early morning walk- I know its early days but I'm feeling confident and a little excited at the prospect of all this new time newly available.

DAY 3 - 23/03/13

Its 03:15, my alarm was going off for a full four minutes before the brain was able to put sufficient effort into bringing me back into consciousness. It felt utterly hopeless as my brain argued- trying to justify going back to bed, enduring yawns that shook my whole frame.
Before I went to bed I made a to-do-list and left it by my bed so I couldn't talk myself out of getting up, I had anticipated this being the toughest part of the day- I wasn't wrong!
I can confidently say that going through this tough time in order to lengthen my day is very difficult, I am questioning my motives which are

  • I want to have more waking hours in my day to achieve more.

Taking this into consideration, it is vital that I have something to do when I get up- changing my sleep cycle just for the heck of it is most likely going to see me fail. Ensuring i have lots of little projects such as:

  • Learning French
  • Guitar
  • Working on a novel
  • Developing blogs
I can use these things as ammunition when the chips are down, whereas if I was getting up to read a book, play video games or watch t.v then I'm sure that I'd still be snoring right now.

I was searching Youtube last night for some video blogs to try and find some inspiration to rally the troops but any videos I found started enthusiastically but after day two or three stopped entirely... uh oh.

Another way I tried to motivate myself was to figure out the extra time I was creating in my life.

If I can adjust to this sleep pattern and incorporate it into daily life i will reap:

  • An extra 4 waking hours per 24
  • An extra 28hrs of waking time per week
  • that equates to 4.67 full days per month
  • puredoxyk,who created the Everyman cycle has been on it for 10 years now, she has accumulated an extra 1.5353 years compared to a person on a monophasic sleep pattern.
Then I listened to Macklmore's 10,000 hours for some MORE MOTIVATION!!!

searching information on any health risks based on scientific studies show that sleep deprivation can be responsible for such ills as

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
Coincidentally, I logged into Linkdin last night and BBC Futures had an article on 'getting by on less sleep' here. But this article was like a stone skimming across a pond, IMHO the journalist had done a piss-poor job on research, probably googled sleep deprivation, built her argument around that and then put the feet up for the weekend. There are many articles claiming that sleep deprivation is dangerous for your health but these arguments are built on the foundations of traditional sleep patterns and poor research.
If one pulls the thread a little more the evidence is evident that it is possible to attain the recommended amount of SWS and REM in a night if one can stick to the cycle rigidly respecting the rules of good sleep.
I'm tired but I don't feel terrible by any means- the initial waking period is disgusting but if I can keep the engine running until my body adjusts I think it will be a very pleasant outcome but I'm not fooling myself either- there are good reasons as to why there is such a high failure rate associated with the adjustment. Combining that with my low pain threshold and having to be sensible about the health implications I'll have to take it slow.

The three naps yesterday were all the same, headed to bed eager to sleep, dozed a little with slight REM kicking in. I had flashes of strong dreams, like photographs that i forgot about immediately, I got up, although having not slept i felt refreshed and the daytime was easy to pass.
Had a light salad at 20:30 and i was quite tired from then until 00:00 bedtime.
Well its 04:02 now time to investigate the fridge nom nom nom...

DAY 4 - 24/03/13

Woke up at three a.m, very difficult until I got out the bedroom, washed my face and got the kettle on for some green delight. I have completely packed in the coffee as I dont believe there is sufficient time to burn off the caffeine before the arrival of my next nap, I think it would be easier to use the naps to their fullest potential to stay awake instead of filling myself with caffeine. There is 125-175g caffeine in a cup of unsweetened coffee dependant upon how you like yours, in a cup of green tea there is 25g, combined with the health benefits its a no-brainer. I  wouldn't drink anything after the 2hr mark before my core nap and the same applies to food. I tend to air on the side of green leafy salads in the evenings taking most of my carbohydrates in the course of the day, not eating before napping for fear of inducing a 'food coma' and oversleeping.
Naps today have been great, I was never ever able to nap in my monophasic life but right meow?? I don't know.
Let me explain a typical nap as they have all been pretty much identical.
I allocate 30mins to 'nap time' 10mins for preparation and 20 for sleeping. Because I'm usually tired about an hour and a half before my nap and with napping being new to me I'm usually quite excited when one of my 8 daily alarms calls me to blanket st. (I've found, after making out a 'live and die by' schedule, putting all the times into my phone, 4 sleep and 4 wake alarms, has helped massively to keep structure) So I darken the room and lie down, a few deep breaths to relax and try to imagine a peaceful place, for me its a little wooden shack in a pine forest. trying to imagine the place in great detail is a sure way to get to sleep its like a shutting down period- I always find my mind wanders the same way it would in meditation, its better to welcome the thoughts and gently send them on their way, telling myself I'll revisit them when I'm fully awake if they are worth the time, rather than trying to force them away. I fall into a very light 'busy' sleep whilst I'm in this process. I'd imagine this is usually at the 5-10min stage into the actual nap stage leaving about 10mins of sleep which is so light i am aware of thought processes occurring. When my alarm goes off its always surprising and even more surprising is the level of refreshment I enjoy, also it feels like i have been asleep for about a half hour- this is the 'stretching of time' I've read about online.
23:00 now and I'm shattered, going to bring my core forward by 30mins and take a 3hr30min core. 

DAY 5 - 25/03/13

Nooooooooooo!! after going to bed at 23:30, half an hour early, I woke naturally at 02:00 feeling quite good, checked my alarm and went to the bathroom. thinking I could get the final hour, I went back to bed. The next time I woke up it was 06:52... Devastated. I managed to sleep through two different alarm clocks, I'm disappointed as I have read online that sleeping out in such style is like resetting the whole process.

In hindsight I think I naturally went through my SWS (slow wave sleep, commonly known as deep sleep) then enjoyed my REM cycle for another 90ish mins then naturally woke up. It probably would have made sense to stay awake then but at 02:00 in the morning, perched on the side of my bed after cutting my sleeping times from 8hrs to 4hrs it DID NOT MAKE SENSE!!!

I am unperturbed I will redouble my efforts, tonight I will set up an intricate alarm system that will lead to my decapitation if I don't wake up that should spur some motivation!!

skipping 07:00 nap and carrying on as normal for 12:00 and 18:00 naps and I will NOT be altering anymore times!! 

DAY 6 - 26/03/13

Well today was, lets be honest, was as rough as a bears ass. It was a success, well it is up to now- thats if I dont face plant onto my keyboard, as I adhered to the schedule. Waking at 03:00 was downright cruel, I had put my phone in a fabric bag, tied it up and suspended it over my bed to make sure I didn't have a repeat of the night prior... It was a bad start to the day, the louder tone scared me into a dazed confusion, in my apoplectic frenzy I nearly introduced the tied bag and phone to the wall, its an inanimate object after all. after negotiating the worlds simplest knot I grew sad, despondent and asked 'what the hell Paul...are you doing?' 
after getting up i was very tired for the first hour but after that it was a pleasant morning, enjoyed a kick ass bowl of porridge with some honey and several cups of Lime tea (Vivanda is low in caffeine allowing proper naps) I think I'm on the ball as regards the diet:

Breakfast like a King.
luncheon like a Queen.
Dine like a pauper.

A big bowl of porridge contains complex carbohydrates (slow release energy) to keep me ticking till a banana at 11ish, banana is a good choice as it contains melatonin and serotonin as well as the muscle relaxant magnesium-excellent munch about 45mins before the 12:00 nap.
An orange or something similar around 16:00 as I've been working and need a little pick me up so I don't face plant on the steering wheel... worse than a keyboard.
Sticking to salads in the evening is a MASSIVE help in feeling a little lighter in the mornings and makes it a little easier to swing the legs out.
I'm thinking the crash and burn on Monday morning was down to the roast dinner I ate on the Sunday evening before, I've been contemplating becoming a vegetarian for awhile this might be the ideal time to push the boat out and hopefully not face plant into it as i try and board.

Bit of a whacky section here, I went for my 07:00 20min nap and had my first 'cut and dry' lucid dream. What I've come to realise with the naps is that I don't fall asleep, switching off, losing memory. I have 80-100% clear thought processes about my everyday normal life these are boring and trivial but after a little while a dream element enters (something not possible in reality). This smears the line between dream and reality and it excites/frightens me to waking. This morning I was startled in a similar fashion but after coming back fully conscious i tried to gently push back into that last thought and manipulate it- I succeeded!! it was very exciting and I woke straight away. Being interested in yoga and meditation and the moments of intense clarity that can be derived from regular practice-this is a milestone for me.
Very tired in the evening but surviving, making out a little to-do-list for the bedside table is a good motivator for the morning- the shift in mindset from night before to after sleep is so severe I could be classed as a face planting schizophrenic.

DAY 7 - 27/03/13

Slept until 0700 after waking at 01:40, I need to hop onto a polyphasic forum and ask advice regards waking half way through core refreshed, I have already cut my sleep from 8hrs to 4hrs so I'm not too eager to give up on another 90mins. Having said that, when I went back to sleep I slept through both alarms, in my defense I realised during the course of the day that I had managed to turn down the ringer on the Iphone by pressing the side buttons whilst it was in my pocket. Its annoying to be setback again so my two questions:

i) If I wake early from core nap should I stay awake and contemplate an extended graveyard shift?

ii) If I sleep out again should I, as one blogger said 'Carry on like nothing happened'   ???
Or, quoting another 'After an oversleep dont sleep all that day and cut your core to half to force your body to access REM quicker so your body doesnt relax into monophasic patterns again putting you back at day 1 in terms of adjustment'   ???

I tried  napping at 12:00, fine waste of time, skipped 18:00 and I'll take my 3hrs tonight and hope for the best. I'm off to the polyphasic forums.

DAY 8 & 9 - 28&29/03/13

All is well with the Cosmos, I'm still waking early from my core but otherwise everything is progressing well. The REM sleep has eased somewhat and I missed yesterdays 18:00 nap with no adverse effects. I played badminton for 3hrs and walked 5k either side of it, I thought I would have serious trouble waking but it wasn't too bad. 
I shall be block-summarising my days from here on in as its not as exciting as it was, if I sleep out, have any interesting revelations or if I lucid dream the lottery numbers I'll be sure to let you know. 

DAY 10 - 30/03/13

Felt energetic today and decided to do some hard exercise, this is the first time since i started the Everyman. During the interval training I felt good, I was surprised my energy levels were so high.

My naps are not as exciting as before, the REM sessions aren't as apparent, I'm going to reassess my times for napping as I never feel like taking the 18:00 nap and I'm always holding on for the 00:00 core so i may shorten the time between the two.
After my core last night I got up quite easily, went downstairs, made green tea, oatmeal and booted up my computer. The night before I had forgotten to do a to-do list and I sat blankly in front of my computer for 20mins- It is SO important to put in place a routine the night prior for the following morning, my mindset completely changes, the night before I have plans to go for a morning run, come morning its too cold to go to the bathroom!
Its so severe I'm contemplating a psychiatric evaluation to check if I'm schizophrenic-
'Good evening Dr Jekyll.'
'Good morning Mr. Hyde.'
I became very tired and went for a 20min nap on the couch, waking from this I was very tired, zombie-esque- I went to bed for 3hrs. I'm up now and quite disappointed, I only have myself to blame for not having a clear outline of things to do. I could blame the exercise but I had no problem in getting up, getting going is the hard part, keeping going is easier and I have plenty of things to be getting on with...

I'm going to research more into circadian rhythms to gain a better understanding of my biological cycles to get even MORE out of this beautiful polyphasical adventure. Issues to be addressed such as:  

Tired before a nap?

Tired after?
Don't want to nap?
Avoiding zombie mode?
Whats a nap? 
Are those my legs??
Is the Bengal tiger in real life AND in my dream?  

Lesson learnt.

Onwards and upwards. 

DAY 11-19 31/03/13-07/04/13
Tradegy has befallen me, triple serving of chocolate cake on a sunny Sunday during a 6hr sit down lunch, celebrating two birthdays and easter (A serving of chocolate cake for each-naturally) all in the one fell sitting I can only draw three concrete conclusions:

 Succeeding at Polyphasic sleep is intricately linked to my diet, I have become hyper-sensitive to sugar spikes. If we should meet in a battle to the death- bring a chocolate gateau as your weapon and you shall defeat me.

A new word for the vocabulary- still learning at 28...
will·pow·er or will pow·er  (wlpour)
The strength of will to carry out one's decisions, wishes, or plans.

If you fall of the horse- stand next to it- for about a week, whilst drinking chocolate, eating coffee and wondering why you feel like a bag of spuds with a headache before getting 'right back on'

DAY 20 (or 1) - 08/04/13

I realise, now, that this blog is for nobody except myself. That the sole purpose is for the retention of my sanity, there is no mass audience to enthrall with daily doses of: 
'Had good naps, dreamed a bit, I'm tired.' 
After splurging all the info I could gather in my first few daily posts about everything Polyphasic- alas- there is nothing bar the tiredness. The shiny, new beginning has paled along with the novelty of it all. 
What a depressing, 05:00am, Monday morning post- But let it be!! for every chocolate gateau there is a resultant sugar crash, I am left holding the pieces, confused expression smudged into features, wondering how they ever went together in the first place.
On the positive I did buy myself a Polar heart  rate monitor because materialistic whimsical purchases make everything  better...

Onwards and upwards??? Backwards and sideways... 

DAY 2,3,4 - 08/04/13-11/04/13

Apologies for block update, the last three days have been identical; I felt like Bill Murray-working on an ice sculpture- Groundhog Day style (whup,whup,whup) whilst adhering to strict schedule all of these days. 
I have been allowing myself to a freshly ground coffee first thing in the morning-amazing stuff! But suffering during the first nap not sleeping as a result of the caffeine, so its green tea this morning, Thursday the 11th @ 04:02am. 
Went for a 5k run last night and had much more energy than I thought I would- Considering I was suffering from speed wobbles and really tired eyes yesterday at work, tripping going up stairs, walking into doors and mis-coordinating hand-eye movements.
Its a long-ass road to climatisation, on one hand I'm struggling to find motivation but the new found time- especially the type of time- the early morning solitude. There is so much potential to do things. I think in one sense, if (or more likely when) I revert back to a monophasic pattern I will always wake with a sour taste in my mouth as I look at the time and think of the potential 3-4 hours already wasted.

DAY 5 - 12/04/13

Its been military, getting up has been tough but not impossible, I've nailed the trick to getting out which has led to a pristine record throughout the course of this second attempt. I wont blow my trumpet yet because I don't want to jinx myself and I hate the way it feels when my lips vibrate. 
So ya, Military, pristine schedule- why? A few things, firstly;
I have started putting my Iphone into a sunglasses case and hung the case, by its string, over the bedside light. Then I adjusted the string so the Iphone rests against the wall switch. Some decent folk have compared me to a ballet dancer in the past and I still get the hump Natalie Portman pipped me at the post for the role in Black Swan--... But at 03:00?? I'm not the most coordinated fellow, a little like one of the tree ents in The Lord of the Rings, hopping  around in my sleeping bag in the dark, so, inevitably, I end up turning the light on.
Because I sleep on the ground due to sciatic pain I have to stand up to get the phone, fumbling with the case I need the light on anyway to get to the alarm quickly!
Perched on the side of my bed I manage to turn it off then the most dangerous moment of all arrives- light switch within reach, still half in half out my sleeping bag I suddenly become aware of a massive increase in gravity; it must only happen in the wee hours. The slightest lean to either side and- KAA-BLAM!!!! 
I give the peoples elbow to the bed and say 'ah sure just a quick rest of my eyes' 
The only way us polyphasic tree ents can defeat the deceptive thought processes, the evil gravitational pull and the gammy coordination is to go on a quest to the bathroom and wash our faces.

DAY 6 - 13/04/13- Present day (19th April)
Cant breach the 10 day barrier, the problem seems to be a lack of interesting things to do in the wee hours, reading and writing aren't active enough to repel repetitive face plants. I will bow low and take my leave and admit i never really got there... sorry blog... we could have been great together...

Until I try again....