A Long Awaited Conclusion

Published 20 Jan 2014 06:09

Published 20 Jan 2013

It's been a long while since I finished my sleep experiment and reverted to monophasic sleep. I want to offer myself and potential readers some closure and outline what happened on the final leg, as well as some concluding thoughts to the curious or those interested in replicating this endeavor.

My last post, Day 14, was on July 2, 2012. I reverted back to monophasic sleep around July 17, 2012, which makes the total duration of my triphasic sleep schedule about a month.

I reverted due to collegiate obligations. Reverting was as simple as not setting my alarm - I woke up once that night after 1.5 hours (which is evidence of a successful adaptation) but had absolutely no trouble getting back to, and staying, asleep. There have been no observable long-term effects.

I stopped posting here for a number of reasons. The leading one was a lack of motivation. I noticed that, while I was no longer constantly tired, the little energy I did lose came from my motivational pools. I could no longer force myself to stay disciplined on small matters, like practicing piano, reading, and writing. This is partly due to my resolve to, at all costs, continue staying true to big disciplines, like my sleep schedule and diet. I believe that the energy delegated to motivation is limited. Sleep deprivation dramatically lowered those reserves, and most of the remainder was spent keeping myself sleep-deprived.

I also observe now that my thinking wasn't entirely sound while I was sleep-deprived. When recalling previous experiences, I placed too heavy an emphasis on my present emotions and attitudes. For example, in Day 14, I noted that I had experienced virtually no exhaustion since Day 6. That clearly wasn't true - I simply wrote that at a time when I was feeling alert.

In my post-experiment clarity, I can confirm that I was, indeed, tired often. My mental capabilities (memory storage, critical analysis) were likely slightly impaired, too. Moreover, I became rather grouchy and irritable, which I have similarly found myself prone to during normal periods of sleep-deprivation.

With that said, I was also still functional - socially, intellectually, emotionally - which is quite a feat given the number of hours I had slept over that time period.

Overall, I would consider this experiment a success. I slept for around half as many hours a day as normal, but suffered far less than a 50% decrease in my cognitive capacities.

To those interested in performing this experiment, I would advise a sleep schedule more starkly contrasted to your natural sleeping habits. In my case, I designed my schedule to mimic my pre-existing sleep cycle with the aim of reducing the severity of the adaptation period. However, I think that this similarity kept my body from the type of significant adaptation that would make the transition shorter and more efficient.

If anyone ever has any questions, thoughts, or otherwise wishes to communicate, feel free to send an email to moc.oohay|dop1.esahc#moc.oohay|dop1.esahc. I'd be happy to discuss anything in more detail.

Thanks and goodbye!

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