Day 1

Published 19 Jun 2012 16:31


I’ve only had 3 naps (as of noon), and I can already see how this is going to be difficult. Here are my first thoughts:

Sleep inertia is a jerk. It took me about 40 minutes to fall asleep this afternoon, so I definitely awoke before my REM cycle was over, and I could feel it. I was groggy as hell, and it took a good hour to shake it off entirely. That’s sad, because I still had last night’s long(er) sleep pre-experiment to fuel me.

I nodded off pretty quickly this evening, and awoke without as much grogginess, but it was still noticeable. I’m hoping that as I become more tired, I fall asleep faster and have more regularly-timed cycles. I went for a short walk and briefly lifted light weights to get the blood flowing in hopes that I’d wake up more, but the next 2 hours were spent tiredly. The most effective thing I’ve found in dispelling grogginess is physically speaking. In my case, I quietly sang along to a song, and as soon as my vocal chords got going, I felt immediately more aware. I wonder if it’s the physical practice which is helpful, or the activation of something like Broca’s area in the brain, under the illusion of communication.

The latter theory might be supported by this: it was only until a friend of mine texted me out of the blue and held a bit of conversation (around 2 AM) that I actually felt a lasting surge of energy. This could be related to the motivation of sociality/communication, but I think there are too many potential alternative causes to determine this at the moment – I may have just eventually overcome the sleep inertia after some time; I’ve also read that after releasing the melatonin post-sunset, the body stops its production of the sleepy chemicals for most of the night since the goal of those hormones is to get you to fall asleep, rather than necessarily stay asleep. In any case, I rode this energy to the next nap.

It took about 20 minutes to fall asleep at 5:00 AM, and I wasn't tired when my head hit the pillow, but it was by far the best of the 3 naps – I felt like I was waking up from a full(ish) night of rest, and I think it was at the tail-end of a sleep cycle because I became aware rather quickly. It might help that I set my alarm to wake me up in 1:45 minutes, and hit the bed at 4:50 AM. It might simply be the illusion of going to sleep in the dark and waking in the light.

I had plenty of energy this morning, and went for an hour-long power-walk with my dad and 2 pulling dogs. I feel totally normal, other than a very slight headache in the left-top-front side of my head (not normal but not bad; probably just reading/focusing for longer than normal), which is good, given that I don’t normally cope with sleep deprivation this easily.

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