A Hiccup

Published 24 Jun 2012 14:29


Oops. I set my alarm for my 10:30 PM nap, but my phone's battery died while I was sleeping, so my alarm never actually rang. I slept straight through to exactly 6:30 AM. Instead of continuing to rage about my mistake (as I did initially), I'll take this opportunity to reflect upon this experiment so far:

First, my saving grace here is that I woke up right when my 5 - 6:30 AM nap usually ends. I really hope it's indicative of a lasting sleep/waking habit, which will minimize the damage of this full-night's rest.

Second, upon waking from my long rest, my energy levels are comparable to every other day's thus far. It is only morning, so I suppose I will feel the difference (if any) in the wee hours after the midnight nap.

Until then, my body surprisingly seems to have reacted negatively to the 8-hour sleep. I woke up with a slightly stiff neck, and my eyes feel itchy and fatigued, along with having a slight redness which I used to receive the morning after a long night spent looking at a computer screen. Unless I feel marginally better than usual throughout the next 24 hours, I may take this as evidence that our 8-hour sleep habits are unnatural and perhaps not as healthy as some alternatives.

Lastly, I'm starting to take more seriously the lack of extreme sleep deprivation thus far. My schedule was designed to coincide with the body's natural needs. Before the experiment, I thought this was a plus. It is, in some senses - it means anyone can switch to it and not suffer a debilitating adaptation period. However, it's not the kind of schedule I think I was looking for: there's nothing for my body to really adapt to. It's not the exercise in self-discipline I thought it'd be, nor is it yielding different sleep tendencies (falling asleep faster, more/less dreams, ect). If I had known this beforehand, I wouldn't have considered this to be a daring experiment - it's just sleeping at different times.

With this in mind, I'm going to continue sleeping on this schedule until I have a sufficient reason not to, in hopes that I can master the art of napping and fully adapt to what little needs to be changed. By doing this, I would like to be able to adapt to this schedule quickly and painlessly in the future, should I decide to (assuming, of course, I ever switch back to monophasic in the first place).

However, I've starting to think about giving the Uberman sleep schedule a go (six 20-30 minute naps a day). I still have another 2.5 weeks until my next obligation, and I think that's plenty of time to sufficiently adapt to another schedule. This would have the benefit of saving even MORE time per day, and shorter naps means I can nap on the run (car, couch, bench, you name it), which isn't really possible (or, at least, desirable) for 1.5 hour naps.

The disadvantages are that I would (potentially permanently) change the timing of my sleep cycles (to 20 minute increments), which could make sleeping monophasically or even triphasically difficult, as well as making the rest of the time spent sleeping on my current schedule moot. I also wouldn't ever receive non-REM sleep like I do now - the Uberman causes people to slip directly into REM - which could be proven to be detrimental, if new science ever proves that this sleep is necessary.

Not to mention that it would be hard as the Dickins.

So, I'm faced with a decision to make: Continue triphasic, revert to monophasic, or progress to Uberman. I'll be researching this throughout the next day or two to make a decision. Feedback would also be appreciated!

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