Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Everyman report 3

So far so good. Yesterday my mind was about 90% and I functioned fine at work. All the offices have windows but there is one room that is either a huge closet or a really small office that does not and is great for napping. No ambient light makes sleeping that much easier. The hard floor is uncomfortable, though; I might make a trip to wal-mart to get an air mattress. (We have a couch that the others sometimes nap on, but it is in a lighted area, so I think I'd rather go with the closet and the air mattress.)

The 11 PM to 4 AM block of time has been hard. Two nights ago I tried adding a second nap at 2 AM, which helped a little but I was still mostly a zombie. So I was thinking about switching back to an 11-3 core block of sleep, and last night when I woke up after my 11:00 nap feeling groggy again I decided yeah, that sounds pretty good, and went back to sleep. Right now [4:30 AM] my mind is probably around 70%; not great, but I've done a little programming successfully already, which is a lot more than I could have accomplished from 11-4 two nights running. I expect I'll be in better shape after my 7:00 nap.

My co-workers took my naps in stride yesterday. (We were one of a handful of companies that didn't get presidents' day off. The parking lot made it clear that we were in a very small minority.) It turns out Gary did something even weirder in his college days: he tried a sleep schedule that essentially put him on a 28-hour "day," so his sleep time shifted around constantly compared to everyone else. That makes my schedule sound normal.


Anonymous said...

This could conceivably be a very bad idea. Having worked in sleep research, I can tell you that sleep needs to run in a long cycle, and that most of your REM periods are near the end of it. If you're only getting 4-5 hours or naps in, you are never getting enough REM and probably not enough slow wave sleep either. Neither of these are good.

Please be careful.


Jonathan Ellis said...

Thanks for the note of caution.

This is actually less of a whim than you might think from this blog -- I've done a lot of reading about polyphasic sleep for the last five years. What little research is available shows at least a possibility that the body can adapt to this. (See http://www.pbs.org/saf/transcripts/transcript105.htm#5 for the only example I know of where there was a rigorous study -- although even there obviously the sample size is too small to draw any really useful conclusions.)

In the meantime, as I said in my first post on the subject, there's enough anecdotal evidence that it can work that I think it's worth trying. But I enjoy thinking clearly too much to give that up for a bizarre schedule, so if I can't adapt then hey, it was fun (or at least interesting) trying.

It's possible that my judgement could be so impaired that I wouldn't know I was impaired. If so Rachel will pull the plug. But so far I seem to be able to tell when I am not doing well.