Last night and into today has been by far the best day yet. I wasn’t quite sure if the improvement of Day 4 in my polyphasic-sleep experiment was just a fluke or if it indeed was the first signs of adaptation. But after tonight, I can now definitely say that I’m getting out of the mental ‘haze’ and stepping into clarity.
Last night also marks the first lucid dream since starting this experiment. Lucid dreaming is one of those ‘side-effects’ that people say they experience on the Uberman schedule. I was curious to see if this also was the case on the Everman schedule.
For those unfamiliar with lucid dreaming, it is a dream where you are aware that you are dreaming while the dream is in progress. Depending on how long you are ‘awake’ in your dream, you can actually do some pretty cool things like control the scenery, interact and control characters in the dream, perform special powers like flying around and so on. I’m no stranger to lucid dreaming — I’ve been doing it on-and-off since my childhood (probably on average twice a year). However, the combination of the vividness of the dreams since doing this experiment and the fact that I was lucid really made for some intense dreams. I’ll be pretty excited if this becomes a regular pattern.
On the downside, I am still not able to read without having the urge to dose off. Again, one of the main reasons I wanted to do this experiment (besides out of curiosity) was to have more time to dedicate to things I need to do — reading being one of them. I assume this will get better with time because I’m already able to see some major improvements in accomplishing other tasks. For example, I can now sit down and write (in my journals or for this blog) and stay very alert. It seems to be that when I am involved with activities that actively stimulate the mind (like creative writing) or the body (exercising, working on the house), it’s easy for me to stay alert. Passive activities such as TV watching and reading books are not stimulating enough to keep me awake.
Another great development was that I was able to take my noon nap two hours late (@ 2pm) without adversely affecting my alertness or ability to take the later naps. I was stuck in a work meeting and couldn’t leave to go nap in my car and was a bit worried that I would just spontaneously fall asleep in the middle of the meeting. That would’ve gone over real well at work. I’m sure they would’ve added ‘narcoleptic’ to my list of accolades.
Although I felt a bit tired during the meeting, it wasn’t unbearable. I’d have to agree with Steve Pavlina who likens it to a physical ‘urge.’ He explained that, like going to the bathroom, the need to nap begins as a slight discomfort that becomes progressively worse if the need is not met. It’s quite different than the normal ‘tired feeling’ one gets at night when sleeping monophasically.
By all appearances, the Everyman sleep schedule seems to be pretty flexible. Just the fact that I sleep 3 hours at night (11pm to 2am) and take a 20-min nap 5-hours later (7am), 5-hours after that (12pm), and then again another nap 7 hours after that (7pm) shows that the nap times do not have to be strictly and evenly placed. I would assume that the Everyman schedule is a lot more flexible than the Uberman one. However, I don’t have any experience with Uberman so I’m only going by conjecture here — as well as what I’ve read from others’ experiences.
Another recent observation is the feeling of being cold in the evening. This probably has always happened but I’m only first noticing it now because I’m awake (well, duh!). From what I know about metabolism, this is completely normal. The body naturally slows down its metabolism during the night to conserve energy and as a result, you feel cold. This also explains why I don’t have an urge to eat anything during the ‘night shift’. I wonder if being a polyphasic sleeper for an extended period of time would override this biological function and your body would actually increase its metabolism at night. That would be an interesting study.
Speaking of which, there just isn’t enough scientific research on polyphasic sleeping. With all these blogs and personal experiences out on the web you’d figure the scientific community would become interested in performing an official study on the subject. If my adaptation goes off well, I’d consider offering myself up as a guinea pig…