Sleep: One Month On
May 10, 2020
It’s been a month since I started waking up at 3am
My Everyman 2 Schedule. and taking two naps during the day, as detailed in my previous post in this series.
I’m still keeping up my practice. I’m still overjoyed at the extra day’s-worth of free time it gives me, early in the morning, when there is nothing pressing to do. This time is truly my own.
Though I have moments of tiredness now and then, they’re diminishing every day, and it was a very small price to pay for getting 5 hours of productive time in the morning before I have to start work. For example, last Thursday, I arranged a cover of Tangerine Dream’s Love On A Real Train, and published it to YouTube the next day, all work done before sunrise:
I woke up at 3:00 and hit Everyman 2 cold turkey. I didn’t prepare in advance, other than setting a silent alarm on my watch. My routine is to get up, shower, and sit in front of my computer. During this first weekend, I knew I’d need to have strategies to keep myself awake, so I mostly played video gamesFallout 76, mostly. during this time. I think this worked well, as it didn’t require much brainpower (which I was lacking in the first weekend), but kept me awake through the adaptation period.
First day at work after the long weekend’s adaptation. I had no problem getting back to it. My tiredness was now much reduced, and I was in no danger of falling asleep while working! (I have never fallen asleep during times I’d not scheduled a nap, though I occasionally nap for an extra 10 minutes).
My first nap at 7:00 and second at 13:00 fits well into my work schedule. The first doesn’t affect my 8am start time, and the second I take during my lunchbreak.
Everyman 2 is flexible enough that I’ve moved my afternoon nap +/- 1h without much difficulty. I do note that I feel a little tiredness the next day if I move it a lot.
2 weeks in, I feel 90%Or thereabouts. adapted, and have survived missing a nap, poor sleep quality due to sickness, and the constant clamour of people telling me that this is a bad idea. Nothing can persuade me to go back now, but I’m confident that if I need to break routine (say, for a holiday), I can easily pick it up again.
It seems to take a long time to get back to 100%
That brings us to today. I feel 95% adapted, and slowly, day by day, asymptotically approaching 100%.
A Typical Day
|3:00||Wake up & shower|
|3:30||Tea & music projects|
|5:00||Teabreak & chores|
|6:30-6:50||E2 Nap 1|
|8:00||Start work (weekday)|
|13:00||E2 Nap 2|
|13:20||Lunch & workout|
|14:00||Back to work (weekday)|
|21:30||Wind down, maybe read in bed|
|22:00||E2 Core Sleep|
|03:00||Do it all again!|
As I mentioned in my previous post, I used to have insomnia. I’d be in bed before 23:00, but not asleep before 1:00. As I hoped, the upheaval of Everyman 2 has cured me of this. I’m really good at sleeping now!
The other side of the being-cured-of-insomnia coin is that I’m VERY tired at the end of the day: After 21:30 I’m falling asleep, and am ready to drop at 22:00.
While I understand this is quite normal for early-birds, it’s a novel experience for me!
Social Life Impact
My tiredness at the end of the day means that I’m keen to wind up social gatherings before 22:00. Though this isn’t much different to how I was before, I’m now completely disciplined about logging off at 22:00.
Lucy’s been very accommodating to my new schedule. I built my timetable to suit her, to minimise disruption. This is easy, as she sleeps soundly, I often don’t wake her when getting up at 3:00.
As with many Polyphasic experiments, I’ve found that my caffeine and calorie consumption has gone up dramatically. These two tools are very useful for waking yourself up in the adaptation period. I am now making a conscious effort to cut both down to the previous norms, as would be more healthy. I’ve gained about 3KG, and it’ll be difficult to lose that. However, assuming I can get that under control, it’ll have been a worthwhile step.
Advice For The Curious
Well-Meaning Friends & Family
Many things have surprised me during this experiment. The biggest one has been that about half the people I talk to ABSOLUTELY HATE it:
“I don’t think it is a good idea. In fact, it might be construed as heuristic to the point of being selfish”Oatpa
This is a very typical attitude. Sleep is a topic similar to diet and exercise - everyone has an opinion because we’re all familiar with the subject matter.
My advice is to experiment quietly, telling only those around you that you need to nap during the day. You’ll either succeed or fail, and both will be a valuable learning experience. You can then confidently come out in a big way!By writing the longest blog post of your life, for instance. I’m reminded of one of the rules of the Cult Of Donehttps://medium.com/@bre/the-cult-of-done-manifesto-724ca1c2ff13 that states:
Those without dirty hands are wrong.
Things That Helped Me During Adaptation
Pick your schedule (Everymanpolyphasic.net/schedules/everyman/ works well, with 3 different options to suit your schedule).
Listening to brown noise while napping, if you are a light sleeperThis one is my favourite. Mmm, brown flavour. .
Start on a weekend you can isolate yourself from obligations.
Programme some low-effort distractions for the first few days, and don’t worry that you’re not productive; that’ll come.
Don’t eat breakfast at night. I found after a week of NEEDING to eat to stay awake, I preferred to wait until after my first nap to have breakfast. My digestion seemed slow and uncomfortable at nightSomething something circadian rhythm. .
I found that having meals after each nap (breakfast and lunch, respectively), washing my face, and having a drink of water, really helped me bounce back into wakefulness.
If you are able to get blackout curtains or blinds for your bedroom, that’s a great way of helping you nap.
If you would like to talk about it, get advice, or tell me I’m wrong, hit me up on Twitter, I’m @0atman. If you want community advice, drop a line to the r/polyphasic community, they’re friendly, helpful people!
It’s all at http://polyphasic.net