Archive for July, 2009

I’m not dead yet…I feeeeeel happy! I feeeeeel happy!

July 10, 2009


For those of my non-existent readers that pinned the title of this post as an homage to Monty Python’s Holy Grail, sorry to disappoint, but it’s just the result of random neurons firing in a sleep deprived brain. Ironically, so was that sentence. And that one. The odds of this all making some sense are getting pretty long at this point. It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times.

Well, here we are, day 9 in all its wonder. I’m still having trouble adjusting. The past two days, I’ve woken up at 3am feeling delirious. Yesterday, I had to shower, rub my eyes with ice cubes, do somewhere between 50 and 75 pushups, play intense first-person shooters, bust out a few dance moves and jumping jacks, and take a walk to the end of the block and back–all before 6:00am–just to stay moderately awake!! It was miserable. However, my first nap (6:30 to 6:50am) has been glorious this whole week. I sleep on this little love seat at work with my legs hanging over the edge–I’m 6’2″ and the couch is probably 4′–and have been 1.) dreaming and 2.) waking up with a clear head and most of my fine motor skill intact.

So, my naps have been the silver lining this week as far as the mechanics of sleep go. I love having a lot of extra time, and if these mild sleep deprivation symptoms (malaise, drowsiness, decreased motor function and loss of ability to function in society) never go away, I’m still a polyphasic convert. In the last 7 days, I’ve made homemade bread, pasta and scones, kept my kitchen impeccably clean, showered consistently (something that is pretty easy to forget when you go to work in a coffee shop at 6am) and had a feeling of profound control over my life: work doesn’t dictate that I wake up early, I do.

Well, I’m off. I have a nap scheduled in 3 hours and things to get done in the meantime.

Everything’s a copy of a copy of a copy

July 6, 2009

I’m not visually hallucinating yet. Not yet. But I have had a few auditory blips come and go. For a couple mornings, I’ve been positive that Julie is awake and coming down the hall to tell me to be quiet. Maybe it’s paranoia and hallucination combined. I’ve woken up from a couple naps having no idea where I was. Over the weekend I did 4th of July at my mom’s and had to take one of my naps. 30 minutes later, I woke up in my childhood bedroom with no real recollection of how I’d gotten there. That was a serious trip.

A couple days ago, I walked into the living room where Julie was playing Tetris 2. I was apparently mumbling about a dog and how I’d heard it barking and was worried that it might not be ok. Julie said she hadn’t heard any barking. A few minutes later, we both heard the barking–I had set my phones timer (presumably in my sleep) and chose a barking dog as the alert noise.

But with the exception of very early this morning, I’m feeling great right now. I’m looking forward to writing about something other than sleep soon, but ive been so worn out during the adaptation process that I can think of little else.

Well, shit — Polyphasic Day 5

July 6, 2009

It’s 3:35am Monday morning and I can barely keep my eyes open. And it took almost 30 second to write the first sentence. Reading Steve Pavlina’s sleep blog, I noticed that the worst day for him was day 5, but he was on the Uberman schedule, which takes less time to adjust to than the 3-nap Everyman.

I feel miserable. On a tiredness scale of 1-10, I’m an 8.5 or 9. Everything was going pretty well until yesterday morning. On Saturday, I woke up at 3 with no problems whatsoever, made scones, cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom, did laundry, went to a farmers’ market on my bike and then grabbed coffee and breakfast around the corner all before 9am. Yesterday, I woke up at 3 and felt groggy until my 5:30 nap. At 5:30, I closed my eyes and didn’t wake up until 9:30! The extra sleep destroyed me. And it likely set me back.
This morning I was ready to throw in the towel. Seriously, I’m not sure what stopped me from climbing back into bed. I don’t know where this polyphasic sleep case study is going. It may very well be a day or two away from being history. For now, however, the kitchen is filthy and could use some attention.

The Kitchen Has Never Been SO Clean

July 5, 2009

It is now day four of my polyphasic sleep case study and I have never seen our kitchen so clean. This is the second morning in a row that, looking for something to do with all this extra time, I cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom. The pros of polyphasic sleep it would appear at present moment, all seem to be felt by my girlfriend who has slept better now that she only has to deal with my tossing and snoring for a couple hours a night and who wakes up each day to a clean kitchen and (2 out of 3 mornings) breakfast. I am unfortunately still waiting for the full benefits of my new sleep cycle.

The worst part of the day by far is my first nap. In ten or fifteen minutes here (5:00am) I will be laying down to take the first of my 3 naps for the day. It has been very difficult for me to get up from this nap the past two days. I wake up feeling unrested and extremely groggy. Two days ago, I slept through my nap alarm and woke up at 9:30.
What I think I have to remind myself of is this: I am still in the adjustment period and it will take at least five more days to be in the swing of things. For now, I have to deal with only some of my naps yielding a deep, REM sleep and my head being a little cloudy (or a lot cloudy). Also important is having a plan for what I’m going to do after waking up from my nap. This morning, I will be organizing my desk and office space until about 6:45 and then I’m riding my bike to the Clintonville Community Market.
RIP Steve McNair.

Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers that grow so incredibly high…

July 2, 2009

Wow, that first post was more cracked out than I ever imagined it would be. Hilarious. I literally rolled out of bed and sat in front of the computer to write that whiney installment. My goal was: write blog post, get in bed, forget I ever heard of polyphasic sleep. But I was able to shake off the 3am patina of delerious thinking, eye crusties and incoherence. Lucky for me and my case study, I am a 3 hour core-sleep and one 30 minute nap into my polyphasic experiment. I even had a dream during my nap, which would suggest that I entered REM.

From 3-5 I made homemade ravioli and cleaned the kitchen (it needed it). I ditched the acorn squash idea and just made the filling from goat cheese and ricotta. Acorn squash was just too much work after my first night of truncated sleep.
I feel pretty good right now. I’m anticipating a crash here in a bit, which, if Murphy’s Law holds up, will likely hit me just as the lunch rush comes through the door. As long as I don’t pass out on the press grill, I’ll consider today a success.

So, it’s 3am

July 2, 2009

Yea. And though I do feel pretty awful (and a little bit like I have to go to the airport) the worst part is getting out of bed as Julie is getting into bed. Almost didn’t get up at all. If this experiment is abruptly ended, it’s because I can’t justify a schedule that threatens the time we spend together.

My goal for the next two hours is to make homemade acron squash and goat cheese ravioli, eat breakfast and take my first nap of the day.

We’ll sleep in shifts… (so it begins)

July 1, 2009

In 30 days of night, Sheriff of Barrow, Alaska, Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnet) leads a party of survivors into the attic of an old house. Outside, the awful sounds of opportunistic vampires set loose on Barrow’s prolonged darkness have the survivors resigned to their fate. “We’ll sleep in shifts,” Oleson says, “We’ll ration our food, and then we’ll figure out the next step.”

It’s such a cliche in survival fiction–we’ll sleep in shifts. In quotes, “we’ll sleep in shifts” yields 32,400 google results. “Don’t you die on me!” only yields 14,000!!

In 1990, the fifteenth episode of Married with Children’s fourth season (A Taxing Problem) aired on Fox. Al was facing an IRS audit and wanted to sell Peggy’s hair for $5,000. Afraid that her husband will cut her hair while she’s sleeping, Peggy enlists the girls to form a perimeter, “sleeping in shifts” to protect those red locks.

And it shows up it popular media and, uh, well, unpopular alike. In apckrfan’s Firefly fanfiction episode entitled, “Positive Affirmation,” and sandwiched between such literary gems as “Her body was still virginal. Contrary to her mind, it was untainted. The one thing she thought they’d been unable to take from her. A lone tear fell, cascading a path over her cheek, down her face, and dropping to the examining table she sat on. They’d even taken that from her it seemed.” and “His lips quivered into the hint of a smile like they so often did.” is a suggestion by the team’s leader to “sleep in shifts” so that the pregnant woman can have the bed for a couple hours. A considerate bunch.

But I digress. I’ve decided to pick up where the clicheists and sleep scientists left off. Starting in three hours and forty-five minutes, I’ll be experimenting with polyphasic sleep. If you don’t know what polyphasic sleep is, check out Dustin Curtis’s blog. Dustin’s blog is glossy (if electrons can be glossy) and professionally packaged. And his article on sleep is very interesting. He explores various strategies for sleeping from Monophasic (what most of us do anyway) to the Uberman sleep cycle, which, if you ever followed Seinfeld, is the DaVinci sleep that Kramer became infatuated with in episode 128, The Friar’s Club.

I won’t be experimenting with the Uberman. Like most people, I do not have a schedule that would permit me six naps every day (though 22 hours of waking time sounds pretty good). I will be following the “Everyman” sleep cycle: 3 hours of core sleep each night and three 20 minute naps throughout the day. And my goal is that this space be a place to catch my random thoughts and musings both about polyphasic sleep and not (did you see that the Democrats just got 60 members in the caucus? They’d better not blow it).

Can I succeed? Will 4 hours of sleep a day be adequate? Well, unfortunately for Sherrif Oleson, Peggy Bundy and Cosmo Kramer, one of them was forced to inject himself with vamp-blood only to die a horrible cinder-faced death once the sun finally came up, another ended up thrown into a river by mobsters and, well, Peggy just fell asleep–and Al couldn’t bring himself to cut her hair. What a sweetie.

Lo ho ho, but there is still hope for me. Because in apckrfan’s fanfiction I’m pretty sure the sleeping in shifts thing worked. I didn’t read it.

With a mountain of scientific and anectodal evidence suggesting that polyphasic sleeping is a panacea (or may kill you) I now march forward. There is baseball on TV, the Daily Show awaits and I have to get my homemade pasta making tools out so I have something to do at three in the morning when I so desperately want to go back to sleep. Until then, good luck to me and I’ll see you in a few hours.

Going polyphasic in 17 hours

July 1, 2009