Polyphasic Sleep Log – Day 6

Today was the best by far. My energy and alertness levels have taken a big leap forward. Right now I’d say I feel at least as good as I did when sleeping monophasically (a 10 on a scale of 1-10). It’s almost unbelievable that I can feel so wide awake, alert, and energetic on only 2-3 hours of sleep per day. I wish I’d discovered this 10+ years ago.

Last night I still needed the extra 3am nap (between the scheduled 1am and 5am naps). Around 2:30am I experienced the onset of tremendous drowsiness, so I opted to take that extra nap again. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep within 1-2 minutes. I still saw some major improvement because I was wide awake and alert during every other cycle of the past 24 hours. I suspect this last holdout cycle will improve as I continue to adjust to being awake at all hours of the day. I used to wake up at 5am when sleeping monophasically, so the 1-5am cycle is the only one which I normally slept through in its entirety. It may simply take my body a while to get used to being awake at this time. I found that putting reading at the end of the nighttime cycles instead of the beginning helped a lot with preventing drowsiness. I read for the last 40 minutes of my 9pm – 1am cycle last night, and that lead to a very restful 1am nap where I fell asleep quickly.

The “fog of brain” is continuing to subside. I feel much more mentally clear today. My typing speed and motor skills are also nearly back to normal.

One thing I’ve noticed is that instead of making a daily to-do list as I used to, I now chop up my intended actions by cycle. So I have very short to-do lists of what I want to do during the 3.5-hour periods between naps. And since there’s no real end to the day, this process is continuous.

Because the nap times are so short (30 minutes maximum with actual time spent asleep of 15-20 minutes), it feels like I’m awake around the clock. The naps are just short breaks in a state of otherwise continuous consciousness. This results in a very different perception of time. There’s no sense of fighting fatigue before it’s time to quit for the night. I can be in the middle of a project, take a nap break, and go right back to work without the massive interruption of a nighttime reboot. The process of living shifts away from the day-to-day intervals and instead becomes like a continuously flowing stream. This felt very alien at first, but I’m growing to like this new approach better. My days are no longer so quantized — one day flows smoothly into the next.

In a way this does make me feel more conscious than I used to. The sun comes up, the sun goes down, other people wake up and go to sleep, and I’m always there to perceive it happening. I don’t disappear from the conscious world for hours at a time. The day-to-day calendar is no longer a good model for my sense of the passage of time. Those sharp lines between days no longer exist. I’m going to need to do some restructuring of my time management tools to adapt to this new way of living.

In the next post, I’ll address some of the issues that readers have raised via email thus far.