Today is the beginning of Day 31 of my polyphasic sleep experiment, so I’ve completed a full 30 days. This will be my final official log entry on this experiment unless there’s some significant new change down the road. I consider the experiment a huge success, and I intend to continue with polyphasic sleep indefinitely unless I discover a compelling reason not to.
Stabilization. This past week has been the most stable one of all. The adjustment period was a bit chaotic, but now I feel comfortable with the whole thing and have settled into a reasonable pattern, which I’ll undoubtedly continue tweaking in the weeks ahead. I’m enjoying the seemingly slower passage of time and the whole package of benefits this method of sleep entails.
5-Day Juice Fast. I’ve mentioned dietary improvements previously. However, a week ago I became interested in doing a juice fast, which means consuming nothing but fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juice (and water), no solid food. I had never done a juice fast before, but last weekend I talked to someone else who had done one, and I became enamored of the idea. The idea behind juice fasting is that it’s a temporary detoxification routine which gives your body a rest from digestion and therefore a chance to catch up on toxin elimination. I completed a full five days without taking even one bite of solid food, and it was surprisingly easy. I went through massive amounts of fresh produce and made a lot of interesting concoctions like tomato-zucchini-basil juice. My energy remained fairly good throughout the fast, and the hunger was easily manageable, even there was no break for long stretches of sleep. As I came off the fast a couple days ago, I noticed I was eating smaller meals and feeling a bit more energetic than usual. I stopped after five days mainly from boredom with the lack of variety and a general feeling that I was done, but the hunger was still no problem at that point. Throughout this experiment I felt compelled to make significant dietary improvements, and I think this is strongly connected with polyphasic sleep. What’s equally interesting is that the person who gave me the idea to try a juice fast told me that while he was doing a two-week juice fast, he would only sleep four hours a night – that’s all he needed. That makes sense to me because digesting heavier foods will push you to need more sleep. So simply improving your diet to include more fresh fruits and vegetables may reduce your requirement for sleep, even if you sleep monophasically.
Flexibility. Polyphasic sleep has been a lot more flexible than I first imagined. The naps can be easily adjusted to fit certain scheduling issues, and I’ve had no trouble pushing the time between naps to 6-7 hours when necessary. For some people with inflexible work situations, that may not be enough. But if I had a job that prevented me from sleeping polyphasically, I’d sooner quit the job than give up polyphasic sleep, since the job would be stealing too many hours of my time if it forced me to return to monophasic sleep. And those hours would simply be lost to hibernation.
Dreams. My dreams have been richer and more vivid, and I had another lucid dream this past week, so that’s three lucid dreams in 30 days, which is a lot more frequent than my pre-polyphasic experience. During the naps I continue to experience the sensation that I’m sleeping much longer than 20 minutes. Now most of my naps feel like they’re about 2 hours long, so it actually feels like I’m sleeping a lot more than I am. But it’s more than that. When I’m sleeping it feels like I’m being transported to another dimension where time passes more slowly. Waking up feels like I’m returning from a trip my mind has taken. The whole experience of sleep has changed.
Endurance. I don’t know if my physical endurance has been improved because high endurance is the norm for me (I’ve previously done a lot of distance running). But it hasn’t declined as far as I can tell. Yesterday the family and I went for a 90-minute hike in Red Rock Canyon, and while they were all tired afterwards, I didn’t feel tired at all, even though I was carrying my son most of the way (he weighs about 25 lbs). But I could have done that normally – I’ll have to try something harder to know if there’s a change in my physical endurance. My mental endurance, however, has improved significantly. I can concentrate for longer periods, even in the middle of the night (it’s 4:30am as I type this).
Putting the Time to Good Use. I’m still considering my options for what to do with all this extra time. Now that my situation has stabilized, it’s time to make some decisions. My wife and I discussed my becoming more involved in her VegFamily business, but I also like the idea of using the extra time to improve and expand StevePavlina.com. I’m even considering revisiting Dexterity Software to see if there’s a way to creatively transform that business to bring it into closer alignment with what I’m doing now, such as by creating growth-oriented multimedia software. And I’m considering some brand new projects. It’s not every day you permanently gain an extra 30-40 hours a week. It may take me some time to figure out how to invest this temporal goldmine.
Productivity. I’ve been delighted by the productivity boost this extra time has given me. I’ve added much more content to the site this month than in previous months, and traffic and ad revenue are higher than ever. In fact, I’ve been getting complaints that I’m outpacing people’s ability to keep up, which I can certainly understand. I’ll be funneling some of this extra time into other tasks and projects. It’s funny to think that conducting a polyphasic sleep experiment is actually part of my “work,” but for me this is a perfectly suitable work task given how I define my career. Can you imagine your boss adding “Conduct a 30-day trial of polyphasic sleep, and analyze its effects on productivity” to your to-do list?
Hibernation. I still feel like I’m living with a bunch of bears. I haven’t seen my wife in seven hours, even though we’ve both been home the whole time. I’ve gotten used to it though. I really like using this time for work. It was far less pleasant when I tried using this time for reading and other less engaging tasks that made the time seem to crawl and made me feel like I was spending too much time alone. By the time most people are eating breakfast, I’ve already completed a full day’s work.
It Worked. In terms of doing a postmortem of the whole experiment, the best I can say is that it worked wonderfully. The first week was the hardest with the physical adjustment, and the second and third weeks involved a heavy mental adjustment. But now I absolutely love it. I feel like I could easily conduct a full-day seminar on polyphasic sleep, especially with all the subtleties I didn’t bother to mention in these log entries. I wonder if people would attend such an event though – it runs a bit too contrary to social conditioning, but then so does almost everything else I do.
The Whole Enchilada. For your convenience, here are links to all of my polyphasic sleep log entries in order (each link will open in a new window):
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Day 1
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Day 2
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Day 3
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Day 4
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Day 5
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Day 6
- Polyphasic Sleep – Response to Reader Feedback
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – A Wife’s Perspective
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Day 7
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Days 8-11
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Days 12-18
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Days 19-20
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Day 21
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Day 22
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Days 23-24
- Polyphasic Sleep Log – Days 25-30
- Polyphasic Sleep Seinfeld Episode
- Polyphasic Sleep Update – Day 60
- Polyphasic Sleep Update – Day 90
- Polyphasic Mutants
- Polyphasic Sleep Put to Shame
- Polyphasic Sleep 2.0 (Day 120+)
- Polyphasic Sleep in USA Today
- Polyphasic Sleep: The Return to Monophasic