úterý 21. ledna 2014

Adjust your sleep: two years of polyphasic experience

Hi all! :)
Today's agenda: to share some of my experience with polyphasic sleep (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphasic_sleep).
     Why? Simply because I can... and I can because of 2 main reasons. 1) I did it. It's finally working for me exactly as I wanted to in its very beginning. 2) I have found a time for posting it, together with a lot of enthusiasm using DO-IT-NOW-AND-DON'T-BE-PERFECT method.

     You've probably heard about strange people who divide their sleep into more segments. Just look at ^ wiki page to find out more about particular patterns. If I understand it correctly (a lot of material, sources, blog posts) the main idea or the principal reason why people do this -- is to spare some time. For example "Everyman pattern with 2 naps" where one spends 4,5 hours in core and 2x20 minutes in 2 power naps. 4:30 + 0:40 = 5:10, 5 hours and 10 minutes of sleep which basically adds 3 extra hours when comparing to someone who slept full 8 hours. That's it. Once you adapt to it and learn to work with those patterns, you should be able to by productive at the same rate (even more) as someone who sleeps 8 hours, and additionally, you should have some extra time for yourself, your work, your family, hobbies... for writing posts like this.

     For writing post like this... really? Actually, this is not my case right now and I will tell you why. After some diploma-thesis burst and caffeine experiments where I totally ruined my regular sleep cycles, here it comes a period of a time when I need to "just and only" study for my final examination. First thing what I did was to completely get rid of a caffeine and focus on jumping back into my polyphasic sleep train.

     In my case, I don't care about a sparing of a time now but rather focus on sleep pattern effectiveness with regards to studying and learning.

     How do I sleep now? The first 4,5 hours core, 2-3 hours of work (studying things, this blog post, anything), the second core (varying) 1,5h to 3h following my body needs and one power nap during the day. So I can basically end up with 4,5+3 = 7:30 + 0:20... approx 7 h 50 min of a sleep per day, let's say 8. So I sleep 8 hours in total which is the same amount as a decent one-phaser.

     So why am I doing this? It's beneficial even only for those 2-3 hours of work phase between 2 core sleeps. This is my super-power-hyper-mega effective working time. This 2to3-very-productive-hours-chunk is usually placed somewhere between 4 and 9 AM, depending on the exact time when I have felt asleep. 

     Today's observation: It helps me to be hungry. Basically "the hunger" feeling is able to wake me naturally after 4,5 hours of a sleep. For me, hungry in the early morning hours means one yoghurt or cottage just before sleep. Sooooo NO a half of a fried duck with dumplings and red cabbage at 10 PM!! (I did that two days ago and it was awesome anyway.)

     Of course, I have slightly opened window jalousie to allow the sun/day light come inside and wake me up naturally. There exists even some special alarm clocks in the market... those are able to simulate sunrise via lightening up a lamp gradually and even add some bird singing. Awesome! :))) Hmmm, formerly, I meant this one as a joke, but such an alarm clock can be very beneficial in a case when a street light is distracting you from core sleep, when you need the most darkest place as possible and you simply need to completely close your jalousie and you need to simulate natural daylight using some technological solution. Ok.

     Next, caffeine-free way -- I just stopped using caffeine. By stopped I mean stopped after one month experience when I was fully working on my diploma thesis and caffeine helped me to broke my sleep pattern in order to be able to program more code, write more technical text, stay focused during late hours, improve my coding performance together with epic music, etc. (Experience during this phase deserve standalone blog post as well -- later)

     I don't want to have literally NONE of above-mentioned things right now. I need to study, my brain has to be in "sleepy" phase to be able to absorb, process and store a bunch of information. Division into 3 phases will help to stay in REM-like phase which, I am strongly convinced about it, is beneficial for learning. (<< source needed here -- later)

    So, now I've spent some around 1 hour writing this post, eating a breakfast, thinking and I will probably be able to study for a next oncoming hour period. After that I will sleep again for next 1,5 or 3 hours. Yeah, every time you need to make sure that you sleep in 1,5 h intervals as REM phases are ending there. I.e. 1,5 h, 3 h, 4,5 h, 6 h, 7,5 h. If you go sleep at 1 AM and have to get up at 6 AM, set your alarm clock at 1+4,5 = 5:30 AM rather than 6 AM. At 6 AM you will probably meet your deep sleep phase and your day will sucks. I am pretty sure you know that feeling ;)

     That's it. Just wanted to share some thoughts, finally. Anyway, that was very nice procrastination as I didn't need to study and my brain is internally satisfied by writing a blog post :D
I wrote this post using DO-IT-NOW-AND-DON'T-BE-PERFECT method (I will probably elaborate in next post) which was developed internally by my creative mind to control my perfectionism (fu*k you!) and finally made me able to share my thoughts with others more effectively. Which means that you can find more grammar mistakes, not entirely the best citation norms, you can find just a raw record of my mind stream -- probably nothing for your diploma thesis to base on :D

3 komentáře:

  1. very nice article! thanks. I have one question about your caffeine ingestion - did you just stop using it at one point? or did you find some tricks how to alleviate the negative effects from using it? for example by increased sport activities - or doing sport activities at unusual times.

    1. Zili, thank you for a really interesting question. 1) Yes, I stopped using that at one exact point (when I finished my thesis :D). I had no caffeine since that time (JAN 8th)... maybe one or two green teas, i.e. 30 mg of caffeine in one tea. I rather meant it like -- I stopped using caffeine supplements and extraordinary amount of mg for my body at *inappropriate* time (i.e. after 4-5 PM). So it comes to question 2) No, basically no caffeine means no fight against its negative effects and overdosing. 3) Thanks for mentioning sport. Now, in a "learning mindset" of my brain, I strictly follow a rule of 1 hour of sport activity per day. This is direct substitution for a caffeine. Reasons: a) Diploma thesis = PC = back pain --> stop, sport helps a lot (run, swim) and even when this is done already. b) Brain alertness and oxygen + endorphins. This deserves more elaboration as well. I've found out that I am more productive when I do some sport. It usually divide my learning phase into two chunks. Study, swim, lunch, study, sleep, study... that works fantastically.

  2. Quite interesting. But not for me :D I need 10 h of uninterrupted sleeping. ...so rather 10,5 h (7 x 1,5 h). But you have my admiration Thomas!