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Things I learned from this experiment:
It is useful to have a clear goal in mind. This is made when better with an understood timeframe to work by. I went at this experiment largely because I was curious and, as is my nature, to conquer it. These are fine goals, but what I should have done was at least explicitly establish them instead of whimsically acknowledging them and calling it good. Where these goals did lack, however, was in their inability to be fulfilled really. You never stop being curious, and you can never quite bash something into quivering submission enough to be completely satisfied that you have, indeed, won. So, again, what I should have done was set some time sensitive goals or something I could be sure I’ve achieved, or not.
Advice for me next time I try it, and anyone else who does:

Signals of decline
Moving naps around, lying in bed after naps, general decline in motivation 🙂

I had slight cold symptoms nearing the end of the experiment which probably had a hand in oversleeping, and was likely caused by a dip in my immune system due to sleep deficit.

Good things to do
Stay with a very strict schedule for the first two weeks. Push-ups, and exercises in general, are great; do things that interest you to keep awake. Doing it with someone (my next step) I think would be very helpful.

The main deterrent of this enterprise is the social aspect. If that was a non-issue (as in, I could do social things at night), I think that I could have pulled this off more smoothly with a much shorter transition period. That being said, I’m totally going to do this again. No, will not be thwarted. However, since I have tried twice on my own, the third time will be with someone else. Now, to find another adventurous soul…


Day 10 – Cold feet

Day 10:

I did some thinking about this sleep experiment this last night. The chances of my prolonged success on this (or any schedule besides monophasic or biphasic) are pretty low. Realistically, I could probably only hope for one or two weeks into school before I gave up or crashed hard enough to not be able to recover. With this in mind, I need to establish the goals that should have existed at the beginning, and create an end date for this experiment.


  • See if I can pull of a triphasic sleep schedule
  • Experiment with different sleep patterns, and learn more about sleep in general
  • Satisfy curiosity
  • To get more time out of each day
  • NOT to sleep triphasically for an extended period of time

School starts when I hit two weeks into the experiment. I’ve constructed my schedule so that it fits with triphasic, but it certainly works on monophasic as well. I think likely possibilities for end dates are the weekend before school starts, and every subsequent weekend. I am very curious as to what mental workload I can carry on this schedule, but the reality is that it’s probably less than on a monophasic schedule because that’s what I’ve done most of my life and my body is tuned for that. In the spirit of learning and getting the most out of school academically (and probably socially as well), it would make the most sense to switch back to monophasic before school starts. I admit this reluctantly, I would much prefer to just dive in head first – I wonder what that says about my character.


12:50 – 2:30 AM

This nap was pushed back from it’s scheduled time of 12:30 because I had company over. (In part because of that…) It was difficult to wake up from this nap, so it was a good thing I set multiple alarms. So I eventually got up, did dishes, cleaned some of the house, but at 4:20 now, I’m still extremely tired and probably going to take a nap…[several hours later]…aaand the first 20 minutes of that nap were very refreshing, but the next 2.5 hours mostly brought on bouts of exasperation. I stayed awake for another 90 minutes to fully break the sleep cycle, and then went back to bed.

3:00 – 4:00 PM

This was an impromptu car nap attempting to end the major groggy feeling of sleep deprivation that had been shadowing me all day. Just earlier today I had hoped to end this at a planned date, but it seems I won’t make it even that far. I’m disappointed to say that I think this signals the end of this experiment. I’ll wrap things up in the next post.

Day 9 – oversleeping trend

Day 9:

12:40 – 2:10

WPM: 76

What I mentioned yesterday about creating a grace period of 15 minutes worked perfectly for this nap. I didn’t hit light sleep until 2:14, at which point my alarm went off; without the grace period, I would have been pulled out of deep sleep, which everyone knows is just the worst.

As it was, I woke up and I remember feeling like I wanted to do something, something like giving my naps a chance to speak for themselves in this matter. What “this matter” was, I don’t know, but I was clearly not fully awake, and I ended up lying in bed for about 1:10 (an hour and ten minutes). I think I fell right back into deep sleep because I remember dreams about moving naps around and sorting them (I just finished studying sorting algorithms in C++).

A similar oversleeping incident occurred on Day 3 (8/20/14), when I overslept 50 minutes after my second nap. I’m not overly worried about this episode:

  • 4.5 may not be enough sleep for me while I’m still transitioning, I might need an extra hour here and there. This extra sleep keeps my sleep debt from rising.
  • If I had to get extra sleep, I would get it exactly here, tacked onto the first nap. Sleeping is the most natural at this time and lots of deep sleep has been the norm, so if I had a sleep debt to repress, this is where I would stage my counterattack.
  • So far it’s happened infrequently, only 2 days of actual 4.5 hours of sleep have gone by, after the Day 3’s oversleeping incident between the Day 4 fiasco and Day 5 and 6 catch-up. Curiously, there were also 2 days of 4.5 hours before the Day 3. There may be an oversleeping trend here.
  • Since this nap in the last two days were relatively to very easy to wake up from, and then this one was undoubtedly different, I’m not concerned that this will have a negative effect on anything.

My main regret here is that I didn’t get to track it with Sleep As Android to document it beyond saying that it happened. After the fact, doing this blog post during AM, I don’t feel quite as energetic as I have in the past: maybe too much sleep? That might be the only irritating part of this. If this continues to be a thing and proves unhelpful, I think I’ll put in a second set of alarms 5-15 minutes after the first to ensure I wake up.
UPDATE: while I’m not convened that this will have s laying negative impact, I’m feeling increasingly tired because of it.

6:30 – 8:00 AM

Drifted off for ten minutes before actually setting sleep tracking. Then nodded off again for term minutes after the nap and was saved by my catch alarm. This is now unacceptable, I’m going to have to make sure  I don’t make a habit of this. Very slight cold symptoms, I grudgingly hope the sleep helps.

4:30 – 6:00 PM

Once I fully woke up from this nap, I was refreshed. This evening I did a lot of high energy socializing and swimming, and only by 12:45 was I really feeling tired. I had not trouble falling asleep that night.

Day 8

Day 8:

New thing: should have started this earlier, but I’m going to track my wpm once every wake period as often as I remember, I feel like there might be a pattern.

12:40 – 2:10 AM:

WPM: 76

This nap was actually 1:25 – 2:40 because it took me a from 11:40 to 1:25 to go to sleep. I blame this on the LCD screen I stared a  for several hours right up to bedtime. I need to make sure I avoid that in the future… Post-nap, I immediately got up and did some push-ups. Took a few to wake up fully, even so, but I was probably at about 80% wakefulness at the 10 minute mark.

I got a solid 3.5 hours of studying done before energy started to wane around 6:00; since I didn’t get a full hour and a half of sleep – 55 minutes of deep sleep, should have been sufficient…maybe it was superfluous – I guess that’s not unreasonable.

7:30 – 9:00 AM:

Woke up soo easily from this nap. My alarm went off and within about a minute, I was wide awake still lying on my pillow, and feeling great. On top of that, I remembered what I was dreaming about – since then it’s completely escaped my memory. This was one of the best naps yet, though Sleep As Android shows only about half an hour of deep sleep; this seems accurate too since there’s lots of movement happening for most of the rest of the night. So either my body is on top of things and is doing what it needs, or Sleep As Android is being inaccurate. OR, I have a completely inaccurate conception of what deep sleep is and what it does for me. Probably the latter.

At about 2:30 PM, my energy level really started to drain. I had forgotten to eat anything after 4 AM, so I was also out of fuel when I realized my brain wasn’t being fast enough to drive anymore, I was driving at the time. Never drive when you’re tired.

4:30 – 6:00 PM:

WPM: 76

Woke up groggy. Turns out my alarm went off during deep sleep. Action >> move alarms out 15 minutes and add 15 minutes to smart wake-up period. This should essentially add a grace period of 15 minutes to use if necessary (I think the alarm goes off ASAP when light sleep starts in the smart wake-up period). Once I did wake up, I had five hours of really excellent wakefulness. After that it started to decline a little, but still made it through the entire wake period with plenty of energy. I would love to find a correlation between deep sleep (66 min. this time around) and energy/wakefulness.

Day 7

Day 7:

A week in, whoo!

After the last two days of extra 90 minute naps, I’m hoping my sleep deficit is down to a level that can resolve itself with time and without extra sleep (which, admittedly, may not be a thing…), so I’m back to three naps per day on almost the original schedule >> I’ve decided to gradually (10 minutes/day) shift my first two naps back by half an hour (maybe an hour eventually) so that I don’t have to stay up so late and then go to sleep during the dawn (#circadian rhythm).

12:50 – 1:20 AM:

This nap was great: felt awake and energetic (enough for 2:38 AM anyway :)) afterward. It was also the first nap ever to have multiple deep sleep cycles and REM (light sleep >> deep sleep >> REM >> deep sleep >> light sleep), making for 50% deep sleep, 22% REM, and 28% light sleep. I feel like these numbers make this the best nap I’ve had yet. Fortunately, my alarm juuuust barely saved me from oversleeping, so this great nap could have ended poorly, glad it didn’t. Something I am curious about is that nearly every other account of polyphasic (specifically triphasic) sleeping, people report waking up before their alarms; the only time this has happened to me was during afternoon naps when I really wasn’t tired. During the night or morning, I seem to be soaking up every iota of sleep I can get. Time will tell.

I felt hungry around 4:30 or so, so I had a bowl of cereal, which took care of the hunger. Early on in the experiment, I would feel hungry all the time, eat something, and still feel hungry – hungry to the point of feeling sick – which is apparently is a sign of sleep deprivation. Makes sense. Since that’s no longer the case, or much less so than before, there’s more evidence for now having low or no sleep deprivation. Whoo! At some point I’m going to put up a post about food: types of food I was hungry for, didn’t want, food that helped, didn’t help, etc. Although I’ll tell you right now, glazed chocolate donut holes with sprinkles…stay away from those.

7:20 – 8:50 AM:

Morning really is awful. And dawn. Dawn is the worst. Staying up past the dawn with no place to go where it stays dark seemed like a bad idea to me, so I went to sleep at 7:20 instead of 8:20. Mainly it was unpleasantly bright out, and the sleep mask saved me: without that we would have probably had a repeat of Day 4 (not being able to fall asleep >> oversleeping).

Woke up quickly from this nap and went from sleepy to energetic in about 5 minutes. It was great! It took 45 minutes for the barely noticeable “just woke up” grogginess that has plagued every single nap to disappear, and at around 11:00, I still felt slightly tired (just barely noticeable). This was a highly successful nap that gave me energy and rest, what I don’t understand is that when I went to bed at exactly the same time yesterday, I felt trashed afterward. So I don’t know what was going on there, must have been the drugs.

4:30 – 6:00 AM:

Woke up from this nap feeling a little groggy, not too bad, and after a shower felt normal. For the rest of the day, 6:30 PM – 1:00 AM, I was out with friends and being generally active; I didn’t feel tired once, and had more than enough energy to go around. My body must be really getting the hang of this because around ~12:15, I felt all my brain power and energy start sapping away: sleep time!


Dreaming has been an interesting subject throughout. Mostly I can never remember dreaming, even after the most refreshing naps. More on this later.

Day 6

Day 6:

Almost exactly like yesterday, I put in an extra 90 minutes of sleep between my first and second scheduled naps. Slept for 90 (1:00  – 2:30 AM, 46% deep sleep == average), awake for 90, slept for 90 (4;30 – 6:00 AM, 60% deep sleep), awake for 90, slept for 90 (7:30 – 9:00 AM, 63% deep sleep). The timing of the last nap was a compensation between yesterday (6:30 – 8:00) and my original schedule (8:30 – 10:00).

1:00 – 2:30 AM:

It took me a while to wake up after my first nap, I could easily have fallen back to sleep at any point in the first hour. So I did some push-ups, listened to some loud music, and watched an interesting YouTube video (doing things that are interesting really help waking you up), eventually I felt awake and alert.  I used almost the entire two hours of wake time to code.

4:30 – 6:00 AM:

Woke up from this nap refreshed and got out of bed without a problem. Became awake almost immediately. Again, I coded almost the entire time between 6:00 and 7:30, and didn’t have any trouble falling asleep for my next nap. Part of this may be that since Day 4 (8/21/14, sleeping fiasco), I’ve been shutting off all screens about 15+ minutes out from the next sleep block. I use Sublime Text Editor with a dark them: the dark screen may also help prevent negative side effects of computer work.

7:30 – 9:00 AM:

I Woke up really groggy from 3rd nap, and took a long time to get over it. Almost immediately I was physically active, but was still feeling groggy at 10:15. Reasons for this…moving my naps around is a BAD PLAN and/or my circadian rhythm didn’t approve my my nap placement. I didn’t feel groggy yesterday and my nap was moved even further off the schedule (6:30 – 8:00), so I’m inclined to think it has more to do with my circadian rhythm. This nap was also of higher quality than yesterday’s, so it’s unlikely that that was the culprit. …If I had infinite time and energy for this, I’d try sleeping at different times in the pre-dawn morning to see if there was any difference there.

4:30 – 6:00 PM:

Around 4:00 I could feel my body running out of sleep and start to shut down. This was actually the first afternoon nap that I was tired for; it may be that the construction work I was doing tired me out more than usual or my brain is really starting to figure out the sleep schedule (which would be great to have), or the amount of sleep I got between 1:00 and 9:00 AM was just the right amount to get me to 4:30 PM. I wish I had more ways to collect data…and a Ph.D. in sleep would come in handy. This was also the first afternoon nap with a significant percentage of deep sleep and REM >> I had energy to last me through the rest of the day!

I’m feeling pretty good about this whole thing after today; nothing went terribly wrong and a lot of things went right 😀 and I’m learning more and more about timing and napping and different activities and how they affect sleep and a cornucopia of thing in between. I feel like I might actually be able to pull this off – till now, I wasn’t so sure, so, progress! I’m really hoping people will be receptive to this back at school, but hey, it’s a liberal arts school, anything goes.

Day 5

Day 5:

12:30 – 2:20 AM:

This sleep was much-needed and very much enjoyed. I woke up feeling still slightly blurry eyed, but less tired than before the nap. Slightly irritating, I overslept by about 20 minutes, so it was actually a 110 minute nap. A relatively small difference compared to yesterday, so probably irrelevant, but too close to yesterday for my comfort.

As mentioned in yesterday’s blog entry, I’m attempting to lower my sleep deficit by taking extra 90 minute naps. I’ve heard a couple of difference places, mainly here, that you should stay awake at least 90 minutes between naps because this breaks the sleep cycle completely instead of your brain treating two naps like one stretch of interrupted sleep. Not sure what the difference is, but they probably know more about it than I do, so 90 minute breaks it is!

With this in mind, the AM of Day 5 went like this: Slept 90 (12:30 – 2:20 AM, very little deep sleep), awake 90, slept 90 (4:30 – 6:00, 70% deep sleep) , awake 90, slept 90 (7:30 – 9:00, 35% deep sleep < average). This third nap was my regular second nap pushed up an hour to avoid the baleful light of dawn. The deep sleep thing is interesting, it definitely indicates that the extra nap should help a lot with the sleep deficit. For each of these naps, I laid in bed, making sure I stayed awake after the first one, and rested more. Shouldn’t do this, doesn’t help falling asleep (according to Pavlina), which still take me 3-15 minutes to do.

7:30 – 9:00 AM:

I woke up at 9:00 very slightly groggy, but largely awake and alert. For the next awake block (7.5 hours),  I did some construction work, some driving, some social outing, all of which went over really without any apparent negative effect from the sleep-related things going on.

4:30 – 6:00 PM:

Finally back to the original schedule! Heh, I say ‘finally’, but it’s barely been a day. I didn’t feel too tired going into this nap, but I slept in a cool place with my new sleep mask, and patiently waited to fall asleep. All told I probably slept 60 minutes of the 90, with 15 of those being lying awake at the end. So, not the best nap every, but I did get 25 minutes of deep sleep in, so I woke up refreshed and energetic (a friend commented that he hadn’t seen me this energetic since before I started the experiment). All went well for the rest of the day. My energy level dropped off the deep end around 12:00 PM and left me banked on a couch till my next nap came at 1:00 AM.

Sleep mask: An impressive sleep mask coming from my background, which lacks any experience in sleep masks :). It does a very effective job of shutting out the light, is molded so doesn’t touch your eyelashes unless you press against the mask. The elastic strap is adjustable, this is important to keep it from digging into the tops of your ears and giving you a headache. My nose is just too wide for the mold, so it lets in just a sliver of light; tightening the strap decreases the light. Since my nose is a little wide, the mall “pinches” the bridge if my nose, but the feeling is so small it’s very easy to ignore. The mask comes with earplugs. Nothing special, but sufficient for the job, and stay in your ears nicely. Some customers have said that the mask comes apart easily after a few months; I feel like if you take car of it, or put a few stitches in it’ll be fine, but I’ll keep you posted.