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Polyphasic Sleep Experiment Over

Published on Mon, 14 March 2011

For anyone following along you may have noticed a lack of updates on my polyphasic sleep schedule. Sadly, as is frequently the case it seems when people document their experiences with a sleep schedule, mine has also come to an end. There were a number of factors, but ultimately getting sick as a result of the schedule was the tipping point.

In the weekend of my sixth week I attended a friends house warming. I had intended to leave in time to be home for my core sleep however due to the nominated chef of the eventing arriving late that wasn’t the case. I tried taking my evening nap in the car but I didn’t sleep properly. When I got home I slept for the core three hours.

The following day I had a family lunch to attend. This time I had to take my midday nap in the car and I didn’t sleep in that one either, however I did feel refreshed for a couple of hours. My evening nap coincided with the trip home (my Dad was driving). Again this one was of little value.

During Monday I came down with cold like symptoms as well as a persistent headache. I went to bed early Monday night but got up on time. However after only a couple of hours I was nodding off. I grabbed another nap but still felt super tired. I slept for another hour and half but didn’t feel well enough to go to work. I tried doing some reading but was falling asleep so I went to bed again and slept from 10 until 1. After that sleep I felt heaps better and the cold symptoms had greatly reduced. Tuesday night I resumed a monophasic schedule and returned to work on Wednesday.

On Wednesday it was great to not feel tired and significantly, be able to remain awake and productive on the train. I also felt more productive at work since I felt more switched on and not just fighting to remain awake.

Going into the experiment I underestimated the social aspect. I didn’t think I had that many social events these days and that those I did have I could work around. This proved more difficult than I thought.

If I were to do it again I would not be a strict around only having a three hour core sleep and three naps. I think that once I’d experienced the shift from light to deep naps I would take a nap whenever I felt it was needed (within reason). The problem with sticking rigidly to the schedule is that there’s no leeway for bad naps or anything like that.

So all in all it was an interesting experiment but for now I don’t think it works for me long term. I’ve lost about three hours of useful time but I am enjoying being able to go the whole day without napping, not worrying about where I’ll be, come nap time and not having to worry about being invited out to things. Its also great to have a pleasant, productive train ride again.

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