Tag Archives: Health

Days 0-1 of Polyphasic Sleep

Day Zero
04-24-2013

As many of you know, a week ago I decided to try out polyphasic sleep to give myself more free time and to be a more productive person. Yesterday, Tuesday April 23rd was officially day zero of my journey. On this day I decided to keep myself awake as long as possible in preparation for the harsh switch in sleep routine. Day zero quickly transferred over to day one and the transition phase was complete. Here is my story.

Day zero started early with me only receiving five gentle hours of sleep as I have been trying to prepare my body for the sudden change since last week. Waking up at 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday, I slowly approached my early morning shift at work. For the past week I have been scoping places out to get some shut eye at work and today I decided to try the floor in the back room. While not a pleasant experience, I was fortunate enough to develop a better strategy for next time (a closed off room upstairs). This will obviously be crucial to my strategy if I plan on sleeping 30 minutes every four hours, including during my 8 hour work shift. So naturally I arrived home around 3pm after work and decided to take an additional 20 minute nap to train my mind for what is a head.

I enjoyed a very productive and happy night, studying mathematics thanks to Khan Academy, watching documentaries, and reading. Keeping to my original plan, I have been eating an extremely healthy diet centred around green leafy vegetables and fruits, avoiding caffeine, foods high in salt, and any meat products.While I have always been a healthy eater, I have not had a diet this healthy in years. My body has certainly noticed these dietary changes and I believe it is one of the reasons why I am seeing early success with this new routine. Around midnight I decided to take another nap and that concluded day zero.

Sleep Schedule Day Zero
11pm-4am Sleep
4am-10:30am Work
10:30am-11am Nap at work
11am-3pm Work
3pm-3:20pm Nap
3:20pm-11:50pm Home
11:50pm-12:20am – Nap

Total Sleep: ~6 hours
Day One
04-24-2013

Day one was on its way with mixed emotions. I was extremely determined to give this lifestyle a shot. I have been very pleased with my discipline regarding my preparation and diet, but now was the real test. I knew going into this that the first week is a major struggle for people, but I felt my prior sleep discipline would make it easier on me. Roughly 2 years ago I worked on an over-night shift and was regularly sleeping from 8am to 4pm. In the past two years I’ve slept under nearly every schedule, any day of the week, but always religiously acquired my 8 hours of rest. Trying to stay awake with so little sleep in me was a challenge. I ended up taking a nap at 11:50 p.m. to 12:20 p.m. to start my day. My next two hours were spent productively reading. I ended up sleeping at 2:20am with the goal of waking up again at 4:00 a.m. Disaster struck as when I woke up the clock was claiming it was 6:04 a.m. How did this happen? I thought I had set my alarm. Apparently, I must have unconsciously turned the alarm off at 4:00 a.m., go figure. Anyway, two extra hours of sleep is not a problem going into day one, if anything, it is a continuation of my preparation for the next 6 months that I plan on trying this approach.
My day started with a trip to the grocery store acquiring an abundance of vegetarian items for me to consume during my struggles to stay awake. Around 11am I was tired enough to take my first real Uberman nap. A quick 25 minute nap from 11:00 a.m. to 11:25 a.m. featured some harsh dreams and a struggle to awake. I am finding out that this is going to be an extreme test of discipline. After sleeping for 20 minutes and being awoken by an ugly alarm every part of my body wanted to stay in bed, but I overcame it and after 5 minutes of droopiness I felt completely refreshed. These naps have a tendency to put me in a zombie state for a few moments immediately after, but I always end up feeling completely refreshed for the next four hours afterwards. Even just after one full day of this I am amazed at how much time I am freeing up. It is great not having to stress out about getting a full eight hours of sleep.

Sleep Schedule Day One

11:50pm-12:20am – Sleep
12:20am-2:20am – Awake
2:20am-6:00am – Sleep
6am-11am – Awake
11:00am-11:25am – Nap
11:25am-3:30pm – Awake
3:30pm-4:00pm – Nap
4:00pm -8:00pm- Awake
8:00pm-8:20pm- Nap
8:20pm- -Awake

Total sleep: ~5.5 hours

End results for Days 0-1. (levels from 1 to 10).

Physical vigor: 6
Been tough for me to stay at my pre-polyphasic sleep energy levels. Will see if these changes as the routine goes on.

Need for Sleep: 9
This section will back backwards compatible. The higher the number, the more sleep I required. It was a struggle getting through the late night hours (past midnight). I often dozed off at my computer. I am going to need to build up my evening stamina for this to work out.

Mental activity: 7
Focused and alert. Interestingly, due to how tired I’ve been, I feel I’ve been able to focus more on the project at hand. The 20 minute naps completely refresh my mind for whatever project is next. I still would like to see more active learning before I rate it higher tho.

Daily Functioning: 8
No problems thus far. I have shopped, cleaned the home, cooked, read, and done all my normal daily tasks.

Productivity Performance: 7
Overall good, I read an entire book, gained over 200,000 energy points over at Khan Academy and wrote this blog. I am feeling pretty good about it.

REVIEW – The Untethered Soul

I just finished reading the ‘self-help’ book entitled The Untethered Soul by author Michael A. Singer. This book was suggested to me by someone who I greatly admire – Greg Simon over at knowmadiclife.com.

Greg first suggested this book to me back in a message conversation months ago. At that time I was not ready for a book of this nature. I feel self-help books are best read when you need a pick me up, and boy, this book did just that. I gained new inspiration and motivation through the various logical life lessons that the bestseller presented. Throughout the 200 pages, the ultimate message Singer presents is simply to be happy, claiming life is but an event, passing you by. No matter what happens in life, there’s never a reason to stress out. Your uncle dies? No problem. Your car gets totaled? Don’t stress! Your house burns to a crisp? Just a moment in time! The logical power that he presents this message with will leave you as hopelessly happy as well. Some of my favorite quotes and reasoning are as follows:

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind-you are the one who hears it. If you don’t understand this, you will try to figure out which of the many things the voice says is really you.” -page 11

One of the first valuable messages of the book is to step away from the voice in your head and conquer it. Make it you ‘best friend.’ This message hit hard at home with me as often my mind is my biggest enemy. Prior to reading this, I was skeptical that others had these problems. I went as far to wonder if I had a serious mental problem due to the often bi-polar voice in my head.

He goes on:

“If you spend your time hoping that it doesn’t rain tomorrow, you are wasting your time. Your thoughts don’t change the rain. You will someday come to see that there is no use for that incessant internal chatter, and there is no reason to constantly attempt to figure everything out.” -page 12

Ultimately:

“The reward for not protecting your psyche is liberation. You are free to walk through this world without a problem on your mind.” -page 60

Liberate yourself from… yourself! Really! It makes perfect sense. Life is but an event passing you by, constantly, there’s no reason you should ever stress out or try to figure everything out. This world was here many years prior to your existence and it will be here many years after your gone! Stop letting the voice in your head ruin your precious moments alive.

Next, he expands on challenges:

“Real transformation beings when you embrace your problems as agents for growth.” -page 76

“It turns out that the life of protecting yourself from your problems becomes a perfect reflection of the problem itself. You didn’t solve anything. If you don’t solve the root cause of the problem, but instead, attempt to protect yourself from the problem, it ends up running your life.” -page 77

What an important concept! Think of the number one problem you have (there will always be problems going on in your head) right now. How often do you think about it? Does it run your life? The key, argues Singer, is to fight it head on! The challenges in life are truly what allow us to grow. Without challenges, we will not grow.

“The events that happen in the moment belong to the moment. They don’t belong to you. They have nothing to do with you. You must stop defining yourself in relationship to them, and just let them come and go.” -page 126

“If anything can cause disturbance inside of you, it means it hit your model. It means it hit the false part of you that you built in order to control your own definition of reality. But if that model is reality, why didn’t experiential reality fit?”-page 127

More than likely, the voice in your head has made hateful comments like: “Oh my god, what is she wearing on her head?” “Man, I hope that freak doesn’t come over here and try to talk to me.” “That guy is way too spoiled!” If this is so, throw them out! Throw those perceptions of reality out, as they are holding your happiness back!

“People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy?” -page 129

“Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. You don’t have to learn Sanskrit or read any scriptures. You don’t have to renounce the world. You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy.” -page 131

Gee, what a concept.

“Life is not something you get, it’s something you experience.” – page 149

The author then presents the example of death. If you knew that you were going to die this week, what would you do? Why aren’t you doing this now in life? You can die at any moment, any breathe you take could be your very last.

If you haven’t had a chance to read this book, or any self-help book for that matter, I suggest you take the time out of your day to check it out. Self-help books tend to fix problems in your psyche that you are completely unaware of. Only after reading a few chapters of this book, you will feel refreshed, wondering why you haven’t thought about these things before. The only element of the book that I did not appreciate was the final chapter. The author decides to dedicate this part of the book to the ‘loving eyes of God.’ Throughout the first 18 chapters he rarely (if ever) makes mention of ‘God,’ instead focusing on a logical, rational approach to connect with the reader. Regardless, the first 18 chapters are well worth the read and will likely fill you with inspiration!

Pre-Polyphasic Sleep Planning and Goals

PLAN OF ACTION:

2013 -04 -18

Polyphasic sleeping is something I stumbled upon while researching other things. This sleeping technique refers to the practice of sleeping multiple times over a 24 hour period. In particular, I was most interested in the Uberman approach which consists of six thirty minute naps separated by equal intervals of 4 hours throughout the 24 hour period. A common approach has been to sleep at 2am, 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm, and 10pm, resulting in ~3 hours of sleep per day instead of the normal ~8 hours of sleep. Clearly, the reason to try this is to free up extra time, but exactly how much time would you free up? Saving ~5 hours a day equates to 35 hours a week which is roughly 150 hours a month. Ultimately you would be gaining over two extra months of free time in a time span of a year. I have always been someone who wants to accomplish more than I’ve had time to do so, so these benefits are too great to pass up.

The goal of polyphasic sleep is to immediately enter stage 5 rapid eye movement sleep instead of requiring 5-6 hours to get there (regular monophasic sleep). Stage 5 REM is said to be the essential part of sleeping. Some list it as the only part of sleep that is required. The Uberman approach configures your brain to immediately gain stage 5 REM status upon sleep. Thus, your two to three hours of sleep become just as valuable as your neighbors eight hours last night.

The current plan is to start this routine sometime next week, likely Wednesday, April 24th, 2013. This gives me a little over five days to prepare my body for this sudden change. Currently I have minimal caffeine intake (which doesn’t seem like a smart thing to include in this new routine) and I have been a relatively healthy person compared to society. I plan on changing my diet to a vegetarian regiment in hopes of maximizing my results. Water and juicing will be incredibly important for me down this new path. I’ve read that the Uberman routine will require more food intake to compliment the longer hours of being awake. It will be critically important to not eat before napping as that tends to cause issues while sleeping.

If all goes to plan I hope to continue this routine for at least half a year, and possibly the extended future. The main motivation behind it is to enable myself to launch projects I’ve always dreamed of doing such as this website, writing, studying a wide range of topics, and being more active amongst the community. I assume the first 10 days will be the most difficult so I plan on ‘forcing’ myself through the first three weeks. If by the 21st day I see no improvements then I will call it off in the name of health. My blog will be used as a journal to keep notes for myself. One of the things I’m most looking forward to is the possibility of lucid dreams.

Steve Pavlina tried the Uberman approach out back in 2005 and apparently had major success with it. One of my highest inspirations Federico Pistono also tried it out with success. Both places are excellent starting points if you wish to learn more about Polyphasic sleep.