polyphasic sleep: the report after 2 full days

Ugh. I’m tired.

Ok, actually I feel pretty good right now, but the above was all I could think about for the past 10 hours or so. The last time I slept more than 20 minutes in a row was Sunday night. On Monday I spent the day normally, and then decided to dive into a polyphasic sleep schedule called SPAMAYL starting Monday night. Since my last normal sleep period on Sunday night / Monday morning (which ended when I woke up 50 hours ago), I’ve had a total of 16 x 20 minutes = 5.3 hours spread over 2 days.

I had my first 20 minute nap at 1am on Monday night / Tuesday morning, and then several more naps as required. The main rule for SPAMAYL is that you must separate each of the 20 minute naps with a gap of at least 40 minutes, otherwise your body will try to continue where the previous sleep cycle left off, instead of training to go straight to the REM part of the cycle.

REM is the essence of the method, really. In a normal night, you go through several 1.5hr sleep cycles, and only a small portion of each sleep cycle is REM sleep (about 20mins per cycle). By fragmenting your sleep into 20 minute pieces, you enter a period of sleep deprivation where your body doesn’t know what’s going on, but then it soon adapts by going immediately to REM as soon as you fall asleep. You spend your entire 20 minute nap in the REM state, dreaming, and then you wake up feeling like you just got a full 1.5hr cycle.

So, according to my notes, I took 9 20 minute naps between late monday night and late tuesday night, and my girlfriend had 10 naps in the same period. During last night up until about noon today, I’ve already had 7 naps (and 9 for my gf), and I found this night much more difficult than both the previous night and the middle of the day. I’m happy, though, that I can get to sleep within minutes of laying down, and I’m already getting REM in most of my naps.

The adjustment period is said to take about a week, most of which might be filled with me feeling like I’m being run over by a bus, but after that it’s supposed to even out. I’m not really being that productive right now due to exhaustion, but if I succeed in adjusting then I’ll have more than enough productive hours to make up for the week of zombie-state.

I’ll post more as things develop.


5 Responses to polyphasic sleep: the report after 2 full days

  1. Chani says:

    “and then you wake up feeling like you just got a full 1.5hr cycle.”

    note: this is meant quite literally. the first couple of times it happened, I had to check the clock because it felt as if I’d overslept and had been dreaming for at least an hour. 🙂

  2. Tanja says:

    thanks for the update. me, being currently sick (cold), wonder how it will work when you actually get sick. for my part, i know that a lot of sleep is my best friend for getting healthy again. how to deal with that without destroying your sleep phase adaption?
    also, i thaught the “deep sleep” phase is also very important for recreation. not true? i don’t want you to get paranoid after a few weeks 😉

    • Chani says:

      according to the inventor of the uberman schedule, you shouldn’t try the transition while sick (duhh, one source of stress at a time is quite enough 😉 but once you’re properly adapted, then when you’re sick you should just sleep as much as you need and not worry about it – but make sure you keep having naps, even if the extra sleep turns them into 20-minute bouts of staring-at-the-ceiling. 🙂 not only is it easy to get back on track once you’re better, it seems that the more efficient sleep also makes for far more efficient healing – a few hours of extra sleep was usually enough for her to get over the bug. 🙂

      as for NREM sleep phases… I remember someone saying that we don’t have any studies on whether it’s needed. given that people can live on these crazy sleep schedules for over a year with no apparent problems, I expect it’s *probably* safe – but we really need some studies on that to be sure.

  3. Blahah says:

    This is really awesome, I love to see people experimenting with polyphasic sleep – I’ve never had the balls to take the dive myself. I look forward to reading about your progress, and whether the experiment has any discernible effect on your language learning.

    • doviende says:

      The first effect is that I’m not getting as much done during this adjustment period as I’d like…and I’ve shifted some of my studying to easier passive activities like watching TV in that language. Hopefully things will pick up a bit more once I’ve adjusted, though.

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