Polyphasic Sleeping

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you guys on my journey with polyphasic sleeping. It’s been a busy couple of months since I first started and has been a up and down ride throughout.

You’ll probably remember my introduction to what exactly polyphasic sleeping is in this article and its sequel. I also took this on using the Everyman sleeping pattern, to which you can check out the initial adaptation experience here and here.

You’re probably wondering at this point how things have changed since that July update. After all, it’s been 3 months since then.

So here’s a quick rundown of how the last 3 months have, and what my current schedule is like, and what I have planned for the future.

Past 3 Months

On the last update, I left off with some minor sleep deprivation as I was finally adjusting to the Everyman schedule. At the beginning of these 3 months, the worst was already over.

First Month

With each passing week, the sleep deprivation felt significantly less. Matter of fact, I was feeling the difference with each day it seemed like.

However, as I was really busy during this time, I didn’t pay too much attention to how I felt throughout the day. As I

always had something to work on, my mind was occupied constantly.

Sleeping Baby
Consistently Going Out Like A Baby

I still hit my naps, and falling right into sleep and waking up at the right times started to become second nature at this point.

It wasn’t until the end of the first month that I felt like the routine was solidly in place. It was towards the last week of the month that I felt sleepy exactly at at the nap times, and fully awake and energized upon waking.

But even so, this first month was a walk in the park compared to the initial few weeks of hellish adaptation. There was a lot less “fuzziness” in my head and my concentration, focus, and memory was a lot more on point.

Second Month

The highlight from the second month mainly involved minor details and tweaking of the schedule. I felt my noon nap was better shifted to 11:45 am. I tried making that switch at the start of the second week during the second month, and I felt the difference right away.

More energy, less drowsiness when waking and definitely longer sustained wakefulness.

At this point, the first two naps both moved earlier about half hour. So my first nap is at 3 am, and the second is at 7 am. Although these times don’t jive too well with my work schedule and workout schedule, I feel much better when I follow those times.

Then we have the core sleep, which stayed at the same time. I didn’t feel the need to change that since I fall asleep no problem and wake with plenty of energy from it.

Dinner
No More Late Night Meals For Me

I did change my eating a bit. I felt that eating before my core sleep helped as long as it’s 1.5 hours or more before.

If I eat within the 1.5 hour window, I won’t sleep as well. And with polyphasic sleeping, just a minor decrease in sleep quality equates to significant crappy feeling during wakefulness.

It was also at this point that I felt my workouts were back at full intensity again. During the initial adaptation, I barely worked out since I was so fatigued. But by the second week, I was going just as hard as I was before taking on the Everyman schedule.

Third Month

The last month was mainly enjoying the effects of the Everyman schedule, but also realizing something in my spare time (the few extra hours per day).

My productive did in fact go up, but it wasn’t because of my sleeping schedule in particular. Don’t get me wrong, I never would’ve gotten as much done as I have if it wasn’t for the Everyman schedule.

But I realized that all the extra work I got done during this time could’ve been done even if I had slept more hours. Not necessarily monophasically, but a longer core sleep and maybe a nap or 2 during the day.

And it wasn’t until the last week of the third month that I realized something else.

Something that meant I probably shouldn’t be sleeping polyphasically, at least if I want to achieve the goals that I have set for myself.

Lack Of Slow Wave Sleep

During that last week, I felt a drastic decrease in athletic performance. I mean my HIIT sessions looked like tempo runs!

I couldn’t turn up the intensity and I felt like I was hitting the wall just 20 minutes into a steady workout. Several days of this and I still couldn’t figure out why.

Fatigued
Mentally and Physically Drained After My Workouts

Until I really drilled down and thought about what has changed recently.

During the second month, I talked about how my workouts were back at the same intensities as they were before. At least that’s what it felt like.

My theory is that the initial adaptation period left me so drained that any type of recovery and improved adaptation to the sleeping schedule would improve my performance as well.

The drastic improvement in my workouts then was what I felt, and it was so significant compared to when I was fatigued that it felt like I was back to my original state.

But over the last month, the workout stress accumulated to a point that I couldn’t recover fully with just the 3 hour core sleep and 3 naps.

Mainly, the core sleep was the only way I was getting slow wave sleep, where my body repairs itself and restores hormonal and other bodily functions.

And it just wasn’t enough to keep up with my training schedule.

Before I made that conclusion, I tested it by giving up my Everyman schedule for a few days. I planned to do a much longer core sleep and maybe a nap of two throughout the day.

Initially, I thought it’d be tough to go back to a longer core sleep time, although not as long as when I was monophasic. But it actually felt natural to have the longer core sleep!

I was feeling more rested when I woke up from the 5 hour core sleeps I took those few nights. This was another piece of evidence that my core sleep of 3 hours wasn’t enough for the volume of training I was doing.

To really make sure that my core sleep was the real cause of my fatigue and crappy workout sessions, I went back to the Everyman schedule after 3 nights of extended core sleep. After all, I rather not have suffered through the couple months of adaptation only to give up this sleep schedule I worked so hard for.

Testing
A Little Testing Revealed The Culprit

I knew it’d take some re-adapting, so the first 2 days of tiredness was normal. I did very light workouts those days.

After that, my energy levels felt like they were back to normal. I resumed my workouts and attempted to go for the same level of intensity and volume as before.

It held up for a few days, almost a week. But then just these past few days I was feeling the fatigue again.

It seemed the 3 days of extended core sleep helped me recover enough to sustain those hard workouts. But when I went back to the 3 hour cores, my body once again started to slip behind the stress from training.

Not For Everyone

A reoccurring theme on this platform is that we need to each find what works for us as individuals. Nothing is ever one size fits all and polyphasic sleeping is one of those things in life.

For me, it wasn’t so much because my genetics required me to get more sleep. In fact, it worked okay with my schedule and I had a lot more time throughout the day.

I was a bit more productive than I was before, but I wasn’t using my time as wisely. I feel I could do the same amount if I just focused more on my tasks at hand during my monophasic days.

The main problem for me is that my body wasn’t recovering from the training. I have certain goals I want to meet, and my training is the only way I can get there.

And because I couldn’t train the way I want to and need to, I took the time to weigh out the importance of both. I thought about the reasons for why I started training and why I started polyphasic sleeping.

Like I said, my training is my means to attain my physical fitness goals. My polyphasic sleeping was a means to be more productive by having more hours in my day.

Realizing that I wasn’t getting that much more productive, while sacrificing quality training for it, just wasn’t the sacrifice. Besides, I can now work on being more disciplined to get more other work done with less time.

So I’m getting off the polyphasic Everyman schedule, but I’m not going back to monophasic either. My core sleep is staying at around 5 to 6 hours, depending on the day I’ve had. I still take 2 naps throughout the day.

To me, this is a classic case of trying something out and realizing when it isn’t for you. It can be a great schedule for a lot of people. And a lot of them swear by it.

I have no reason to doubt them because I’ve experienced it and it does work. But for me and my situation and what I want to do in life, it isn’t ideal for me.

The good thing is, I didn’t waste the adaptation period at all. I couldn’t sleep for only 5 to 6 hours and a couple naps a day before this. Now I feel ready to go every time I wake up!

So I guess the adaptation did help me in a way after all.

Oh, and my workouts are as intense and as high in volume as ever 🙂

 

Stay healthy,

-Wing

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I've just started getting serious about health and fitness around 2014. Since then I've learned the insider info on how to optimize athletic performance and healthy living through both nutrition and proper training. The most important thing I've discovered however, is the connection between the mindset of those that excel in athletics, and those that succeed in their life pursuits. I've spent the last couple years observing and drawing these connections and similarities, finally created a platform to share with you all what I've found, and how to apply them in your own life to get similar results.

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