It has been about a week since I started my second polyphasic sleep attempt at the Everyman schedule. Even with my new found strategy, it had its ups and downs. I just love my sleep! The adaptation phase is still ongoing and I think I have yet to fully adjust to the short core sleep and multiple nap schedule.
Before I get into how my first week of adaptation had went, I’ll talk about what my exact strategy was.
For the first week, I was planning on getting by with a total of 5 hours of sleep per day. I would have a 4 hour core sleep at night and then two 30 minute naps, one in the morning and one right before noon. I plan for this to help me adjust to a shorter core sleep and napping routine.
My plan for the second week was to cut down on the total sleep time to 4 or 4.5 hours, depending on how my adaptation is at the end of the first week. The core sleep will be 3 or 3.5 hours, and the two naps will stay at 30 minutes. Since we are just heading into the second week, I won’t reveal what the third week’s plans are just yet.
Here’s a brief rundown of how my first week went during the adaptation period.
I started the adaptation period by going to bed at around 9 pm on Thursday night and setting my alarm for 1 am Friday morning. It took me about a half hour to fall asleep that night. I usually get out of bed and do something relaxing to help me sleep if I don’t fall asleep within 10 minutes. But the start time of the core sleep during adaptation is very important, as are the nap times. Plus, sleep deprivation is one of the key things that helps adaptation along so I wasn’t too worried about not getting all the sleep starting out.
Getting up wasn’t as bad as I had thought. I was a bit tired still but I looked forward to working on my site and working out in the night time so that helped me get out of bed. No one else was awake at the time and I felt it was the best time to do things that requires concentration.
Staying awake wasn’t really a problem either since I was occupied with my work and training. My focus was surprisingly on point even though I woke up a bit tired. It seem the lack of noise and distractions helped me stay on target, which also kept me from falling back asleep.
At about 4:00 am, I started light stretching and some mobility work before heading to the gym. I got my workout in from 5:00 to about 6:30, after which I showered and headed off to work.
Work officially starts at 8:00 and I arrived at the parking lot around 7:20, just in time for my first nap. I put on my sleep mask and reclined the seat back and snoozed for the next 30 minutes. It took all but around 3 minutes for me to fall asleep, which was surprisingly quick.
I woke up from my nap to the alarm I had set for 30 minutes. I didn’t hit REM sleep at all, only light sleep where I was still semi-conscious and had light dreams, but was still aware of where I was. It was still rejuvenating enough however, to feel like I had a good nap.
Knowing I had another 3.5 hours before my next nap, I was in high gear for the first hour or so. I felt awake and got a lot of work done. Around 10:30 to 11:00 is when I started feeling a bit of the fuzzy feeling. It wasn’t too bad so I kept working through it.
Yay! Second nap time came around and I was in my car at 11:25. It was lights out for me when I closed my eyes, but I didn’t hit any REM sleep from what I recalled. I woke up to my alarm that was set for 30 minutes feeling a little rejuvenated, but still groggy from the nap.
After waking up, I went for a brief 10 walk around the office building. The sleep schedule hasn’t really affected my appetite much and I typically don’t eat lunch anyway since I’m not usually hungry until dinner time. So after the walk I went straight back in the office and it was work time.
It was time to leave work and I felt good enough to function after the nap. The same feeling lasted even through my drive home. I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be, but it’s only the first day so it was too early to say anything.
I headed to the chiropractor and got my usual adjustments. Then off to the gym. The workout was the same, warm-up and then very heavy lifting for few reps followed by a hard HIIT session. After some cooling down, I felt like a million bucks. It was time to get home cuz it’s dinner time!
The energized feeling from the workout was fading away quick. Just as I finished my dinner, I felt like closing my eyes for a long sleep. But I was determine to keep the same core sleep time at 9:00 pm since consistency is the most important key in adaptation. It was time to find something to keep my mind off sleeping for another hour.
I decided to go for a walk around my neighborhood. I felt the need to sleep during my walk, yawning almost every few minutes. But it was a good activity to keep me awake and relaxing at the same time so it’ll prep me for my core sleep.
Taking a nice warm shower as soon as I got back home put me right into sleep mode. My room was quite cool with a breeze coming through the windows, which made falling asleep super easy. I don’t recall having any trouble dozing off.
The weekend was not very eventful as far as adaptation went so I’ll spare you the mindless details. It basically composed of more sleep deprivation and strict adherence to the schedule. I either worked out or worked on my site to keep my mind off of sleeping. The only thing that was different was that it was much more difficult to get out of bed since it was weekend. In the back of my mind I wanted to sleep in and that thought was constantly in my mind throughout the two days.
Monday was actually very similar to Friday as far as routine and adaptation went. I slept well that day but still didn’t feel rested. The gradual sleep debt was accumulating and it was catching up to me quickly. Then Tuesday came around.
It was tough getting up from this alarm. I knew the first week is suppose to be the hardest but it was already the fifth day and it felt like hell getting up.
I forced myself to get up out of bed and even then, I sat there staring into space like a zombie. Using every ounce of strength to hold up my eyelids, I went to the bathroom and splashed some cold water on my face. That helped a lot more than I thought it would.
I went on the computer to check on my site, but didn’t have much motivation to do anything because I was still very tired. Knowing that I wasn’t going to be productive with my site, I decided to go outside for a brief run, hoping it’ll wake my mind up and the energy going.
I kept myself up by running and then taking a cold shower. It was time to head to the gym. During the drive there, I thought about the effect of being sleep deprived and my performance. I didn’t want to hurt myself working out but then I don’t want to break from my normal routine. If I were to lower my activity level, I feel that trying to increase it after adapting to the schedule would require another adaptation of sorts. I could be wrong but I just wanted to avoid that if it was the case.
My energy levels were up a bit after the warm-ups, and I think that was the only thing that helped me finish the workout. After showering, I headed off to work.
The 7:30 nap wasn’t much of a nap at all. As tired as I was, I could not fall asleep for the life of me. And just as I was starting to doze off, the alarm went off and my 30 minutes were up. I knew at that point that it was going to be a long day.
As soon as I stepped into the office I was already looking forward to the next nap. The only thing that kept me going at this point was knowing how good the next nap is going to feel, as long as I don’t have the same trouble falling asleep like I just did with the first “nap”.
I was able to concentrate no problem, although the groggy feeling was always there. The fuzzy feeling around my eyes were getting more and more severe as time went on. 11:30 could not come soon enough.
As soon as I put my head back with my sleep mask on I was out like a light bulb. I did hit REM sleep this time and I was able to recall the dream after waking up. The alarm went off after 30 minutes of nap time and I felt 100% better. It was a pleasant surprise how much better I felt just from the 30 minutes of REM sleep.
I took a brief walk around the office again and kept thinking about how long this feeling of rejuvenation will last. I went back to work, excited to be so focused and able to concentrate on my work again. It was that I was in superman mode or anything, but compared to how my morning was, this was like being high off of a gallon of coffee.
I was feeling pretty good until I got to my car. The desire to sleep hit me all of a sudden. I guess it may be that I’ve been taken naps in my car that I’ve gotten used to the feeling of sleeping in it. Just pure speculation. But Tuesday nights are when I donate plasma at the local plasma donation center. And knowing that I’ll be lying down for a good 45 minutes or so gave me both relief and worry.
I was relieved that I will be in a comfortable position where I can rest. But that was also the reason for my worry. If I fall asleep, I’ll break out of my schedule and my adaptation period will either be ruined or at least prolonged, neither of which I want.
Thankfully, the nurses are constantly around to check on the donors to make sure we keep our eyes open. This was enough for me to at least stay awake throughout the donation process.
I got home around 8:30 and way more tired than hungry, and I wasn’t going to let hunger get in the way of me catching up on some much needed zzz’s. I showered and had some water and went straight to bed at 9:00 sharp. I was gone as soon as I hit the pillow.
The next two days were more of the same. There were good and bad naps, times where my focus was spot on and when it felt like the world was falling apart. The only thing that felt consistent was my sleep schedule. On Friday however, something changed.
I woke up this time much easier than the last few days. It was exciting to see improvements in my focus and overall feeling of wakefulness. I didn’t feel the need to HAVE to work on something to keep myself awake, but I did want to work on my site anyway.
This brings us to today, which I had off from work because of a special summer program the company had going on. But unlike last weekend, this day off from work felt much better.
Since I was home, I had this nap on the couch. I remember reading through my research that it helps to have only your core sleep on your bed. If the naps are taken on your bed as well, it’s much easier to oversleep. I put my head down with my eye mask on, I slept right on schedule.
There was very little feeling of grogginess waking up from this nap. There was some REM sleep there and I was feeling like the nap schedule is starting to take root.
This nap also went surprising well. I didn’t fall asleep until about 5 minutes in, so it was more of a 25 minute nap. But I woke up feeling great. The little bit grogginess was gone from before and I felt the most energized since I started this adaptation.
I worked on my site some more and started this article actually. I went to it back forth between this and working out. It was pretty easy to write it all down when I take breaks from staring at the screen and get to do something physically challenging.
Plan For Next Week
As I write this sentence it is almost 7:30 pm. I look forward to cutting back the core sleep to 3 hours so that I’ll be waking up at 12 am. The naps will stay at the same duration and times. If the core sleep becomes too unbearably short, I may increase it to 3.5 hours, but definitely no going back to 4.
At this point, I think I’m getting used to the total sleep time of 5 hours. I think transition to 4 hours total is a good step for me. I’ve been hitting REM a lot faster now, although it’s not instantaneous like some experiences that I’ve read. But hopefully I’ll be getting there soon.
If there’s one thing I’ve
learned experienced is that the sleep debt accumulation is very real. It’s not like if you’ve slept a little less one day but you wake up feeling fine the next, the body forgets about missing that sleep. Your body, and especially your mind, remembers that you have sleep to make up and that is the hardest part about the whole adaptation period.
You have to fight your mind telling you to make up for the missed sleep but staying strict with your schedule. Only then will your mind give in, and not you, into getting more efficient and restful sleep. This is the only way that I know of as of now that can help the mind get used to polyphasic sleeping.
I’ve read from others’ experience that giving in once is enough to prolong the process, and I am not going to test that out myself.
Be sure not to miss my next update!