The End...?

Well, some of you have already heard the news, but I have fallen ill. It's most likely the same stomach virus that my brother contracted earlier in the week. From 10pm last night to 6am this morning I was in severe pain, throwing up every now and then. I must have thrown up a total of 13-15 times. I won't go into any more detail, but rest assured that I am not well. I feel better this morning, but I still have a bit of recovery to do. So what does this mean for my experiment? This was one of my fears from the very beginning. Depending on the severity of the illness, I would probably have to quit if I got sick. My sleep schedule has already been compromised, so unfortunately I am going to have to end the experiment and try again another time. I don't have enough time to readapt before classes begin, not to mention the obvious, that my body is going to need further rest to get better. Some people have been quick to finger my sleep schedule as the culprit, lowering my immune system. I have read that the lack of sleep can probably lower your immune system, but who's to say I wouldn't have gotten sick anyway? I'm not denying or confirming the allegation, I just think it's unfair to jump the gun on blaming polyphasic sleep when there is so little evidence. Sorry to let all of you down, this is a difficult but pretty much necesarry decision to make. Thank you all for your interest. Stay tuned, I intend to write a brief memoir of sorts on the experience. Right now, though, my body needs some rest.

Day 9

Well tomorrow I head back to school, so I need to update and then pack up my things, including the computer. Do I feel ready to take on my academic life again? As of right now, no. I would say I'm pretty close, though. What worries me now is that these spells of exhausteion happen to fall around 9/10ish in the morning, smack-dab in the middle of my classes. I didn't have one of those spells today. The reason? I didn't oversleep, I accidentally slept. My stomach was cramping up sometime after 6:00am. I laid down for a minute to stretch my stomach muscles. This usually provides some relief. Apparently I was too relaxed, and I've realized more and more how tired I must be at night. Most of what happened early this morning before I fell asleep is a haze. I remember waking up sometime after nine and being horrifically confused. My clue that I had fallen asleep while stretching my stomach was the face that I was oriented the wrong way in bed, which was width-wise, rather than length-wise. I'm not sure if such naps are harmful or helpful. I can tell you this though, despite all the unintentional long periods of sleep I've had, my body IS adapting. At first I was just annoyed that I'd fallen asleep, but then I realized that I'd woken up on my own after just three hours of sleep and I felt great. I've heard that some people take a longer nap every night. If I continue to have trouble adapting, I may try that before giving up all hope.

Since it's been over a week, I've spending some time thinking back on my progress so far, and it struck me how little sleep I've gotten compared to an average monophasic sleeper. Even with the unintended sleeping, I've probably slept no more than half as much as most people, and overall I feel wonderful! My parents have begun to express concern. "You need your sleep!" they tell me. They're worried about how this will affect my health. Of course, they're not the first to express those concerns. If you'll recall, this is one of the first things I considered before starting this experiment. Am I being stupid rather than adventurous, here? The bottom line is, I haven't acrued enough evidence to make me think that this will be too damaging. Plenty of other people have done it and survived. I intend to try to get a hold of a few sleep experts to get their opinions. I've been trying to contact one, who's a goon, but alas my efforts have proven fruitless. Feel free to share your thoughts, readers.

Day 8

Sorry for the lateness of the update, but here it is. I would have liked to do an update with a level of excitement on par with that of yesterday's. Unfortunately, today's episode wouldn't be much different from yesterday's. I had the same onset of extreme, mind-raping exhaustion right around the same time, although this time I dropped the shampoo a whole lot more often, and it didn't seem to last as long. I imagine that the period of hell is around that time my body thinks it's time to go to sleep, as a result of my recent, seemingly random sleep habits. I should also mention that I did somehow oversleep a little bit this morning somehow during my 8am nap, although it was only for half an hour. I have absolutely no idea how I overslept. It must have been an alarm error, as I don't remember a thing. Thankfully, I woke up on my own accord. I've been getting better and better at falling asleep and waking up right away, despite the frigid air at night and the tempting warmth of my bed. Like I said, yesterday I noticed that I had started dreaming during these short naps. This seems to be a good indicator that I may finally be getting that REM my body needs, which is profoundly exciting. Now, once again, it is time for me to nap. I will let you know how I'm doing tomorrow. Things are really going to get interesting once I get settled in at school. Night night.

Day 7 - The Epic Tale of the Morning's Aftermath

After I updated earlier this morning, I decided to have another supplementary nap around ten. When I awoke, I expected to feel fresher and more awake as one typically does upon waking. But no, not this time. I was more tired than I had ever been in my entire life. "Tired" wasn't even the right word. "Tired" is a splinter to my brain compared to this ravaging of my conscious mind. I literally had trouble focusing and standing straight. I could have easily been mistaken for intoxicated. I thought a shower would help freshen me up, like showers tend to do. I was just as tired when I stepped out as when I had stepped in. I stumbled weakly into some clothes and sat down in this chair, deliberating what to do. Deliberations were cut short by my tired body. It was as if my bed was drawing it towards me like a magnet, seducing me with the idea of forgetting this business and just going to sleep, if only for a few hours. I remember vaguely my hands reaching out and setting alarms. My blankets enveloped me. I closed my eyes.

Then my iron will awoke. I sat up in bed. My body was never going to adapt if I kept on spoiling it. What if this sensation was a sign that my body was beginning to adapt? My body was definitely sensing that something was changing. If I had laid down and slept, I don't think I'd have been much different than a regular, sleep-deprived college student with house of cards sleep habits. I resolved that I would wait until it was time.

Noon came. I slipped into a dream more quickly than I can recall in recent time. Ladies and gentlemen, I believe it's working. After that nap I've felt empowered and energetic. I feel like this short narrative is a testament to that. Compare the way it's written to my earlier entries. This is born of my renewed energy. However, this most likely isn't the end. I presume more struggles like this before the battle is won. As always, thank you, my readership, for your interest. I hope this is as exciting for you as it is for me.

Edit: I decided to do a picture symbolizing the sides of this struggle.

Day 7

So it's been almost a week then, has it? I'm definitely not over the hump yet. In fact, it's somewhat difficult to say whether there is a hump, or whether it's just a wavy road obscured by fog. I started feeling pretty tired early this morning after my 4am nap. I therefore decided to squeeze in an extra nap at 6am. I still feel pretty tired, so I'll probably squeeze in another extra nap at 10am. My alarms have been working well. I'm also sleeping light enough that the first alarm usually gets me out of bed. These are most likely good signs. I have a little less than one week until classes start. By then I hope to be used to the sleep schedule. If by then I am still having trouble/feeling tired all the time/etc, then I will simply have to drop it. So to sum up: I'm pretty damned tired at the moment. I was watching the old version of The Producers and just couldn't focus on the movie. I had to stop it because I was afraid I was going to fall asleep while watching it. I may update later if my condition changes. As always, thanks for those of you who are keeping up with me for maintaining an interest in my affairs. Until next time.


Day 6

Finally, a full night of polyphasic sleep. My alarms worked perfectly, so I was able to avoid oversleeping. I've decided that unless I have sudden flashes of exhaustion, I will no longer be including drawings. Assume that I feel like I did on Day 1. I felt remarkable all day yesterday and last night. Have I finally gotten past the hump? We'll find out. I'd decided to hold off on doing some more Maya training, but since I was feeling so awake last night I decided to do a little more. My 12am and 4am naps were rather sub-par, but the one I just had was fantastic. It felt like I'd been sleeping for hours and hours, not thirty minutes. Despite the good nap, I felt significantly more tired than I felt earlier. A hot shower helped wake me up, but I can still feel a twinge of sleepiness.

Day 5 - This is going to be harder than I thought

Once again, I overslept. I haven't been using the cellphone alarm, as my computer timer had been doing wonders all yesterday afternoon and night. I have been using my bedside alarm, however, as backup. Well, somehow I never started the timer, even though I could swear that I did. No ifs or buts here on out. I can't keep doing this or my body will never adjust. I must have been very, very deep in sleep, because most of the time I can remember turning off my bedside alarm. But not this time. I didn't even feel like I had slept that long. Sleep is a weird thing, to say the least. She is a harsh and unyielding mistress, but I will tame her. Even if I have to set five more alarms before I sleep. Other than that, last night I felt fantastic, unlike the night before. It wasn't until slightly before the nap in which I overslept that I started to feel a little tired. I even joined my mom and brother for breakfast before they departed for their respective schools (my mom's a teacher). I read every single comic of a strip called Sexy Losers, to which someone had posted a link on somethingawful. If you like sexual humour, you might find it amusing. Otherwise, you will be very, very offended. I'm not even posting the link, because I don't want to promote it. I'm just reporting what I've done with my time. It's pretty funny though. I don't have time right now to make a drawing, but I will be sure to add one as soon as I get back from the place to which I am going. Let me know if you have any other alarm ideas.

Day 4 - more trouble

Well, I'm ashamed, but I oveslept again. This time I slept straight through my 4:30 alarm until 9. This happened for a number of reasons. For some reason, my computer volume was turned off when I got up. Either I turned it off at some point right before I went to bed, or I got up and turned off the alarm and went back to bed. I have no memory of either. But I think that the main reason it happened was that last night without warning I suffered a huge dip in morale. I was suddenly gripped with overpoweing exhaustion. Time was dragging by as I waited for 4 to arrive so I could finally nap. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep all night. I was even considering just dropping this whole thing. But alas, I refuse to let myself give up that easily. I haven't even tasted the final product yet. What I will do instead, I think, is do what Steve Pavlina (http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/10/polyphasic-sleep-log-day-3/) did and have a couple of additional naps to help me adjust. I quote:

"I believe the idea is that after you’ve successfully made the polyphasic adaptation, six naps are intended to provide the equivalent of roughly six cycles of REM sleep, which would allow you to function as if you’ve gotten about nine hours of normal sleep. So given that reasoning, six naps makes sense to do post-adaptation, and it’s no wonder that people report feeling good on those six naps once they’ve made the adjustment.

But what about during the adaptation period itself, when you still aren’t getting any REM sleep at all? I’m not a sleep doctor, but I think it may be easier to do more than six daily naps during the adaptation period, as long as you continue to keep the naps under 30 minutes and keep them spaced far enough apart (say… 90 minutes minimum between naps). You’ll still feel like a zombie without REM sleep, but the extra naps could provide additional rest and help avoid oversleeping."

Pavlina was very successful with his experiment, so if this worked for him, it will probably work for me. I will throw in two additional naps at night and use my cell phone again as another backup alarm. Despite this rather large bump in the road that is my polyphasic sleep adventure, I maintain that I will at least get through the adaptation period. It seems silly to have come this far in the tunnel, and turn around before I reach the light at the end.

As for how I'm feeling right now, I still feel pretty tired, despite my gross oversleeping. I could even say I feel a little zombie-like. I can tell that my movement is slower and that my response time isn't quite as quick. I think it goes without saying that I probably shouldn't drive for a while. It's hard to feel motivated to do anything when I feel like this. Honestly, I think I'm just starting to get bored. I'm going to take a few minutes now to brainstorm some ideas for how else I can spend my time; drawing, cooking, continuing my Maya training, watching movies, writing short stories (who knows what feeling like a zombie can inspire)... that's all I can think of for now. Please share your ideas! Another thing I should mention is that I have work tonight. I'm working short, three hour closing shifts all week. If I still do not feel safe driving I will have to have my parents drive me. That's all for now.

Eve of Day 3

This isn't what I expected at all. I feel... fantastic. My last couple of naps were very refreshing. Right now I feel very alert and relaxed. I've doing everything I can to try to give my body what it needs to adapt. I've been eating more, and more healthily, and I've been drinking lots and lots of water. I was pretty exhausted from my mile jog this morning, although that was also because I'm in horrendous shape. I slip in and out of very mild fog-headedness from time to time, but for the most part I am doing magnificently well.



It's been a very interesting experience so far. I can already sense how my concept of time is changing. Days no longer seem to pass in a long period of an open window, and a long period of a closed window. Instead, it's as if the window is practically open all the time and the world is passing by as a single entity, rather than in episodes. Additionally, I've realized both how little and how much time three and a half hours can be. I've found it very easy to sink into a mindset of "oh, I only have an hour left until my nap, can't do anything productive in that time." My next task will be to break out of that thinking habit. Right now I'm spending most of my time doing recreational activities, which is fine, but I also have to be careful about not getting too comfortable doing that, either. As a goon suggested, I'm going to start learning a little French, so maybe that will be enough for now to help keep me from being a lazy bum afloat in a sea of All the time in the world.

Day 3

Current Status:
Still doing remarkably well. Fairly awake most of the time, with increased foggy-headedness.

I have to say I'm surprised how easy it's been so far. Besides the previous night, I haven't felt very exhausted at all. The bags under my eyes in my drawings represent occasional drowsiness, but nothing that lasts for very long. I didn't have any trouble tonight with alarms or getting up. My naps today have been much closer to sleep than those of yesterday. I'll feel a little tired before I lie down, then wake up feeling a little more refreshed. So far the biggest annoyance about the nighttime is how cold it gets in the house. My family turns off the heater at night to conserve gas. I have to fight the temptation to just crawl under my warm blankets and bundle up instead. This limits me in some ways, but I'm fighting it. I realize that this is a little early to be updating today, so chances are that I will be updating later in the day, as well.

Recent Concerns:
- The house is damned cold at night.
- Erin, my girlfriend, told me that her father recommended that I keep track of my blood pressure and body temperature. He feels that both may be affected. I don't think either would be a bad idea and may look into getting one of those arm band blood pressure thingies. After all, this is, in part, for :science:
- My bottom eyelid on my right eye has been twitching a bit recently. It is unclear whether or not this is related.

Looking Ahead:
I plan on going for a short walk/jog after my 8am nap, coming back for a shower, then having a hearty breakfast. It's exciting how motivated I feel already from doing this. This might die down in the next couple of days if the worst is yet to come, but for now I feel great.

The forecast is looking a little foggier than before, with chance of random laughing fits