I went back to pure monophasic for a couple weeks and studied my zeo
data on it. Within the first few days I seemed to have re-adapted to
mono sleep and didn't note significant changes in my cycles over the
remainder of the 2 weeks. I noted, as has been noted extensively in the
literature, that I emphasize deep sleep at the beginning of the night
and rem at the end / early morning. I didn't realize how extreme the
difference is though! At least for me (I haven't studied the literature
enough to know how general or reliable the phenomenon is) I got almost
all (~90%) of my deep at the beginning of the night (first 2 cycles) and
the same for REM at the end. Light sleep was enriched in the middle
This made me think about sleep efficiency and maximizing deep and rem
and minimizing light. Doing some simple math I saw that if I cut out
the middle hours of the night I would still get as much, if not more,
deep and rem as is recommended by zeo and many sleep "experts." My goal
is to sleep at least 65 mins of deep per day (not counting the power nap
which i rarely record on my zeo) and 90 mins of rem. I picked these
numbers somewhat arbitrarily (close to the average amount per night for
someone of my age). The concept was to take advantage of my natural
circadian rhythms rather than combating them.
For my evening nap I decided to sleep 2 hours starting between 8 and
10pm. If I stay up much later than 10 I get *very* sleepy and have a
hard time waking after 2 hrs and am better off sleeping through the
night (see below). I picked 2 hours because I noted that (while
sleeping monophasically) I usually finish my second deep cycle after
about 2 hrs mono sleep. Thus for my first nap I sleep: Light, deep,
rem, light, deep, wake.
For the morning nap I subtract the amount of rem from my evening nap
(typically 5-25 mins) and multiply by 3. I then sleep for the amount of
time noted there to ensure that I get enough rem every night. This is
pretty conservative as I almost always get more than 33% rem in the
morning nap (typically 40-50%). Sometimes I do a bit less than that
(like 2.5x) if I'm crunched for time in the morning. I always end up
with 90-120 mins of rem.
In addition I like to take a single power nap (25 mins) sometime during
the day. If I nap 4pm or later I sometimes have a hard time falling
asleep for my evening nap so I try to take it b/w noon and 4pm. I can
replace the power nap w/ some caffeine (tea or 1/2 cup coffee), but I
prefer not to and hardly ever do. I can also push through and not take
the power nap and I'm just a bit sleepy in the afternoon. I rarely use
the zeo for my power nap (cause i usually sleep in my car), so I can't
say too much about the data there. If I had to guess (based on a number
of times that I have used the zeo for power naps) I would say I am
getting in the neighborhood of 10 mins light, 10 mins deep, and 3 mins
rem per nap - assuming the zeo is accurate over those very short periods
of time (i'm not at all convinced that it is - happy to discuss more at
another time). I would like to do something more rigorous for recording
my power naps and am very interested in hearing about others and your
power nap results.
Notes and thoughts:
* Took very little adaption. The only tricky part for me was going from
a monophasic schedule of going to bed around midnight to going to bed
between 8 and 10. Only took a few days to get used to. Bare in mind
that I've been experimenting with polyphasic for the past 2 years,
however, so napping comes pretty easy to me.
* Easy to pop in and out of. I have the old problem of a partner who I
sleep with fairly regularly. If I join her for the morning nap there
isn't much of a problem because I just try to time my wake up to be
similar to hers. If we go to bed for the evening nap, however, it's a
bit awkward and annoying for me to be woken and get active in the middle
of the night while she is trying to sleep. For one, I'm a much heavier
sleeper than she is. We've tried a bunch of things over the past couple
years and it just doesn't work. Cuddling is important to a relationship
:) That's ok! If I sleep monophasically once or twice a week it
doesn't mess up my schedule at all! I still usually hit the mid-day
power nap if this happens. Also, if work or a social engagement
absolutely can't be avoided or worked around at that time I can still do
it and just sleep monophasically when I finally get to bed. I really
*need* to get an extra power nap in there before I do whatever is going
to keep me out late, however, or I'll start getting *really* sleepy by 10pm.
* Don't have a hard time doing any normal activity at night including
computer work or reading.
* No apparent decrease in athletic ability. Am still able to do heavy
exercise for hours at a time.
In summary I've gone from ~50% light sleep on mono to ~35% light on
poly. The amount of extra time I get isn't dramatic (sleeping 5-6 hrs /
24 hr period), but I feel much better than I do on monophasic, and it is
a fairly flexible schedule that works for me.
How long is your typical morning nap? Do you go fast into REM or do
you have SWS stages as well during it?
Does zeo record your sleep cycle length? What is it?
Do you honor the 90 min multiplier thing? Probably not because you
have accurate data from zeo?
When do you morning nap/when are you awake during the night?
Easy to wake up after evening nap?
This reminds me of the wake-back-to-bed sleeping thing lucid dreamers
do. Except now it makes sense why it works =)
Unclear what sleep lengths to set though.