Polyphasic for a full year

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matt

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Jan 9, 2012, 6:54:53 AM1/9/12
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I'm polyphasic for a full year at the end of this week. This post is some links and a few notes about my experience.

Adaptation:
I did it hard, taking about 6 weeks of suffering before I believed that you really must give up coffee (4 on E3, 2 on uberman), then another 6 weeks before I conceded that uberman wasn't for me (in hindsight I think I was getting plenty of REM but couldn't adapt to getting SWS during 20minute naps). The next couple of months on E3 were increasingly excellent from a wakefulness perspective (getting to better than I ever was on monophasic, not just to my previous "normal"), but struggling with discipline (me on polyphasic is more prone to procrastination than me on monophasic, but I've learned to control my motivation and am now working more than I did before).

Adaptation links:
I wish I'd had forevernade's posts to guide me when I started. I think there's gold here (some over-zealous claims in the intro, the gold comes later) and here.

Practices:
Regularity in practice helps (same sleep track, same sleep mask (even when dark), same location - especially the sleep track helps), and regularity in when you start your nap.
E3 is adaptable (±1hr without any cost), but regularity when you can afford it really does help.
Occasionally I can't make a nap stick - if I'm still awake 10mins into a nap attempt I'll get up and try again in 30mins or so.
Something like mindfulness meditation (adapted to make it easy to fall asleep) helps me get to sleep.
Coffee can't be a normal part of (a?) my schedule, but it works to skip a nap when (you?) I have to - the cost is adding ~1.5hrs to the following night's core (and postponing the core if I skipped my last nap - if I skip nap 1 or 2, add 1.5hrs to that night's core; if I skip nap 3 have an extra nap at the start of my normal core, then sleep a core ~1hrs longer than normal to wake at the end of what would be my nap 1 of the following day).

Immune response:
I've had fewer minor colds and annoyances this year than each of the past several years on monophasic.

Schedule:
3.5hr core starting at 11pm. Naps at 7am, 11:30am, 5pm.

Record:
From careful logs, 4:40 average sleep per 24:00 over the past 3 months, drifting past a nominal 4:30 through occasional sickness (eg. slept 16hrs after gastro infection), occasional extra core after skipping naps, occasional extra naps to enhance alertness for extra boring tasks, and occasional post alcohol core extension.

Notes:
There's still more stuff to do with time than I have time available. 19.5hrs of alert wakefulness isn't enough, but I don't think 24hrs would be enough either :)
I am a little more prone to sleepiness when bored than I was previously (though that's always been a problem for me). If I dribble into my soup at a dinner party, you might need to change the subject ;)
-- 
M@

Herman Proosa

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Jan 9, 2012, 7:15:30 AM1/9/12
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Excellent summary. Thanks for telling us. And congratulations on one year!

2012/1/9 matt <m...@mattfallshaw.com>
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leifweaver

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Jan 10, 2012, 2:01:30 PM1/10/12
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Matt, 

Kudos! A full year is awesome. I am at about 9 months, averaging 4:48 over the past 5 months. 3x80. 
I have a couple of questions for you:

* have you gained any weight since you have been polyphasic. I have a real problem with snacking at night, especially carbs and sweets, and have put on about a pound a month. I have to figure out something to do about that.

* I got sick back in September, and slept 8hrs/day for three days. Since my night schedule is completely full, I did not catch up until mid December. Did you have this problem when you were sick? If not, how do you catch up? Do you just have more flex time built in?

-Leif

Wout Mertens

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Jan 11, 2012, 6:06:37 AM1/11/12
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On Jan 10, 2012, at 20:01 , leifweaver wrote:

> Kudos! A full year is awesome. I am at about 9 months, averaging 4:48 over the past 5 months. 3x80.

Wow congrats to both of you! I've basically given up on short cores although I do keep napping during the day. So I go to bed when tired and wake up when rested, and do 0-4 naps during the day. My core ends up being between 4 and 8 hours, mostly around 6:30 especially now that it's dark outside. It works better with my unpredictable schedule and I feel more rested than either monophasic or E3.

> * have you gained any weight since you have been polyphasic. I have a real problem with snacking at night, especially carbs and sweets, and have put on about a pound a month. I have to figure out something to do about that.

Try snacking only on "paleo" foods: macadamia nuts, 80% dark chocolate, raw or cooked veggies, not-too-processed meats, aged cheese, berries and unsweetened heavy cream, coconut milk/oil, safe starches like (sweet or regular) potatoes with added fats etc. Avoid grains, legumes, sugar and grain-based oils and any products thereof. It may still make you heavier but at least you won't have blood sugar crashes and you will reduce cravings.

I feel a lot fitter and healthier on paleo. I started with http://archevore.com/get-started and now I really like http://perfecthealthdiet.com . Basically it was through polyphasic sleeping that I had the time to research Paleo so polyphasic sleeping made me a lot healthier :-)

Wout.


matt

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Jan 11, 2012, 12:31:14 PM1/11/12
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Leif,

Weight: Unfortunately for the clarity of findings from this experiment I changed two variables at once - when I started polyphasic sleep I also changed my exercise regime. Over the course of this year I've put on a moderate amount of muscle. My appetite increased significantly (bizarrely I'd describe it as increased desire for food and reduced ability to ignore that desire, rather than an increased feeling of hunger) - weight maintenance on monophasic sleep was very easy for me, and not snacking became a much larger cognitive burden on poly. I gained weight (from 68-70kg to 75kg), but some of that had to be swapping fat for muscle. I've since dropped most of the extra weight (to 71kg) while continuing to build muscle. Also, increasing the purity of my mostly paleo diet and introducing a daily 16hr fast (dinner through lunch) has made appetite control significantly easier over the last month or so (yes, introducing a fast made appetite control easier).

(I'm not sure I understand your question - I may be answering something other than what you asked, but offer three interpretations.)
Illness: In the past my immune system has not been very strong - I've always caught more colds and etc. than my peers. My polyphasic / stricter paleo year saw one annoying flu, one gastroenteritis, and subjectively fewer minor colds and sniffles, which is a significant improvement for me - on weak evidence I'd say my immune system is stronger. For the flu I added two nights of 8hrs sleep after I'd failed to clear it for a few days on poly; for the gastro I slept a 3hr nap plus a 4hr nap plus a 7hr core. 
Recovery from sleep disruption: In both cases of sleep disruption after illness, and a couple of other cases of sleep disruption after a another event, I've jumped back into my schedule with at worst a little sleepiness on the first day. I also ran a trial of 1 week back on monophasic to make sure I remembered how bad it was and again sprang back into poly with ease.
Catchup on a busy schedule: Yeh - I know. I don't know how others get stuff done with only 16-17hrs awake!

Tomáš Votruba

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Jan 11, 2012, 2:13:57 PM1/11/12
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Oi boys, congrats! 

Are your logs somewhere available? I would like to see them (dreams would be best ;-)).
I have kind of feeling that every polyphasic experience is one man show and that we should stick together much more. 

This could be great to see, where you have failed, what did you do, how sleep looked like etc. It would give people complex insight into prolbematics of polyphasic sleep minor problems, for e. g. - "I have the same wron't pattern like you did; oh I see you have added extra nap here and here and it wen't well since then, great".

Do you feel mie?

Ez

Schmutzka

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Tomáš Votruba

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Lee Mirowitz

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Jan 11, 2012, 4:41:21 PM1/11/12
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Hey Matt,

Great email! Those two posts you linked were fantastic! I've been on E3 since October, really seeing success in November and early December, and only recently have fallen off track due to travelling and friends.  Now that I'm home for winter break, I've also noticed its increasingly difficult to keep the schedule due to the fact that I've had a lot less to do than when I was at school. I've started to find it difficult to stay up late and especially wake up early when my bed was so comfortable and everywhere else being so cold and boring :P

So I've thought of going away from E3 and move towards a monophasic schedule, mainly its been difficult and because I'll be studying abroad next semester, and don't think I could maintain a polyphasic schedule while transitioning to the time change. I found that adaption advice to be very intriguing about staying up for 24 hours and then doubling the napping frequency.

My question is what do you guys have any advice? I'm in a mess between E3 and monophasic and need to make up my mind once and for all. Do I stay polyphasic and try readapting using that adaption advice? Should I wait until I'm there or try it now? I'm worried if I do it now, I'll be dead bored on the long plane flight and will unintentionally sleep then. 

Thanks guys for your support!

Lee Mirowitz

matt

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Jan 11, 2012, 4:54:24 PM1/11/12
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Lee,

[grin] I can't imagine not having enough to do with my time. It sounds like that may be the problem.

(Given the number of books published each day, blog posts written, movies released, essays published… that might be 2000hrs per day so far… and, do you know how to pick a lock yet? how about play the guitar? can you draw? program in lisp? touch-type? do you exercise enough? have you trained your dog to do awesome stuff? have you learned lojban? … … …
How could you not have enough to do?)

Lee Mirowitz

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Jan 11, 2012, 5:30:09 PM1/11/12
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Great point, you're absolutely right. Hopefully I'll be back on schedule in no time!

I find it interesting that nobody really mentions dreaming and sleep quality itself to be a big advantage of polyphasic sleep. At one point, I was having the most interesting dreams and really great sleep that it alone was my impetuous to keep it up.  Its funny, people come up to me and say ,"I could never do that, I love sleep too much." I respond, "I do too! While you get to go to bed once a day, I get the privileged of having that feeling 4 times a day!"

Just thought I'd sign off on that note,

Lee Mirowitz

P.S. Lisp, really? I don't know anyone who actively develops using that language...




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Greg Huish

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Jan 11, 2012, 5:36:12 PM1/11/12
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Lee, I've been a huge proponent of dream quality while polyphasic for a long time now.  I just don't post much anymore.  I agree the sleep and dream experiences alone are worth it in my opinion.  These last few month, however, my life and career have changed such that polyphasci sleeping is totally impossible :( talk about bummer.

:D

matt

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Jan 11, 2012, 5:42:15 PM1/11/12
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I respond, "I do too! While you get to go to bed once a day, I get the privileged of having that feeling 4 times a day!"

I have said almost exactly that in rebuttal of the same point. Those who "love sleep" really love going to sleep, dreaming, waking up, or being refreshed after waking up. Polyphasic wins on all four of those counts.

Lisp, really? I don't know anyone who actively develops using that language...

Don't learn Lisp to develop in Lisp. Learn Lisp to develop better in whatever language you're using in your day job. Then learn Smalltalk for the same reason. 

matt

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Jan 11, 2012, 6:27:52 PM1/11/12
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I'm on a roll…
Have you read the Lesswrong Sequences yet?
Have you read The Simple Truth, and Yudkowsky's other essays yet?
Have you read Bostrom's Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant yet?
Have you watched all five seasons of The Wire? … then let a month pass, then watched them all again?

… I don't understand "had a lot less to do" [/grin]

Leif Weaver

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Jan 11, 2012, 7:19:06 PM1/11/12
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Matt, 

Man, I totally agree with you on this one. I have had people wonder what I could possibly do during all that extra time, but if I could double it, I would - and it would be immediately filled with projects that are sitting on the back burner. I had to laugh at your list since i am currently working on lock-picking and lojban. 

Tomáš Votruba

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Jan 11, 2012, 11:55:07 PM1/11/12
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Looks like the message has not been sent.

Leif Weaver

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Jan 12, 2012, 7:43:33 AM1/12/12
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I have some logs, but I have not transferred them to the computer. I have been intending to do that since October, but in fact, it turns out to be pretty low on my priority list. I just have a lot going on right now. While my sleep logs are pretty consistent, 3x80 I agree that it would probably be helpful to for people to see where they are inconsistent - where I slept longer because of illness, alcohol, or just tiredness. Or where I took an extra nap, or pushed my naps up (which is my usual strategy.) 

I will say that when I was monophasic, I was a lucid dreamer, and I used to have intricate, beautiful dreams. Now (assuming that I still dream), I never remember them. I never remember falling asleep, or that half wakeful state just before you get up. Now I lay down, fall asleep, get up. I think that maybe I am not even actually awake when I get up, as I usually don't remember doing that. My Zeo says that my average time to fall asleep is 2 minutes, but it is typically 0. I typically start falling asleep when I do my "going to sleep routine" and often the last thing that I remember is brushing my teeth. The Zeo has shown before that I am already in a light sleep when I put on the headband, which is the very last thing that I do before I sleep. 

When I started polyphasic, I was not this way, but I felt that I was taking too much time in my evening and morning rituals (since I was doing them 3x a day), and I added in a sleeping and waking meditation respectively. I think that perhaps I have been successful in doing this because I had already trained myself to be a lucid sleeper. 

Leif

Tomáš Votruba

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Jan 12, 2012, 12:50:40 PM1/12/12
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Too bad :( if you could scan them, I would help you.
Why haven't you used computer at first place? I would definitely use it to record large amount of numbers.

Gl with priorities


Tomáš Votruba


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2012/1/12 Leif Weaver <leifw...@gmail.com>

Leif Weaver

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Jan 12, 2012, 1:01:28 PM1/12/12
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I did not use the computer in the first place, because I do not have appropriate software (i.e. software that is up to scientific lab data standards), so it is all in my lab book. 

I also have data that is in my Zeo, that I need the connecting cable for. None of this is difficult, it just takes some time. I hope to get a break in my schedule in mid March, and perhaps I can get the bulk of this done.

Leif

Tomáš Votruba

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Jan 12, 2012, 1:07:55 PM1/12/12
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Best luck to that!
I would like to work this like as a community and this is a great step to do this. So it would be really teach somebody to polyphasics, not just give them a theory and let them try (then usually fail).

Thanks for your work.

I will write a bachelors work this spring on this topic, so you won't be alone in this.
I'll try to modify http://www.sleeper.cz, so it could be used as a "study book" in the way I described in previous email.

"In unity there is strength." :)

Ez
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