Archive for the ‘Sleep’ Category

Biphasic Sleep Schedule – Week 1 Summary

Friday, June 4th, 2010 by Phillip Napieralski

Today is day 8 of my new sleep schedule and it’s going good so far. Here’s a summary of the last week.

Days 1-3

Friday last week was the start of the experiment. The night before I got a solid 4.5 hours of sleep (midnight to 4:30am). Waking up wasn’t too hard since I “slept in” the night before. I started to get tired around noon and ended up taking a 1.5 hour nap at 1pm. I spent the morning before my nap programming and being incredibly efficient. After the nap, I spent more time socializing than anything. Overall, I felt pretty chipper and excited throughout the day since I was starting this new experiment. Energy: 95%.

On Saturday, waking up was slightly harder than on Friday with only 4.5 hours of sleep. I woke up early from my alarm, and I suspect it was so difficult since I was in a deep sleep when it went off. Although I was tired for a solid hour, I felt pretty chipper the rest of the day. I felt especially chipper after the nap, so it was a pretty good day. Energy: 80%.

On Sunday, I almost overslept. That is, I woke up after ~4.5 hours (around 6am) and just about threw in the towel… I wanted to sleep more. This was by far the hardest day so far. I was in “Zombie mode” until my nap, which I took an hour earlier (noon-ish). The nap helped a bit and I was able to get myself going afterwards, although I played video games most of the day. Energy: 60%, Mental Ability: 30%.

Days 4-6

Monday was about as hard to wake up for, but I must’ve woken up at the right time since I jumped out of bed a little easier. Besides, it was Memorial Day! I went over to my parents place for dinner. It was delicious, but I could sense following the schedule might be hard with all the meat we were eating (we did some grilling). I went home after hanging with my parents for a bit and went to bed around midnight (although I forced myself to stay awake until then). Energy: 70%.

On Tuesday, I had my first oversleep! I woke up around 6am, which means I overslept by 1.5 hours! This shows that eating a lot of food (especially meat) and trying to go to bed only causes problems (obvious right?). The oversleep helped quite a bit to get my energy up and I spent much of the morning programming. I decided to take the usual nap around 1pm and I felt even more energetic after that. Around 4pm, I had dinner… which consisted of a frozen pizza. I had a few slices then went to play tennis and eat ice cream with a friend. Overall, it was a good day, but I was really tired after tennis, I went to bed around 1am. Energy: 90% with oversleep.

On Wednesday, I had my second oversleep! This time it was a big oversleep, I got a solid 9 hours of sleep. I remember waking up after 4.5 hours AND after 6 hours and remembering not wanting to get up at all. I woke up around 10am and didn’t feel energetic at all (it was definitely because of too much sleep). I suspect this oversleep was a result of all the unhealthy food I ate the day before and the heavy physical activity, which I haven’t done in quite a while. I spent most of the day with friends, starting at noon. I had tea at about 3pm and the caffeine helped me get energized a bit. Pre-nap energy: 75% with caffeine.

Later in the night, I decided to still to take a nap around 8:30pm. I managed to take a solid 1.5 hour nap and it helped a lot! I woke up very chipper and I managed to get some programming done as well as socializing. Post-nap energy: 95%.

That night, I was determined to get back on my sleep schedule.

Day 7

So, I woke up chipper as ever Thursday morning (yesterday) at about 8:30 after a solid 4.5 hours of sleep. I spent the morning being quite efficient. I also ran some errands and finished up a lot of stuff that’s been needing to get done for a while. I took a nap around 2:30pm. It was a solid 1.5 hour nap and I felt great after that. A few hours later, I went to a bar & grill with my roommates, ate some BBQ wings and had a few beers. I came home a little after 11pm and the power was out! Energy: 90%

I fell asleep around midnight, but I didn’t wake up until around 9am this morning (Friday)!

Preliminary Conclusions

From this weeks test, I can conclude a few things that seem to make it a lot harder to follow the schedule:

  • Eating lots of food before sleeping
  • Eating more than one serving of meat
  • Eating “junk food” (aka, frozen pizzas and ice cream)
  • Any amount of alcohol

I was thinking of adding “exercise” to the list, but the reality is that I had a frozen pizza before playing and ice cream right after playing. I’ll be playing tennis again next Tuesday, so I’ll make sure to eat healthy that day and see if I still oversleep after the exercise.

Discussion

It is said that it takes 30 days to build up a habit. If I’m going to really test this biphasic thing, I’m going to play it at least that long. Hopefully I’ll have less slipups this coming week. I’ll especially try to following my own advice above (eat less junk, etc).

Experimental Sleep Schedule

Friday, May 28th, 2010 by Phillip Napieralski

What?

You know that energetic feeling you get after a great night of sleep? That is the time I tend to be most productive. In fact, I didn’t realize this until recently… but during the busiest times of my college career, I was actually a biphasic sleeper. I would get 6-7 hours of sleep at night and grab a 20 minute nap sometime between lunch and dinner (the so called “siesta” time).

Studies have shown time and again that nappers are more efficient people. Some countries even have “house rules” where very few people call each other during the 3pm-5pm hours. However, the latter is most likely because those countries tend to eat the most during lunchtime, which inevitably causes a person to crash. But, if you just had a BIG lunch and you’re feeling tired right afterwards… why would you continue attempting to work? Why not sleep now, and pick it up later feeling refreshed?

Why?

Lately I’ve been really packing on the sleep pounds. I just graduated with my B.S. degree (about to head to graduate school in the fall), and this summer I’m doing freelance work. I love freelancing, but it doesn’t require a set sleep schedule. While I was going no more than 8 hours each day/night during the school year, I’ve been sleeping up 9-10 hours each night since summer started, while waking up slightly later each day. I suspect that if this keeps going, I’ll find myself sleeping 10pm to 7pm and completely miss daylight! Well, to avoid that… I’m going to implement a new sleep schedule that takes advantage of that midday siesta too!

Modus Operandi

Technically, it’s called a biphasic sleep schedule. The plan is to get 4.5 hours of sleep starting at around 12am (midnight), and another 90 minute nap sometime between lunch and dinner.

I’ve also heard (anecdotal evidence) that people who are vegetarian, or even vegan, tend to require less sleep. I can’t say for sure if this is true, but I’m attempting to make the transition to a biphasic schedule a little easier by eating less meat. I’m also completely eliminating fast food from my diet.

If I can change from sleeping 9-10 hours a night to this new schedule of 6 hours, imagine how much more time I will have for work and other things! Consider the average recommended amount of sleep (8 hours) vs what I’ll be getting (6 hours). That means, if I keep to the above schedule, I’ll be gaining 2 hours each day over the recommended value. That’s 730 extra hours per year, or 30 extra days per year. That means, I have a whole month of things to accomplish over the average person. Imagine what I can accomplish in one month!

Is it really possibly for me to go from 9 hours to 6 hours? I think so. I did it for whole semesters before. The 9 hours thing was simply out of a lack of structure of my day. I also noticed that I’ve been yawning much more after starting the 9 hours sleep gig versus when I was in school (perhaps I’ve been oversleeping). The only thing a person needs each day/night is ~4 complete sleep cycles and if a sleep cycle takes ~90 minutes to achieve, I’m meeting the requirement!

Conclusion

That’s all for now. I don’t suspect to have too much difficulty with this, but I’ll definitely give a weekly update.

If this goes really well, I may even try a polyphasic experiment in the future.