Ultrashort polyphasic sleep: 36 hours

Well, it’s been an interesting 36 hours. A little while ago I become enamoured with the idea of polyphasic sleep. It had been my intention to give it a try over the Easter (four day!) long weekend in order minimise too many side-effects in normal life.

Despite the long-term intention, Easter snuck up on me and we began entirely unprepared. With two companions, we initiated our attempt to remodel our sleeping patterns from 2am-ish Thursday. (It’s now 12:45pm Saturday. Nap time in 15.) So how did it go? Well, good and bad so far.

The first 24 hours were fine for all of us, give or take. I’d been “practising” napping on and off for the last little while, and my early attempts Friday morning to nap were fairly successful. Not so my friends. Strictly monophasic sleepers, they didn’t manage to fall asleep once during the whole 24 hours. There were some reports of mind-wanderings, however, and I suspect there was indeed some rest achieved.

To clarify, we are following the ~30 min,/4 hours nap cycle, at times 1, 5 and 9 a.m. & p.m. My hardest time in the first day was around 8:30am, where I was nodding on the couch. 9am nap fixed me right up, however. Relatively speaking.

After the first day, we all felt fairly good. Once you get over the morning hump of a night spent without rest, it’s easy to get to the end of the day. I felt better than I would have with no sleep, but the difference there wasn’t great. The next 12 hours were more of a problem.

My companions, sleep denying them continually, eventually began crashing at nap times, requiring great amounts of effort to rouse them. Progress was being made, though, as my naps at least were fairly easy to rise from, and while not being greatly restorative they did help. After the 5am nap, however, we were all totally sapped of energy and I required someone else to bootstrap me along as I had helped my friends so far. Unfortunately, no-one was there and we crashed at around 7am. A friendly housemate woke me at 9:30am, for which I was very greatful. I felt pretty damn good, actually, all things considered.

And now the process continues. I feel that the imposed core sleep was a bit of a necessity for all of us to catch up on some missed sleep until our ultrashort sleeps adapt to provide us with the full spectrum of sleep phases. It’s a pity that my friends oversleep more, but with luck we’re over the worst of the deprived states with not enough company to keep us distracted from sleep.