As my first post, I thought I’d share my previous experience testing out a different sleep pattern.
Years ago, I stumbled across an awesome website called High Existence. Through my daily reading, I discovered that there were different sleep patterns other than what everyone I knew did, particularly biphasic and polyphasic sleep.
The typical person today has a monophasic sleep pattern (one core sleep over a 24 hour period). However, there are a number of different sleep patterns that some people have found to be better for them.
After some research, I figured that a biphasic sleep cycle could work for me, or at least I could give it a shot. If you want to read an awesome article on the biphasic sleep cycle, check out Steve Pavlina’s Biphasic Sleep article.
The main reason behind this was for me to improve my productivity, to be awake when others are asleep, to fit more in, to get some extra homework in before going to Uni, and so on.
Below is my experience of a 20-day biphasic sleeping pattern, in the words of my younger 19-year old self. To be fair, I don’t really follow the biphasic pattern, but I detail my experience of changing my sleeping regime.
So I’m going to start a 20 day biphasic sleep trial. Purely for self experimentation and adding a bit of variety. Not sure if I’ll continue with it after the 20 days but who knows at this moment. I’ll be starting it off tonight so day 1 would be (24th of September 2013).
So to begin with, Biphasic sleep means sleeping in two distinct cycles every 24-hour period as opposed to monophasic sleep which is pretty much the typical/normal these days with a single sleep cycle every 24-hour period.
My plan for this would be:
Core sleep: 12:00am – 4:00am/5:00am
Second sleep/nap: 7:30pm – 8:30pm
12:00am due to my normal bed time until about 4:00am/5:00am which allows me to just have extra time in the morning to fit in a 1-1:30 hour length workout, a shower, to do a bit of extra homework before University, and even work on improving something like playing the guitar, juggling, reading, typing, etc. Not sure whether i’m going to choose 4 or 5am, but I’ll decide on that after a few weeks.
I would prefer to have the second sleep/nap at around 4pm, however due to my other commitments (Uni sport clubs) I’ll have to make it consistently at the same time each night, so my approximate time I get home which is usually around 7pm.
I predict this will take a few days to adapt to the new cycle, but hopefully not more than 1 week. I will also have to allow myself a few days during the 30 to break away slightly from the cycle due to various things. But I’ll try to stay with it as close as possible.
Day 1: 24/09/2013
– Today was the first day of my new sleep cycle. I had 5 hours during my core sleep so from 12 – 5am. I’ve felt pretty damn good for most of the day, besides a slight drowsy feeling around 1pm, but that passed in about 30 minutes. I’ve decided not to take the nap at 7:30pm due to the fact that I’m not tired at all and I don’t think I would be able to go to sleep at that time. Due to still feeling awake for today, I’ll lower the amount of sleep until I begin to feel very tired during the day. However, this probably doesn’t determine anything from 1 day.
So tomorrow I’ll decrease my core sleep by 1 hour so it would make it from 12 – 4am. Then tomorrow if I feel tired or not, I’ll take the hour nap at 7:30pm and see how I’m feeling. I’ll continue this method of 4 hours for a week to see the results before I change anything.
Day 2: 25/09/2013
– it didn’t seem much of a difference going from 5 hours to 4 hours during my core sleep. Don’t feel any more tired during the day. I’m not going to decrease the time anymore due to the fact that I don’t really need to and that 4 hours seems like an optimal amount of time.
Day 6: 29/09/2013
– After 5 days of having 4 hours sleep during my core sleep, I’m feeling pretty much normal. As long as I’m doing something I don’t feel drowsy during mid afternoon. A few nights I have been delaying my short nap till about 10pm, however, most of the time I don’t actually feel tired at all and I feel like I’m wasting that hour and the hours after that until my core sleep. I skipped my nap on the second day. Having a nap that late doesn’t achieve any benefits as I usually can’t be bothered doing anything after the nap anyway whereas if I didn’t take the nap I would be more productive at that time.
Hopefully by the end of this, the main result would be a decreased need of sleep in a monophasic cycle. I’m aiming at around 4-5 hours per night and to hopefully maintain that consistently.
Day 17: 16/10/2013
– At this time, I’ve pretty much scrapped the idea/action of taking an hour nap when I get home from Uni. Whenever I take a nap I always feel sluggish and really no motivation to do anything, which is really bad because around 9pm is when I start all of my homework and stuff. Also most of the exciting things happen at that time (tv shows/tea). So I guess I’m not really doing a biphasic cycle anymore. At the moment I’m sleeping 4-4:30 hours a night which is good, although when I have 4 hours I sometimes begin falling asleep on the bus 😛 which is not the best. However that doesn’t happen on 4:30 hours so I think that is a good indicator of how much is not enough (for me).
Day 20: 19/10/2013
– Well I’m at the end of my sleep self-experiment now. As I’ve said before, I abandoned the idea of the nap for various reasons. I really liked the early morning wakes as it gave me easily enough time to do whatever I wanted in the morning (even watch a movie before Uni starts xD). So I think I may keep the idea of only 5 hours sleep a night. I feel like I can handle it throughout the day – although if I stop doing something during the day I start to feel drowsy and sometimes fall asleep, but I’m willing to look past that and focus more on the positive side of having a few extra hours in my day (which will greatly help during my upcoming weeks of exam revision) and no, sleeping this much does not impair my cognitive/focus abilities as I’ve adapted to this much sleep now.
Hope you enjoyed the read! Stay tuned for more challenges 🙂