One of the most important (and highly unexpected) developments that recently occurred in my polyphasic sleep experiment was a change in my perception of the passing of time during the naps.
When I began this experiment, if I took a 20-minute nap, I’d sleep fairly lightly and awaken feeling that about 20 minutes had passed. Whenever I woke up, I was never surprised by how much time had actually passed on the clock. My nap experience was no different than if I took a nap while following a common monophasic sleep pattern.
But just within the past 2-3 days, this rule seems to have been tossed out the window. Now when I awaken from naps, it usually feels like much more time has passed. I just woke up from a nap about 20 minutes ago. The 25-minute countdown alarm woke me up, and I estimate it took me 5 minutes to fall asleep, so I slept about 20 minutes. However, when I woke up I would have sworn that I had slept for 1.5-2 hours.
The first time this happened a few days ago, I thought it was interesting but dismissed it as a fluke. But it became increasingly frequent, and now more than half my naps create the perception that significantly more than 20 minutes have passed. It feels more like 1-2 hours are passing each time.
On the one hand, this is a wonderful new development. I feel I’m sleeping more deeply and soundly during the naps than ever before. I’ve been experiencing some very rich and vivid dreams. Before starting this experiment, I had read from another polynapper that his dreams became more vivid, and he had more lucid dreams too. He wasn’t kidding. The best way to describe it is that my dreams seem much more complicated. This may be contributing to the sensation that I’m sleeping a lot more than I actually am.
On the other hand, this change has completely thrown off my intuitive perception of time. It feels as if time is passing far more slowly than it should. When combined with the fact that I’m awake 21-22 hours per day, the expanded dream perception makes each day feel like it’s closer to two days in duration. I’ve also completely lost my intuitive sense that tells me what time of day it is. It’s about 8pm right now as I type this, but it might as well be 8am or noon or midnight for all I know. If I want to know if it’s evening or afternoon, I have to look at a clock, look outside, or try to remember what the result was the last time I checked. Even maintaining a somewhat regular daily routine doesn’t seem to help. It’s as if my internal chronometer suddenly stopped working.
This is strangely becoming a transcendent, almost spiritual experience for me. I had gotten so accustomed to a certain sense of the passing of time, and now that sense has been stretched beyond repair. I may eventually develop a new sense of time based on my polyphasic sleep schedule, but for right now I have a more timeless feeling. Although I can perceive the passing of days and nights by watching environmental cues, internally I feel more like a timeless observer who’s no longer bound to that system. Time itself has slowed to a crawl.
I’m stunned by how slowly November seems to be passing. It feels like it should be roughly November 25th by now. At this rate it will take me three months to reach Christmas.
If you have a purely objective view of reality, you’ll interpret the above as a consequence of my shifting perceptions arising from internal physiological changes. But with a more subjective view of reality, this whole polyphasic sleep experiment can be interpreted as the manifestation of previous intentions I put out. About a month ago I was watching a couple Ekhart Tolle videos (he’s the author of the best-selling book The Power of Now), and I remember wondering what it would be like — or if it would even be possible — for time itself to slow down. And then a week later I begin this crazy experiment, not suspecting for a moment that it could have been related to those thoughts. Now I’m suspicious. There are a lot of things about this experiment that could be interpreted as the manifestation of previous intentions. Perhaps even when you intend something that seems to be impossible, reality has a way of weaving it through to you. I’m going to spend some time this evening (or morning… or whatever the heck it is) upping the ante on my intentions.
Despite such dramatic changes, it doesn’t seem to be negatively affecting my ability to function in everyday life. Quite the contrary in fact. This is shaping up to be my best month of the year, especially financially.
Happy 1111 to those of you who know what that means (and to those who don’t, Happy Veterans Day instead). 😉