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Today is day 90 of my polyphasic sleep experiment. It seems strange to refer to this as an experiment now, since it’s become such an ingrained habit.
This will probably be my last update on polyphasic sleep, since the last 30 days were largely uneventful as far as this experiment goes. I don’t have much to report that I haven’t already written about previously.
Lately I’ve been getting some really strange questions about this experiment, such as, “What effect does pot smoking have on polyphasic sleep?” and “Would you please get a full physical, including a brain scan, and post the results?” I can’t answer these, since I have no intention of becoming a drug user or a lab rat. To me this is a personal growth experiment. If you want to offer your body up to science, that’s your choice. I also can’t answer questions about the effect of nicotine, since I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my entire life. If you want to experiment with drugs, then going polyphasic should be the least of your concerns.
I’ve grown accustomed to enjoying different activities at all hours of the day. That was a really tough psychological adjustment to make, but now this overall pattern feels normal to me. The main challenge has been injecting enough variety of activity. I broke my pattern of overworking myself, and now I have a much more balanced life. My wife and I are even going on a vacation trip to the San Francisco Bay Area soon. I’ll have to find something to do at night while she’s hibernating.
I expect to be doing a lot more travel this year. I definitely want to visit NYC — one nice thing about NYC is that they have more vegan restaurants than any other U.S. city. Ideally I’d like to push myself to take a trip every month. I’m enjoying a pretty nice cashflow right now with the success of this blog and my other sources of passive income, and my boss is pretty accommodating. When I travel I like to go-see-do rather than sit on a beach somewhere. It will be interesting to see how polyphasic sleep adapts to this.
Probably the most annoying thing about polyphasic sleep is having to take naps at inopportune times. Sometimes I’m engaged in an activity and have to break away and take a nap. This happens a lot when I’m writing an article or working on a speech. I push myself to work longer and delay the nap, but I usually regret it when I do that. If I delay or miss a nap, it messes me up for the next cycle or two — I feel a bit sleep-deprived. I remind myself that the extra hours each day are well worth the occasional inconvenience of taking an unwanted break to nap for 20 minutes.
One thing I plan to change as a result of this experiment is to add more social activities to my life. Because I’m awake so much longer, my previous social schedule now takes up a smaller percentage of each day, so it currently feels like I’m spending too much time alone. Right now my top three picks are to join the recently formed Las Vegas National Speakers Association (I know several members in it already, and they’ve been pushing me to join), doing some improv comedy workshops (a great way to push myself to think on my feet), and joining the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. I might even do all three.
Mentally I feel very different. My brain actually feels different than when I slept monophasically. This feeling started early in the experiment, and I reported it then, but I just want to mention that it’s ongoing. It’s really hard to describe this sensation, but it sort of feels like my brain is soaking in a warm jacuzzi. I feel very mentally relaxed and unstressed most of the time, at least when I keep to my naps roughly on schedule. Maybe it’s because I always just recently woke up.
Emotionally I feel incredible. I can’t fully credit this to polyphasic sleep because I often had this feeling even before then. But I’m exceedingly happy. It feels more like a physical sensation as opposed to feeling good for some logical reason, as if my body is just producing more endorphins than it used to. Sometimes I feel so terrific that I think I might explode from holding too much energy inside.
Looking back I think the worst part of adapting to polyphasic sleep wasn’t enduring the initial period of sleep deprivation. That was very hard, but the emotional and psychological adaptation was a lot more difficult for me to adjust to, and it took me many weeks to really feel anywhere close to normal again. I’d best describe the feeling during this time as being “disturbed.” It was like I’d shifted into the wrong dimension for a while, finding myself stuck in another universe that was alien to me. It’s definitely weird being so out of phase with everyone else. There’s just no denying that this is a highly unusual way to live.
I wonder what the world would be like if everyone slept polyphasically. Perhaps we’d have public nap rooms in addition to public restrooms. And everything would be open 24 hours.
It’s hard to say if I’ll continue sleeping polyphasically for life, switch back to monophasic sleep, or try something else entirely. I’ll stick with what I’m doing now until I have a compelling reason to change.
Time for a nap.