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My wife, Erin, has a unique perspective on my polyphasic sleep experiment that she wanted to share, so the rest of this post is from her.
You might be wondering what it’s been like to live with Steve while he’s trying his polyphasic sleep experiment. Let me tell you…
When he first came to me with this idea I was ready to brush it off as a passing thought or idea. I didn’t think he was serious. But when he started musing out loud about how we would adjust our schedules to compensate for his need to nap, my “uh oh, he’s on the jazz again!” alarm went off. He had it all figured out, which is a sure sign to me that he’s serious. Steve never does anything half-way. He fully immerses himself in something so that he can get as accurate an idea as possible of what it’s really like. He’s no dabbler, let’s just put it that way.
He decided his naptimes would be 1pm, 5pm, 9pm, and 1am, 5am, and 9am. We determined that with very little adjustment to our normal routine we could actually accommodate this schedule. But I was concerned about the safety of the experiment. It just didn’t seem healthy. He couldn’t really point me to many people who had done it successfully and certainly none who had had a wife and kids to deal with as well. I was deeply concerned that he would suffer from sleep deprivation, but as he explained that he would reach REM with each nap, I saw the possibility that it just might work.
I was still somewhat resistant to the idea. I couldn’t imagine why he wanted to be up all night and I didn’t really see much in the way of benefits. Then he told me that with all the extra time he would have in the middle of the night he could do things like cook, clean, and write me long love poems (okay, not the last one, but a girl can dream right?). I decided that he was a big boy and that if he really wanted to do this I should be as supportive as possible. We agreed to the new schedule and his experiment began. I told him that if he came after me and the kids with an axe and started to look like Jack Nicholson did in The Shining that the experiment was going to have to end immediately. I also told him that if I found him on the roof getting ready to “fly” that he was as good as done. He agreed that if his sanity started slipping or if he wasn’t achieving a REM state during the majority of his naps that he would stop the experiment.
As you’ve read in his polyblog logs (or whatever they are) he’s doing really well. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes. I feel so strange going to sleep at night knowing that he will be up for nearly all of the night. I kind of feel guilty that I’m getting so much sleep, actually. Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up and look at the clock and wonder what he’s doing. One night I woke at 2am and smelled sweet potato curry. I wanted to get up and have some right then and there!
There have been benefits (our refrigerator is stocked to capacity!) and there have been challenges (no one to snuggle at night) but overall I’m really proud of him for sticking with it to see if there will be long term benefits. He sometimes makes fun of me for sleeping so much; he’s become a bit of a sleep-snob. But after living with Steve for nearly 12 years there’s one thing I know… he will never stop growing, never stop pushing himself, never stop questioning the norm. And I wouldn’t want him any other way.