December 16, 2015

General Adaptation

I believe I've finally reached the stage of general adaptation.  That's not to say I don't have slip-ups here and there, as I do - but overall, they seem to represent the minority of my schedule, and I seem to be largely moving forward without much variance in my schedule.

That's why, as of Day 60 of my sleep project, I'm declaring myself generally adapted.  What does "generally adapted" mean?  Well, it essentially means what I wrote in the beginning.  I'm not going to say I don't experience any sleepiness during my waking hours, as that would be disingenuous, but I've largely become accustomed to this new schedule and aren't experiencing dramatic shifts or disruptions.  In short - it's sustainable.  

Part of this is also because I notice my daily reports aren't changing all that much anymore.  While the first two phases (and beginning of phase three) experienced the most change, my recent daily reports have trended towards "Day went well, naps went well." While some may take comfort in knowing my general state of affairs is satisfactory, I'm sure this is less than useful to the average reader, and I had to ask myself what adaptation really looks like.  It's possible that I might reach a "Full" adaptation, whereby I don't experience any tiredness whatsoever outside of my naps, but I don't know yet whether to expect that.  More to the point, I think I'd be fine with Everyman even if I did have to deal with some occasional tiredness - it's more than worth that small price to pay for greatly increased sleep quality and waking hours in which to do things.

Thus, I have concluded my daily reports, and will not be taking regular, daily measurements in the vitals log anymore.  However, it's quite possible, even likely, that every so often I'll do a quick vital update and report of any changes.  Till then, I'll be working on trying to graph and otherwise interpret the data I've collected into something meaningful, accessible, and hopefully of use to the large community, both polyphasic and monophasic.

It's been great exploring this new frontier.  In many ways, I felt like an astronaut, adventuring into space for the first time, both thrilled and unsure of what they were about to discover.  While this is by no means new territory for mankind, it is to me, and represents a completed journey on my own little path of self-discovery. In this case, it would seem appropriate to reverse the famous line from Neil Armstrong's first words on the moon: "One small step for mankind, one giant leap for (a) man."

Sloth On the Moon

December 15, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 31

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

I had a little snafu this morning. Everything seemed to be going along well enough, and around 3am I went to the couch to get some studying done, although I was feeling some tiredness creep in.  Although I didn't lie down on the couch or anything, I dozed in and out of sleep for a bit.  Finally, I got up and went to bed for my first nap.

From this, I learned some things.  One, if you're feeling sleepy/tired, do something to wake yourself up now - don't expect yourself to magically get more awake over time.  While that can happen, you shouldn't bank on it. In my case, I was going to shave and get a shower, but was trying to wait until around 4am, since 4-6am is when historically I'm at greatest risk for falling asleep out of schedule.  However, by withholding those activities to wake me, as it was only 3am, I wound up drifting in and out of sleep until 5am and essentially sleeping out of schedule anyway.  In short, don't try to fit your tiredness into a predefined schedule. While you should have a plan in general, if you're tired now, do something now to wake yourself up, lest you fall back asleep.

Otherwise, the day went well - work was great, naps were on schedule, etc.  My 2nd nap was a bit lighter, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was because my body had acquired some useful sleep during the dozing-off period and thus didn't need the 2nd nap rest as much as usual.

Updated vitals here.

December 14, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 30

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Today was a pretty good, productive day. I switched up some of my activities during the early morning, so that instead of shaving directly after waking up, I'm waiting till around 4am or so in order to do it.  This has the benefit of giving me a task to due that requires concentration during the most difficult (for me) time period, and it also reduces premature onset of five o'clock shadow while still at work (facial hair grows extremely fast for me - I nearly had to shave twice a day at bootcamp just to keep the DIs off my back).
I also started working on improving my pullups using the classic Recon Ron program,  While a recurring shoulder injury limits some of the things I can do, I've been trying to rehab my shoulder to get it's strength back.

Overall, it was a pretty good, straightforward day.  Naps were at the appropriate times, and I didn't have any significant deviances from the schedule.

Updated vitals here.

December 13, 2015

Everyman Phase Three, Day 29

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Today went mostly according to plan - mostly.  That is to say, some of it didn't - specifically, I found it a little too cozy and warm in bed after the first nap, and so lingered in it for about an hour or so.  I was feeling a little tickle in the back of my throat (which sometimes can signal the beginning of a sore throat/cold), and so figured the extra sleep might be able to head it off, if it actually was something.  To be honest, though, a good portion was also just because I found the bed so warm and cozy at the time.

I felt pretty good the rest of the day, and the tickle in my throat eventually disappeared.  However, I did feel a little bad for not sticking to the schedule precisely.  Nontheless, I feel pretty good about my progress thus far.  I wonder if I might need to modify Everyman a little to work for me, perhaps through the addition of a nap or the elongation of the core, or if perhaps these deviances from the schedule will slowly subside with the passage of time. Either way, I feel fairly good about my prospects for continuing an Everyman (or at least Everyman-like) schedule long term.

Updated vitals here.

December 12, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 28

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Today was a pretty good day, no errors! That's not to say it wasn't difficult, because it was at times, overall everything went according to plan.  I was able to get around the 4am-6am lull by shopping at the local 24/7 grocery store.  The movement, activity, and focus needed for a successful trip was enough to power me through that section and make it to the first nap.

In the early afternoon, I had some difficulty with my body trying to nod off.  While my body doesn't get as much sleep as it used to, I still like the idea of "resting".  That is, doing something quiet or that doesn't need a lot of movement, to let your body heal and rest.  The tricky part, as you might expect, it to avoid sleeping while you're "resting."

At any rate, I'm hoping I can have some more days like this.  One step closer to being adapted! Updated vitals here.

December 11, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 27

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Meh, that 4am-6am is still quite annoying. I was able to have a pretty good day today, except for the fact that I had a brief twenty minute or so snooze a little bit before the first nap of the day.  This was mainly the result of finding it difficult to comfortably sit at my office chair, the less-than-fully-interesting task of studying from my textbook, and finding it quite comfortable and cozy to lay on the floor with a blanket.  In short, I didn't stand much of a chance with that setup.

Instead, what I should have done was to resolve to uncomfortable seating by heading to the couch - at least that would've kept me upright.  Second would be to force myself to do an activity more engaging that textbook reading; namely, videogames or the like (which when you're feeling sleepy, yes you do have to force yourself to play a bit).

It's all about how you manage your sleepiness cues and signals, and while I am learning, you really have to commit yourself to finding a way to respond to the sleepiness cues that don't put you in a compromising position.  I figure I have five more days until I reach the Day 60 marker since I began my journey here, and if I can make it and properly fend off the tiredness cues, I may be able to consider myself adapted.  We shall see!

Updated vitals here.

December 10, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 26

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Had a weird snafu this morning.  Apparently I must have dreamed my alarm went off, because I got up and out of bed, thinking it was ready to start the day and upon looking at an actual clock, saw it was around midnight instead.  The alarms were set for the correct time, so it must have been my own dreaming/imagination.  I went back to bed for another 90 minutes, in order to get a full sleep cycle in.

Despite the unusual start to the day, the day actually went pretty well otherwise.  The naps were all pretty deep and restorative, and I didn't sleep anywhere outside of my scheduled naps. I would post more, but that seems to be about it!  As an aside, I'm cognizant of the fact that these status updates will soon get very boring if each day is essentially "Day went well; no deviations."  Thus, if I can reasonably say that I'm adapted in the next few days, I'll be modifying how frequently I post updates from here on.

Updated vitals here.

December 9, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 25

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

I woke up easily enough (note, this is relatively speaking - that's not to say it was easy), and had a pretty brisk and efficient start to the day.  Vitals, blogging, food, etc were clipping along to a pretty good pace.  Thankfully, this continued for the rest of the day, and overall the day went really well - from a sleep schedule point of view, anyway.  Recently it's been a little harder being consistent, so having a fairly textbook day like today was really nice.

Updated vitals here.

December 8, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 24

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Grr. That 4am-6am timeframe is fairly evil.  Well, I suppose it isn't in truth, but certainly my body seems to be affected by it.  I was hit pretty strongly by some waves of tiredness, and in this case, allowed myself to lay down for a little bit.  I've been working out a little more recently, and figured my body could use the extra rest, and so allowed myself to have some on-and-off sleep from 4:45-5:45am, until I reached my first "official" nap at 6am.  Otherwise, the rest of the day went pretty well.

As I've mentioned before, I can see the usefulness of occasionally taking such an extra nap, but if it starts to become regular, one must re-evaluate their sleep schedule and determine what's best long-term.  Here, I would probably be better served doing my best to avoid these unscheduled naps whenever possible, at least till I've been fully adapted for some time.  This basically comes down to pushing myself to engage in the activities I've previously put together to keep me occupied and busy.  Believe it or not, it's quite difficult to get your half-awake brain interested in doing something besides sleep unless it finds it *really* interesting. :P  This is where the determination and commitment have to come in.

I've written myself little reminders, things like "Giving in simply prolongs the sleep dep and will delay adaptation" to hopefully help my brain understand the importance of making it through this last stretch.  I'm so close to being fully adapted, and in many ways already feel like I am, but until I can reliably get through this vexing 4am-6am timeframe, I can't in good faith call myself adapted.  One thing's for sure, though - I'm not giving up!

Updated vitals here.

December 7, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 23

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Well, today was pretty good.  Overall I didn't feel sleep dep all that much, although the timeframe of 4am-6am is usually the most difficult for some reason.  All my naps went pretty well, and I fall asleep for each one fairly consistently now.  I did have to make a temporary change to the last nap, unfortunately, due to some Christmas gift shopping I had to take care of right after work.  I took my nap as soon as I able to afterwards, and consider myself to be back on track now.  Now it's just taking care of whatever sleep dep may pop up this week, and working through that.

Updated vitals here.

December 6, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 22

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Felt pretty good day today - it was nice to get a longer sleep yesterday, and I don't feel like those cold/allergy/whatever symptoms are really with me anymore.  Around the afternoon, though, I felt pretty tired - not even in a sleep dep fashion necessarily, just like the week catching up with me perhaps.  I decided to throw in an extra nap, and ended up sleeping an extra two hours or so.  I didn't take my last scheduled nap of the day, since this unscheduled one was fairly close to it and because I had already slept a good portion.

I know this is a bit different from the norm, and I definitely don't plan to make this a recurring thing.  Still, I think it's good to take an extra nap now and then, especially if you think your body needs the extra sleep for something (sickness, stress, healing). If anything, I think it reflects the polyphasic method's versatility when dealing with changing situations.  Ideally, we would all be able to follow the same schedule and follow it like clockwork.  While that definitely holds true for adaptation, I think long term you have to have room for change for it to be truly sustainable - after all, life isn't predictable, so your approach will eventually either break or bend.

At any rate, I suppose we'll see whether my variances the last two days will really affect me.  I'm hoping the following week I can stay much closer to the schedule, and if I succeed without too much difficulty or sleep dep symptoms, hopefully declare myself adapted (hoorah!).  That's the plan, anyway.  Updated vitals here.

December 5, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 21

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

I did something a little different today.  For the past several days - closer to a week I suppose - I've had a very minor runny nose and post-nasal drip, which caused me to cough occasionally.  A little bit after I woke up today I noticed it, as well as a very faint tickle or feeling in the back of my throat.  I figured it was just a low-grade cold that my body was fighting off, but I was tired of these silly minor symptoms, and so decided to sleep in today in order to give my body more time to fight whatever was causing these symptoms.

The only reason I'm really doing this is because I feel that I'm mostly adapted at this point.  In the beginning of adaptation, I had a cold or two initially but stuck to the schedule, and they eventually resolved on their own.  I had read about other polyphasic sleepers allowing themselves to sleep in whenever they felt a cold coming on, but was too concerned about ruining any progress I'd made towards adaptation.  I'm hoping I'm past that point here, and figured it may be worth trying to see if it helps these symptoms go away, although I don't necessarily see why my body has to be asleep for it to optimally fight sickness.  I suppose the other possibility is that it's not really a cold at all, but rather some minor seasonal allergies or the like.

At any rate, I felt great after my extra sleep, but went back to my regularly scheduled naps in order to return to my schedule as quickly as possible. Updated vitals here.

December 4, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 20

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Today was a pretty good day overall.  I'm finding as I get nearer to the end of the adaptation process, the less eventful each day is becoming. That's not to say there isn't still resistance - I still have my body trying to nod off occasionally, especially in the early morning - but otherwise life continues on as normal.  Most people I interact with on a daily basis already know of my "alternative" sleep schedule, and have pretty much accepted it at this point, so my routine naps aren't quite as novel to them anymore.  One especially courteous co-worker has even set a daily alarm reminding him of my second nap each day, and tries to be extra quiet for the duration of my nap.

Otherwise, not terribly much new to report. Perhaps that's a good thing, though?

Updated vitals here.

December 3, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 19

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

One thing I've learned when trying to sleep polyphasically for the first time is the notion of being kind to yourself, especially if you deviate from your schedule.  However much you try, there are bound to be times that your schedule doesn't go according to plan, like when your car gets a flat tire on the way home, you have to work late, you forget to set an alarm, etc.  Reading some accounts about how difficult those were to recover from, I got the notion that any deviation would surely be a death knell to my own adaptation efforts.

What I found was quite different.  Yes, those deviations did mess up my schedule, but I always hopped back on track as soon as I was able, so long-term their effects were actually pretty minor.  What wasn't helpful was the negative self-talk I discovered myself creating - "You're never going to adapt now!", "How can you expect to adapt if you can't keep yourself awake?", etc.  Ironically enough, it was my reaction to the deviations, not the deviations or the effects themselves, that wound up being the most likely to get me to quit.  Once I realized this, I resolved to take a more positive, long-term view towards any disruptions, and I haven't looked back.

As for today, it was a fairly standard day; still some strong sleepiness in the morning and some nodding off on the train ride, but otherwise pretty good.  I'm hoping those last artifacts will fade soon. Updated vitals here.

Anyways, I felt compelled to share my experience above, as I imagine there's got to be at least one person out there that will try adapting and think they're failing, when in reality they're making progress (assuming they learn and adapt from each deviation).  As Jon Kabat-Zinn, the famed mindfulness researcher, once said (paraphrasing here): "Regardless of whatever else you have going on, as long as you are still breathing, you have much more right with you than you do wrong."

Moral of the story: Be good to yourself.

December 2, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 18

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Another day of tiredness in the morning, but I found that it seemed to resolve slightly earlier than the day before.  For example, I've noticed it usually takes at least until past 6am to be completely past the risk of being hit severely with waves of tiredness. While I still might be tired occasionally, it's not that soul-sucking, beat-you-over-the-head kind of tiredness I can feel in the early morning.  Today, I noticed feeling more alert and out of the woods around 5am (my apologies if I'm not being clear - it's kinda hard to explain).  In short, it seems this last phase of adaptation is slowly working itself back each day, until presumably as soon as I get up at 1am, I feel rested and with complete wakefulness.

Otherwise, the day went pretty well.  I recently started using some silicone earplugs during my second nap, and they are working fantastically!  In fact, they're working a little too well - I ended up sleeping past my alarm, though that's partially my fault for not setting the alarm volume higher.  Still, I'm sold on using silicone earplugs (the ones that feel like putty) for a sound blocker that doesn't put too much pressure against your ear when you lay down on a pillow.

Otherwise, a fairly good day.  I drifted in and out on the train - not sure if that will affect my sleep schedule, since it was so brief, but I figured it's worth mentioning here.  I'll keep an eye on that.  Updated vitals here.

December 1, 2015

Everyman Phase Three: Day 17

Current Schedule: Core Sleep: 10pm-1am  Naps: 6:00-6:20am, 11:20-11:40am, 5:40-6pm.

Today was pretty good, though I was pretty tired during the morning hours.  I also had a kind of latent tiredness follow me through the day, although I was able to get things done just fine at work.  Right now, the biggest challenge seems to be getting through the early morning, and while it's still not easy by any stretch, it does appear to be getting ever-slightly-better each day (assuming I can keep to a consistent schedule).

Other than that, a pretty standard day.  Updated vitals here.