Biphasic Sleep Experiment – Day 1

NOTE: In case of any confusion, this post discussing “Day 1” means that I will post observations about “Day 1” after having slept the desired amount of sleep for that day (so generally, I will be talking about a 24-hr period that begins with my 3-hour sleep at around 1:30 AM and ends by the next 3-hour sleep period). The same goes for the posts to come in the future.

So yesterday marked my first full completion of a biphasic sleep schedule (July 15th). As noted in my previous post, my current biphasic schedule only allows me to sleep 4.5 hours in 24 hrs. I have allotted a 3-hour block of sleep from 1:30 AM to 4:30 AM, followed by a 1.5-hour nap in the evening. Although I tried to stick with this schedule, I actually slept much later at night (from being used to staying up late in the weekends), and thus the same for the nap. But luckily,I did manage to sleep the 4.5 hours. I achieved this by leaving my computer on and using a program to play an alarm sound after the desired amount of time–a timer, essentially. Using a timer instead of an alarm clock, I think, is much better than a strict alarm clock because you can schedule the alarm to go off always after X hours + 10 or 15 minutes (that is, [desired amount of sleep] + [time needed to completely fall asleep]). The only disadvantage is that you have to leave your computer on–which can be problematic if your computer is in the same room as your bedroom (like me), and is loud (mine is quiet :)). Anyway, using a timer instead of a traditional alarm clock allows you to be flexible with your schedule, if things come up and you need 5 or 10 minutes for something unexpected. This way, you don’t have to waste 30 seconds every day re-adjusting your clock to go off after compensating for the change. I currently use Cool Timer, which is freeware, and it looks very big on the screen. The way I do it is, after you begin the timer, I make sure that the “Stop” button is highlighted so that all I have to do is press the space bar when I get up from bed to stop the alarm–regardless of whether or not my monitors are in screen saver mode or turned off!

As for the feeling of sleeping 4.5 hours –so far I feel fine. I slept 3 hours from 2:30 AM and then another 1.5 hours at 7:30 PM. I did feel a hazy cloud form in my head (very slight headache and drowsiness) around mid-afternoon, but otherwise it has been rather comfortable. It might have been because I slept 9 hours straight the previous night. 😳 But, so far so good! I haven’t felt this energetic on 4.5 hours of sleep before in my life. The 90-minute sleep cycle (which slowly reduces with age) really seems to be the magic number. Even now, as I write this, I woke up after 3 hours using the timer method described above, and I feel unusually alert and generally less idiotic for having this tiny bit of sleep (I will write more about Day 2 later). Anyway as for Day 1, the funny thing is, I felt sleepy in the evening at around 6 PM, right in time for my scheduled nap. Of course, I had slept an hour late for my core sleep, so I also delayed the nap by 1 hour. After the nap, I felt great! I mean, really, really refreshed. It was an excellent nap. I just felt a little thirsty because it was hot in my room, so next time I’ll be sure to drink a glass of water before hitting the pillow.

From what I’ve read and researched online, I gather that I will be having a tough time adjusting as I pass the 1-week mark. It seems to be that around this time, the body refuses to go through with the new schedule. I wonder how tough this will be for me.

I will end with some satistics for Day 1 (I like data):

  • Core: 3 hrs
  • Nap: 1.5 hrs
  • Cumulative hours slept: 4.5 hrs
  • Average amount of sleep per day: 4.5 hrs
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