Biphasic Sleep Experiment – Day 5

Good news! I overslept only by 1.5 hours yesterday night for my core sleep (i.e., I had 4.5 hours). And I also had the 90 min nap this evening as well, which was very helpful. I can tell that I’m starting to feel the effects of temporary sleep deprivation–I was extremely tired at certain moments, especially after I had my big afternoon lunch. I really need to add regular exercise to this transition into biphasic sleep. Well, so far, I haven’t had any serious headaches or anything like that–although I wouldn’t say that I didn’t have any headaches in the past couple days. Just light stuff that goes away–lo and behold–after I take my 90 min nap (or after I oversleep, hah).

Day 5 stats:

  • Core: 4.5 hrs
  • Nap: 1.5 hrs
  • Cumulative hours slept: 29.5 hrs
  • Average amount of sleep per day: 5.9 hrs

Hmm, so far it looks like I’m missing my target sleep per day by 1.4 hours–which isn’t too bad, I suppose, for the first 5 days into this experiment. I can tell you now that, honestly, I have never slept less than 6 hours every day for more than 2, maybe 3 days (I really doubt this). Getting 5.9 hrs per day ain’t bad at all. It’s essentially just 1 more 90 min cycle after you hit the 4.5 hr mark. Originally, I contemplated sleeping 6 hrs per day instead of 4.5, but just couldn’t resist the temptation of that > 5 figure. Besides, 1.5 hours spread out over a week is 9.5 hours! That’s a lot of time I could potentially save. And since I have a ton of ongoing hobbies (learning languages, 3D computer graphics modeling, piano, guitar, and now maybe even composing my own music), I really really want no more than 4.5 hrs per day.

Biphasic Sleep Experiment – Day 4

Bad news–I overslept again. This time, my core sleep was 6.5 hrs. I think the no nap idea from yesterday was a bad, bad idea. I had a very difficult time getting up, and was again not really thinking straight since I somehow decided to go back to sleep after my alarm went off. I have an old habit of turning off alarms and going back to bed–which becomes more pronounced if I get more weary than usual, like yesterday without my scheduled 90 min nap. So today, even though I slept for 6.5 hrs for my core sleep, I took a nap pursuant to the set schedule, and had 90 minutes. What was fascinating was, even though I felt perfectly awake just before I took my nap (initially I even had trouble falling asleep), by the time I woke up I felt like a lot of time had passed–similar to what I described earlier in the Day 2 post.

So tonight I’ll definitely shoot for 3 hrs of core sleep. Stay tuned!

Day 4 stats:

  • Core: 6.5 hrs
  • Nap: 1.5 hrs
  • Cumulative hours slept: 23.5 hrs
  • Average amount of sleep per day: 5.88 hrs

Biphasic Sleep Experiment – Day 3

Uh-oh. I overslept my core sleep. ­čśŽ I slept 6 instead of 3 hours. I guess my body is already refusing to go along with this schedule. Well, a curious side-effect of this is that I felt VERY energetic for the whole day, with very few, if any, instances of yawning like I usually do. I was so awake that, I decided to skip my 90 min nap. I guess this is good, because this extra burst in energy sort of lets me know that my body has gotten somewhat used to sleeping a max of 3 hours at a time.

One other side-effect of this oversleep: I can recall some distinct images from my dreams! It’s just like when I used to sleep 12 hours and recall portions of dreams. I’m pretty confident right now that I won’t oversleep tonight for my core sleep.

Day 3 stats:

  • Core: 6 hrs
  • Nap: 0 hrs
  • Cumulative hours slept: 15.5 hrs
  • Average amount of sleep per day: 5.17 hrs

Biphasic Sleep Experiment – Day 2

So today I slept 3 hours for my core sleep, and then a 90~120 minute nap. I say 90~120 minutes because, instead of the usual 90 minutes, I overslept. I think it was because my room was dark after I lowered the blinds on my window. I actually woke up because of my timer after 90 minutes, but then in my half-awake state of mind decided to lie down on my bed again (bad idea). Anyway, I did not have much trouble getting up again after 30 minutes.

From the core sleep to my nap, I felt OK. I guess I haven’t started to feel the effects of temporary sleep deprivation yet. I am strangely energetic–I would say, subjectively, 15-20% more energetic than how I was before I started this sleep experiment. I ate a large breakfast, and ate a large lunch. I then took a nap as discussed above, and when I woke up at 9 PM, I ate my dinner. I seem to be consuming more calories to make up for the extra time spent awake.

As a side note–the naps that I had so far, the one yesterday in Day 1 and also the one today, both feel like an extremely deep period of sleep. It’s very similar to that sense you get when you wake up in the morning and know that it’s a new day, or that a lot of time has passed. I suspect that this nap period is extremely important–it seems to energize me as much as my core sleep of 3 hours.

Day 2 stats:

  • Core: 3 hrs
  • Nap: 2 hrs
  • Cumulative hours slept: 9.5 hrs
  • Average amount of sleep per day: 4.75 hrs

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. ­čś│ 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