Friday, June 22, 2012

Biphasic Sleep: Day Two

Light post today.  I spent most of the day pretty sleepy.  K and I are trying out biphasic sleep: he wants more time to work on his video game projects, and I wanted an excuse to establish a sleep routine. If I don't have something to do, I find the prospect of sleeping in tempting, and I function most effectively with a routine.  So, I put together a graphic that adds some structure to my day.  It will be easier again to maintain this kind of schedule when I'm working part-time later this summer*.
circle diagram representing a day with two periods of sleep and six meals
4.5 hours of core sleep, a 90-minute nap, and six light meals.
I've always been curious about polyphasic sleeping, and I don't have a ton of formal responsibilities right now, so it seems like an ideal time to try it out. To make it easier, Ard is also trying polyphasic sleep: he recently switched from the Uberman to the Dymaxion schedules in order to make his sleep mesh appropriately with his summer job.  While many don't consider the schedule I'm trying to be "real" polyphasic sleep (I'm still getting six total hours a day, instead of the two that Ard gets), I think it has the greatest likelihood of meshing harmoniously with a job.  It also closely resembles a schedule I adopted more-or-less naturally one semester at college, where I slept from approximately four to seven twice a day.

I'm also trying to eat better as part of my weight-loss/health-gain effort.  I hear intermittently about the wonderful health benefits of eating six small meals per day, but the real reason that I hope it will work for me is that I don't function particularly well without regular food.  Lots of people can skip meals and calmly power through it, but I'm not one of them**.  I hate feeling hungry. I get grouchy and stay that way until I've had a snack.

So far, I like the six-meal strategy.  I still need to avoid missing meals, but I don't feel hungry in the periods between them (as I have before when I've attempted to reduce calories). I'm also finding it easier to eat more fruits and vegetables.  The sleep schedule has been more challenging so far, but I'm optimistic-- and if it doesn't work, I can easily revert to typical sleep.
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*For those curious: I'll be working as a TA for the six-week summer program at a non-profit preschool for developmentally-challenged three- and four-year-olds. It's not the perfect stopgap job-- it's not in my field and it doesn't pay particularly well-- but it gives me time to apply to other jobs, helps me establish a routine, and the work is very fulfilling (though I don't believe I could do it over the long term).
**On the flip side, I power through a lack of sleep fairly well. K is the opposite way: he regularly forgets meals, but hates anything that gets between him and his sleep. When he brought up trying polyphasic sleep to me, I was (pleasantly) surprised.

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