May 3, 2012
by alvaro

Day 56 – Oversleeping again

1 May

I did it again. I overslept. The cause was a mixture of tiredness and fun. I was really enjoying the fascinating dream I was in (at 3:05, time of the alarm, I was towards the end of the REM phase). Unfortunately I can’t remember my dream … but the people involved, and the fun or interesting things happening did make me think … “I can’t let go of this one … let me just enjoy one more minute of it and try to remember it.” Yep … instead of “one more minute” I ended up with 3 full episodes of REM!  Since I got 2 extra hours, I’ll skip the 6h30 nap (in an hour) and stay awake until my mid-day one. This might help me reset my schedule back to nap earlier as I had been drifting later and later for the last few days.

(2012/05/1, (5:10,6),(5:15,7),(6:00,6.5),(6:05,7),(8:00,5.5),(8:30,6),(9:00,7),(11:00,6))

Surprisingly after sleeping those 5:26, I was quite tired for most of the day and morning. That’s more hours than I’ve slept all the previous days … but I almost feel like those days when I used to oversleep 10h and then feel groggy and craving a nap all day.

2 May

It seems like readapting today is going to be difficult. After only about half an hour awake I was already having difficulties. To help me cope I’ve added about 20 granules of coffee to my decaf-tea. This will have to be my last coffee intake after this “oversleeping” to come back as quickly as possible to the old Everyman-3 Schedule.

During my 6am nap I snoozed 15mn to continue dreaming. But that only gave me 10mn of dreaming and then 5mn of light sleep which has made the waking up very difficult.

sleep hypnogram for polyphasic sleep with some oversleeping(2012/05/02, (3:00,5),(3:10,5.5),(3:20,6),(3:40,5.5), (3:55,6,”itchy eyes, tired”),(4:14,5, “nodding off, … need to get up”), (5:00,5,”tired”),(5:40,6,”some waking”),(5:53,”nodding off again”))

The naps felt great today.  Very refreshing and re-energizing.

3 May

six40winks hypnogram and sleep phases

(2012/05/03, (3:00,5),(3:10,7),(5:39,7),(6:15,5)
I hastingly set the alarm at 6:15 … for 7:45 … without thinking that I actually needed it for 6:45. The phone usually confirms … “your alarm will be in … 30mn” … but I wasn’t paying much attention so I gave myself an extra hour by mistake. It became a good hour of REM followed by some looong (possibly wasteful) light sleep!


I think I need to get back to the discipline of waking up immediately.  Snoozing often results in light sleep, over sleeping and drowsiness.  I need to remember my motivation!

April 30, 2012
by alvaro

Day 53 – tricking zeo

Here’s an interesting discussion on the limitations of the Zeo sleep monitor:

 – Sleeping with an active brain vs awake with a relaxed brain is very difficult to differentiate objectively from a single channel sensor on your forehead. We were at a quantified self meetup last night and had a great conversation around this with the folks in attendance. Alpha waves come from the occipital lobe (back of head) and Zeo is (obviously) measuring at the front of your head. Zeo would need more inputs to help it be more accurate on this front.

In the next months I’ll try to trick the machine with some deep meditation. If readers are interested I’ll explain in another post how the Electroencephalogram and the polysomnography work. Let me know!

29 April,

hypnogram sleep everyman polyphasic sleeping

(2012/04/29, (4:00,7),(6:00,7.5),(6:30,6),(8:00,7),(21:30,7))wiki with algarrobina from peru: breakfast of polyphasic sleeping champions
I’ve had enough of chocolate covered cookies first thing in the morning (3am). My body seems to have cried: Overdose! So today I’m having some kiwi + algarrobina instead.  I felt great all day today.

30 April

(2012/04/30, (3:18,5),(3:22,6),(3:38,7),(5:00,7),(5:20,5),(5:48,4.5),(5:55,5),(6:00,7),(15:00,7))
I thought I might be very tired because of yesterday’s strange naps, but I’ve been feeling very good all morning.  Well, until 5:40 that is. nodding off already. Some standing and domestic tasks got me back in shape.  The rest of the day I was in perfect shape both mentally and physically.

Concha nasalis

April 28, 2012
by alvaro

Day 51 – Sleep, turbinates and the nasal cycle

Adaptation to the Everyman polyphasic sleeping schedule continues after the short break while traveling last week.  Here are some things I learned this week:

[fact_quote]Have you noticed that your body has a preference for falling asleep on one side?  Or perhaps that you feel compelled to flip over to the other side before falling asleep?  If you pay close attention you will probably find out that you fall asleep on the side which has your nostril least open or somewhat blocked.  Actually the nose has a natural oscillation (every 60 to 200 minutes)  where it opens one airway and closes the other one thanks to a changing supply of bloodflow in the nose’s erectile tissues [1].  If you are lying on your left side, after around 12 to 15mn  the right nostril will open up (while the left one will close a little) [2].  It may be that we roll over to improve the flow of air in our sleep, but the ultimate reason for this oscillation is currently not fully understood.  One hypothesis is that slow acting chemicals we want to smell need a slow airflow, but fast acting ones a fast one.  That way, our nose would adapt each nasal cavity to perceive a wider range of smells [4].  Another observation is that the open airway stimulates the brain hemisphere that it corresponds to [5].  Apparently yogis and taoists have described the effects of single nose breathing for hundreds of years (empowering a hemisphere over another for meditative purposes) … however I have not found any sources.  Links are welcome! [/fact_quote]

Concha nasalis

A CT scan showing evidence of the nasal cycle. The more patent airway is on the right; the swollen turbinates congesting the left.

[1] Richard Kayser: Die exakte Messung der Luftdurchgängigkeit der Nase. Arch. Laryng. Rhinol. (Berl.) 8, 101 (1895)

[2] Michel Jouvet: Pourquoi rêvons-nous? Pourquoi dormons-nous? (Odile Jacob) 21,22 (2000)

[3] Wiki Article  [4] ABC-net science  [5] A chaotic systems analysis of the nasal cycle, Behav Sci. 1994 Oct;39(4):285-92.

And below are the last 4 days of Everyman sleep adaptation: Continue Reading →

packing the sleeping mat

April 24, 2012
by alvaro

Day 47 – Adapting to Everyman polyphasic sleep in 4 days

After a week at a conference where I had to go monophasic I’m going back to the Everyman schedule

20 April 2012,  

Unfortunately most of the data for this day is missing.

hypnogram for the 16h napMy flight arrived so late on the 19th that I had to camp at the airport!  Sleeping bag + mat + airport floor gave me 3h of sleep.  The zeo battery had run out but I do remember dreaming on two occasions.

packing the sleeping mat

travel light with a sleeping mat

Then 1h30 of train naps and finally the 17h nap displayed above.   No doubt after a week of very sleep deprived (~ 5.5h/night) monophasic schedule coming back to Everyman will be hard.  Tired after 20h. I’m feeling grumpy. In a sad mood. sleepy.

21 April 2012

I am relieved to be back in control of my time, sleep and schedules.  Too excited to nap at 19h … too many things in my head, buzzing with ideas. Around 20h however, my body called for a rest … which I didn’t give it as I had a 2h phone conversation which I needed to finish.  This lead to a very exhausted me at 22h … but I forced myself to stay awake until 23h to talk to my girlfriend.  This obviously will make me fall asleep instantly, but will probably affect the morning.hypnogram sleep rem, light, deep, awake phases on a polyphasic sleeping schedule

(2012/04/21, (4:10,6),(4:20,7,”productive work”),(4:46,6.5,”itchy eyes, tired muscles but aware”), (7:30,7), )

22 April 2012
(2012/04/22, (4:10,4, “not out of REM”),(4:29,4,”quite sleepy”),
At 4:30 in the morning I laid on the bed to get back some energy.   Did it work?  Of course not! I nodded off for 20mn (and didn’t record it).  When I woke up at 4:55 it was difficult to concentrate. Time for thoughtless work like matching and rolling 25 pairs of socks!  And trim and wash the leaves of a coliflower to make a vegetable soup.  This morning the sea is a grey animal with shivering skin.  I’ll post a video of it soon 😉

polyphasic sleep hypnogram with two naps - the third nap is missingI think the headband lost contact with my skin through the night (and thus the gaps).   It also took a while to fall asleep for the 17h nap as I was excited.   I have to remember my own rules and spend 15mn away from the computer before going to bed.  I think the difficulty with evening naps is just a result of the new adaptation process.

23 April
All normal, but a little delayed on the nap schedule. I ran 3 miles.  I’m adapting again to my naps.

polyphasic naps and the sleep phases for the 23rd

24 April
All normal, very awake in the morning.  I think I’m almost adapted.  I think the sleep deprivation from the previous week made it easier to continue napping through the day.

I overslept a bit at 15:30 … I must have set the alarm wrong.   Due to dance class and an important exam my girlfriend had to take I had to miss the 7pm nap.  So I’m going to give myself 4h at night to catch up.


physical activity activity as recorded on fitbit for 16 - 19 April

April 19, 2012
by alvaro

Day 43 – 4 days of monophasic sleep

Attending the conference (and the intense networking which ensued) made it impossible for me to continue with the schedule.  My great friends in Copenhagen offered their hotel for napping through the day, … but the commute, napping, waking and such meant losing 3h – 4h/day of precious networking and customer development time.  I was also walking many kilometres each day, standing for 8h to 10h straight … so I needed a little extra rest.

Despite the monophasic attempt, I did not manage to sleep much.  The week was very busy both with the 12h working days and catching up with friends.  So here are the hypnograms:

sleep phase diagram - hard work, little sleep (intense REM and deep sleep)

And the overview of activity:

physical activity activity as recorded on fitbit for 16 - 19 April

physical activity activity as seen on fitbit for 16 - 19 April

The first night was a little restless (You can see all the spikes as I toss, turn and drink some water).  Sleeping in a new place (sofa) and the nerves about the next day are probably to blame.  The next day had a large amount of deep sleep (maybe to recover from the physical exhaustion).  A couple of interesting things happened:

  • I was able to work very hard with only an average of 5h35 of sleep per day (although much of it was fuelled by coffee which I chose to use this week).
  • Coming back to monophasic (plus a nap on the 17th) was very easy and the REM seemed to find its regular patterns easily

The question is now, will it be easy to come back to the Everyman-3nap schedule?  Or will I have to endure the whole adaptation phase again?  Find out tomorrow!

missed all naps due to traveling. Here is the zeo hypnogram

April 15, 2012
by alvaro

Day 39: Challenge of Polyphasic sleep and traveling

Today, on day 39 of the experiment I’ve had to give up my naps for the first time.

missed all naps due to traveling.  Here is the zeo hypnogram

I’m travelling to a conference in Denmark so the prospect of 3 naps per day looks slim.  I woke up early feeling good and awake to get to the airport.  I took a 15mn nap on the flight (8am) but could not record it due to bluetooth restrictions.  It must have been light sleep as I don’t recall any dreaming and it was not very refreshing.  I had lots to do anyway, so I just worked hard until I made it to Copenhagen.

Pro tip for budget travelers:  SIM cards with unlimited internet and text messages for a week are usually much cheaper than roaming.  I spent about £15GBP in a seven-11 and got calls, texts, unlimited internet for tethering (plugging your phone to your laptop to access the internet) for the whole week.  The SIM expires after 10 days, but by then I don’t need it anymore).

But concerning sleep this was a pretty tough day. Continue Reading →

hypnogram for polyphasic everyman schedule, april 14th

April 14, 2012
by alvaro

days 36/37/38 – Good progress

day 36, April 12:

Perseverance seems to be paying off.  There are small difficulties (but not that different from the monophasic ones: snoozing, tiredness at work, etc).  Generally I can feel my energy levels improving day after day.

  • Smart Wake woke me in a small waking 1mn spike. It was quite easy to get out of bed.
  • I’m aware and awake with constant energy levels and great concentration capabilities
  • I did snooze on the 15h nap …  (trying to stay a little longer got me confused and made me snooze twice)
  • extremely tired after 22h. Possible combination of failed naps, exercise and rush of exciting work for 12h – 14h of the day.

As you can see below the 7am nap was not very restful (mostly light sleep).  The morning nap is usually all REM so I could really tell the difference as I woke up.  I think it was a combination of things.   One rule I broke is Continue Reading →

polyphasic sleep hypnogram with missed nap

April 11, 2012
by alvaro

Days 33/34/35 – smart wake trials

Day 33 (April 9th):  (2012/04/09, awake all morning, slight dip at 5pm)

health:  Sore throat + sneeze.

adaptation: After about 1 month I’m surprised by how well I feel only sleeping 4h30 per day.  However I’m not sure if I’ve fully adapted.  I may be oscillating between catching up on sleep (oversleeping), … and then, slowly, as the week advances loosing strength.  And after about a week I relapse again into an unhealthy sleep deprivation which makes me oversleep again.   It may also be a coincidence of germs, lack of exercise, stress or diet.  I’ll have to test this more carefully later in the experiment. Continue Reading →

April 10, 2012
by alvaro
1 Comment

5 reasons for polyphasic sleep?

Many people are intrigued by the idea of sleeping less or hacking sleeping schedules.  But the vast majority of people confronted with the idea of sleeping 2h30 or even 4h30 have the same reaction:  WHY would you DO that to yourselfSome polyphasic sleepers don’t sleep well or don’t like sleeping much (for ex. fabidée, puredoxyk or D. Curtis …) but it’s not my case.  I love sleeping.   I can easily spend 10h or 11h in bed on a lazy weekend.  So why would I pull myself out of bed at 2:30 am? Or even attempt a schedule with 2h30of sleep? There are 5 main reasons that keep me motivated. Continue Reading →

sleepless study?

April 9, 2012
by alvaro

Days 32/33 – Sleeping 4h30mn as an Indian Student

An email exchange with my friend Pavithra the other day revealed some interesting stuff about many students in India (related to sleep, of course).  It may not be so uncommon for people to spend years on a 4 – 4:30h sleeping schedule (although I would find it horribly hard without naps in between!).  Here’s her account of it:

I was thinking about it and then realized that I did something similar for almost 3 years of my life. I only slept for about 4 or 4.5 hours every single day of my life whilst in high school. Starting age 15 through age 17, I did this and never actually found any problem. I just got used to it. This was mainly to deal with academic pressures. And it was quite the norm in my friend circle. I would go to bed around midnight and wake up at around 4 or 4.30 to study (in our culture, early morning study is deemed as the best for retaining concepts. my parents would be very upset if i did not wake up in the morning and study. even if I did not study a lot, it was almost an unsaid rule that early morning study is mandatory.)

At 5.30 am, I’d go out for mathematics tuition classes (this I did for 3 years), and return at 7.10 am. I’d then get ready and go to school. After school I had a whole bunch of extra coaching classes / mock exam classes that I had to go to. By the time I returned home, it’d be 8 pm and did not have enough time for actual ‘study’. I’d be awake till midnight, go to sleep and wake up at 4 or 4.30 am  to finish up rest of the work. And this wasn’t just me. Everyone in my school would follow a similar schedule. Continue Reading →