Day 15 – tricks to stay awake


A few of you have been sending me tricks to stay awake, recommending not to overdose on coffee, and sharing your experiences. The first clarification is that polyphasic sleep is impossible if you use stimulants and depressants.  It’s common in western societies to ride a sort of roller coaster through the day:  sleepy (↓), coffee (↑), tea (↑), wine (↓), cigarette (↑), beer (↓), chocolate (↑), coffee (↑) … and so on.  However polyphasic sleep (at least überman) tries to achieve a state of constant energy levels leading to high productivity without the highs & lows (except of course for the moment before going to bed when we feel tired).  In any case during the adaptation you do need to fight the sleeping sensation without resorting to stimulants … so here are some of the tricks you’ve sent:

  • Reading out loud (like a child reading a book)
  • A cookie with a load of wasabi (apparently a true story from a trucker doing biphasic)
  • Energy Drinks (like Mana Potion, or the ridiculous 5150 drink (with the cafeine density of 8 expressos!) )


From my own collection and experience:

  • lowering the temperature
  • trimethylxanthine  soup [1] [2]
  • walking, loading the dishwasher, hanging and folding clothes
  • change of scene (room, air, lighting)
  • standing instead of seating

What other tricks can you recommend to stay awake?

On another note, I’ve started to shift my naps around a little.  I was trying to keep them roughly equidistant before ( 7:00, 12:00,17:30, 23:00) but I was noticing a clear drop in attention and wakefulness around 5:30 – 6:00.  So why fight it?  Since my circadian rhythm seems to still be in control,  I feel a cortisol kick after 7:00  (the cortisol hormone usually raises when we have been sleep deprived to help us stay awake).  So instead of waiting for that kick, why not just fall asleep and catch up right when I need it).  So for a few nights I’ll try to take the morning night when Morpheus knocks on my door after 5:30.).  Below is the schedule today:

sleep diagram with sleep phases on everyman polyphasic schedule

sleep diagram on everyman schedule 22 - March 2012


[1] more on the effect of coffee  [2] HowStuffWorks article on sleep.


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