18 June, 2009

Uberman Sleep Schedule

I had made my decision: I was going to try it. The Uberman Sleep Schedule (USS) is a strict sleep regimen where you take 20-minute naps every 4 hours. You only sleep for 2 hours a day, and you can use those other 22 hours for anything you want. The idea is to get your body into a routine so it immediately drops into REM (rapid-eye-movement) sleep instead of taking hours to get to the deep sleep stages. I got some inspiration, and stayed awake for almost three days straight. Here's my log from the experiment:

0:33:37 - Here is my first log. I am attempting the Uberman Sleep Schedule (USS). I hope to accomplish a lot in the large amounts of free time I will now have. I just had my first 20-minute nap. I didn't sleep at all. My mind was racing over a lot of different things. I'm going to go watch a movie.

3:19:36 - Just watched Grosse Point Blank. Pretty good movie. I keep thinking that it's time to go to bed, or that I'll be sleeping in a lot tomorrow for this. But I won't be. I won't be sleeping in for quite some time.

I'm in the it's-really-late-but-I'm-not-tired stage. My eyes are getting tired but I'm not sleepy-tired right now. But I am hungry. Time for a snack.

4:22:44 - Second nap (if you can call it that) is finished. I think I was just starting to drift off when the alarm shattered my wonderful little world. Oi. Now I am definitely sleepy.

6:33:04 - Just read some of IT by Stephen King. I involuntarily closed my eyes a couple times and went into one of those half-awake dreams for a second, but luckily I snapped out of it. I think I'm starting to feel how incapacitated I'm going to be for at least the next few days.

8:31:15 - Woooaahh, I was OK for a few minutes after this last almost-pointless nap, but then I almost nodded off just now right here at the computer. I have definitely already spent too much time on Facebook and other pointless surfing.

16:31:18 - Now the fatigue is setting in. Before my 4:00 nap, Dad and I were talking about software stuff, or rather he was talking and I was jerking myself awake each time my body tried to fall off my chair. Luckily I don't have anywhere else I need to drive today. It would not be safe.

19:54:27 - After my near-sleep experience earlier I had some coffee, and that definitely gave me a big kick. The effects haven't quite worn off so my upcoming nap may not be very productive. I was cold this morning (which could be due to the fact that it was raining and gray outside), but I was literally sweating during dinner just now. It's strange.

I don't feel that tired at the moment, but I'm sure Mr. Sandman is just waiting for the coffee to wear off so he can smack me upside the head with a huge dose of DrowzyX300. More to come.

23:56:55 - End of day one. Good lord, it's been the longest day of my life. I am definitely doing the head-droop-and-snap-back-up routine at this point.
0:30:55 - OK, some weird sensations from the last nap: When I first become horizontal, within 30 seconds I felt a rush forwards and downwards as my eyes closed and sleep engulfed me almost immediately. Then waking up was strange too: I don't remember hearing my phone's alarm at all, and the first thing I found myself doing was trying to reset the alarm to go off at 12:40, giving myself another 20 minutes to sleep. It took a couple minutes for my coniscience to re-engage and figure out what in the world was going on.

17:03:03 - I've found that something active but not strenuous keeps me awake: Piano. My Race and Ethnic Relations textbook still tries to thwart me and my anti-sleep efforts. And I'm still getting really confused when I wake up from naps. I turn off the alarm before I wake up, and then in my REM-deprived state, I think I haven't napped at all and lay back down. I'm pretty sure that's what happened just now at 4:00. Man, why am I doing this?

0:54:33 - ARGH. I just pulled another accidental 40-minute nap. Something is automatically programming me to get up at 12:20 (or whatever hour it may be), reset the alarm for 12:40, and sleep for another 20 minutes. This needs to stop.

0:58:16 - Other than the awful nap devations, I think things are going prettyy well. I'm not as tired as I thought I would be, and there are less involuntary-nod-off periods than I anticipated. That's not to say I'm not tired; I certainly am. I feel like my eyes are out on sticks. Oh, and I tried singing in the shower yesterday without a lot of success. My throat feels smaller, more constrained. And overall I'm little achy, especially in my hands. So I'm not in tip-top shape, but not too bad.

10:07:48 - Big problem. I woke up from my 4:00 nap very recently. Around 9:30. I have absolutely no recollection of turning off the alarm and getting back into bed, but I guess I did. I'm really questioning whether I want to keep doing this or just go to bed. I'm tired.

10:40:15 - Well, the experiment is over. Sleeping in yesterday morning kind did me in. Last night I slept for about 8 hours, and it felt fantastic. It's not that I was too tired to continue, I just couldn't get over how much the schedule got in the way of social interactions. I watched three movies and got quite a bit done (when I wasn't desparately trying not to fall asleep), but I don't think the schedule is for me at this point. Ah well, now I can say "Oh, the Uberman? Yeah, I tried that at one point..."
I didn't go at it for very long, but it was really the realization that it doesn't fit with my life schedule at this point that made me stop.

The blogger Pure Doxyk has actually written a book about polyphasic sleep, and you can get that on Lulu.com. If you want to try the USS, check out the links at the top, maybe look at the Pure Doxyk's book, and have at it! I may try it again someday, because having all that time was pretty cool. Just make sure you have lots of things to do or you'll get bored and fall asleep fast.

So give it a try! It may just work for you. What you could do with 22-hour days?


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