Friday, April 14, 2006

Day 3: All over

Well, it didn't take long for me to decide the uberman wasn't right for me.

The reasons I decided to abandon it were not due to being impossible but rather:

1. It is approaching winter in New Zealand, and because our winters are not overly cold we don't have very good insulation on our buildings. This means that subjectively it is really cold INSIDE at night, and even when I'm wrapped in multiple layers I'm cold - this is not conducive to wanting to stay awake and do things.

2. I currently flat with 3 other people with 9-5 work days in a house that isn't very sound proofed. This means that instead of really being active at night I'm skulking around trying not to wake and annoy other people.

So both these factors have made me decide to at least postpone a transition to the uberman sleeping schedule. Perhaps in summer I'll try again, since I don't think the cold would be so much of a problem if I was already adapted.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Day 2

Well, I feel quite humbled. Here I was thinking "I can do this thing, no sweat" at least I thought that'd be how the first day would go, however late in the night I decided I was being silly and that going straight into the uberman cycle was just being dumb.

This was probably influenced by me reading Steve Pavlina's (a notably succesful user of hexaphasia, although he has recently turned back to monophasia) series on Self-discipline. Basically the gist was comparing self-discipline to lifting weights. You can't just expect to start bench pressing 80kg if you've never done any weight training before. You'll fail, maybe hurt yourself, and probably look like a fool.

So this is me trying to justify that I only stayed up until 4am last night, at which point I decided the idea of a core sleep sounded pretty good. I still had the 2:30 am nap, but didn't sleep at all and felt quite zombie-like. I decided to do a core of 4.5 hours. I felt pretty tired once I woke, but my partner woke me up and we went for a run which made me feel great afterwards.

I didn't do the 10:30 nap, since I was actually out running at that point, and the 2:30 nap was kind of half-hearted. The funny thing was that almost exactly at 2:30pm I wanted to nap even though I had lost track of the time and there were no clocks around. Guess my body is slowly getting the idea. I plan to nap at 6:30 and 10:30 tonight and reduce the core to only 4 hours.

I think gradual but tangible progress is key.

(Note: The idea behind the photos is to see if I visibly turn into a zombie)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Beginning

So I've now officially started on my quest towards becoming a polyphasic sleeper. I've decided to begin with naps at 2:30, 6:30, 10:30, am and pm. This decision is based around my schedule, we'll see how it goes and change if necessary since my commitments are somewhat flexible. I should also note now that I'm not adverse to trying a "core" sleep in order to ease the adaption from monophasic to polyphasic sleep, but I'll decide further in whether I need it. A "core" sleep is basically an extended nap of around 90 minutes, but the danger with them is the possibility of oversleeping once you've already beed dozing for that long.

Day 0

I actually began my prep for this adventure yesterday. I only had one coffee for the entire day, and that was enough of a decrease to result in me feeling lethargic for the entire day. I did get stuff done though and the only real trouble was trying to stay focussed at Kung Fu.

I took a 20 minute nap at 6:40pm, after the gym and before the martial arts, and it was remarkably easy to just chill out lying back in my reclined car seat. Of course there was no sleep at this stage, and I was just trying to get into the habit of napping. By the time I got home and had dinner it was time for nap 2 at 10:30pm, which was in a bed and really peaceful even without sleep. I stayed up until about 1:30am and then got about 7 hours sleep (I wasn't planning to start the uberman cycle until the next day...)

Day 1

So now it officially begins!

I woke up at 8:30am and was still feeling generally tired from the lack of caffeine, I didn't attempt the 10:30am nap, since it seemed redundant and I was involved in work and I also had a small coffee (I don't want to end up with withdrawl headaches). I napped in the warm winter sunshine at 2:30pm, felt mildly refreshed, and it is 5pm now. My partner has plans for us to go out tonight, so we'll see how the napping situation turns out.

UPDATE: For the rest of the day... I went and had a nap at the allocated times of 6:30pm and 10:30pm, both were restful but without actual sleep. Flatmates had a good laugh about the whole crazy plan. :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The starting conditions

Uberman cycle - before
Originally uploaded by ferrouswheel.
Before I travel headlong into a hexaphasic sleeping schedule and a temporarily frenetic existance, I think it'll best to inform people of where I'm coming from - things such as my health, normal activity, diet and sleeping patterns. Since hexaphasic sleeping isn't studied scientifically in that much detail - and especially not as a general sleeping regime (polyphasic sleeping is often studied and used in endurance sailing events) - many accounts are anecdotal and lack information that me be of importance, thus I'll try and be as comprehensive as possible in my descriptions.

Health and diet

I'm feeling generally pretty good, I'm reasonably fit (see my normal activities below) but I do have a couple of vices. Namely coffee and cigarettes. Smoking isn't that much of probalem to give up, I'm very irregular with it and have gone for weeks without smoking and barely notice the cravings. Coffee on the otherhand I have something like 3 full cups of filter coffee, or up to 5 cups of instant and this will likely be the hardest thing to give up. I'm not going to go completely cold turkey, instead I'll probably have half a cup at the beginning of each 4 hour phase, then every other phase, etc. until I ween myself off of it.

I'm a vegetarian out of choice, so although I do sometimes eat meat when out at a restaurant, I'm always eating vegetarian at home. I eat lots of vegetables and fruit
and generally tend to cook up stir-fries or pasta for dinner - but I change the composition of veges so there is alot of variation within those two choices.

I supplement this with a daily Supradyn multivitamin effervescent tablet, which contains a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. I also have a Glucosamine capsule and St. Johns Wort daily, the wort is to keep my mood elevated, and the glucosamine is to reinforce my joints for all the gym activity I do since they used to get quite sore.

Normal activity

I normally do Kung Fu twice a week for an hour and a half each time. In addition to this I go to the gym for an hour each day of the week to do about 15 mins cardio and the rest is resistance training. I will do a post soon recording the weights I can use in different exercises to see if my body deteriorates as a result at all.

I'm currently in my 5th week of a creatine supplementation program. This increases your strength and endurance for training, I'll be coming off of it at the end of the first week entering the uberman cycle.

Sleeping patterns

I'm naturally an owl in that I tend to stay up late and have difficulty waking up (Owls and Larks). I've heard larks are more succesful in their attempts at the uberman cycle, but we'll see.

(For a rudimentary test to see if you are a lark or owl click here)

I'll include more information if I can think of anything pertinent, although feel free to comment and ask me questions and I'll update this post with the answers.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Poll for the gender of polyphasic sleepers.

Are you a male or female polyphasic sleeper?
I'm not polyphasic
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Dr Wozniak made the claim that males are more likely to attempt being polyphasic sleepers than females. This was in an attempt to debunk polyphasic sleeping as a dangerous myth, with the whole meme having roots in the male's testosterone driven personality.

"Why don't we hear of polyphasic women? Their sleep physiology is not much different from male sleep physiology. The answer lies in the links between hormones and personality. The same testosterone-derived characteristics that drive man to leadership, war, or dreams of super-human accomplishment underlie the polyphasic death wish. Those young men tend to be hungry for life, hungry for experience, hungry for accomplishment, unable to adapt to 10 pm - 5 am sleeping schedule, rebellious and ready to seek new ways for maximum productivity. These are mostly noble characteristics. But in a mix with ignorance, they can lead to bad health, poor decision making, poor mental performance, and social frictions. These personality types are also at a higher risk of dying young."

Sunday, April 09, 2006


This blog is a running diary and commentary on my attempt to undergo the uberman sleeping schedule.

I'll include preperation, background material and links to other uber-people. I have no idea whether this will work but hope to contribute my experiences, good and bad, to the growing pool of information on polyphasic sleeping.

For those who don't already know, the uberman sleeping schedule is where you have 6 evenly spaced 20 minute naps throughout the day instead of sleeping for a continuous 6-8 hours every day.