I spent the last few weeks (approximately 19 days) transitioning to a regular sleep pattern. Before, I went to sleep whenever I wanted, and I woke up whenever was needful. I was a sleep glutton, sleeping for upwards of 9 hours a day, and always feeling tired. As I’ve mentioned before, I get sick often, and so believed that I needed to sleep more than the average person to feel healthy. However, this amount of sleep is not conducive to living the student life, or the working life, or any life that involves doing things. 😛
Today marks the second day of the first step towards the Dymaxion Cycle, or something close to it. I slowly whittled my core sleep down to 7 hours, and I have begun to take a 1 hour nap in the middle of the day. Yesterday, my sleep was horrible during core, and I couldn’t fall asleep during my nap until the very end, but I made sure to get up on the first ring of my alarm anyway. I felt a bit disoriented, and had a pressure headache most of yesterday. Granted, it was also suuuper hot yesterday: above 30 degrees C (90 degrees F). During my nap, I noticed that the level of noise outside, and the light level greatly affected my ability to fall asleep. I was also told to evenly space my nap from when I go to bed, however, this could make things harder in the long run. See, I have decided to go to bed at midnight, and so my nap should be at noon. However, this means I’m only getting 5 hours between wakeup and nap, and then 11 hours on the back end between nap and the next core. But, if I move my nap into the middle, it will be harder to adjust later when my core is smaller. I will have to play with this.
This morning I woke up much faster than yesterday, and with my head a little clearer. I still have a headache, but I think this may be from sinus pressure, as I recently came back up to elevation from sea level. I had very vivid dreams last night, so I know I got at least some more REM than yesterday.
So I have decided to hack my sleep cycle. If you are like me, you probably have a billion things to do every day and not enough time to do them. With this cycle, I could have anywhere from 4-6 more hours of time in a day, and supposedly, not feel any more tired. It is a process though, and I am going to document my transition so that any of you out there who wish to do the same will know the specifics of what you are getting in to.
I met this guy in New Haven this summer, and he had been hacking his sleep for 3 months already, with hardly any problems. He warned me that I would be tired, and that I would need to eat a lot more because his metabolism sped up. He also suggested I do light exercise throughout the day, instead of doing large workout sessions, because you need to keep your body in balance if you are only sleeping 30 minutes every 6 hours.
The cycle works like this:
Every 6 hours, you sleep for 30 minutes. Then you get up, go through your morning routine, and then go about your day. Essentially it is like having 4 days in one, and you end up having a whopping 22 hours of time that you are not sleeping. The premise is that when you are slightly sleep deprived, your body immediately jumps into REM sleep, and so if you wake up after each REM cycle, you would get 4 complete cycles of REM, and only REM. Myself, being one with a weaker immune system, and many responsibilities, will most likely call it good at the step before full Dymaxion. This would be an hour of sleep every 6 hours, and so I would get 30 minutes of REM and 30 minutes of non-REM during each phase. If you’d like to learn more about polyphasic sleep (sleeping more than once during a day) here are some starting places:
On that last website, there is also a statement here discouraging users from jumping into the Dymaxion Cycle, claiming that only those with a genetic predisposition to wonderful quality sleep can do this cycle. I choose to take that as a challenge.