Here I am hitting the one month after a very rough week. I started working, which did not go all that well to be honest. I was not fully adapted, but that was not a huge problem… what was a huge problem however was my circadian rhythm. Let me explain.

You may recall that as I started this experiment, I recommended that you first turn your circadian rhythm on its head, in order to ease the painful zombie times. This may have been a sound advice for the most part, seeing as I have had a much easier time this time around than my previous attempt, with a much reduced quantity of zombie time.

However, while adaptation is said to take a month or so, I only had three weeks of vacation left as I started the attempt. I was aiming at being adapted enough to have proper daytime activity, which from what I heard should be fine after three weeks. My problem then, was that my circadian rhythm was the wrong way around — so as I started working, I had perfectly good nighttime periods, but was really tired during the day. Bummer.

I ended up using a fair amount of caffeine to get myself through that first week of work, which was still fine since it did not cause any extra problems going down for naps, which I had otherwise expected and feared… there is no telling what impact that had on the adaptation though. I would guess it was not beneficial… Then I had to solve the problem somehow. I couldn’t just turn the rythm over like you normally would, since… well, there’s no core sleep to move.

Moving your daytime — the fast method

There is one option here that I considered at length. The various cycles in the body are interconnected — sleeping, eating, resting, activity. In order to reset your body’s circadian rhythm, one way is to use these connections. By fasting for 16 hours and then breaking fast at the point in time where you want your “morning time” to be, you can reset your circadian rythm to start there.

I have done this once before when I was about to start working after a vacation and had turned completely night owl, and it seemed to work decently.

Crashing out

I chose a different path however. At that point, I had started feeling some side effects that quite simply scared me — my head felt like it was under much too high pressure, for instance. I obviously had not adapted as the plan was, I was still microsleeping during the daytime whenever I was not pumping my body full of caffeine, and I was fast approaching a second week at work.

So I chose to do a crash. Crashing is generally the name given to a polyphasic sleeper oversleeping or simply sleeping for a long time. This would serve the dual purpose of giving my circadian rhythm a starting point and getting my sleep deprivation back to sane levels.

Last Saturday evening then, I went to bed and slept 12 hours away. As that goes, that made me wake up around noon, which wasn’t all that clever concerning my circadian rhythm, which is still rubbish. It did, however, give me back a reasonable amount of energy, allowing me to keep going and to perform at work.

Level of adaptation

I am, as I mentioned earlier, not adapted. This much is clear, despite the fact that I went long enough to become adapted without major mistakes. I cannot tell what causes this. I have seen glimpses of adaptation, and boy were they awesome… some naps that were just brilliant, leaving me in a state of near euphoria that I have heard others talk about. That is something I would like to return to — the perfect nap.

I know my body is capable of it. However, I have no way of telling why my other naps do not turn out that way, and I certainly am not getting the rest I need from the average naps. I am well enough adapted to easily drop into naps, and to be close to a reasonable adaptation, however… which means I have reached some form of steady-state, where I can experiment with different factors in trying to make things better.

While I am getting more tired with each passing day, not so at a higher rate than a normal person on monophasic sleep may do during weekdays and then sleep in during the weekends like I used to way back before I started studying sleep. I can essentially do the polyphasic version of the same.

I am trying to get my hands on a Zeo Personal Sleep Coach, which is turning out quite a challenge as they refuse to sell them outside of the US. With some friendly folks from twitter, it should sort itself out now though. Having something to properly measure my sleep cycles would help immensely in trying to analyze what is going on and what to change.

Some ideas I have had are the sleep tracks may be causing me to not sleep deeply enough or something such, nap length may not be right, sleep posture may not be good. My girlfriend has reported that I do snore a fair bit when sleeping on my back, so maybe that was not a good idea.

I will be doing some experimentation with these factors to see. If I get a Zeo, I have a chance at properly measuring these things.

Sleep schedules revisited

Last time I wrote about adding extra naps to catch up before starting work. I did, and the interesting thing is that I seemed to fare pretty well on that amount of naps, even though I was not fully adapted.

There is a new sleeping schedule only recently presented to the polyphasic sleep community, with the quick and easy name SPAMAYL — “Sleep PolyphasicallyAs Much As You Like”. Essentially it says take a 20 minute nap, then get up for at least 20 minutes. After that, if you like, you can go back to bed for another nap. It sounds like an interesting concept to me, and is similar to how I added more naps, but really does not mesh well with working.

Funnily enough, when I wrote that last post I seem to have completely forgotten about non-equiphasic sleep schedules. From the very start, my plan had been to add a core sleep if I had not adapted reasonably by the time my vacation ended.

So, since SPAMAYL likely would cause problems for me right now, I have been trying to add a core to my sleep schedule. I started out trying to get a 1.5 hour core in the morning, with catastrophically bad results. I completely slept through my alarms the first day, and the second day had to be dragged forcefully out of bed by my girlfriend, pretty much ruining the morning for both of us.

Which leads us to my current situation, finally. I intend to try a 3 hour core tonight, possibly with the sleep cycle alarm clock on my iPhone to help with waking up, as well as the usual backup alarms.

Either way, deep down I do feel like the core sleep is a workaround, not a solution. I still need to figure out how to get my naps down properly. Once I do, I should be able to go equiphasic properly again.

One thing is sure — I am not giving up now. Life isn’t exactly easy now, but I’m still happy I have found a steady state which allows me both to be effective at work and to keep trying to tune my sleep to where I want it to be.