The Polyphasic Sleep Group Adaptation…is All Yours!

Group Adaptation was a resounding success!

The Polyphasic Sleep Adaptation Group has been officially over for a month (give or take), and it helped a lot of people, and gathered a lot of cool data on the adaptation process! There are still quite a few active members, and much talk about what people want to do for another adaptation — a try-again for some people, and a new shot at it for others — starting in January (with a December ramp-up, since it’s been so helpful to start a month early and do planning together — one of many lessons we’ve learned.)

…But I’m Outie

However, as many people know already, I’ve decided that I can’t keep running the group, much as I enjoyed it. I thought I could justify it if I charged money for it, but as I got deeper into setting that up, several things were realized:

  1. It’s been a solid part-time job’s worth of work, and I already have a full-time AND a part-time job, the latter of which is getting more serious and time-demanding (in good ways!) by the day;
  2. While people have told me they’re willing to pay, they (understandably) don’t want to pay much, and I don’t want to charge much, and it’s a very thin margin; plus, the push-pull of trying to make enough money to keep doing it was, I think, going to be bad for the group’s goals of spreading information and helping as many people as possible; and
  3. I think we all like how much of a community it is; and that’s another thing that gets hurt by having to run it too much like a business. I’d rather have more people be involved, and not be getting paid myself, than be struggling to run a good enough group by myself, or feeling bad about accepting free help.

So…Let’s all just do it together for free, shall we?

SO, here’s the New Deal (hah):

  • I’m stepping down from “running” the group in terms of daily management, though I’ll keep ownership of the stuff I own so that it stays running, and I’ll stay on as one of the admins, and as a generally-involved person.
  • I’m promoting all of the currently-active Phase 2 people to admins. They/we will promote other admins, ban people who make trouble, manage / add resources, etc.
  • All you have to do now to use the group is to email sleepgroup@puredoxyk.com — I’ve set that address to go to the admins. We’ll take care of adding you to Phase 1 and getting you started. YOU CAN GET IN ON THE GROUP AS OF DECEMBER 1, IF YOU’D LIKE TO DO A GROUP ADAPTATION!
  • There will be a calendar soon, I hope, showing when people are starting their adaptations so they can buddy up; but in the meantime, assume that some people are starting new adaptation projects on most or all firsts of the month. It’s really, really smart to join the group a month before you plan to start your adaptation: Planning is key!
  • Anybody who wants to hire my super-involved personal help for an adaptation can still do that. I’m cheap as far as lifestyle gurus go (yes, technically that’s what this is :) — $500 gets you a month of daily help. I can’t do this for more than 2 people a month though, because of how much time it takes, so make sure you schedule carefully and ask up front if that’s a thing you’re interested in. I will be around the group here and there, but I spend more time in Phase 2 than Phase 1, for several reasons.
  • Phase 2, if you didn’t know, is a private chat area where the long-term polyphasers ascend to. It’s a similar setup to the main group, but its channels are set up more to talk about living polyphasically than adjusting to a new schedule. Generally we “promote” people to P2 when they’ve had at least 2 weeks of unbroken polyphasic sleep and are showing clear signs of adapting, though promotion is by necessity subjective and up to the admins. The purpose of separating the groups is simply to provide a space for long-term polyphasers to talk and support each other in ways that wouldn’t be useful for people adapting to hear about. P2 is also where the administration happens, though not all people in Phase 2 are made admins: The admins decide to make others admins based on how helpful they are to the group.

So things are the same, only the group is free and run by consensus. Yay!

The long and short of it is, things are the same as they have been, only I’ve opened up future decision-making to the group, and we’ll all be relying a bit more on each other to do the active running and maintaining of the place.

I’ll set up this information on the Polyphasic Sleep Information Portal page for future reference, and I’ll add other group-related things like FAQs to that page as they exist. I’m also, since I set up and am at least for now maintaining most of the resources, available as a point of contact if you have questions — but please be understanding, as I really have limited time to offer to this effort now. It’s been a fun three months, but it’s time to move on! And a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who participated!!

-/@-

Posted in better thinking | Leave a comment

Giving Thanks: Love is Help Napping

Ahhhhh, the Midwest — another Thanksgiving (we celebrate it early) in Michigan.  It's freezing cold here, but on the upside, there are no bike-lanes anyway, so I'm staying nice and warm — and stuffed to the gills with Mom's cooking; can't argue with that!

While I'm here, I'm enjoying a nice easy Everyman 3 schedule, sleeping from 1-4am and napping at 7am, 1pm and 7pm — the schedule I've kept most consistently for years, and which I feel gives me a nice amount of extra time to get things done without taking too much time from my family, or requiring too much effort.  Woohoo vacation!

One of the many nice things about my family is that they're super accustomed to my sleep-schedule by now, so I never have to explain or push for my naps:  People even remind me if it's getting close to naptime and I haven't mentioned it yet!  That's a benefit of long-term polyphasic sleep that I'm always thrilled to hear about other people achieving, too.  It takes a while, but eventually the people closest to you get used to it, and then instead of being an extra challenge, they become an extra assist.  

I have some friends in Boston now who are super awesome about helping me sleep, too!  They let me crash at their place on my way from work, if I'm going directly somewhere else and can't stop by my house; or if I stay overnight with them, they make sure there's a place for me to be awake and work at 4am, and forgive my early alarms.  It's pretty wonderful!

Like most people, I have a milion things to be thankful for this holiday season.  And while the naps themselves are great, and I still boggle at how valuable the extra -4h a day they give me is to my life, this year I want to shine a light on all the people who go out of their way to support my decision to sleep and live this way, and who selflessly help me keep to the schedule that keeps me happy and healthy.  Love is when you care about someone's happiness and health more than about what they do for you, and I am so fortunate to see real love reflected in so many people's williness to accomodate my polyphasic schedule(s)!

There's a lot more to talk about, but this post needs to stand on its own:  A moment of otherwise-silent gratitude.  To all of you out there, thank you for your many gestures of conversation and support as well, and may you have many naps and many excellent people to be thankful for too!  

-/@-

Posted in polyphasic sleep | Leave a comment

Segregation in Sports: A bit of a wrap-up

A big chunk of my life was taken up recently with

a) feeling hurt because of some of the effects of gender segregation in my beloved only-team-sport of Underwater Hockey;
b) venting about that hurt on FB, which to my shock angered some powerful players and resulted in my being told I wasn't welcome to play anymore;
c) becoming the locus of a bunch of heavy conversations about it as a result of my public booting from my team;
d) at the request of several people, writing this huge piece on how and why the sport must desegregate in order to avoid being fucking stupid*
e) getting a bunch more email and having to back away from the topic for a bit, while gaining a whole new appreciation for how hard it must be on various disadvantaged folks to have others shouting questions and demands for explanations and education at them…wow, did I hit a special level of mental exhaustion there;
and
f) finally figuring out what I wanted to do, and publishing the below, which I now leave here for anyone who's been following this saga and/or is interested in this topic.

*note: this is a technical term now :P

The Deal With Underwater Hockey:

I just started a GIANT new project, so it may take a while, but I've decided that I will go back to ‪#‎underwaterhockey‬ practice soon. (I will also answer all the emails and messages I owe people, eventually.  There are, it feels, about two million.)

TL;DR: I am still planning to avoid all tournaments and events that are segregated. I am ALSO planning on CONTINUING to write about and discuss my thoughts about gender-segregation, here and elsewhere. Some people intimated that if I didn't apologize for what I've said and/or keep my mouth shut in the future (including on FB) about my feelings on segregation, I would not be welcome to play. I don't accept that, and I will not self-censor on something I believe in. If hockey doesn't like it, it can kick me out.

THE REST:

I've come to grips with just going to practices, so I'll be sticking to my guns when it comes to not attending any gender-segregated events (in hockey or elsewhere): This, I think, is kind of the least I can do to show my support for equality and the firmness of my belief in the fucking stupidness of gender segregation as a thing. For that view I will not apologize, and anybody who thinks they can out-argue me is welcome to try. (You might want to train up first; fair warning :))

I will also, as I always have, try to be nice to everyone in hockey, and not ruin anybody's good time — I've never gotten loud about this during a game or anything, and don't plan to — BUT now that I've had time to get over my shock at the multiple suggestions I received that I would "need to apologize" for causing bad feelings in order to come back, OR that I would have to censor myself here or elsewhere concerning my stance on gender segregation if I want to continue to play…no. NO. EFF NO. Ew, yikes, wow, really did we just say that. >,< I'm honestly embarrassed for all of you who took those stances…but I'm willing to let it go if you are. Shit's hard; I get it.

Look, my opinions are valid and well-considered (as I proved, I think, by writing a sensible, detailed, damn-near-publishable paper on them with 48h notice), and it's ZERO PERCENT MY FAULT that hockey has the flaw of being sexist, like so many other sports. If you don't want people complaining that your stuff is dirty, maybe focus more on cleaning it up than silencing the complainers? Eeesh. So yeah — no. There will be no apologies (unless something I said hurt *your* feelings specifically, in which case I'm *totally* sorry and please do come talk to me so I can listen and try to be better), and there will CERTAINLY be no self-censorship. Even if I wasn't about 99% sure I'm in the right, I'd still be opposed to censoring my own personal social media so as not to anger the poor sensitive hockey people. (Though…seriously ya'll…harden up. :P)

I do recognize that, while ‪#‎UWH‬ is better than other sports in many ways, its community is still composed largely of people (male and female) who are used to either supporting or tolerating segregation, and who may be made uncomfortable by my refusal to do so. (It is this general acceptance of sexism and segregation that kept me out of team sports most of my life.) All I can say is, yeah that sucks; I'm uncomfortable too. Maybe we can figure something out. Maybe we don't have to; maybe you can keep your segregation and I can just play in the practices and avoid tournaments — not great for me, but like I said in my writeup, I'm not a world-class player; I just enjoy playing; so while you're probably hurting *other* women with that view, it's really not much skin off me. I don't like it and it makes me feel really icky sometimes, but those are punches I'm willing to take, I think, at least for a while longer, to be allowed to play a game I love.

But if people want to fight for hockey's right to segregate without being called out on it by players (even on our personal FB pages), then they're going to have to kick me out. Like, actually kick me out; as in, tell me, publicly, that I must leave because my refusal to not talk about gender segregation is a kick-out-able offense in this sport. I'll leave then, and be happy about it, because any game that demands censorship and unquestioning support of its policies as the price of playing can suck my middle finger. …But for now, since so many people have pointed out to me that there's nothing stopping me from going to the co-ed practices, that's precisely what I plan to do — while continuing to argue against gender-segregation, here, and wherever else I choose to exercise my freedom to speak and write, thank you. Those who don't like it are, as always, free to ignore me.

(Be warned though — ignore me TOO well and I'll steal your puck like *whoosh*. :D)

Posted in better thinking, no more forced pregnancies, underwater hockey! | 1 Comment

Report from a 300-day polyphasic sleeper (and a new possible schedule: Everyman245)

Sam Rosenthal is a musician (with his band Black Tape For A Blue Girl), a record label owner (Projekt Records), an erotic novelist (Rye), & a half-the-week dad. What follows is his account and description of his long-term polyphasic project / experience, interspersed with some bits of conversation we’ve had over that time. Sam came at polyphasic sleep from his own angle, and did a lot of experimentation, plus gathered some cool data. Please remember YMMV, and this is just one person’s anecdote! I’m really grateful to Sam for writing it all up to share with everyone, though, and I know I won’t be the only one to learn a lot from his efforts. Here’s his report:

Day 300

I've reached day 300 of Polyphasic sleeping [as of the date of this post]. I think I deserve a prize, though I cannot decide what you give yourself for not sleeping much!

PD asked if I'd like to talk a bit about my experiences. So here it goes… Like many people, PolySleep* is something I got into to gain extra time in my day. Certainly part of why I still do it is to prove to myself that I can! To prove that I can win the struggle against my brain. PolySleep is not easy, and not everyone will succeed at it.

*NOTE: I shorten Polyphasic Sleep to Ubersleep; Sam calls it PolySleep.

Most people I mention it to adamantly declare, "but I like my sleep!" As if I'm threatening to take away something they cherish. Yeah, sleep is nice. But we only live once, and I'd rather have more time to be creative, and talk with friends, and pet the cat!

I'm going to describe what works for me, knowing full well you might discover something quite different works for you.

I think I'm (pretty) successful at PolySleep because I'm predisposed towards its requirements.

  1. I have no trouble falling asleep. Seriously! I've always been able to nod off within a minute of closing my eyes, heading immediately to REM and dreams. Some find this hard to believe, but when my son was younger and I was getting him to bed, I'd nod off during story time. He'd poke me and say, "Daddy, daddy, finish the story!" I fell asleep between words, and started dreaming immediately. And that was BEFORE I started doing PolySleep, where we are actively training our brain to go to REM. Good candidate, see?

    NOTE: Sam’s assertion that polyphasic sleep causes you to fall quickly into REM sleep is unproven, though it is supported by some individuals’ data. Also, it seems to bear adding that I used to fall asleep incredibly slowly, but learning polyphasic sleep taught me to fall asleep quickly, so while the predisposition to it is definitely nice, it doesn’t seem to be required.

  2. I don't have much trouble waking up. I don't need 3 alarms.
  3. I don't need the 7 hours of sleep I once required. I can survive on 4.0 – 5.5 hours a day.
  4. I am self-employed and work at home, so I don't have a boss wondering why I'm napping when I should be slaving to the man.

Sam’s Schedule

For my first month, I floundered about trying to find a sleep schedule. I was trying to cobble it together from things I read online; I was not really adjusting. Let me tell you, improvising a schedule is a BAD IDEA! I discovered PD's blog and read her book Ubersleep: Nap-Based Sleep Schedules and the Polyphasic Lifestyle, and realized my brilliant strategy could be, urm, improved upon! I went to a version of Everyman 3 with three (but sometimes four) 20 minute naps. When I got it working best, it looked like this:

4 – 7 am core sleep
11:30am 20 minute nap
3:00pm 20 minute nap
9pm 20 minute nap
1am bonus 20 minute nap, when needed.

Everyman

HOW COULD A 20 MINUTE NAP POSSIBLY HELP YOU REST?

If you don't do PolySleep, I am sure this schedule doesn't make much sense. But let me tell you: A 20-MINUTE NAP IS AMAZING. I fall asleep within a minute, and I nearly always wake up at the 16 or 17 minute mark, convinced I overslept my alarm, because of the sense that four or five hours had passed. I look at my timer, and realize I still have a few minutes left to sleep. Bizarre! 20 minutes asleep is an amazing rejuvenation: I fall right into REM and replenishing my brain.

I began with an earlier core sleep, around 1 – 4:30 am, but I found that my body required a core that allowed me to wake after sunrise. I needed that sense of "A new day beginning" which didn't happen with the core in the middle of the night.

Add to that the three (or four, if needed) naps, and I had the 4.5 hours of sleep I was aiming for. And while I adjusted, in the sense that I didn't feel sleep dep during daylight hours, there was still a problem.

Zombie Mode. Late at night (after the 9pm nap), I'd often find myself sitting in my chair, staring blankly at my computer screen. 30 minutes had passed in this half-awake state, often while I was working on a spreadsheet or trying to edit html. It's like a bad dream, where I was lost in some simple task; I was actually repetitively cutting and pasting text, but forgetting what I had just done, and going back to do it again. I flowed along, quite dreamily, repeating the task, and then I’d wake out of it for a moment and realize I accidentally delete what I was working on. Ugh. No good.

It never happened between 7am and 9pm. It cropped up many nights as the evening wore on and I got further from the core sleep.

This didn't happen every night, mind you. There'd be periods where everything ran splendidly, and I'd wonder if there was a reason these days were so good. I'll admit I don't stick to the schedule as precisely as I could. Sometimes I'd get busy and forget the first or second nap and have to pick it up an hour late, or sometimes I'd push the 3rd nap so I could go see a concert, or have a friend over. So yes, I am to blame for tweaking on the fly.

time worm

I keep a really detailed chart of my sleeping, using the "timeworm" I created. I am a graphic designer, and I wanted to represent time in a linear fashion. Time doesn't run around a circular clock; time flows ever forwards. My design keeps the look of a 24 hour clock, but it flows like water (or a segmented worm). The examples of my sleep schedule on this page use the timeworm, and here is a pdf so you can keep track of your own sleep.

NOTE: Wow, thanks for the chart / pdf, Sam! Those are awesome.

I think PolySleep is a great way to learn about your brain. First off, you (the witness) get to struggle with you (the brain: the machine that runs your sleep). I understand that for many people, the brain kicks ass and wins the fight. Hey! I don't think PolySleep is for everyone. There is no shame in trying, and then stepping back slowly and surrendering, "Nope, that's just not for me."

There's also no shame in occasionally wanting to sleep outside the schedule. I’m not a purist: do what you gotta do to stay with the experiment. Do the best you can. Don't beat yourself up for not being perfect. Get some extra sleep when your body demands it. As time goes on, I’ve discovered the benefit of taking a "hop" which I will explain in a little bit.

PD says the adjustment process can take six weeks. It took me quite a while.

Ok, related to Zombie Mode, there’s another thing I didn't like about Everyman 3: my brain's aversion to books. No matter what time of the day, I'd fall asleep within 1/2 a minute of starting to read. Even 100 days in, when I was not feeling Sleep Dep, my brain couldn't focus on reading. "Words on paper? Must be time to nod off!" I like reading books. It's one of the things I was planning on doing in my extra hours. But waking up to the thud of the book hitting the floor? It gets old after a while.

Now back to my progress. At day 169, because of the problems listed above, I decided I needed a switch. I read about Triphasic sleep, which is three evenly-spaced 90-minute naps (Leif gets pretty precise in his article, regarding sunset, sunrise, etc.). I figured I'd give it a try to see if these longer naps might be a better fit for me. But after a few days, I realized this schedule was even worse, and I was regressing. I really need a core sleep.

Making this switch I learned that my brain just doesn’t want to wake from 90-minute naps. However, the process did reveal my perfect nap lengths. I really think this is key: finding the points where your body wakes up with ease. These are linked to the end of your REM cycles.

Note: Again, Sam’s data bears this out for him, but the research isn’t really there to make the bigger claim scientifically. We can call it a really good guess, though! :)

I found there were two points that I’d wake naturally and feel rested and ready to go. The first was around 15 – 18 minutes after I lay down, the second around 40 – 45 minutes. I could wake up as late as 60 minutes after, and be fairly functional. But after 60 minutes, my ability to "nap" ended and my body was entering a 2.50 hour sleep mode. Most attempts to wake up between 60 – 150 minutes lead to turning off the alarm, swearing that sleep schedules are the tool of the devil, and plunging back to sleep.

And if I was able to launch myself out of bed after 60 minutes, it inevitably turned into Zombie Mode where my brain tried to round out the 2.5 hours of sleep that I had started, by sleeping with my eyes open while staring at a screen (or book). Bad brain! Bad brain!

I started trimming two of the three 90 minute naps, adding the saved time to the first nap to create a core. PD suggested we call this E245 (though I reserve the rights to come up with a cool altname). Here's what it looks like today:

4:00 – 7:00am Core Sleep
3:00 – 3:45pm – 45 minute nap (time fluctuates)
9:30 – 10:15pm – 45 minute nap

(Through trial and error, I found that having the first wake period be 8 hours long is really beneficial.)

E245

It's 4.5 hours of sleep a day; the middle nap seems to work floating a bit. I feel the 45-minute naps give my body a lot more than two 20-minutes, as far as I am getting rest that allows me to remain lucid. I can float a nap up to an hour later, to fit my schedule. Or sometimes I’ll take a 20 minute nap around 7pm as a booster shot, if I'm sliding my 2nd nap to midnight because I’m going out (or staying in!).

I think this schedule could be effective for somebody working a normal job, because there's only one nap during the day, and you could do it on your lunch break. More experimentation is required.

Some questions from PD:

  1. You've been aiming for a total of 4.5 hours of sleep every 24. Do you feel fully adjusted?

    I feel fully adjusted in the sense that I don’t have that headachey, groggy, am-i-getting-sick? feeling anymore; which isn’t to say that I am free from bouts of sleepiness. (You’ll notice that I was having trouble staying awake the night of Day#237, above. I went out that night, with the plan of getting Nap#2 later, but I just wasn't able to wake up (the yellow and pink means sleeping in my chair at my desk), so I just said "Screw it!" and went to bed for my core at 2:30. As I said, you’re not going to be perfect). From 7am to 9pm, I am always fully lucid and productive; But 9pm to 4:30am can be hard. Some nights my body just demands sleep.

     

    I have discovered that a handful of trailmix (heavy on the nuts), and some pacing around (or a walk around the neighborhood) is a good pick-me-up at 2am.

  • Which schedule do you like best, and why?

    As opposed to e3 or Triphasic, E245 works better for me. I get the core sleep, and I feel the longer naps are better for my brain; they regulate me better and make my evenings more productive. If a 20-minute nap is the equivalent of 90 minutes of sleep. Then these 45-minute naps feel like the equivalent of at least 3 hours of sleep. I feel more lucid at all times. I can read, I can work, It's more functional.

    That said, the thing I loved about Everyman 3 was all those naps! Crawling into bed every 4 or 5 hours, and falling asleep? It was very luxurious. Very fun. And the weird perception of 4 hours passing in 20 minutes was pretty interesting!

  • How much time have you gained on an average day, and what do you do with it?

    I find on average, I sleep between 4 – 5.50 hours a day. I'll admit that quite often I ask myself, "Why don't you just go to bed at 2:30 and wake up at 7am?" It would also be 4.5 hours of sleep, without all the napping. But the problem – as we all know – is you really lose productivity on a 4.5-hour monophasic sleep. The naps throughout the day rejuvenate the brain.

    What do I do with my extra time? I run my own business, and I downsized about a year ago, and work at home. I feel that PolySleep is the main reason I can keep the business going. So I find I work too much. But I feel a lot less pressure during the "work day." I can go out and water the plants, or sit on the porch and talk on the phone with a friend. I try to walk 3 miles a day. I don't feel guilty taking that 45+ minutes break. I walk around the neighborhood at 2am. Cray-Cray?

  • You said you sometimes take "nights off" which you call "hops." Describe those please: How often do they happen, and how long do you sleep? Do you feel like you "crash" or are accumulating sleep-dep in-between them? Could you keep your E245 schedule without those nights of extra sleep?

    Sometimes I take a night off when I am seeing my partner. When they spend the night, we go to sleep together and wake up together. That said, I can set my alarm and get up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night while they’re asleep.

    Sometimes I'm just feeling wrecked from a stressful day, and I allow myself a 6 or 7 hours sleep. But even when I go off schedule for a night, I keep all the naps, so I am ready for the next night on.

    Funny thing. I was convinced that I read somewhere here on the blog that you developed a sleep schedule called "Everman-Hop," where you do Everyman, but some nights you hop out of it and do a normal sleep. PD says this was just my hallucination, but I like "Everyman Hop" as the name of the evening when you sleep through, whether because you just feel the need for some extra sleep, or because you're enjoying a lover's warm body in your arm.

    Personally, I don't really feel like I accumulate "sleep dep" on E245 the way I did in the early days of adjusting to Everyman 3. Right now it is 2 am, and I feel completely lucid and my typing is as error-free / error-filled as it usually is. I don't feel icky.

    Could I do E245 without a hop? I am not sure. There are just some nights that the sleep pattern isn’t working. And I think it’s fair to have the option of sleeping in once in a while, so life doesn’t feel so rigid and torturous.

  • What's the biggest difference, in your opinion, between an adaptation to polyphasic sleep that succeeds and one that doesn't? What are the most important things someone who wants to transition can do?

    Hmmmmm? I think you have to be good at falling asleep. I think that you have to be able to shut off the internal dialog of your brain, so you're not chattering through that 20 or 45 minute nap. Because then you're not napping, you're just looping on your to-do-list. It's a bit like meditation: you have to develop a way to let your thoughts slip by, rather than hooking your attention and keeping you awake. That's something most people have a hard time with.

    PD recommends that in the beginning you lay down for those 20 minutes, even if you cannot sleep. To train your brain, "This is the time you get, Use it wisely!" I agree with that. You are learning how to train your brain.

    You also have to be good at waking up. You have to learn when your "good wake-up times" are. On PolySleep blogs, I've read about people who set three alarms, with one out in the kitchen, because they are shutting the alarms off and going back to sleep. I have blown through alarms on occasions, of course. But I really believe the problem comes down to WHEN you are trying to wake yourself up. This will be personal to your brain, and I think it could be the biggest decision about what sleep schedule is right for you. Forcing yourself to try to do something that doesn't work for your brain will cause repeated failure, and you'll doubt the possibility of PolySleep. So, in my view, it takes trial and error, to find your good wake times.

    Another bit of advice: cars are a great place to take a nap. I did that often when I needed to take my 20 minute, and my son was at a sport event. As many of us are self-conscious, and might skip a nap rather than risk getting "caught," I like PD's suggestion that if somebody asks you what you're doing, just say, "I’m feeling a bit under the weather; I am resting a bit." Don't try to explain your crazy-ass-sounding sleep schedule to the mall cop! : )

  • How long do you plan to be polyphasic? Would you do it always if you could? What do you think is the biggest obstacle to keeping it up indefinitely?

    I think the biggest obstacle would be if I was living with my lover; because sleeping together is much more sensual and pleasant than sitting here at my computer catching up on email.

    Polyphasic works fine for me as a single dad. Actually, I created my second nap to match the time I put my son to bed. So I can crash with him for 45 minutes as he falls sleep, then get up and have the third installment of my day.

    As far as how long will I keep at it? My son is very excited by the whole thing and my charts; when I groan that maybe I should give up and go back to normal sleep, he tells me to stick at it. Sometimes I think I'm doing it because it entertains him!

    But yeah, I like what I'm getting out of it, and I will stick at it because all-in-all, it's pretty interesting.

What I’ve described above is what works for me; it's very personalized. "Your mileage may vary."

…Speaking of personalized, for the three days since I started writing this blog, I’ve been wondering about that question I asked in the first paragraph: What do you give yourself, as a present for doing PolySleep 300 days?

An alarm clock? A sleep cap?

How about 3.5 extra hours a day? That's a pretty good gift! Thanks, just what I wanted!

-Sam Rosenthal

Posted in polyphasic sleep | 3 Comments

Feels like segregation feels like segregation feels like

Pretend you're a dark-skinned person.  One day your friends tell you about a new, tiny, unofficial sports team they're in.  They invite you to come play.  You arrive and nope, there are no other dark-skinned people there, but also nobody mentions it, and they invite you to keep coming back and playing, and you do, because it's a fun sport.  This feels great!  You may be the only one there like you, but you're not excluded or treated differently, and the friendly, this-is-about-a-sport-not-your-race environment is easy, fun, and a welcome relief from your often-fraught daily experiences as a minority.

Then one day, a few more dark-skinned people start coming to practice.  "Hey, that's great!" you think, and your teammates say the same, and things continue as normal.  But…now, as the team gets bigger, and begins to sign up for some local inter-team events and tournaments, people begin to approach you about "playing in the dark-skinned games".  Often these are people you meet who, like you, are dark-skinned and play the sport.  "There's a tournament just for dark-skinned people in California next month," they say; "Will you come?"  Your teammates, who are also your friends, are not invited of course — but they ARE invited to other tournaments and games that you can't play in, because they're — yup — light-skinned-people-only games.  You try speaking up about this, about how it makes you feel excluded and like you're being pushed into a different group because of your skin-color and that's not fair, but your teammates all tell you that you've got nothing to complain about, since all that's happening is that everyone is being offered MORE opportunities to play.  You can still come to the co-ed practices like normal!  It's just that these extra games and tournaments are, well, they've always been done a certain way, and you certainly don't *have* to participate.  

So you mostly don't, because the people who don't do the daily grind of minorityhood don't understand this but man, it just really sucks the fun out of something for you, when someone tells you to go stand with, go play with, go sign up with the other dark-skinned people.  Do you have anything against dark-skinned people?  Of course not — but soon, you get treated as if you do, when you turn down invites to play in the dark-skinned-only tournaments.  Both light and dark-skinned people give you suspicious looks and one even asks if YOU're a racist, because surely if you weren't, you'd be doing your part to support the development of teams and games for dark-skinned people.  You are put on one, then several, mailing lists for dark-skinned people in the sport, and you don't know how to politely get off of them.

How do you explain?  How do you tell them that you felt LESS excluded when you were the only dark-skinned person there?  How can you look at them, including the hopeful faces of the other dark-skinned players, and tell them that in your guts this feels WRONG, this FEELS like racism, like segregation, like being shut out and pushed aside, and the fact that you're being pushed into "separate but equal" games doesn't make it feel any better?  How do you express how hurt you are that your friends, your team, now consists of players who go to light-skinned tournaments and players who go to dark-skinned tournaments, and you don't often get to choose which one you're allowed to attend?  

Your attempts at expression do, in fact, fail; your friends think you're being unnecessarily negative and looking for problems where there aren't any, and they grow away from you all the quicker as more and more "optional" segregated activities come around, providing experiences for them that you can't share, and vice versa.  You are encouraged to choose to participate and make friends and be part of the sport — but only if you choose to participate in the dark-skinned activities.  Your teammates tell you that they could see your trying to force your way into the light-skinned games *if you were really really good*, because that's where most of the exceptional players are, and if you were exceptional they might let you in too — but you're not; you're just okay; and that would make trying to gain access to the light-skinned games really rude.  When you point out that it sounds exactly like you're being told that dark-skinned players are worse players than light-skinned players, people mostly just shrug and say that if enough dark-skinned players were that good, they'd be playing in the light-skinned games, now, wouldn't they?  

You used to have aspirations of learning to play this game really really well — you love it, and you're not bad at it, and with practice you could be really good.  But the bigger games and tournaments are the way to advance, and the more exposure you have to them, the more wearying it becomes.  "One day you too could compete for the world cup," the leaders tell you excitedly.  And this is true — you could even, with some work, get most of the way there playing only in mixed teams, though the higher up you go, the harder it is to avoid being put, at least occasionally, on a dark-skinned-only team.  There are segregated teams at the world-cup — a light-skinned cup and a dark-skinned cup — and only the absolute best players are invited to play in a special game where everyone is together again.  Getting good at this fun sport is starting to sound like a lifelong political battle and a massive undertaking…and not like very much fun.  So you back out of the tournament track and just focus on playing at practices and trying to have fun anyway, because that's what brought you here in the first place.

Your friends get better more quickly than you, since they go to more tournaments, some of which you could attend if you wanted, and some you couldn't.  It's hard to ignore the pull to get better and go to tournaments yourself, and sometimes you really consider it, but it always winds up unpleasant at some point — someone always at least *asks* if you wouldn't like to play with the dark-skinned players — and you gradually stop responding to requests about tournaments.  This gets you a reputation among the dark-skinned players for being, at best, antisocial and uninvolved.  When you turn down their invitations, you are asked if you hate them, or the sport, or both.  

After long enough, you're tempted to say "both".

And yes, this is about being a woman in #underwaterhockey, and yes, this is what it's felt like for me and yes, I get to say so based on my several years of personal experience, and just because you have your own experiences doesn't mean you get to argue with mine.  If you don't like how this sounds or how it's made you or I feel, maybe there are things you can do about that.

I've been out of my local underwater hockey games for injury and illness and I swam for the first time in months yesterday.  It felt AMAZING; I totally remembered why I was in love with it for so long.  I barely had any breathhold (was coughing my guts out for weeks), but I was instantly happy on the bottom of the pool with my stick and glove and fins and puck; I *love* this sport, as an activity.  And I've made many friends — male and female — while playing it.  And I can't wait to get back to practice.  

But I also got invited to a women's tournament today, by an email (from a women's-only mailing list that I somehow landed on) that told me in no uncertain terms that if I wasn't interested in women's tournaments, I "hated women and/or underwater hockey".  NO, I'M NOT PARAPHRASING.  Wish I was.  

One of the many things I liked about hockey was the travel opportunities, the chances to meet people and go places to play tournaments.  I can't often afford to do this now, but I've long looked forward to being a better player later and doing more of it.  For all of the reasons above, because of all the ways in which guess what, segregation feels like segregation (I know right??), I now have no plans to play in tournaments.  Even playing in the smallest local tournament I know about carries an unspoken automatic sign-up in the "women's game", and last time I did that and tried to back out of the women's game, it was really uncomfortable.  No thanks.  I love hockey but it IS supposed to be fun, and that's just not worth it, sorry.

I feel terrible for excellent players whose enjoyment and progress might be hampered by the gender-segregation in our sport.  Fortunately I'm not excellent, and if what I can have without feeling shitty about it all the time is just practices and pick-up games and nothing fancier than that, well, that'll have to be good enough.  Maybe I'll find another sport I can participate in as an equal, and get good at that instead.

***Someone made a very good point — it behooves me, as a white person, to point out here that while my example works as just that, an example and a thought experiment, it is NOT intended as an equivocation or a claim that racial and sexist problems are the same, or are experienced the same. The point of the example is to show that **segregation is segregation**, and it's no more relevant or less awful to divide people up into "light and dark" (ignoring those in the middle, or arbitrarily assigning them a side) and make them play in separate sports competitions, than it is relevant or unawful to divide people by gender (again, ignoring those who don't identify with or fit in one of our two whopping categories) and force them to compete separately. That's a good and useful point IMO, but since I'm white and this discussion is mostly happening among white people, it's important that we all realize that the useful example before us is more than just an example to other people and in other contexts, and in those contexts, WE are the privileged ones and should shut up and listen.

Posted in better thinking, underwater hockey! | Leave a comment

And now a break for beautiful

These layer-lapse videos are pretty impressive!  I'm so glad that Boston got one early, because…

…HOLY CRAP I live in a beautiful place!  ::so proud::

Now, go find something beautiful in your own town to admire — and leave me a link to it if you can!

Posted in aesthetica, better thinking, technical-ity | Leave a comment

Polyphasick: For all the gods’ sakes, do what I say, not what I did

Sometimes experiments produce enlightening results that are useful for lots of people and further learning. Other times they just mean that one idiot has gone and done that thing, hopefully saving others from trying it themselves. This is one of the latter.

Years ago, I discovered that polyphasic sleep, possibly in combination with other things, had taught me a degree of self-sensitivity that let me feel when my immune system was working hard. Several days before the sore throat that usually began an illness for me, I'd feel sort of flushed and tingly, with bouts of irrational-seeming weariness. After a while I learned that if I paid attention to that feeling, and on that very first day when it occurred, I drank a lot of water *and slept as much as I desired*, I would wake up feeling better, and avoid getting the illness completely. I would also, I was surprised to find, sleep for an inordinate amount of time — six or eight hours, usually. At this point I'd been polyphasic for years, and normally, even if I missed some sleep due to something, or drank too much, or whatever, I couldn't sleep more than 4.5 hours in a block; I'd automatically wake up then. Unless I had that immune-system thing going, in which case I'd knock out for a whole night and wake up feeling great.  I took this as evidence that, sleep being a known excellent state for the immune system to function in, I was in fact responding to the first onset of an infection by spending an extra 50% of my time in a sleep-state, enabling my immune system to overwhelm it before it caught on.

Fast forward a few years without more than a two-day sniffle. (I would get the two-day sniffle if I was exposed to something really horrendous — a couple flus that knocked coworkers down for weeks — sometimes I wouldn't get them at all, and other times I'd just get the mildest of colds instead.) I'm planning to try out running a group sleep adaptation; I've been working on it for months, and preparing to start my own adaptation for the last four weeks, and am both responsible for and relying on some other people's help for this thing that begins on a specific date. I'm also moving house and hosting my family from out of town for a week; it's an extremely stressful time. In the middle of the clouds of dust from packing, I begin to sneeze a lot. Day 1 of my three-day gradual adaptation arrives — in two days I'll drop into ECake and give it a whirl! — and I'm still sneezing. But I'm also unpacking and working on the group and trying to organize a strict new polyphasic schedule into a brand-new place with new roommates and a very different commute and basically I just keep my foot on the gas and don't look up. So I get sick. Duh.

A week or so into the adaptation, I've definitely got a cold…but it isn't *bad*, really; just a cold, and as colds are, kind of livable, especially with decongestants. So I drink tea and take decongestants and spend a lot more time sitting around poking aimlessly at the Internet than I usually do, due to a general lack of energy; but I stick with the schedule. For two more weeks. The funny thing is, I'm pretty sure I was adapting just fine; in fact, if I hadn't been sick, I imagine I would have been fully adapted by then (remember, I've got lots of practice adapting); but as it was I wasn't suffering any sleep-dep at all anymore. My energy was still shit, though, probably because the whole time, my cold had been getting slowly but steadily worse. Finally it started to cost me sleep too regularly — especially after I developed an uncontrollable cough — and I shoved my chair back and folded my cards and dropped out of the game.

But by then it was far, far too late. The "mild cold" had had weeks of my not getting extra sleep or self-care to fight it, and man did it sink its claws in. For a while it became a sinus infection, and then the weeks of coughing pulled a muscle in my ribs, and as I ran lower on energy I started to lose the momentum to do extra to take care of myself, and the stress of all the things I'd taken on assuming I'd have extra time as opposed to less time than in many years built up…

I believe the word for the results of the "can one push through a mild illness and adapt anyway, if one really really wants to and is a badass at sleep-modification?" experiment can be best summed up in the word clusterfuck.

So yeah. For years I've been preaching how awesome it is to be able to spot the need for immune-supporting extra sleep, and how brilliantly that tactic works for fending off infections if done correctly and promptly…and I'm going to stick by that advice, and if you love me we can all just pretend that it was someone else, not me, who decided to go ahead an un-heed this good advice, and got completely flattened by the consequences?

Regarding eCake

I'm of the opinion that eCake would have worked, but it had already needed one tweak for me, and I suspect it would have needed more eventually, so three weeks isn't enough to say for sure and I plan to try it again. *After* I make sure this illness is *thoroughly* gone. In the meantime, I've been sleeping on E4 / E6, rotating gently and naturally between them depending on how ill I feel, which has been getting slooooowwwwwwly better. I slept for 3 8-hour days once I stopped trying to adapt, and I've had one or two more in the three weeks since, but since this infection really got in there deep and is having to be overcome so slowly, I find that I can't sleep monophasically anymore for the most part (it's no longer my default!), and the lighter Everyman schedules seem to be fine — but I'm having to really suppress my activities and be ready to drop everything and rest extra whenever it's needed.

And yes, this is kind of a perfect recipe for misery for someone like me. THIS IS WHAT I GET for not listening to my body, and for trying to push through something that really should have been given its due and slowed down for. Moral of the story: DO NOT ADAPT WHILE SICK. Sick is bad, but polyphasick is even worse. >,<

Posted in ditch medicine for suburbia, polyphasic sleep | 1 Comment