Polyphasic Sleep and Better Thinking
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Category — Ubersleepstudy

Endless Chicken Cornucopia

*bok*

(This makes sense, I swear.  I'm titling a post full of updates on things while making vague Thanksgiving references while poking the memory of one of my recent favorite books.  Don't be scared; this kind of thing happens all the time — just chill, and enjoy being a Chesterfield sofa for now.)

It's possible…probable…okay, likely that I drink too much coffee still.  I'm putting it firmly on the Fix Later list, though; especially in light of having successfully eliminated almost all wheat gluten from my diet in recent weeks (and that has me feeling much better! I was all bloaty and gastrically unhappy, and I'm fortunate that the first thing I tried — cutting out wheat — had an immediate positive impact).  But you know that when you make an offhand comment about not really being addicted to caffeine and everyone in the room laughs mightily, that's probably a hint right there.

Getting an opportunity to practice not letting emotions overwhelm me lately:  I'm quite sad about the holidays.  It'll be nice to see my family, definitely; but it'll also involve taking expensive disruptive trips to somewhere even colder than Boston and with much less exciting anything to do — gods do I not miss being stuck in the house during those bleak Michigan winters, wondering if I ought to go wander around the mall just to have a reason to get out — while the majority of my friends are off playing in hockey tournaments I have to miss, and going to warm places for diving and hammock-on-beaching and such.  I will admit to being grumpy about this.  I'm trying really hard not to be, but it's tricky.  I think a possible antidote might be to start planning something better for next year–?  We'll see.

[Idea had after writing this:  Also, I could start planning, or trying to plan, a few cool things to do over the Xmas trip -- it may take a little sub-travel, but surely the entire Midwest isn't such a hole that I can't find some people to visit, a hockey team to practice with, or some event worth checking out...right?]

The Second Edition is excitingly near done!  I got the completed proofs back from the (amazing!) designer the other day, and they look phenomenal, and one of my big tasks now is to go through them line-by-line for the no-really-one-last-time proofing.  Then it's cover time and we're in the home stretch!  Super geeked about that — this is taking a long time compared to the first, but when I look at the difference in quality and all the extra content, I know it's way worth it.

Important note:  I am still struggling to find a photographer for the Second Edition cover photo & About The Author pic.  It should be easy and fun work, and net someone a very good portfolio credit in return — if you know anyone in the MA area who might be interested, please let me know?  (If I don't find anyone soon, I'll improvise, and that'll work fine; but for obvious reasons, I'd rather meet/help out/work with a local artist-type.)

I haven't put up the sleep study flyers though, and I'm not sure I will — looking into it more, it's just a pain to flyer things around here…I dunno.  Things to ponder over the holidays.  I don't anticipate that I'll have trouble getting enough people into the study proper — there are already more applications than there are slots, though obviously the bigger a field of candidates we have, the better, generally speaking — and I've been made nervous about the local attention by some recent comments I've gotten about how the (many!) prominent sleep-researchers in this area will view my conducting a study.  I'm totally going to do it anyway — they should have done one if they wanted to so badly, darnit; I personally have been sending annoying emails to this effect for years — but I'd much rather put off getting their attention about it until after, or at least during.  Still percolating on that one.

I haven't forgotten that memory class I wanted to run, either — I think about it all the time, especially now that I have a bit more time myself, and it's still something I really want to work on.  (I especially have a deep, inexplicable desire to memorize the Periodic Table.)  Pulling together a time & method that works for more people than just me is the current challenge; plus there are a few more places I'd like to advertise it; but really it's mostly ready and I should just do it.  Sort of instead, I started a 10-day program that claims to make you really good at mental calculation, because it's always annoyed me how much I suck at that.  It's going well so far — day one, I shocked myself by rocking off sums of 5-7 two-digit numbers at a time without much trouble at all!  Yay brainhackery.

This also marks week 3 of being self-employed, which is still startlingly similar to both being unemployed and to being full-time employed — I'm stupid busy, but most of my work is trying to find work, so it sure isn't paying much.  Stressful to be sure, but there's still plenty enough probability that this may turn out to be a very positive career-event that I'm focusing on keeping my chin up and doing my best.  Productivity is a real challenge in these circumstances, but definitely one I feel I'm qualified to tackle — I'll make sure to let ya'll know what I come up with.

Aaaand I think that's about it — World Updated; Stuff Said; time to move on.  Hope everyone is well!

-PD

November 20, 2012   Comments Off

Fitbits for the sleep study?

It occurs to me that something like the FitBit could be really handy for the Ubersleepstudy.

I'll have to look into how it tracks sleep and how it stores data in more detail, but on the surface it looks more portable, comprehensive, and inexpensive than a Zeo.

Thoughts welcome, of course!

November 15, 2012   6 Comments

Progress of sorts!

The landing page for UberSleepStudy 2013 is up!  It's also mapped to www.ubersleepstudy.com, for easy reference and excited whispering to your friends.  ;)

You cannot possibly appreciate how hilariously unlikely my getting this in place now is.  Really.  You can't, so just stop trying.

However, you can appreciate how amazingly good a thing it is that I have my sleep schedule back, or it never, ever would have happened!

(How do I have my schedule back so neatly, you may wonder, when work was giving me such crap about it recently?  Well….they fired me!  AHAHAHAHA::dies::)

Anyway, who cares about them; they angered the nap gods and so the nap gods deigned to banish them from my sight all at once, is how I figure it went down.  

And the Second Edition is half done being typographed and holy crap is it gorgeous!  And I have fires to light soon for the cover-image and holy crap will that be fun!

So, yes.  Holy crap.  Indeed.

Hang in there, everyone!

PD

November 2, 2012   5 Comments

Massive Nap Update – Bosses Suck Edition!

Whew, so much going on here that I keep meaning to update — and I keep meaning to aim for shorter, more frequent updates too, but of course that's easier when napping is going well, and while it's been going, there have certainly been significant enough challenges to impede my goal of updating all the time (especially in light of how much else is going on; omg).  Here is, though, as they say, the skinny:

To start small:  I'm working on finding a good noncaffeinated, low-calorie/sugar, healthy hot drink for my 4am.  Coffee and I get along so well, but 4am is one time that the caffeine actually affects me, and if I wake up and make coffee (especially since I switched from cheap half-caff to lovely fancy stuff, damn my friends) then by my 7am nap I'll be wide awake.  Not too awake to sleep, but too awake to want to stop doing what I'm doing, which is still problematic.  So today I'm trying rooibos, and I'll keep looking for good herbal / noncaffeinated alternatives, and let you all know if I find anything spectactular. 

Generally my sleep is going well; I'm having to work at it, not in the adjustment sense but in the scheduling sense, but it's coming along.  Check this crap out:  I have intense swim-training sessions three times a week and a lengthy exhausting kungfu session one other night.  I have a serious side-job now in addition to my regular work plus a pretty involved volunteering gig.  (I need the side-job for various reasons, and the volunteer work is a) useful to my career in terms of what it's training me and who it's exposing me to, and b) is getting me a pretty valuable perk in exchange for doing it.)  I totally owe an update on working polyphasic sleep around the amount and kind of heavy exercise I get now (since even on the days I'm not training I'm often engaged in pushing my running or cycling limits, or working out generally to improve my martial arts and apnea abilities).  The short version is, I've got a system that works now, and it does involve getting extra sleep to allow for recovery sometimes; but given how much I love my fitness routines/hobbies, this doesn't bother me much.  More on that later, though.

I did hit a serious snag, though:  Check this out.  My work started messing with my sleep!  I'll start by saying that in a way this was a good thing, since facing a real challenge that might actually ruin my polyphasic lifestyle really motivated me to get more serious about getting my naps, especially during busy workdays when it's hard to take the break.  But here's the details:

  • I got a pink boss who didn't generally approve of napping — I wrote about the "near miss" a little while back where he told me that he didn't like it, but that since I'd been doing it for so long, he wasn't going to forbid it.
  • Well, then he did the next best thing:  He took away our napping room in the new office space, repurposed it and forbade anyone to use it!
  • I ran to some other senior people in the company, who were sympathetic since a) they'd hired me knowing I was polyphasic, and b) our work involves quite a bit of 24h on-call, incident response and the like, and having me awake late and early and able to plow through days of straight work with little break has been really valuable to them in the past.
  • The determination was, they can't make my new boss preserve the rest-area we'd set up for our group (though of course if you ask me, he's a dolt for messing with that — knowledge-workers with insane workloads need breaks, and take them way less often than they should, nevermind how often the corporate brain seems to fear they will); but he also can't stop me from using my unpaid lunch hour to nap in. 
  • For now I have to leave the office and walk down the street to the parking-lot to nap in my car (thank goodness I got a car recently! I didn't realize I'd need it to be able to nap, but it's a great napping-car, so yay).  This is a pain and takes fully twice as long as napping in the office did.  GO GO CORPORATE EFFICIENCY.  Sigh.  That also means I "pay", in terms of time I'm not billing for, twice as much to take a nap as I did before.  See what I mean about being forced to fight for it?
  • One of the senior people is seeing about getting me an empty office elsewhere in the building to nap in, or something.  Doesn't look terribly likely, but come wintertime it will be a godsend…slogging through the snow and napping in a cold car is not on my list of Awesome Ideas.

Something good that's come out of that whole episode is seeing the nigh-universal support taking a quick mid-day nap has among people far more "average" than I would have guessed…new boss and the other very corporate types may be against it, but way more people than not are fine with it, and everybody I consider intelligent is very much in favor and can see the obvious benefits right away.  That's a nice confirmation right there.

Make no mistake; I am worried about my continued ability to nap, especially through the cold season.  Losing access to my mid-day nap would pretty much shoot my schedule in the face, and I'm not sure what I'd do about that; but I'm also trying not to panic and invent trouble.  We'll see if things don't straighten themselves out, yeah?  I like to give them a chance to whenever possible.  ;)

Hmm…rooibus isn't bad.  Kind of tasteless and grass-like, but hot and healthy and not gross, so that's a tentative win there. 

Oh yes, and lest I forget to mention — Plans to open the application period for the UberSleepStudy (somewhat-less-than-tentatively scheduled for October 2013) continue apace…a final application and some mild advertising to that effect should be ready by mid-October (2012).  Exciting!!

Have a great day all,

PD

September 27, 2012   4 Comments

Applications!

Waugh, I keep getting applications for the sleep study!  

Which is awesome, but, um, did anybody have any *comments* on the application?  Because that was sort of intended to be a *draft* that I posted!

 

(Don't worry, all the applications I'm getting "count" — if I add anything when I release the final version, I'll just email the people who've already applied with any extra questions.)

You guys are fantastic.  And don't worry that I haven't answered any of your applications yet!  I'm just not really to that point at all yet, and I'm trying to make sure I don't lose focus on finishing the second edition.  We've got time!  (Though I'm sure it's going to feel like time is running out before we know it.  ;)

Thank you!!

 

PD

July 4, 2012   2 Comments

Draft Application for the Ubersleepstudy

So, still thinking about this study, and still haven't talked myself out of it!  I've written what I think will be the application, which has also helped me better conceptualize the structure of the experiment.  

If you'd like to see, comment on, or fill out the application, you can, through the magic of Google, do so here.

For those not Googlified to that degree, a copy is also available upon request by email or by dropping a comment here.  Specify what format you'd like it in, please.  (PDF, Word, whatever; take your best shot.  ;)

Please feel free to disseminate to anyone you think may be interested — I'm not officially opening the application period yet, but I think I will soon, once I've made a more final decision to go through with it; and then I'll specify a date for closing the application period, too.  But I'll accept applications anytime, and if I make any changes to this application, I'll just get additional information as needed from anyone who applied early.

EXCITING STUFF.

*woot*

June 23, 2012   5 Comments