Sleep Dep Tricks: Acceptance Game

…And a general update; thanks everyone for the replies, and feel free to keep them coming — I'm going to just gather data, and people, for a few weeks I think, and then I'll start sending emails. (If that confuses you, see the previous post and contact me anyhow you like if you're interested.)

So since this will be a very challenging adaptation — I'll talk more about why later, I'm sure — I'm preparing the heck out of everything I can. And funnily enough, because I've been polyphasic so long and in so many different configurations and circumstances, it's almost intimidating to sort through all the stuff I've experienced and decide what to do now.

One thing I'm doing is getting a camp chair, so that I have somewhere to sit besides my bed (which is also my couch; it's an awesome futon fold-up thing and I adore it) and the two flat square wooden stools I have. The camp chair will also fold away and be useful in other places (like camping) as well, yay. But it will serve as my late-night working spot, and hopefully not give me RSI as bad as the stools, but be less sleep-friendly than the bed.

I also bought a video game — Skyrim – since I know that a new, interesting game is a great way to while away the night hours on the first few days.  No, you can't do it in the throes of terrible sleep-dep, but the fact that it's there and waiting really helps you get out of bed, I find.

Today, it being a lovely Saturday and me having the charge of an energetic pre-teen, I found it difficult to nap — I did get one, face down on the dock in the sunshine, that was glorious — but I also kayaked and swam my guts out and didn't get a second one — and so as I sit here, still not quite bedtime, I've been yawning-tired for about an hour already, and done with the chores and stuff that were keeping me out of bed.  But I knew I wanted to stay up, because if I sleep extra tonight I'll only find it easier to not nap tomorrow (and tomorrow is full of kungfu — three classes!); I know that I want to go to bed on time and wake up on time — in 4.5h — so that I want and prioritize my naps.  (Remember, for me polyphasic sleep is a thing that I know works better for me than monophasic sleep; so if I'm off-schedule, it's the polyphasic one I'd rather go back to.  It's my default and I like it that way.)

Anyway, I found myself resorting to a trick I know for warding off sleep-dep symptoms that I don't think I've ever written down before (but I'm sure I will again):  The Acceptance Game.  I actually learned this as a breath-holding trick, but it works against being tired, too.  As you start to feel discomfort, and to cast about for how to fix it, stop and ask yourself, "Can I just let it be this way for a minute?  Can I just…relax, and let this exist, just for right now?"  

The Acceptance Game talks you into pausing, into waiting, into not taking that breath quite yet, into not giving in to sleep.  It stops you from fighting against the difficult shit, and therefore conserves your energy for enduring it.

Anyway, I plan to write down more of these as I think of them, that is, unless Skyrim is that good.




Let’s get together and stay awake a lot

WORLD.  I need to update my sleep-schedule.  

I have a plan.  It's a bit nuts.  But it'll work!  I know it will.  

I don't suppose many of you have heard me say this, but I think "I need more time" is a bad reason to transition to polyphasic sleep, at least in isolation.  However, I'm going to step on my own toes here and say straight out that that's why *I* need to make this change — not, I hastily add, a change to being polyphasic, but a fairly major change in my longtime polyphasic schedule, that involves moving closer to Uberman than I've been in many years.

I'll be testing out a strict new schedule in a tricky environment that includes limited space and full-time work, with the intention of transitioning gradually, staying with it long enough to document what ought to be documented, and then if all goes well, I want to push even further in or around Fall and transition to a ::cough:: new kind of Uberman I sort of came up with recently.  (Only people helping me out with this transition get to know about that, at least at first.  There has to be some compensation for how much they're going to hear me whine!)

But let's not get distracted!  This post is to put a call out:  Do you want to transition with me?  I need a few people who'd like to stay in touch regularly via email, twitter, hangouts, IRC, telepathy, hired mercenaries, etc. for probably a few weeks.  We can help each other out, keep each other awake and honest, assist in data-gathering and troubleshooting, and since I'll have your ear for a while, you can help me brainstorm some of the new sleep-related stuff I'm doing (which maaaay be the reason I suddenly need a few more hours a day ;).

Contact me if you're interested, and let me know some stuff about you, and why you'd like to buddy up.  Flattery and weirdness will go far, and I don't care what schedule(s) you're on or moving to, but there are some restrictions:  You must be over 18; you must not set off my internal Shithead-o-meter; and you must have either experience with polyphasic sleep, or a good amount of reading under your belt:  I'm all about training newbies, but not when I myself am also adapting; for this I need at least slightly experienced support.

Please feel free to repost this; I'll try to get off my butt (errr or on it?) and spread it around a little too.  I'm hoping to start by mid-July, though there's still some prep to do, so for the right person(s) or circumstances, I could be convinced to wait a little longer.


image by wind and sail



forty hundred million half-drafted posts.  Wow.

Fibonacci spirals.  You know, the ones from the Golden Mean drawings, and snails, and Pythagoras and the typesetting for the Ubersleep book.  :)

Ever notice how everything seems to happen in those spirals?  I won't even get into how prevalent they are in kungfu, but just look at life – how often have you felt a thing nudging, invisibly at first, then as it starts to curve the long tail those changes rode into your life-situation start to become apparent, and then the curve gets sharper and you think woah, shit is really happening now — and then suddenly flick!, the tail whips around unexpectedly, dots the i you didn't realize was undotted, and vanishes from sight.

So, so many of my life-changes seem to follow that pattern.  I think another one is right now.  This morning, I felt the whipdot of a hundred ideas and connections with people and glimmering half-possibilites crack into place.  I'm sorry if my language is veering abstract, but things are still all shiny.  :D

And this has to do with polyphasic sleep!  I can't even begin to talk about it publicly yet, but I did want to say "I'm not dead, I'm buried in research, stand by to receive large transmissions"…and just to be excited about the way all of this is happening.

Also, I'm teaching taiji like four times a week now, and it's incredibly cool.  Plus, I'm starting to barter for classes a bit, because people are offering, which is sort of jaw-dropping!

I hope you're all well and here, have a picture of one of the things I did with this gorgeous, sunny Sunday:



Teaching, writing, maybe occasionally throwing people in the grass

Time to be brash nerd:  I love, love, love this blog.

What is it?  It's a detailed exploration of taiji and internal martial arts' depictions in Avatar: The Last Airbender.  The piece I linked is a guest blog on tui shou (push-hands) — with excellent animated .gifs! – and as you can maybe imagine, I about exploded into a poof of anime flowers when I saw it.  


For those of you who haven't heard me squeeing about it in another format, I've been teaching regularly since the start of this year, and it's been eye-opening and absolutely huge for my education.  It's definitely a truism that if you're good-but-plateauing-before-excellent at something, a great way to advance is to teach beginners.  It's doubly good for me, since I want to do more teaching — teaching kungfu full-time would be a dream come true — but even if I was only in it for my own training, it would be totally worth the work I'm putting in.  People ask great questions, need different explanations, and give you an excuse to practice all those things you've been meaning to do more, over and over and over, with multiple partners.  And then they buy you a coffee and thank you for it!

And now, I'm off to a three-class-in-a-row day…since I need more things to do outside, I've been scheduling extra free-to-anyone classes whenever I can, in the local park.  Please wish my for-some-reason-still-annoyingly injured foot luck!

(P.S.  Internal sweeps are very hard to learn — I knew this, as I struggle with them.  Yesterday I learned that when teaching beginners, maybe stay away from things that *you* think are challenging — they're harder for you to explain, and can be frustrating for people who are still learning the early stuff, even if they are, like sweeps, legitimately fun and fascinating.  Use your teaching as time to practice your the all-important fundamentals.)

(image from en.qoloq.com)


Ruh-roh.  I made a mistake.

So, I started a project this week.  I'm not quite ready to tip my hand about it yet, but I think it's cool and it is loosely related to polyphasic sleep, so I'll talk about it soon.  But in planning out this project, I dedicated an hour after work, five days a week — for six months.  

Two days in, I realize that I get off work at six, and the library closes at nine.  (I need the library for the first three months.)  That's doable, but it leaves very little time to get my evening nap, and I'm already not that great at getting the evening nap.  I really didn't want to make that a ton harder and less likely to happen than it already was.  >,<

The tough thing is, now that I'm doing the 9-5ish M-F thing again, the stuff I have to stop doing to catch a nap at ~7:30pm is stuff I really want to be doing, like climbing or swimming or writing or being in the library.  

Hm.  This'll need some pondering.


It’s a whole new world, and I can’t run as fast as the damn flying carpet

To say I've learned some things lately would be the grossest possible understatement.

But I can't seem to keep up with what I've learned.  Oh, I remember it, even when I haven't yet gotten a chance to write it down (another way things are changing faster than I can run); but even where I've internalized the lessons and changed my thinking in ways I know are logical, correct and good, I keep running into conclusions I'm not ready for.

Like, wait.  I have to forgive everyone, because every way in which I hold onto anger is just my indulging my own ego's desire to try and force change by punishing someone (often me)?

I have to let go of that horribly painful series of episodes, those fights and insults where I know I was deeply wronged, because to think about them now only keeps alive my own anger and pain for no useful purpose?

I have to accept this uncomfortable circumstance, fully and unreservedly, without being either sad or angry, because to do otherwise is not only arrogant, but will keep away positive change?

It's not that I object to forgiving, letting go, or accepting in general — on the contrary, I'm a huge fan.  At the very least, they keep your brain uncluttered, keep the ol' mental oil free of black gunk.  But it's relatively easy to be in favor of those as correct behaviors, as long as you can keep your favorite blind spots in place.  But the crackings-open I've been doing lately have laid a lot of my blind spots bare, turned the sun on them, and started drying out some tar-pits that I really wasn't ready to stop wallowing in.  

And now, of course, it's Put Up or Shut Up:  PRINCIPLES VS. HABITS DEATHMATCH!

*sigh*  And those always make problems like "shit, I'm behind a bunch of blog posts" or "geez, that would be a REALLY cool video, I should get on it" seem pretty minor…

(I'll fix them, I swear.  I'm actually keeping up really well considering the tonnage of stuff going on, inside and outside; but the whole blog thing is a little slippery for the moment.  Won't be soon, promise.  Hope you're all well!!)

Holy cow I suck at videos

But I did another one anyway!  Thank you to the people who requested that I get back on the ball with these; they're really helpful for me.

Though to be perfectly honest, I really have no idea what they're for.  They're where I'm dumping a certain kind of informational…synthesis…I'm slowly growing out of my internal travels.  

That's what it is.  An interskull travelblog.

Recorded by someone who has no clue about video.

Aren't you guys lucky!  :D

(P.S.  The video ends abruptly because I have to shut off the fan that keeps my computer cool to keep the sound from being all sssSSSSSSsssHHHHhhhhHHhhs, and sometimes the computer then overheats and kills the video.  This time it happened when I was like one sentence from the end, so I left it.  Sorry!)

Subject matter

I've not been writing a lot here, lately, because so much of it would be about depression*, and I'm rarely proud of what I write about it when I'm in the middle of dealing with it.  But definitely go read what Wil Wheaton has to say about it, because holy shit does he nail it, and in a really good, useful, positive way.  This recent post is a great place to start.

*and the rest would be about sex — another pretty poor blogging topic.  ;)


Score! Great polyphasic advice spotted in the wild!

Yay!  This tumblr post answering the "how do I consider / start polyphasic sleeping" question is dead on.  I see those so rarely, and this may be the best one in terms of clarity, accessibility and not-being-wrong-ness.

I'd say my day was made by that find, but sadly my day had already been made — by beer.  MY beer, that is.  After finishing my first batch of home-brewed beer, which I was quietly proud of, I invited over my serious-brewer friend to try it, and then together we snuck a taste off the second batch, which is entirely my own recipe and "I did it all by myself"…and the second one is incredible.  Even my friend, who can do crazy things like taste a beer and decide to replicate it and get it right on the first shot, was really impressed and proud of me.  That felt great — I've never had a real talent for anything food-related before, but beer just seems to make sense, and so far both of my tries at making the beer I'd want to drink have been totally successful.  (Not that I can't tweak things.  But they're both not only excellent beers, but darn close to exactly what I was trying for when I made them.)  

So we'll compromise — YAAAAAY and a link for the excellent polyphasic writeup by an Everyman 3 sleeper like myself (hello!) that I had no input in and is still totally great advice! — and today's picture is of the beer.  


The beer is an IPA that wound up named Iron Palm Application, by the way.  Because nerd.  ::grin::



Wow, with as often as I get asked about biphasic sleep, it's nice to finally have something to say about it.  ;)

I've been using Everyman 6/1 (six hours' sleep and one nap) as a stop-gap on days where I miss two of my regular naps for a few years now, but I haven't felt like that gave me enough information to discuss it as a schedule — I know that Everyman 3 and Everyman 4.5 work for me, so if the biphasic E6 schedule was accumulating sleep-debt, I could be just fixing it by reverting to one of the other two — maybe even without realizing it; if I was tired the next day, I'd get an extra nap or two, sleep the corresponding 3 or 4.5 hours at night, and wham, fixed.  

(REMINDER:  I've been polyphasic for years, and wasn't able to switch schedules like this until I'd done it for over a year.  Be consistent while you're adjusting to a new schedule!)

But I've been doing E6 a lot more often in the last few months — since I took this job, I suppose, which was three months ago.  And while I still think I consider and prefer E3 or 4.5 as my regular schedule, I looked up the other day and realized that I've been on E6 for probably five days a week for the last several weeks, and I feel like I understand it better now.

My biphasic schedule looks like this:  I sleep for six hours at night — which feels like a lot to me — and then I catch one 20-minute nap during the day, usually around 1-2pm.  The schedule can shift, though; at least one day a week I seem to get too tired by about 9-10pm doing this to comfortably stay awake, so I sleep until 4am, and sometimes my next day's nap is my morning one, around 7:30.  (When that happens, though, I'm likely to be tired enough to take my 7pm nap too, and then since I've had two naps, I only need 4.5 hours of sleep at night — you get it.)

As you probably know, most biphasic schedules involve a nap of longer than 20 minutes — often betwen 45 and 90m.  While I can see needing a bigger chunk of sleep if it's to be your only one to break up 18 hours of being awake, I can't take longer naps.  I wake up ridiculously automatically at around 18-19 minutes now, feeling refreshed and ready to roll.  So even when I'm sleeping 6 hours at night, my one nap is still ~20 minutes long.

But overall, while I don't prefer biphasic sleep over one of the shorter Everyman schedules (or Uberman; let's not forget that I'd happily do Uberman if I could), and while I'm unsure that I could do just six hours' core plus one 20-minute nap every day and not become tired, I think I can say now that E6 is pretty viable as a sleep-schedule:  Probably at least as viable as 8-hour monophasic sleep was for me, and quite likely moreso; plus it does take 1.5 hours a day away from the standard amount of overall sleep needed.  There's already a ton of evidence that 4-7 hours at night plus one ~1-hour nap works (and I've never argued that it doesn't), but having done E6 as much as I have now, I guess I can add that this one works too, and that biphasic sleep in general is a pretty good thing.