The Right to Be Rested

Sleep is a civil right.  And not just any sleep — good sleep, correct sleep, sleep that leaves you rested, is a civil right.  

I feel weird stating that so strongly, but I feel like I almost never see it stated.  And isn't it pretty obvious? 

  • Food is clearly a civil right
  • Sleep, like food and a few other basics, clearly falls under "necessities for the pursuit of happiness".  

    • It's an element of health; to be sleep-deprived is to feel (and to some extent be) unhealthy, just as with hunger.  
    • If we're to pursue our Given lives to the best of our ability, we have to be allowed to rest, to obey a BRAC that works for us, and to have enough time for ourselves.
  • We already acknowledge that deprivation of sleep is torture

    • It's treated as such, and banned or regulated, in several official global policies
    • We also acknowledge the reality of forced desynchrony and regulate it as a type of torture as well.  (Forced desynchrony is forcing someone off of their sleep-schedule.)  
  • If someone feels that a vegetarian diet is best for them, we would not think that it was okay for their work, school or society to force them to eat meat.  

    • Yet there are some significant ways in which we "force" everyone to be monophasic.

      • And not even, I'd argue, because we (as a society) feel that it's better, but just that we honestly haven't f@$!ing thought about it very much.  :)

When I ponder this (as I do pretty often), a few other things regularly jump up and demand to be noticed:

  • How much should we say that "sleep" is a right, vs. "to be rested"?

    • If there were pills that made you rested, and your job assigned them to you in lieu of letting you sleep, would that be cool?  (UM, NO, for a million reasons?)
    • If you sleep less, should you be guaranteed that you retain control(ish) of the time you thus have?  

      • It's actually been only-half-jokingly said to me in a professional context that if I "require" a nap at work during the day, maybe the company should be allowed to "require" me to do at least some work during the 4-8am block of time I thus gain.  …Uh-huh.
  • Many of the problems with making it possible for people to be rested are not the result of maliciousness; they're the result of how young and incomplete our understanding of sleep is.

    • We literally did not start seriously questioning the medieval assumptions about what sleep is and how it works until about the turn of the twentieth century.

      • Given that, it's pretty easy to see that we simply haven't (until now!!) gotten to the point of thinking about our sleep schedules, as a society.  Maybe we never would, if they were working for us — but monophasic-only sleep is increasingly not working for people.  And alternative schedules, not just drugs, need to be considered as a way of addressing this problem.

        • I really really dislike drug dystopias, so let's not create one, ok?
  • Lastly, this is all kind of scarily important.  

    • Firstly because not all of the reasons for our monophasic homogeniety are accidental or benevolent:  Some are the work of giant industrial corporations, working together wittingly or not to shape and control our lives.  And that CAN'T just be allowed to continue unchecked, when it comes to sleep.  Sleep as an ingredient of dystopia is like this ridiculously huge elephant in the room.  And it feels to me like if people on the ground don't pay attention to it, we're going to wake up one day — ugggh, sorry — and someone's already going to have used it against us.


      • …Again.  Worse.  >,>
    • And secondly, because of what being rested really means:

      • It's not just about long-term health, though obviously duh
      • It has profound effects on how we perceive and interact with each other
      • What are the overall effects of 75% of your society being more irritable, anxious, forgetful and unhappy?  How do you even calculate the butterfly-of-storms on that one?
      • "Quality of Life" means quality of relationships more than almost anything else (besides basic health, which again means being rested):  How are we to pursue happiness when we, and everyone we want to relate with, are always a bit grumpier, more depressed, and more irritable than normal?

        • (Oh my god, I'm going to remember this argument and use it to propose restrictions on advertising.  HECK yeah.)

Anyway, that's *certainly* enough of that for now; thank you for being a place where I can get my thoughts down!  

(Cue "Thank You For Being A Friend")

(dubstep remix)

(Cue carrier pigeon with a note of apology strapped to its leg:  I am so sorry for the format of this post; I forgot how bad WordPress is with bulleted lists, and I wrote this whole post this way and then was like oooooomg that looks terrible…but I don't want to re-write it.  Sorrryyyyy!)

::flies away::

Posted in poly-ticks, polyphasic sleep | 1 Comment

Image of hand punching up from the snow after an avalanche

Greetings, everyone!  Sorry about the period of silence — "Second Winter" in Boston brought me a pretty nasty cold, and as you may know, since I don't get sick often, I can be a real wimp when I am.  Specifically this lingering cough has me cursing and whining something fierce.  *sigh*  I just haven't been taking fantastic care of myself lately, and that's how we get colds (and have them last 2 weeks instead of just a few days like usual).

(The degree to which I've not been taking good care of myself really deserves more time…specifically I feel like I should ask for advice on how to fix my sugar-screwy, over-carby diet…but, another time.)

I've got a ton of email to answer (sorry!) and several BIG projects that want my attention (some of which are pretty exciting, sleep-wise!  I'll talk about them as soon as I can), but since I owe a post so badly, how about it be useful?  In spite of not making much progress on my long-term goal to tighten up my schedule (I don't like to restrict my sleep at all while I'm sick, for what I feel are "duh" reasons), I have been paying close attention to my sleep habits and patterns lately — partly thanks to the Slack chat! <3 — and I think I've learned a few interesting things:

–  I wake up easily between 4-5am compared to 5-6am.  If I hit snooze a bit after 4, it's ok (I usually don't actually go back to sleep, just lay and be comfy); but I'd better be out of bed before 5, 5:15.

–  The space between my core and my morning nap shouldn't be more than 4h.  I'll start thinking about a nap at about 3h, and feel sleepy at 3.5 — that's the sweet spot.  As I wait longer than that, I sleep less well and have more inertia getting up (though generally my sleep-inertia in the late-morning is low anyway).  If I push it too far, towards 9am, then I'll sleep deeply / well but not sleep as well for my lunch nap.

–  In-between my core and my morning nap is a great spot to get exercise!  So is right after my evening nap.  I'm not sure how much of the ease of those spots are related to their being my default already — those are the time-slots in my life when classes, lessons and the like are apt to happen.  Since I've been financially restricted lately though, I've been having to plan my workouts myself rather than go to classes and trainings, and I've totally noticed that timing.  (It's tricky sometimes, because there are other things I like to do then, too. Que sera.)

–  This one's a repeat, but:  Post-nasal drip is the DEVIL.  That was true for me monophasically too, but just, omg, repeated waves of needing to cough keep me awake in a particularly fierce and annoying way.  And most medicines for simple cold-cough either don't work or have icky side-effects for me.  GAH.  (Told you I was whiny.)

I promise I'll post more soon!  People keep giving me great ideas for material, and then I keep not having the energy to make it happen.  But I'm feeling pretty positive about this time:  The cold will be over soon, the weather will start getting lovely EVENTUALLY, and it seems like other things that have been stuck and unfavorable are starting to rumble loose, too.  :D

Posted in polyphasic sleep | Leave a comment

Part thrwheeeeeee

OK, just a few days into fixing my schedule.  It goes well!  I won't bore you with the details because now I have a Slack group to assault with that sort of thing.  :)  Having the group is great, too — I'm really enjoying having a big ol' chat channel to hash over sleep (and related, and unrelated) talk with interested people in.  

I'm sure some of you will become a pain in the butt shortly, but I've always had a soft spot for humans' tendency to do that, so it's ok.  Some people are amused by watching their cats be jerks and break things; I'm amused by watching humans be jerks on the Internet.  :D  I plan to just calmly and consistently apply a benign Scalzi-type dictatorship, and I'm sure it'll be fine.

Hot Random Pro Tip!  If you haven't been reading the awesome Tim Urban, and especially seen his fantastic TED talk on procrastination, then by all that's wholly interesting, please go do so.  It's great stuff; it will give you hope.

Other great stuff in the world:  Are you watching / have you seen QI?  It's a UK game show hosted by Stephen Fry and it's utterly perfect television (if you like British stuff even a tiny bit) — and there are hundreds of episodes.  

I'm proud of and so far happy with my base schedule, but the work continues.  I'll try to share more in the next few days, but for now it's all about keeping swimming.  

I have some new political and social thoughts about sleep that I'd really like to write down soon.  Sadly, my brain's been off-track for the last few weeks, and most of what I've written has gone straight to the trash or Drafts Purgatory.  (Mounds and mounds of it.  Holy dumb time-wasting, Batman.)

I'd also like to eventually write some stuff about The Other Kind of Poly, but holy cow, it's tough to imagine having the time!  Maybe we'll get there soon though.  :)

Posted in polyphasic sleep | Leave a comment

Tidal Wave 2: My new adaptation + invite yourself to Slack chat!

Thanks to the coolness of the Internet, no-one has to send me their email address to request an invite to the Ubersleep Chat ever again.  You can now go to and request one yourself!

Thank all the gods for that one; whew.  I was not looking forward to fielding emails and inviting people manually forever.  I'll publish that URL around shortly.

In fact, I'll do a LOT of things shortly, because — wait for it — I'm free of that last job, finally!  I had to work 3 weeks after giving my notice, so I've just kind of been hunkering down and hanging in there, but yesterday was my last day.  

That job was short, but I learned a lot from it:  Primarily, that a good culture fit is everything at work; and that as much as I love my TPM gig, I would be better and happier sweeping floors for a great organization that shares my values and meets my SLB* needs.  So I'll now be launching an *intense* job-hunt with one goal in mind:  Find a great organization to work for, and convince them to hire me.  Wish me luck!

And, um, wish me TIME, too, because I'm going to need it!  Thankfully, now that I can sleep during the day again, I can get a good sleep-schedule back.  I slept a *lot* last night, trying to erase sleep-debt (I think it'll take a few more days); and I'm finalizing my adaptation plans to get my extra ~4h a day back, and make good use of them!  I'll post some updates here, but obviously for the blow-by-blow (and/or if you'd like to help me, or trade help with me), you'll want ze chatroom.  Remember, that's  WOO.

More soon; it's naptime!  :D





*Sleep-Life Balance!  Yet another cool thing to come out of the chat room.  :)

Posted in polyphasic sleep | Leave a comment

A *really* common polyphasic question: waking up early

I get this question SO OFTEN:  

(Paraphrasing) "I set my alarm and fell asleep I think, but then I woke up and just a few minutes had gone by.  Do I get up, or lay there?"

Here's my latest, and I think, most concise answer:

"If you’re adapting, then stay in bed until your alarm goes off.  Just lay there and relax.  Meditate if you want, or focus on lucid dreaming prep in case you drift back to sleep – lots of lucid dreams seem to happen in that situation.  But you are above all training your mind and body that this is sleep-time, so act like it’s sleep time whether you’re asleep or not, for the whole time.  When you’re fully adapted, if you consistently wake up after ~10m and want to shorten that nap to that time, go for it — but not until then."

This wisdom brought to you by the chat room.  :D  More on that in the next post!

Posted in polyphasic sleep | Leave a comment

Here comes the tidal wave: part 1

Guys. This week, THINGS CHANGE. More on how later.

But for now, one thing has happened that you'll want to be aware of (I'll send an email about this too, eventually): I started a Slack channel.  For us, and for anybody who wants to talk and collaborate with us.  I've been missing the contact with polyphasic-as-a-community that I used to have, and now that the throat-grip of inconvenient circumstances is off me somewhat, I've decided to do something about it.  

–> is where it lives.  You'll need to contact me and request an invite if you want in — make sure you give me the email address you want to use to receive it.  EDIT:  After an upgrade, you no longer need to do this (nor do I, yay!).  You can now just go to and request an invite.

If you don't know what Slack is, it's one of the best new chat clients.  Go look it up, or just dive in.  If you're a tech pro, knowing it is valuable experience anyway; yawelcome.  :P

If you don't know what use a chat channel for polyphasic people or the polyphasic-interested might be, then I fear you are not very creative in the brain. :D

Come join the community and chat about cool things, ask questions, give advice, plan activities, devise projects, make lifelong buddies out of weird people and you know, the usual. I'll be ghosting / moderating quite heavily over the next week or so, and then probably tapering off a bit, but yeah, come do the thing!

Posted in better thinking | 1 Comment

Dickinsian and how

Here's a lovely poem that I had never heard before today:

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading – treading – till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through –

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum –
Kept beating – beating – till I thought
My mind was going numb –

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space – began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race,
Wrecked, solitary, here –

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down –
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing – then –

…It's by Emily Dickinson.  I want to share it, though I'm not in a good place for sharing at the moment, because of the last two stanzas:  They are, if you've ever been curious to know, a nearly perfect description of what the cycle of depression and anxiety is like.  In the beginning of the poem, we see the deathly slow experience of depression that most people think of — "the sads", I've called them — but then, in that penultimate one, you see the author looking up and realizing that they're suddenly in outer space, completely alone and disconnected from everything.  This confused nothingness then lurches, and you fall back into the world, but you keep ripping through scenes like tissue-paper, and every time you see the ground of the next one rushing up, you flinch and gasp like you've just fallen asleep and started dreaming about falling off a cliff.  That's the anxiety.  And for me, as for many people, Depression the disease, the experience of it, is much more accurately seen as a rolling cycle of depression-and-anxiety, of despair cut with veins of sharp fear.  Eventually you will hit a world that you actually land in, and look around, dazed, and perhaps get to enjoy the sensation of being in the world in a normal way for a little while…and then the booted mourners march back in.

And I'm pretty positive I just said more than I like to, as a rule; but eh, I'll take it down later if I need to.  This surprisingly gentle, quiet poem that still pulls no punches and gets it just right seemed mandatory to share.  :)

Posted in aesthetica, better thinking, psychology, writing | 1 Comment