Introduction: Six Days a Week

Picture of Six Days a Week

Last year I tried polyphasic sleeping, with little success. This year, in the continuing effort to find a sleeping schedule that works for me, I am now attempting to sleep as if there were 28 hours in a day. Multiply this out and you find that 28 x 6 = 24 x 7: each week I'll have six sleeps where most people have seven.

The picture below shows the schedule I'll be sleeping and working on. The red is when I'm scheduled to sleep and the green is when I'm scheduled to work. I am starting this on Wednesday, April 1; or arguably Thursday April 2, as the 2AM sleep start is the closest to what passes for normal for me otherwise.

I have earplugs and an eyeshade already. I'll add steps here every day or so to track my progress. We will see how it goes!

Step 1: Why?

For a very long time I've been unable to get to sleep 8 hours before I have to wake up. In other words, if I regularly wake up at 8, I regularly can't get to sleep before 1 or 2. Midnight just doesn't do it. A few times in my life I've had several weeks of leisure to wake up Whenever, and what happens is I go to sleep later and later, until I'm nocturnal, at which point I usually have to start doing something during the day again.

I have heard vaguely of an experiment with people living clocklessly in caves, where the cycle they slept on tended to be 25 hours rather than 24. It's well known that circadian rhythms are 'about' a day long (thus the name). I think that my innate sleep cycle at least is longer than 24, so now I am testing that. No I haven't really done that much research. If you have ideas for stuff I should read, I'd love a comment about it.

Step 2: "Day" One

I went to bed last night, Thursday April 2, at 2:10 AM and was asleep within 15 or 20 minutes. This is pretty normal for me so I figure this Counts as On Schedule. I woke up at 7:30(!) but only had to go to the bathroom, and was able to get back to sleep easily. I woke up one more time around 9, i think, and went back to sleep then too. Woke up for the last time at quarter to 11 and lazily dozed until my alarm went off at 11. I estimate I got about 8 hours of sleep overall.

I felt slightly sleepy all "morning" but that's not unusual for me either. Plus I am not drawing any conclusions yet. The 2AM - 11AM sleep isn't really weird for me either, although I do not usually wake up so many times.

Next sleep: 6AM - 3PM Friday April 3.

Step 3: "Day" Two

Last "night" I went to bed at 6AM. This was Friday, April 3. I stayed up at home, sewing hats (Instructable in another couple days) rather than, say, going clubbing. I was a little tired but no more than any other late night. Got to bed on time and slept right away. I woke up at 1PM to pee, then easily slept the remaining 2 hours, waking up about 5 minutes before the alarm went off.

So far I've had no difficulty getting up at the specified time, which normally is terribly difficult for me. Of course, normally I'm not getting 9 hours of sleep.

Next sleep: 10AM - 7PM Saturday April 4.

Step 4: "Day" Three

Went easily to bed when it was time; woke up at ... not exactly sure, probably noon or 1 to go to the bathroom, then again at 5:30 PM. I thought I was awake for good, then, but did get back to sleep after 15 minutes or so, to wake up a few minutes before the alarm at 7. Again it was easy to get up on schedule (a truly welcome change).

Last night it was somewhat difficult to stay up all the way to 10AM, despite having woken up at 4. I definitely had a sense of should-be-asleep. Now, this could be simply because I've so far just stayed at home working on projects, in a dark quiet house; if I were to bestir myself to go Out this feeling might dissipate. I'll try that tonight, there's an event I have in mind to go to that'll run Late. And an 11AM meeting as well.

Also, I normally drink about one can of coke per day (but never coffee or tea or other caffeinated things), and although I never particularly notice a caffeine rush I'm sure it affects me to some degree. Since Wednesday I haven't had any coke, mostly because my food pattern has changed, and this might be affecting my sleepiness too. I haven't decided whether I'll keep not drinking caffeine, or have some. I'll note that here as it is likely to be related.

Next sleep: 2PM - 11PM Sunday April 5.

Step 5: "Day" Four

Two in the afternoon is a very weird time to go to sleep. It's too early to think of as just going to bed early, and too late to think of as having stayed up really late (ten AM just barely stretches into up-late territory). I didn't sleep that well; I woke up several times and finally at about 10:30, 30 minutes earlier than scheduled, decided I wasn't going to sleep any more and got up.

I think it did not help that I had 2 cokes 'yesterday'. WRT caffeine, I decided that since this experiment is aimed to see if the 28 hour day can be normal for me, I would not have any special rules about non-sleep items. Therefore, if I wanted a coke, I could have one, as usual. I do have a usual rule of one per day, which should apply -- but I broke it. As I occasionally do.

I did finally manage to have regular meals, which I had not done previously. So far I had 'breakfast' of cereal and an orange around midnight, then 'lunch' of eggs & sausage at an all-night restaurant around 5. I'll have 'dinner' at lunchtime today. Not sure yet if I should try to maintain 3 meals daily or move to 4 slightly smaller ones... I will consider this over the next few days.

I am feeling rather tired 'today,' perhaps due to the utter backwardness of the schedule on Sundays, or perhaps due to not having slept as well as previously. I am finding that nighttime hours are longer than daytime hours :)

Next sleep: 6PM Monday April 6 - 3AM Tuesday April 7.

Step 6: "Day" Five: FAIL

Dammit. So during "day" four I was pretty tired, partly I am sure because I didn't sleep all that well the "night" before. I went to bed ten or fifteen minutes early, at about 5:45 PM. I woke up to my alarm for the first time. This was at 3. I dragged my ass out of bed, ate a bowl of cereal, sat down on the couch, and woke up again at 9AM. Drat.

"Yesterday's" scheduled sleep was 10PM to 7AM. I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to get to sleep at 10, having had basically 12 hours the night before, and having woken up at 9. I also figured that was a strong sign that 28 hours is too long a day for me. I considered my options. Should I try to get back on it and continue throughout April anyway, assuming it simply will take some time to adjust? Should I give up and go back to struggling through the week on 24 hours? Or should I alter the schedule?

Next sleep: 10PM Tuesday April 7 - 7AM Wednesday April 8

Step 7: "Day" Six: Busted & Adjusted

Picture of "Day" Six: Busted & Adjusted

(Sorry about that title, I couldn't help myself)

As I suspected, I was not able to sleep at 10PM. I went to bed then, and after some upping & downing I got to sleep around midnight. I awoke at 8. This isn't too far off, though; I believe I can still use 10-7 as the schedule. I chose to alter it, and below is the new version. It pushes each night's sleep back by only 2 hours, not 4, and then I get a nap on Sunday morning to tweak it back into night order. I also marked Sunday night as starting at the same time as Monday; I don't know if I'll keep it that way or sleep at 4, according to the strictest interpretation.

Next sleep: 12AM - 9AM Thursday April 9

Step 8: "Days" Seven and Eight... Or, April 9 & 10

Having adjusted the schedule now so that none of the sleep times are ENTIRELY backwards from normal, I can use regular day names and dates, which is clearer.

On the 8th/9th I slept at midnight as planned, or even a little earlier. The 9th was fantastically busy and I did not have a chance to write this up and unfortunately I no longer remember any details of that night, the one before last as I write this. I do remember not particularly wanting to get up in the morning, but made myself do so on time at 9AM. I had a coke at dinner at around 6:30, but no caffeine after that. I got quite tired around 10:30 but got a second wind in an hour or so, such that when 2:00AM rolled around, the next sleep time, I didn't quite make it. I got in bed around 2:20 and had difficulty going to sleep. I probably slept before 3:30, and woke up often during the night. I could have gotten up at 8:30 or at a lot of points afterwards, but I powered through with the sleeping and did not get up until quarter til 11, just short of schedule. Today, the 10th, I've been quite perky so far!

Next sleep: 4:00AM - 1PM Saturday April 11.

Step 9: Week Two-ish

Picture of Week Two-ish

After changing to 26 hours per "day", I found that I had much less need to pay attention to the sleep schedule (thus the lack of daily posting). I did not keep to it exactly, but it's been fairly close. And in any case, the point of this is not to keep exactly to a schedule, but to feel like I'm sleeping in a way that is natural. I'm not sure this is it, but it's not bad.

The adjustments I made are shown in today's picture, which is not of a PLAN but of the sleep I actually slept. The most difficult bit was Sunday, which as planned and as slept required a short overnight sleep and getting up early, most likely not fully rested. Since this is what I often get during much of the week, if I can get one day of not enough sleep, wonky & tired, down from 4 or 5 days of it, I'll call that a win!

Overall I've felt fine; some days my eyes are tired, some days not. It has been interesting to discover how closely tied my sleep actually is to daylight, which I had not thought to be the case from previous experience. I do find myself waking up after a couple hours of daylight, even on the later days when I ought to sleep more. I've been letting myself go back to sleep, which I rarely or never have trouble doing.

Also I find that my usual resentment of bedtime has reversed. Usually I am annoyed that I ought to go to bed already, and stay up late out of perversity. Last week a couple times I felt annoyed that I had to stay up later, and perversely went to bed early.

Step 10: Week Three-ish

Picture of Week Three-ish

This week was rather messed up in the restart area, which is supposed to be Sunday. As you can see from the image, instead of sleeping all the way through from 6PM on Sunday according to plan, I took a short nap then was up until 12:30. To tell the truth, there was an event I wanted to go to...

Then I kinda swapped Friday and Saturday's schedules, this time due to a friend visiting from out of town. Man, other people, you know?

(But next week is worse, I'm afraid! I don't think I'll be able to draw any real conclusions at the end of April. I will have to keep going through May.)

Step 11: Week Four-ish

Picture of Week Four-ish

This week was really off. I had friends visiting through Wednesday and couldn't reasonably do the early early bedtimes of the first part of the week. Either because of that or for some other reason I was tired more than usual this weekend and slept earlier than normal. And last night instead of the scheduled 3 hour nap I slept a full night, waking up at ten, and am just Not Sleepy now when I ought to have been in bed an hour ago. Yikes!

I was going to keep this schedule through April and then think about whether to try and do it regularly or revert to 24 hours. But I don't feel I have really properly been able to evaluate a 26 hour day. So I'm going to take another month, and with luck I'll have a better sense at the end of May whether this works for me or not.

Of course, even on a 24 hour day one rarely keeps EXACTLY to schedule. There's always something, a book you just need another hour to finish, or some exhausting thing that puts you to sleep earlier than usual, or a party that's too much fun to leave at midnight, or one, or two, or five... So I may go a little easier on the weekends, and allow myself more leeway. We'll see how it goes on!

Step 12: Week Five-ish

Picture of Week Five-ish

Weekends are giving me a lot of trouble, which spills over into Mondays. The rest of the week is working reasonably well but I'm pretty sure at this point that 26 hour days for the full week isn't natural for me. Sleeping at 6PM is just Hard! The last two weeks I napped a bit but then woke up fairly early in the evening and could not sleep any more until I'd gotten up and done stuff for a while. I'm sure this is at least partly because I'm not managing to do the short sleep as scheduled on Saturday night.

I'm going to keep on with the M-F schedule throughout May, but try various changes for the weekends to see if I can improve them.

Step 13: The End

Picture of The End

Success! My quest to determine whether a longer sleep cycle works better for me than a messed-up 24 hour cycle is over!

It doesn't work better at all.

Drat. But check out last week, below. It is very clear that keeping to the 26 hour day (not to mention a 28 hour day) is Not Natural for me. It takes a lot of work, and I fail frequently. This is not easier than failing to keep to a 24 hour cycle, which is basically what I've reverted to. So, I'm stopping this experiment. I will probably come up with another one at some point but I don't know what it is yet. Perhaps I will simply try to have no schedule at all!


abemckay made it! (author)2017-01-05

Thanks for the instructable, Rachel! I read through before trying it myself (blog was at, if anyone wants more dets).

Fretka (author)2009-04-30

I have often we ( mostly...not ALL) are a hodge podge basically of different nationalities from across the globe....and the time zones being what they are around the you think the reason some people have problems sleeping **normal** schedules is because somewhere in their DNA, they are displaying the ancestral tendencies ( ie: they are on the, say for instance ..European or perhaps even Middle Eastern time frame)?

I am nocturnal by nature... I seem to be happiest going to bed around 5 am, and getting up in the afternoon around 1. IF I allowed my body to sleep when I felt the need to and get up when rested....that is the schedule.( I recently broke my arm and was off work for 2.5 months...and that was the schedule I ended up on allowing myself to go with the flow of the rhythm of my body)

I know my ancestors aren't from America entirely...( I am going back a long ways...not just grandparents....but maybe their grandparents grandparents....LONG LONG ago)
It is seen by different people, that children will have tendencies to behave like an ancestor, without training to. Could this be yet another throwback to our roots?
I really hope I explained what I am trying to say here... I don't seem to be as articulate as I normally can But I wanted to throw this thought out there and get some feedback from everyone!!
Good luck on your study of your own sleep pattern!!

siafulinux (author)Fretka2011-09-22

I read somewhere about people who received a transplanted organ from deceased individuals suddenly craving foods that the deceased enjoyed eating.

Think it's called fractal memory or something along those lines, but don't know how legit it actually is. If it is though, I think it would fit into your theory of possibilities.

I also read somewhere that most of our genes contain "junk". Science doesn't really know what it is for, one possibility is that it could contain memories in some manner?

Fretka (author)siafulinux2012-02-11

That certainly would explain why someone resembles a far off distant relative.

The junk chain in the DNA might actually be the most interesting aspects of our ancestry and to understand why we do what we do, what we like, why we behave why we do... and to think we are are playing it forward in our own children and adding our own piece of "junk"....

I would love to know more about all of this... I wonder if it is too late to get into this science for study? At my age, I am not sure I would be able to go back to school and change my life, but it would be wonderful if they broke that coding in my lifetime !

Hot Milk (author)Fretka2012-02-11

That's an interesting idea, but then would almost all people from USA have trouble sleeping, because they originate from somewhere else.

Fretka (author)Hot Milk2012-02-11

Perhaps it is something that triggers a certain DNA coding. Maybe it is something that makes a certain trait more dominate than other traits from other ancestors. Sort of like the occasional Blond Blue in a family of predominately Brunette Browns. There was an ancestor that had that coloring, and something made that DNA trait more dominate in that particular individual than the rest of the family.
I cannot say, but I love that it provokes thought and serious consideration. WHAT does make us tick the way we do?

JamesTB13 (author)Fretka2010-06-30

THAT is an interesting idea, that the 'setting' of the body-clocks of our ancestors can be passed to our DNA. Hmm,....interesting. Another interesting (yet much much more unlikely) thing like this, is what is in the game 'Assassin's Creed'. In ti, scientists use what they call 'DNA memory', the idea that the past experiences of your ancestors are recorded in your DNA. Now, your theory makes a lot more sense, I hope you look into it. Send me a message if you do, please!

Win Guy (author)JamesTB132011-09-22

I, myself, just awakened 10 minutes ago... I was born at 1:38 AM, so... Maybe that has something to do with it? I dunno. Just a theory.

Win Guy

JamesTB13 (author)2010-06-30

Tea is only SLIGHTLY caffeinated, and I personally have no 'energizing' effects from it. Actually, I find a nice cup of tea before bed does wonders.

ptobe (author)2009-04-30

I really don't think your problem is with the length of your schedule. You really need to look at this holistically - how much exercise do you get? how's your diet? are you stressed? what is your pre-sleep routine? I suspect that the solution to your sleep problem lies with the answers to those questions. And for the love of your health - stop drinking Coke - it's just about the worst thing you could put into your body. Eat well (good, unprocessed foods), get some good exercise every day, make sure you are dealing with the stress in your life in a healthy manner and take a good hour to prep yourself for sleep (no electronics, no tv, no radio, no music ... maybe even a little meditation) and I guarantee you will get a good night's sleep. And remember - you may not necessarily need a full 8 hours; 6 or 7 would probably do. Get yourself into a regular, daily routine and you'll be fine. I was all over the map until I got into a serious rhythm. There's no mystery, it just takes some effort. Good Luck!

JamesTB13 (author)ptobe2010-06-30

Hmm,.... I find it very difficult to sleep without some music on from the radio,...

AntonioMDC (author)ptobe2009-05-07

having (or physically preferring to have if work etc didn't prevent) a different sleep schedule is not intrinsically a problem or a symptom. I for one have always had a very long day, when possible, around the 32 hour mark mentioned, or possibly a bit longer, and generally needed a very short night of sleep, like 6 hours, though at times more (that does change with stress and health etc). this has been pretty consistent for decades and did not change when I got a lot of physical exercise or none; when I ate really well or only OK, or even when I didn't get enough to eat; when I ate meat or was vegetarian; student, working, or unemployed; high stress or low; coffee or no coffee. all your suggestions about improving diet and exercise and reducing stress are a good idea, I am just objecting the assumption that the 24 hour schedule is right and trying to show how much it is possible to vary these other factors and not change one's natural sleep schedule.

ptobe (author)AntonioMDC2009-05-07

I don't think I implied that the 24 hour schedule is "right", but I would argue that it's "natural", given the natural day/night cycle. All living things have evolved to adapt to their environments & the most powerful force in our environment is the sun - so it stands to reason that our bodies natural rhythms and patterns would match the sun's rhythms & patterns. I have no doubt that you've found an 'unconventional' pattern that works for you, but your assertion, if anything, confirms the notion that the original author's search for the 'right' sleep schedule is misguided; that a regular routine and consistency are more important.

J@50n (author)2009-07-22

I am a teenager and get 5 or less hours of sleep every night. I AM 13 AND NEED COFFEE!!!!! what should i do i stay up until about 2 or 3 am and have to get up at 8 sometimes 7! i am also addicted to caffeine already. if i dont have it i get migraines. any suggestions?

chris73044 (author)J@50n2009-07-30

sounds to me like you have sleep apnea which is a very serious condition, please have your folks take you to the doctor to have it looked into. Cut back slowly on the caffeine if you are having issues sleeping drinking alot of coffee is going to compound the issue.

JamesTB13 (author)chris730442010-06-30

yeah, wow. that's a giant leap. he said he goes to bed late and has to get up early, sleep apnea is something COMPLETELY different. it's not like he's sleeping 8+ hours, but not feeling rested, he's just not sleeping enough.

Gjdj3 (author)chris730442009-08-28

Haha, how did you come up with that? He needs to go to bed earlier.

komecake (author)Gjdj32009-12-06

  LOL. Yeah, really. Some people. Haha.

minipancho94 (author)J@50n2010-01-16

i have something like your problem. no matter when i go to bed i always sleep till 9:30-10:30 AM. if i dont sleep till around those times in passing out in 4th period im so tired and like someone else said school does start to early

komecake (author)J@50n2009-12-06

  I used to get this amount of sleep at this age too. It's just a teen thing. You have to learn to make yourself go to bed earlier and then you won't NEED the caffeine.

 As for the headaches... they are more likely caused by your lack of sleep, not because you aren't getting caffeine. I would try getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night, take a benedryl if you have to. Ask your parents first, but it's a mild allergy and sleep aid and will make you sleepy. When you get a headache you should probably take an advil or something instead rather than caffeine, which can actually make your headache worse. If you REALLY do get migraines then you might want to see a doctor, but natural cures are normally the best first route. :)

Okapidragon (author)komecake2009-12-30

Actually, the teenage years are when the normal sleep schedule of a person begins to develop. It can be dangerous to both mental and physical health to sleep on hours that you are not biologically predisposed to, which is the reason we get jet lag. It takes two days to readjust, and in most cases extended periods of a strange sleep schedule can cause serious harm.

The problem is not that the kid is going to bed too late, but that its school is starting too early.

Incidentally, the 28-hour-day is among the more dangerous strategies, so of course I tried it for a while. I have also tried staying up for two days and sleeping fifteen hours every third night (which will make you extremely crazy, to the point of constant hallucinations) and have now settled to simply sleep four or five hours, tops, a night, because that is all my insomnia will allow if I'm not really tired.

komecake (author)Okapidragon2009-12-31

 My problem is that my sleeping hours seem to rotate if I have nothing to keep them "in order". For example, I have been sleeping from 6am-3pm. Then it shifted from 7am-4pm. And now because of a bad night it's shifted to 11am-5pm. o.0

 It's very confusing on your brain AND body. Even though you get those 9 hours, something still seems off. I can be WIDE awake when I wake up at 4 or 5pm, but by 2am I am tired again and ready for bed. Sometimes my brain even tries to tell me I am tired at 9 or 10PM. 

 It's quite interesting how our mind and bodies work even though we may try and program them differently. I'm sure though that if my schedule were more consistent that it might be a bit easier. I used to get up at 4am and go to bed at 8-10pm. I seemed to do GREAT with that, but my lifestyle was also very different. There are a lot of factors. In middle school I only slept 3-4 hours a night and I was ALWAYS tired, but I was a nerd who stayed up reading all night, so I guess that's another story. :P

 I've got insmonia, im 18. I used to be caffeine addicted since i was 11. Now i was cutted back from it cause i've got a really serious Ulcera. Mate, take an advise from me. SLEEP. I've been sleeping for more than a year at irregular periods. Anywhere from 4-2 hours, to some days in wich i didn't sleept at all. Here we said to go "live" to the school. It's bad, it generates a lot of stress, i started trying to cut out hours, because i felt that it was a lot of wasted time, wich i could use at something else, (Reading and studing some more advanced stuff than school one). I've found something funny, When i tryed to sleep "normally" i couldn't. and after a long time trying to normalize my system i can`t. It's s lot of trouble getting to sleep more than 5 hours. And if somehow i manage to sleep em, i feel really tired all day. Other curious stuff i found out, was if i had a goal, something that i sayed "im so gonna do this tonight" i can go for longer periods sleeping less, this is how i've achived the sleepless days (It has to be like one every once in a while, i ain't that bad yet). So mate, slow down on the bloody caffeine, and sleep. Sleep, sleep. :D I know this is against common sense but take the advise of a random stranger who you never knew :D

Really? When I pull all-nighters, I do so with a couple of boxes of Earl Grey. Sometimes I just need to find something interesting to do.

Anyway, it is easy to train yourself to a difficult, lacking sleep schedule, but difficult to train yourself to an easy, plentiful one. Taking sleeping pills actually deprives you of your deep sleep, so therefore doesn't help at all, but can actually exacerbate the situation much of the time.

However, nearly every individual person is somewhere between being a "morning person" or an "evening person." Evening persons typically have lower body temperatures, and eat larger lastmeals and break their fast more lightly, whereas morning persons have higher body temperatures, large breakfasts, and small lastmeals. Morning persons are typically more amiable, and evening persons are typically more distant and rational. Morning persons sleep between six and four, in extreme cases, though typically an hour later, and evening persons between two and nine, though usually about an hour earlier. Most people fall somewhere in between, around ten-six. Most young people, though, are evening persons, and most elderly people are morning persons. This means that high school students, who ought to sleep between one-two and nine-ten, are sleeping between one-two and five, due to bad school hours.

komecake (author)Okapidragon2009-12-31

  Huh... interesting.

  You made the assumption that I am able to stay up because I drink a lot of caffeine, but in fact, I don't. I rarely drink soda and I drink coffee about once every 2 months. I don't take energy drinks or anything either, so my "insomnia" is not from drinking caffeine... I just can't sleep.

akate8 (author)2010-03-12

I too have the problem that every night the time I go to bed gets later and later, I would get called lazy for sleeping during the day yet if anything it seemed I get less sleep than most. People just cant see past the standardised pattern.

Anyway, in 2 months time I have a big BJJ tournament and so have quit work to train for this. I can sleep whatever hours I like so long as 5 days a week I can get to the gymn any time between 9am and 9pm to train. I would like to do a measures experiment like you, but at the moment, im just effing around.

Since I quit 3 weeks ago, again every night I go to bed upto 2 hours later than the night before and match that to the time I get up, to the point where at the end of the week I force myself not to go to bed and stay up right through till 9 the next night and just sleep 6 nights of the week. I would not recommend this, the day after having no sleep everythings all whurry and everythings quite spaced out.  I say I wouldnd recommend this but I do like it, just buying something from a shop or walking down a busy street becomes epic, although I do think theres a much increased chance i'll get run over in this time.
Also I use this as my rest day from training, I get loads of sleep that night and feel fantastic for the new week. Its funny to mess around with your body like this if you can, plus other nights of the week running through the empty streets of London at 3,4 or 5am is quite awesome.

On a more sensible note, in the past, when starting work at 8 or 9am, to avoid the not enough sleep thing, i would always go for a big run at about 6 or 7pm, atleast 10 miles and after food and a shower I would be out like a light at a normal time.
It is my belief that now the majority of people do such little activity, the sleep schedule for many is badly hurt as a result.

inchman (author)2010-03-03

 I wrote this 'ible that might fix your issue with sleep...

That might do the trick.  But thanks for posting your results.  It was interesting.

Kryptonite (author)2010-03-03

I loved the first one, this is even better! I hate sleep because it detracts from your amount of free time, but I keep sleeping in... fff. I should try this when I leave school.

ldb477 (author)2010-02-23

Amazing!  I had a very similar idea to make an 8-day week, except instead of 24 hrs a day it would be 21 hrs, 7 hrs sleep and 14 waking hrs.  The only problem was testing it, as my work/school schedule would not allow it.  Amazing to see someone testing this theory of changing the normal sleep patterns.

surfreak (author)2010-02-21

Let me preface what promises to be an abhorrently long comment with this: I'm primarily concerned about your health -- I'm not setting out to rain on your parade by any means. With that said, though:

Why are you so intent on artificial sleep patterns?

We spent 2.5 million years evolving with 10-14 hours of darkness a day, probably 8-10 of which we would spend sleeping, repeating over a 24 hour cycle. Personally, I think that tampering with evolved biorhythms is a terrible idea.

You also said previously that "Other animals do not necessarily get 8 solid hours, and in fact the idea that people need 8 hours of sleep is only a couple hundred years old - prior to cheap artificial light, all you could really do when the sun was down is sleep so people mostly slept according to the length of the nighttime." IIRC, we most of those 2.5 million years that defined what we became as a species was spent with 8+ hours of darkness a night. Hence, I would think that we, as an evolving species and until the development of cheap artificial lighting, probably slept 8+ hours a night.

I'm not throwing out your hypothesis that you're possibly on a different "innate sleep cycle" than most people, I just find it really hard to believe. With your claims of "developing a nocturnal lifestyle," I'm forced to believe that you spend a lot of time in front of a computer or under artificial lighting after the sun goes down.

"I have heard vaguely of an experiment with people living clocklessly in caves, where the cycle they slept on tended to be 25 hours rather than 24. It's well known that circadian rhythms are 'about' a day long (thus the name). I think that my innate sleep cycle at least is longer than 24"

It's also well known that the duration, length, and intensity of one's exposure(s) to light drastically affects hormonal production -- and primarily those hormones involved with sleep.

So before I dig myself an even bigger hole here, might I ask a few questions?

1. Have you tried limiting (or totally eliminating) your exposure to light for at least half an hour before bedtime?

2. Have you tried exercise as a sleep aid? I find that I never sleep as well as on those nights following a tough workout.

3. Have you tried other sleep aids, such as contrast showers before bed?

moshee (author)2010-02-21

 Apparently Mao Zedong had a similar irregular sleep cycle. He would call people up to his office at 2 in the morning and people would have no choice but to comply :P

bishopdante (author)2010-02-21

I did that for 2 years as a byproduct of working 90-100 hours a week.

skrubol (author)2009-04-30

More smaller meals are healthier (some advocate 5-6 meals rather than 3 in a normal day,) so 4 will probably be healthier for you. Not sure how it would effect your schedule though.

komecake (author)skrubol2009-12-06

  The idea of eating 5-6 meals a day is absolutely absurd for anyone with a real job. Who gets that many breaks in a day? You'd have to stuff "meals" in your pockets. LOL.

 I hear this all the time, and though it worked well for me when I was in shape; I have also eaten only 3 meals a day and been the same weight. I fail to see how it's "healthier" other than the fact that every fitness guru on the planet says that it is.

 It depends on your organism. For me, having 6 meals a day has worked to reduce, my ulcerated gastritis. I have a really bad digestion, and eating small portions, actually reduces the pain, and makes easier to my stomach to digest (without medication). So after about 1 year of doing this, i've lost about 15 kilos :D. 

Also take in mind that this aren't full featured meals. An apple, some carrots, a little sandwich, you know things, that you can actually stuff in your pockets :P

ReCreate (author)2009-05-19

Now how about you try the28 hour day?

Okapidragon (author)ReCreate2009-12-30

Haha. Win, my friend.

swartley3ga (author)2009-07-07

I guess this could be useful if you are doing business with the other side of the world but if not its not too practical....sunlight naturally reduces the amount of sleep hormones we have that is why people in caves can sleep during the day...maybe try this in a basement with no windows and you will find that sleeping mid-afternoon is no problem but for the rest of us with sunny houses!

racastro62 (author)2009-06-24

Your approach is clear and objective. Beyond it and your special natural clock, I don't see a real life use, because your sleep schedule goes completely different than the rest of the world (right or not, that's out of discussion).
Anyway, the following link is a paper about dealing with jet-lag, which is a temporary situation like yours, but not just it:

kheckman (author)2009-05-22

I found that I felt the most rested when I was working nights and slept in 4 hour blocks. at the time I worked from 11pm to 7am. when I got home I slept for 4 hours till close to noon then would get up and do stuff from noon till 6 when I would sleep again. I have thought about trying the same idea with a daytime work schedule but haven't.

The Lightning Stalker (author)2009-05-02

Earplugs will irritate your ears. A pink noise generator will drown out noise and promote sleep. I think it actually helps to clear your mind relax. You can buy one, but it's cheaper to build the one at the link above.

Isn't it white noise?

The one I linked to is a pink noise generator. There is a difference. It's explained in the article.

DjFluorescent (author)2009-04-02

i'm currently on my third day of doing polyphasic....... my schedule: starting sunday, i sleep 10am-6pm, then next i sleep 2pm-10pm, 6pm-2am, 10 pm-6am, 2am-10am, 6am-2pm that gives me 6 28 hour days....... it.s perfect for the weekends when i play at clubs at all hours of the night on the weekends.......

rachel (author)DjFluorescent2009-04-02

That's very similar to mine, only I start on Saturday and sleep 9 hours instead of just 8. I'll be interested to hear how yours goes! Keep posting here -- or if you're posting about it elsewhere, put up a link. (I don't really consider this polyphasic, though, as that generally refers to much shorter sleep cycles, several a day, 'poly' indicating many.)

DjFluorescent (author)rachel2009-05-06

(yea i didn't know what else refer to it as. just a lack of terminology.) So, now i think my body has adjusted.... but it took awhile for me because for one i was a hardcore insomniac , and secondly you have to stick to your schedule without cheating or your body will get "confused"... but sleeping like this has been a major improvement for me. I am a dj on the weekends and i have to up and energetic usually from 10 at night till 4 or 5 in the morning...

killerjackalope (author)2009-05-06

Interestingly I've ended up with roughly four or five nights of sleep a week, well nt nights but occasional naps, not sure how I got in to this routine but the way it lines up I'm always awake when needed. I'll do some figuring out and record times roughly, the length of days vary in my cycle though...

stkelsiej (author)2009-05-04

If you want to make your sleep schedule really efficient, find out what your sleep cycle is. Most people sleep in cycles of 90-120 minutes. Do some research on it and you will see that you only need 1-2 sleep cycles per every 8-12 hours you are awake and productive.

luvit (author)2009-04-30

i only sleep one or 2 hours a nite evry nite. thare is no adversse site efects.

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