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.
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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.
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)  DjFluorescent6 years ago
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.)
(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...
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...
stkelsiej6 years ago
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.
luvit6 years ago
i only sleep one or 2 hours a nite evry nite. thare is no adversse site efects.
I hope your spelling is not caused by lack of sleep.
i dunno what you mean, none. i am a credable sorce of sleep knowledge and has a phd..
you're still kind of spelling things wrong and your grammar is a bit off too ;D
i;m a masture jedi.
A "masture jedi" that seems permanently drunk.
i;m savvy like that.
man, only 2 hours of sleep? do you sleep during the day ? i sleep 9 hours!!! record!!
i thinks i sleep when i drive because i can never member between the beginning and end of the trips.
Rainh2o6 years ago
Maybe try the US navy submarine cycle. 18 hour days. You work for god who knows how long and then get to sleep for like 3 hours...LOL...no really, the days are, or use to be, based on 18 hours instead of 24 hours. We would work for 8 hours and have 10 hours to to study or do whatever with meals at 7, 12 and 5 and then another one at midnight if you wanted. You get use to it after about 2 weeks and its no big deal. However as someone pointed out we never saw real daylight for sever weeks or more at a time so maybe thats why it seemed easy.
gentry6 years ago
What works for me is having to take my kid to kindergarten in the morning. It gets me at least 20 minutes outdoors in the daylight early in the morning, and here in Sunny California, even an overcast or rainy day is reasonably bright. (I used to live in Seattle, where in the winter, this would have been useless.) If I don't do that, I definitely have the one- to two-hours later every night effect.
Daddyshome6 years ago
It's not about what you eat or drink, you can get used to pretty much any meal plan. But humans are not nocturnal creatures. Your body produces melatonin in response to the lack of sunlight. Its what helps you sleep. The effect is not strong but if you spend a long time in a "cave" with inadequate lighting it will screw up your inner clock. My advice: for better sleep and general quality of life go outside every day when the sun is up AND when its down, turn most of the lights down a couple of hours before getting to sleep and don't close the drapes during the day. Perhaps people are not perfectly designed for a 24 hour long day but remember that we have be flexible to handle all sorts of situations. Sometimes you have to stay awake for 48 hours or more, and most people are capable of that. My theory is that we have to "force ourselves" a little bit to go to sleep every night because otherwise we wouldn't be able to stay awake for long periods of time on those rare occasions when we really have to.
t.rohner6 years ago
I need 5-6 hours of sleep. When i go to bed at 2AM, i wake up around 7 normally. Then i have to get up, nature calls. When i go to bed again and try to sleep some more, i feel really sleepy when i finally get up. Not everybody needs 8 hours of sleep. You just have to find out your needs. But it's a very interesting experiment, but it wouldn't work with my job...
I get 7 1/2, bed at 10 and awake at 5:30, when I actualy go to sleep is a different story however mabey 11 something
Silence6 years ago
Try reversing your meal schedule with this... make your breakfast your largest meal and the one before bed your smallest. Should give you the energy to go for your extended day.....
raymccullie6 years ago
Just a thought but after reading this whole thing. You seemed fine the first few days. Chalk that up to the placebo effect perhaps but the day you went back to drinking coke, it seemed downhill from there. I don't just assume that it's the caffeine, most likely it's some other ingredient in coke. Try coffee, try another soda, or just stick with plain water for a week. See what happens to your sleep cycle then.
nice one, brutha! you, however, should try this experiment in something like a windowless room or something, as long as you take lots of books and things to do, don't want you to go stir crazy, somewhere that you can remove the variable of daylight and night, which will put you off your plan, otherwise, nice work, I loved your other one too, about polyphasic sleep, you rock the socks!
el_darwin6 years ago
This is dangerous! Not only will your response become equivalent to a drunk person but also you'll start gaining wait as sleep help the secretion of hormones that regulate appetite!
I did something similar to this in college. I would typically stay up all night doing work twice a week for class (tough program), and after class, sleep an extra 3 or 4 hours. But then we started stringing these together, wake up at 8am, go to class, do work, whatever, stay up till you can't see the paper, drink a cup of coffee and immediately fall asleep for 30mins - 2 hours, then stay up working till you couldn't again. It turned into a competition "I slept 2 hours of the past 60 - oh yeah, I slept 5 in 80!" I ended up having to catch up on sleep every few days by sleeping a bit more than normal, 10-12 hours. In the end, you gain like 2 8-hour shifts per week. In my final month of my final year I took it one step further, I worked 40 hours, slept for 8. 40 hours, sleep for 8. Every morning, I would stop, take a shower, eat breakfast, and act as if I'd slept, then I'd have light meals all day and plenty of coffee. I worked a typical work-week every 2 days. You do start to hallucinate though.
Farewell88s6 years ago
I don't sleep. I blackout every night.
barri_kid6 years ago
Hey, this is kinda my problem, I guess I can get up if I have an alarm though, but usually I will still get back in bed and hopefully not fall asleep again, which I usually do, and sometimes I forget to turn my alarm back on :S Anyway, The last few nights of university I had a ton of work to do, so I had to pull 3 all nighter's in a row. Then for a few 8:00 morning exams, what I did was I went to bed at 4 the previous day, wake up at midnight, study till 8, then do my final. If your problem is waking up for 8, then if you go to bed at 10:00, you will wake up at 6-7 so you will be ready for 8. I guess really why I dont like going to bed at 10 is that it seems like a waste of time. I could be up for an extra 5 hours, but if you really think about it, since id normally wake up at 1, I would wake up at 8, which normally I would be sleeping. This is what I made, if you need 8 hours take the 8, or 9 if u need 9. Gray is sleep, green is awake. Friday and saturday you stay up for 24 hours doing what ever you want. Party, do stuff, idk. But both times it gives a 6 sleep week
Forgot to add the image
Small mistake, Wednesday you should go to bed at 9 instead of 10 Also, this is for a 6 day, its probably better to go 7 days and just use the 8 hour, and do the same thing every day from 11 - 7. Probably the more normal thing to do
Gjdj36 years ago
Nice! I've always wanted to try this. Although there is the possibility that "this schedule will eventually drive one stark raving mad".
Indy6 years ago
You probably saw this in your research, but there is an xkcd on this topic
But who hasn't read through the whole xkcd archive at least five times? No one I know.

Have you considered using a light box, like the ones used for Seasonal Affective Disorder and travel-induced time shifting? There are also some uses of light boxing for sleep disorders like insomnia. There are various theories about nice (~30 minute) dose of light in the morning if you're a sleep-in person. Or a shorter (~15 mins) session at night if you're a wake-early person instead. There's also some talk about how blue spectrum is more important that UV. The Apollo GoLite seems to be the most common of the modern tuned spectrum blues. But, they're not the classic 2 foot x 3 foot (or more) WALL OF LIGHT that are people usually characterize as a light box.

My thought is that you could use a light box to create start and/or stop events in your synthetic day. If you find you're having a hard time waking (for me, all days that end in Y) then drag the light box in front of your barely awake face. If you get up too early, especially following days that were mostly in solar dark, take a little hit of light when you brush your teeth. The idea here is to suggest to your brain "Hey, my day ended here, start your clock now"

But I suspect much of the research is focused on a 24 hour sleep model, so light boxing might instead be a counter-productive tool. It would suck if the box is pushing the "light defines my cycle" buttons in your brain and you're trying to somewhat break from the sun in the first place.

Your previous polyphastic sleep experiment looks too complex to use something like a light box, but in this experiment you're "only" messing around with the boundaries, so it might help.

And finally, most of the implementations I see put the "normal" days on Mon, Tues, Wed. I would put them on Fri, Sat, Sun. If I'm going to hang out with other people, it should be my friends on the weekends, not my co-workers. And that puts your largest off-from-normal day on Tuesday. Who gets anything done on a Tuesday anyhow? That's right. I'm calling out Tuesday.

Good luck!
Gjdj3 Indy6 years ago
Psh, I'd never sink to the level of reading through the archives 5 times... I've read through it at least 8 times. hahaha
Goodhart Indy6 years ago
But who hasn't read through the whole xkcd archive at least five times? No one I know.

Hi Indy, I am GoodHart, pleased to meet you ;-)
rachel (author)  Indy6 years ago
I generally can nap afternoons in sunlight, and am used to sleeping in, so I may be OK light-wise. If not, I may well employ one. I did consider several different cycle patterns but for a number of reasons the normaller days fit best for me early in the week. In any case I am more likely to hang out with friends at night on weekends, so hopefully this will work for me. We shall see!
finfan76 years ago
This kind of sleep cycle is just like what I used to do during my summers without school. I figured out that I run on a 26 hour circadian cycle a half dozen years back. The problem now is finding a job where I can actually sleep on that schedule for this summer or ever. Last summer I worked at the air force base and had to get up at 5 something. That was painful.
Sooo, when do you have to go to work?
foxstele6 years ago
This is interesting, You might also consider tring a 32-hour rotation. I can't find the link anymore, but I remember reading it was a 32 hour rotation people fall into if they don't have day/night indicators or sleep time requirements. I know for a fact that if I don't have to be up or to bed at a specific time I fall into a 32 hour rhythm myself.
I agree. A long time when I was a kid I naturally fell into a 32 hours cycle in the summer. ...Rich
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