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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Fretka6 years ago
I have often wondered....as 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 world.....do 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 be...lol 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!!
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?
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 Fretka3 years ago
That's an interesting idea, but then would almost all people from USA have trouble sleeping, because they originate from somewhere else.
Fretka Hot Milk3 years ago
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?
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!
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
JamesTB135 years ago
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.
ptobe6 years ago
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 ptobe5 years ago
Hmm,.... I find it very difficult to sleep without some music on from the radio,...
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.
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@50n6 years ago
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?
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.
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.
Haha, how did you come up with that? He needs to go to bed earlier.
komecake Gjdj35 years ago
  LOL. Yeah, really. Some people. Haha.
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 J@50n5 years ago
  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. :)
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.
 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.
  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.
akate85 years ago
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.
inchman5 years ago
 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.
Kryptonite5 years ago
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.
ldb4775 years ago
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.
surfreak5 years ago
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?
moshee5 years ago
 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
bishopdante5 years ago
I did that for 2 years as a byproduct of working 90-100 hours a week.
skrubol6 years ago
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.
  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
ReCreate6 years ago
Now how about you try the28 hour day?
Haha. Win, my friend.
swartley3ga6 years ago
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!
racastro626 years ago
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: http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1000418
kheckman6 years ago
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.
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