Phase Shift

I woke up at 6:30 Wednesday morning to a rather dark day, but otherwise unremarkable. I had a snack and a normal breakfast at 8 o'clock and finished up the library Dean Koontz novel I was reading, 'Midnight.'

At 8:30, I looked out the window and realized that the sun had made no progress at all. I briefly considered the possibility that this was THE day that the sun wouldn't come up, but decided that I should check the time on my computer. Confirming a growing suspicion, it said 8:30 PM.

While trying to figure out how I had lost 12 hours, I went back to the computer and checked the date. To my surprise, it said Tuesday. I hadn't lost 12 hours, but had just started executing the Wednesday morning program 12 hours early.

So the light has finally dawned, metaphorically speaking.

For some reason, I never sleep in a normal pattern any more. I just catnap for typically 15 to 45 minutes, spread fairly evenly but randomly over a 24 hour period. I don't have a real number, but I probably don't normally total more than 3 or 4 hours of sleep a day. In retrospect, I remember starting a nap at about 5:10PM Tuesday, and waking up at 6:30PM would be an atypically long nap, which probably helps explain why I woke up out of phase.

Other than the darkness outside, the only anomaly that I noticed was that my Comcast Cable DVR had lit up its recording light indicating that it was recording an hour of Law & Order, Criminal Intent. It did seem strange for that to be cablecast at 7 AM, but I just accepted it as another mystery that I couldn't explain.

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Sounds like polyphasic

Sounds like polyphasic sleep, which I had just run across this article about:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphasic_sleep

Although it sounds like an interesting project, note the warnings at bottom of the article.

I experimented with

I experimented with polyphasic sleep a couple years ago, during a summer semester when I had just one class, and thus had the freedem to mess with my sleep schedule (seeing as how I was typically staying up for 20-22 hours, and then sleeping 10-12, I figured I didn't have anything to lose). Sounded like a great idea, but I just couldn't get it to work.

The evidence does point to that being a more natural state of affairs, though. Infants typically follow a polyphasic sleep pattern, much to the chagrin of many a parent, and elderly people often fall into more of a "hybrid" pattern, where they sleep maybe four hours at night, and then take a couple naps during the day.

It makes a lot of sense, as well. Just as eating five to six small meals a day is better than eating two to three large ones, one would expect that breaking sleep up into smaller "chunks" would be better. It would mean that the body can repair and replenish itself more frequently, which should help one be more alert and energized throughout the day. This is coming from an engineering background, though, not biology.

Perhaps one day, when I'm not stuck in this daily 8:30-18:30 grind, I'll try it again. Four to six more productive hours in a day just holds a certain allure that I can't get away from.