Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Five weeks of polysleep

So I started August 4th. Since then I've had around 120 extra hours of time. Some of it was pretty unproductive (walking in circles trying to stay awake). Most of my alert time has been at work, in the middle of the day. Most of my free time at home I've not been alert enough to do the brainy things that are the point of this transition, like study go, etc, so I've wasted it playing video games. :) (however, I'm feeling much more alert the last couple of days, so this is due to change)

The stages of adaptation, as I see them: first, you have to learn to sleep when you're dead tired-- if it takes you 10 minutes to fall asleep, you'll waste half your naps. You have to do better than that, and you will when you're tired enough-- this took until day 7 or 8 for me. Then (or concurrently, actually), you have to get your body used to sleeping at the particular times you want to. This takes about a month. Finally, you have to learn to sleep when you're *not* dead tired. This is what I'm working on right now, and I think I'm doing pretty well.

It hasn't been completely smooth sailing. I haven't had a problem many others have, which is struggling to get up/oversleeping (I did fall asleep sitting up a couple times on the couch, hehe). Just get into the habit of always getting up when you wake up/the alarm goes off.

My problem was I started getting really bad heartburn, and it took a bit to figure out exactly what was going on. When you sleep your body builds up gastric acid. Less core sleep = less acid (at least for me). Less acid in your stomach can cause the valve at the bottom of your stomach to fail to open correctly (it's triggered by acid). This causes a pound of almost-acidic-enough digesting food to sit in your stomach. It doesn't reach your small intestine, so you don't feel satiated, which causes you to eat more, which packs more into your stomach than it can really handle, which causes it to back up into the esophagus, giving you heartburn.

The solution isn't too hard in theory, you take some HCL to supplement your body's acid store. Unfortunately, even after I managed to obtain some (you should have seen the looks I got at Walgreen's), the dosage proved to be too tricky. Too much gives you the same symptoms as too little. So I was all set to give up this weekend. I decided I'd go to bed when I was tired and get up when I woke up. Time to start paying attention to my body. Went to bed 12:30 or so, got up around 5 (same today): my body had adapted. Stomach problems appear to be solved, for the price of an extra hour or so of sleep.

So, it's not quite the schedule I planned originally. I had planned 3 hours + 3 naps. Day 8 I added a 4th nap so I could function at work. Currently I'm at ~4 hours + 4 naps. That sums to something like 5.5 hours of sleep. Either one of two things will happen: I'll drop a nap (in theory I should be able to make do with only two with a 4.5 hour core), or as my body gets better at sleeping it will naturally need less core.

I'm so addicted to the extra time now. OK, this post is disjointed and long enough. I still have more to say on the subject, stay tuned.

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