Polyphasic Sleep/2006-12-30

From Bilbo
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I've been having a real problem preventing myself from sleeping at the wrong times. I do great for the first 24 hours or so, but then I hit a wall. (I have hit this wall several times now. (Although I didn't write about the last few days, I was still trying.) I literally get narcoleptic; I fall asleep standing up, eating, in the shower, on the toilet, or even while walking around outside in cold weather. There's no warning before I fall asleep. During this time, I'm so drowsy that I just drop off at any second. Even vigorous exercise doesn't help; I tried running on a treadmill, and while I stay awake while running, I fall asleep standing up within seconds of when I stop. If exercising continuously except for sleeping time were feasible, it could be a solution. I don't think this is a matter of self-decipline, because I can wake up and get going on sheer will-power. The problem is as soon as I try to occupy my time with something, I fall asleep doing it no matter how active it is.

It appears that when I started out a week ago, I thought I was reaching REM sleep. I think I was mistaken though, and that was simply light dozing. (As I understand it, dreams can occur during several phases of sleep, but during REM sleep they are very vivid and almost always occur.) As I get farther along, I go into deep (NREM) sleep quickly. When waking up out of NREM sleep, I feel cold and groggy. After establishing the schedule well enough that I skip NREM sleep and go directly to REM sleep, I'm not supposed to feel groggy after naps anymore.

This morning, I had completely given up hope on managing to switch during this vacation; I even went to bed and slept for about 6 more hours. However, this afternoon, two friends decided to try to switch with me. This will be a huge help, because we can keep each other awake. Hopefully there will be enough time before I go back to work on Tuesday; I'm cutting this last attempt very close. I overslept this morning again, so I'm pretty much starting over again. As usual, there isn't much to tell during the first day.