Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pre-Uberman Health Report

I've been asked if I'm going to get regular Doctor checkups before, during, and after this experiment. The answer is "no". Fifty percent "no" because I think most doctors are quacks that make people sicker than not, and the other 50% because I'm one of proud America's bazillions of uninsured, so I can't even remotely afford the visits.

However, the question of physical health is a valid one, and I already addressed mental health pretty well, so let's hit it. I'm not shy. ;)

Actually, no, I'm just in pretty darn good health, so I don't have much to report. Here it is, though.


I'm lucky enough to have the Iron Curtain for an immune system (my mom's been an Emergency Room nurse for most of my life), and no notable allergies or chronic conditions. I got migraines for a few years (like my dad), and like my dad I basically outgrew them; I have occasional sinus headaches the last couple years (because, I don't care what anybody says, the weather has been *screwed up* the last couple years), but that's about it. I have the neck and upper-back pains you'd expect in a computer junkie; when I can afford it, I see an Activator-method chiropractor and they make it aaaaaallll better.

My sleeping lately has been normal, for me. I sleep a solid 8 hours and am sleepy most of the day, and exhausted by bedtime. I wake up groggy, grouchy and sore. During the day, I usually feel at least a little bit foggy or cranky, and I wish many times a day that I could just go to bed. I should mention that I was a hypersomniac due to depression in my teenage years -- I got into the habit of coming home from school and going straight to bed, and it took a while to train myself off of needing 12-14 hours a night minimum. I was also happiest being a "night owl" -- like many people, given my choice, I'll stay up until 2-4 a.m. and sleep until 11-12. To this day, I still automatically do that if my schedule lets me (but it rarely does).

And to reiterate, I'm an omnivore, I drink coffee sometimes, I have the typical Middle American Sugar Addiction to fight with, but I'm not overweight and I do exercise in the morning 6 days a week (because I live in Michigan and you get sick of looking at fat around here. ;)

Might any of that have any impact on this experiment? I suppose it might. But it's here mostly for record-keeping purposes. Sorry I'm not more interesting today; work has been crazy and it's kind of a crappy day. I did get more of my "HOLY SHIT KEEP BUSY" list bashed out, though.


Monday, May 29, 2006

Update: Sleep Clinic Progress

Yay! Dr. Avidan at the Sleep Disorders Clinic has agreed to forward my email to all of his colleagues and see if someone's interesting in helping me do research. What a nice guy, and working on Memorial Day to boot. ;)

Getting help from the sleep clinic will be *hugely* useful. Besides the data, it'll be somewhere I have to go and something I have to do at night! Plus, well, I've never seen a sleep clinic. That in itself should be cool. And I like scientists.

See? Two hours of pyjamas and coffee and the Internet, and already, progress.

Hmm, now which do we give the credit to?


Social & Psychological Effects

So, today, though my Almanac has told me there's a BBQ in my future (gahd, aren't horoscopes amazing?), I plan to try and work up some methods of charting Uberman's Social & Psychological effects. I don't remember them well enough from last time, but I know there were plenty, as Steve Pavlina comisserates. I want to make sure I have a good grasp on them, even when I'm dealing with the subjectivity of actually going through them. There has been good, if brief, scientific research on polyphasic sleep, but the social/psych angle has only been glanced at. I want a better look.

I suppose at least I'm in a pretty typical place to start. I'm a working parent/student so I have pretty much no social life; I know a few people I haven't seen in ages, but that's it. I pretty much hang out with my family or by myself, when I'm not with my coworkers. Given more time, I may become more social...or maybe not. I'm hardly a social butterfly by nature, but then again the Uberman does necessitate getting "out" pretty regularly at first, if only to stay awake; perhaps that will modify my habits. Part of my "keep busy" list for the first couple weeks includes driving over to Ann Arbor and checking out what's there -- it's a cool town and only about 20-30 minutes away, but I've hardly ever been there.

And here's my own psychological background (cut for space; click "read more" at the bottom to see it).

Psychologically, I'm generally stable; I have a history of depression, but I've learned over the years to handle it reliably without medication (med free 10 years, w00t). I'm a tad claustrophobic--again, it's manageable--and I don't like crowds *at all*, which I've been assured by drug dealers is "social anxiety disorder" and for a hundred fifty bucks a month, they can fix it--heh, do pushers ever come up with a new line? Also, I have come pretty well unhinged for one period in my life (a year, maybe a bit less), but again, as far as I can tell, this is pretty normal too. Psychosis does not run in my family except as expected in cases of severe trauma. Sometimes I have panic-attacks (in crowds, generally), but not badly enough to make me lose consciousness or require hospitalization. I'm very interested in whether a radical flip-flop of my sleep pattern will provoke any psychological hiccups, and especially how I'll handle the pronounced time-dilation that kicks in after a month or so.

But people are adaptable; mothers doubly so. ;)

I wrote to the Director of the U of M Sleep Clinic yesterday -- he was the most likely name I could find to hand me to some interested students or faculty; hopefully he has time to read a short letter. (I did, contrary to all expectations, make it short.) His own listed research interests include sleep deprivation and other problems in medical students; perhaps Uberman is a good solution for them? I'd also like to see more people looking into it as a solution for sleep disorders, because lord knows I had those--they were why I first tried Uberman to begin with--and wowee, did it work like a charm. Sadly, I don't really have any sleep disorders at the moment, other than sometimes having my brain keep me awake, and feeling sleepy (Stanford level 3) during most of the day. But perhaps that's a boon too; I do want the book to address what it might do & be like for your "average" person.

Hmm, maybe I should write a database of "charts" tracking things like sleepiness, depression, social activity, &etc., and just fill it out every day? Then I could have an ongoing graph for the book.

Lordy and his minions, I can't believe I'm getting started on this in a month. It feels like I don't have nearly enough time left to plan. Of course, once I get started, I'll have more time...ah, the irony. ;)


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Found a good tool: The Stanford Sleepiness Scale. How quaint and useyful!

An Introspective Measure of Sleepiness
The Stanford Sleepiness Scale (SSS)

Degree of SleepinessScale Rating
Feeling active, vital, alert, or wide awake1
Functioning at high levels, but not at peak; able to concentrate2
Awake, but relaxed; responsive but not fully alert3
Somewhat foggy, let down4
Foggy; losing interest in remaining awake; slowed down5
Sleepy, woozy, fighting sleep; prefer to lie down6
No longer fighting sleep, sleep onset soon; having dream-like thoughts7

Why thank you, Stanford! I'd really only appreciated your Copyright & Fair Use Center before. You kick ass!


Thoughts on "Core Sleep"


I don't buy the "core sleep" thing. I'm not sure where that idea came from--it wasn't part of Uberman, or the sleep experiments Stampi did in his book on napping--but a lot of people seem to have adopted it as the "weiner road" to polyphasic sleeping. For those who don't know, "core sleep" is a way of saying "I'm not doing Uberman; rather I'm sleeping less at night"--three to six hours--"And taking naps during the day to compensate."

I say again, "Meh."

I called it "Uberman" for a reason, yo. It's not easy to get used to. It takes a month to really get into the swing of it, as others have proven; and that's an uncomfortable month. If the benefits to you aren't worth that discomfort, just don't do it!

I've yet to see a "core sleep" routine really work, either. The closest I guess would be Andrew over at the long-dead Polyphasic blog; he got to 100 days on it, but from what I gather many of those days were sloppy, and I don't get the impression he really achieved that unstoppable-freight-train life I loved so much about it.

Meh. Give me Uberman or just give me eight blissful painless hours of unconsciousness, thank you.

In fact, scratch that--just give me Uberman!


Friday, May 26, 2006

On Preparing to Sleep (or not)

Gahd, what a week. Finally at the end of it, I settle back in relative luxury--Jones soda, Serial Experiments Lain and certain herbal comforts, ahh. And typing. Always loooove typing.

A bit on preparation, since that's what I'm doing now: I'm a planner-type; I advocate preparation. In my current situation it's damn necessary. But it might not always be to all people, or in all situations.
Of course, prepping for a book at the same time as preparing to adopt this rather daunting change is double the pleasure (and double the notes), but I do have to stress that even the first time I did this, planning probably saved my butt in terms of being successful where others weren't. The fact that I'm naturally inclined to do it was just, er, grace I guess.

The single most important piece of preparation I did was to buy a kitchen timer. The kitchen timer is everything. But after that, and a bit less obvious, was having a list of things to do with all the extra time.

After a while, "life" expands to fill the extra time. But until it does, WOW can one get bored. I've watched more than a few people try to fill the time with TV or books, and yow, does that look miserable. A big part of what got me through the first week was the huge list I made of things I wanted to do. I was thinking "everything" when I wrote it; I never thought I'd get a third of it done, just wrote down every damn thing I could think of (and I have a lot more interests than I've ever had time, even on Uberman). I ended up clearing 90% of it off in the first three days.

More on planning if you click "Read More"...

This time the list is harder to come up with, not least because there's simply a lot less to do in suburban Detroit than on campus in Santa Fe. And getting anywhere interesting takes half an hour. And, as if that weren't enough, I happen to live in a basement. With two other people. One of whom is three.

I did mention that I was fucking crazy, right?

Something that might be good or bad, depending on how it shakes out, is that I almost have enough "life" already to fill that gap, between a seriously hoo-rah job running a young business and almost full-time school this summer and the aforementioned "three" person. Maybe I won't need a big list of interesting projects....though it will suck that I can't clean without waking people up. Cleaning is the best too-tired-to-think-but-must-keep-moving activity. My dorm room was effing spotless.

So, the kitchen timer, and the list of things I want to do, and in addition a list of places open 24/7 where I can go a) study and b) have fun. a) shouldn't be hard, but b) is gonna be a biiiitch. Also interesting places to eat, because I get bored easily of food, but I always had to eat extra on the Uberman schedule (and even then I lost some weight, but I can actually afford that now, so no biggie).

What's really going to suck is lack of company. Having my best friend around at night to talk and watch movies and do whatever with was a big blessing last time. Hopefully at some point I run into a midnight [something] group, but I may just have to tough it out in the beginning.

I'm doing good with prep; been getting something done every day. Next week I need to start calling and bullying the sleep clinic, because they blew me off through email. I bet I can find somebody who'd be interested.

Or maybe not. Maybe nobody finds this at all entertaining but me. The important part is that I'd be willing to do it anyway.

I really have missed the Uberman schedule. It changed my life. Even just knowing that I'm really going to try it again has got me all unhinged and jittery.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Stop focusing on the hard part, stupid.

I've said a lot lately (in places other than here, obviously) about how t3h suck tired one gets doing this. I shouldn't emphasize that. I'm actually doing this because I hate being tired.

When I was sleeping polyphasically, I felt tired less often than I can ever remember, before or since. Most of the time I was completely alert; after a short time I only felt tired right before I took a nap. And waking up from the naps was ridiculously easy; most of the time I woke up right before my alarm, feeling completely refreshed. I had vivid dreams--rarely had nightmares, which was a 180 for me--and didn't feel in the slightest bit deprived of sleep.

When I quit last time, it was largely or mostly because my situation drastically changed: I left college, moved back to Detroit from Santa Fe (yes, yes, sounds like a brilliant plan, I know) and got a 9-5 job. I can remember having felt a bit tired in the week or two (I think) preceding this change. That might have been stress, or it might have been the need for a longer sleep. In the rather minimal reading I did before I started doing the Uberman, I did often come across references to taking a "long day" every month or few months, and sleeping anywhere from 8-20 hours. When I went back to monophasic sleeping, though, I don't remember sleeping in at all. In fact, I think I only slept a few hours the first night, and then went back to eight.

Mind you, as soon as I was monophasic again, I was tired a lot again. Oddly enough, the sleep difficulties I'd been having that prompted me to give polyphasic a serious try did not return after I quit. I still don't sleep great and I'm still not at all a morning person and I'm often sleepy, but what overworked American can't say that?

I guess I'm just overfocused on how incredibly SUCK that first week-and-a-half or so is. Last time I got through it with a good friend to help every minute and a near-ideal living situation. (C'mon, dorm?) This time it's just me, and to be honest I'm kind of overwhelmed at how not-ideal the situation is. However, I work all day at a job where it's my duty to use insane amounts of organization and creativity to overcome absolutely ridiculous odds; weirdly enough, I seem to be good at it. And I have this strange, Scientologian conviction that I can do this.

Preparation continues.

Who am I? I'm PureDoxyk. Wow, that was uninformative, huh? ;)

If you know me at all, it's because of the only thing I ever did that got any attention at all...and that was writing the "Uberman's Sleep Schedule" writeup on Everything2 back in 2002. (So if you were going to ask why I called this the "official" Uberman blog, it's because that's my one claim to fame: I coined the term "Uberman Sleep Schedule" to describe this type of polyphasic sleeping. Perhaps if I'd known that people would remember the term, I'd have thought of something more original!)

There are other facts about me, I guess, like, I'm nearly 30 now and I have a daughter and whatnot, but those will come in if and when they're relevant. One thing that might be interesting to know is that I'm *not* a health nut; I drink coffee and eat meat and other such vileness. I am in pretty good health; I try to eat right, I exercise daily, and I try to stay in good shape overall, but I'm no raw-foodin', yoga-at-5-a.m. superstar. I think that's important, because it's part of my goal to show that this schedule can work for people who aren't health-nuts or in absolutely perfect shape. (Why do I know this? Because I first did it in college, when my diet mostly consisted of rage and cigarettes. You'll be happy to know that I gave up the cigs...).

But, speaking of my goals:

What the hell am I doing? Weeellll....I suppose I'm conducting an experiment. Or proving a point. (Said point may very well be that I'm crazier than a basketful of doped-up loons.)

The second sentence of the E2 writeup is about how I'd love to get my precious sleep schedule back. I've said it lots more besides. I adored that schedule. And I guess I thought that I'd gotten too 'grown up' for it, and maybe I'd have forgotten about it, but interest in the darn thing seems to have gotten and stayed pretty intense. I still get emails now and again asking if I was lying about how well it worked, and if I really think it's safe, and if I really ever expect to do it again.

Gallingly, I also heard numerous challenges to the authenticity of my experiment. I've frequently heard, "You're lying because I tried it and it didn't work, I was just tired all the time," or "This could never work if you weren't in college."

Person One is just wrong: They didn't do it right, and that's why it didn't work. I'm here to prove that point, by doing it properly.

Person Two may be right, which worries me: I'm here to experiment on that. I'm a mom now, with a full-time job and part-time school. If I can do it, anybody can. ;)

I'm also here to write a book on the Uberman schedule. Now, one doesn't write a book on Blogger; I'm perfectly aware of that. This would make a crappy book anyway -- I'm also perfectly aware that nobody who buys a book wants to read whatever drivel I write at 4 a.m. on Day Three, but others might. So I started this blog specifically to chronicle details of the transition that may or may not be suitable for the book, but about which people might be curious. The book will be much more, um, clear-headed, and hopefully more informative than a simple first-person blogging account could be. I'd like to do some at least minimally scientific experimentation (so that people have somewhere to go beside's Stampi's $155 research tome for info) and also get into the social and psychological changes (which even Steve Pavlina--the only other successful Uberman sleeper I know of--agrees are fundamental, but nobody's gone into in great detail).

This blog will not do that, but it will do other things: It will provide a space for people who want to comment, ask questions, etc. to do so, while the experiment plays out. And it'll keep me entertained, heh.

Why is this such a big deal? Er, it's not, in the sense of being "utterly unique". In the years since the E2 writeup, numerous people have tried some version of the schedule and written about it, though the vast majority of them were not successful. (I maintain that this is because they did it wrong.) There's a lot of good information out there, albeit subjective information. (I will at some point try to gather a good list of other blogs that chronicled attempts at Uberman; if you are one and wish to be included, please let me know.)

I'm doing exactly the same thing with this blog, but alongside it I will also be researching and writing the best objective account I can of the Uberman schedule's effects, in the form of the book.

So, um, the book is kinda special, but the blog isn't. The blog is mostly there to give people a forum with which to harass me (because being angry makes it easier to stay awake, heh).