The last 20 days have been a heck of a ride, and there's been a great shift in my character throughout this time.
I've learned a bunch of things about what I'm capable of, how people treat you when you try something new, self-discipline, and more. I'll include a summary of my findings on this page.
Today is the first full night of sleep that I've had (6.5 hours felt pretty good after my body had been used to 5.5), and I scored 291 milliseconds on the psychomotor vigilance test, which really isn't any better than I was a week ago when I took it.
Let's start out with the things that went really well while I did this experiment.
Self-discipline: Because I HAD to wake up every day on time, regardless of how tired I felt, I've really strengthened my self-discipline muscles.
I'm now more apt to ignore what my body tells me, and do what I think I should do instead. This is an excellent skill that I'm hoping to increase in the future.
My life is now less dictated by how I feel, and more by what I want to do. I don't feel like a slave to my emotions as much as I used to, although I still am quite a bit in comparison to where I could be.
Unrestricted autonomy: I became acutely aware of the resistance that other people provided while I did this. Many questioned whether it was worth it for me, and there was a plethora of negative talk around the subject.
At first this was quite shocking to me, but after a while I came to expect these reactions; I became much more self sufficient. I didn't allow myself to be affected by others opinions, and instead I strengthened my resolve.
This helped me to build an internal autonomy. Now I feel that I'm more likely to do what I feel is right for me, rather than be limited by other's negative opinions.
The funny thing is, the more I expected other's opinions to be negative, the less negative opinions I received. In fact, nearing the end of it, I started to gain a lot more positive praise rather than negative criticism.
My theory behind this, is that since I committed to biphasic sleep for weeks on end, others realized that I wasn't giving up, and decided to "get on the bandwagon" and support.
I suspect that their initial criticisms were just pokes and prods to see how determined I was. Once I stuck to it, they were far more likely to support what I was doing, and even somewhat interested in how it was working out.
Exercise: I turned to exercise and outdoor activities a lot during this experiment, which was a very healthy thing. I did biking, archery, and darts often. Yeah I know, darts isn't outdoors, but it does require some physical dexterity.
I realized that doing these things can wake you up if you're feeling tired, and that they can be invigorating and healthy for your mind as well. I already knew this, but now I know it on a deeper subconscious level, where I feel and deeply accept that they are good for me.
Work paralysis diminished: Normally I can get quite paralyzed and have a lot of resistance to doing work, such as writing an article or a song. There's a lot of fear and ego involved in those things (what if it sucks?).
Since doing this experiment, I feel less of this resistance, as I'm more apt to just "do it". It's not gone entirely, and I still experience it a lot, but less.
Napping: By the end of the experiment, I could go down for a nap and fall asleep within 10 minutes. Compare that to the difficulty I had falling asleep during the first few days of my experiment, and you realize it's a huge improvement.
If you want to get something done, do it yourself: After my run in with oversleeping, I was very tempted to play victim in the situation and act as if there was nothing I could have done to fix it.
But there were things I could do, and they were simple. Things like setting multiple alarms.
Because I took the time to set a 2nd alarm, I already communicated to my subconscious that I was definitely going to wake up. I never even needed the second alarm, because my brain knew who was the boss at that point, and it wasn't able to weasel it's way out of waking up.
I was able to take responsibility for my waking up, which was pretty great especially considering I ended up being successful.
Extra time in my day: I had a few extra hours every day, which was a bit of a bonus. I also was able to stay up late, and wake up early every day, which is kind of a cool schedule to be on, at least for me.
Conversation piece: Doing this sleep schedule definitely gives you a new topic to talk with people about. Some people can find it very interesting too, so that's a bonus.
Tired: By the time I adjusted as much as I was going to, I found myself very tired when I woke up in the mornings, before my naps (and right after I woke up), and after midnight.
I should mention that I'm normally a bit tired during the day, so it wasn't really much worse than sleeping monophasically for me. The only really different parts were just waking up; I always felt much worse on the biphasic schedule.
Though I know if I was more self-disciplined and slept earlier (monophasically), I would probably not feel nearly as tired. I can see how not having great sleep habits before I started this experiment have skewed my results.
Inconvenient to nap: I think this one speaks for itself. There were many occasions where my naps would intersect with other plans I had, and had to be pushed back.
This was quite inconvenient for me, and required grace from my friends and family on more than a few occasions.
There were several times where I had a movie planned with friends, and I had to put it off until later (making them wait) because I needed to nap. That was a bummer.
Although the schedule didn't fully work out for me by the end, it certainly wasn't awful by day 20, and I would say my energy levels were comparable to a monophasic sleep schedule.
If you were a vegan or vegetarian, and your body already needed less sleep than most, this schedule might work perfectly for your body and mind. Here's some tips if you want to try it out yourself:
Stay active: Exercising really did make most of this possible for me. I learned to enjoy different activities, even though I hate things like running. Biking was my go-to exercise for when I was feeling tired or low.
Set multiple alarms: Always set at least 2 alarms, especially for the first week. This helps to eliminate the chances of you oversleeping, or of setting your alarm incorrectly.
Write down your experience: You can not only share your experience here this way, but you can look back on what you've done and help compartmentalize your emotions into "just feelings", rather than taking them too seriously.
Documenting your experiment helps it to be more of a methodical and logical thing, rather than a really emotion based thing. If you do this sorely on your emotions, you will be disappointed very quickly as you won't want to do it anymore (if you remember, I was already tempted to give up on day 2).
Eat healthy: Eating healthy food, especially drinking smoothies, can really wake you up in the morning. Give your body what it needs. Being vegan/vegetarian for many people can be best, though I'm not either of those.
Don't give in to peer pressure: If people discourage you, just use this as an opportunity to prove them wrong and prevail anyways. Even if you don't end up continuing the schedule once you're done, no big deal! That's not a failure; it's just trying out another cool experience as long as you continue it for a few weeks.
Do it with someone else (optional): Having Mike by my side for the first few days helped me tremendously, especially in encouraging me to do it in the first place.
Once I got the hang of it, I was totally okay to do it all by myself, but the push at the beginning really helped.
Could I have done it without him? If I were to re-do the experiment, I definitely think I could. But it was nice to have is help during the first few days when I was very uncertain.
Don't get too worked up about it: It can seem quite terrifying to try something like this out, but don't let that fear grip you.
Being tired really isn't a big deal. You just feel that way, and then you think up ways to conquer it, very much like an adventurer.
I am the type of person who can be fearful of discomfort, but I can assure you that it's really just fine. You just take it as it comes, and get over it. Don't think so far ahead, just act.
Overall, I absolutely do NOT regret my experiment. It was fun to try, challenging, and I learned a lot along the way.
If you are the adventurous type, or you want to do something new with your sleep, then I would recommend trying this out. I can tell by my results that biphasic sleep could be superior to monophasic sleep for some people, just not everyone.
It might even work out best for me in the future when I have a better diet, in which case I would need less sleep anyways.
My name is Andrew Muller. I love creative art, music, television shows, movies, video games, and a good story.
If you had to find me somewhere, you would probably find me down at O'neils home cooking eating an organic sweet-potato bun breakfast sandwich with ham.
Among my friends, it's a "Muller Classic Move" to eat Mcdonald's at 2am because it's cheap and open 24/7. The joke here is that I'm an idiot.
I play drums, guitar, piano, and I write & perform music for My Goal Is Telepathy. Take a listen to the latest sound here.