Category: Psychology and People


How often do you ask “why?” when a friend announces that they’re going to “get effed up tonight”?

Now, compare this to how often you would be asked “why” for doing anything discussed on this site. If you haven’t tried any of these experiments, what would happen if you were to mention something of the sort, and see what kind of reaction comes back?

Or, just take my word for it. Almost everyone asks “why”. WHY?

People apparently understand better the need to drink 40 ounces of alcohol over a wasted weekend than an attempt at tailoring one’s lifestyle to personal interests with, say, an experiment in sleeping less to gain more time spent awake.

Am I missing something here?

And for those who really truly want to know why…

“Why not?” That nip-it-in-the-bud, cop-out answer never satisfied me.

Maybe it was just what Chris Guillebeau said:

“The people who wonder about motivations may not have yet found something they really love that’s worth doing strictly for the sake of doing it. I hope they do  — meanwhile, I’m having fun.”

Maybe because if I didn’t do it, I would deeply regret it. As for why to do it, we each need to figure that out for ourselves.
Maybe because we’re asking “why?” to the wrong pursuits.
Maybe the real question is…

So why do your friends want to get fucked up again?

The hardest Big Pursuit I’ve done so far is starting a late night cookie delivery business for my local college campus. It was scary too.

I was more scared the morning I posted flyers about my grand opening than I was when standing at the start line of the Ironman triathlon at age 18, surrounded by 40-something-aged lifetime veterans. Arguably, it was even harder than biking across the U.S.

I guess I am the most vulnerable when I put myself “out there,” for all to see and evaluate. As strange as it may seem, it might just be an introvert thing.. You could imagine that, from the extrovert’s perspective,  one might feel more vulnerable achieving something for themselves without social support from their friends and family. Whether it’s more challenging to put yourself “out there”, or to go at it alone toward a personal accomplishment, working in your vulnerable area will make you grow.

Where do you feel most vulnerable?

What is the hardest thing for you to do? What if you did it….this year, this month, today, NOW?

The following is a record of my first (aborted-too-early) week-long attempt at polyphasic sleep, starting with the Uberman schedule and then tentatively switching to Everyman.

Day 1: Sat Jun 27

Had slept 6 hours the night before, woke at 5:30am.

1:30pm- Didn’t fall asleep; laid in bed, felt tired after workout, but no sleep. Feeling…normal.

5:30pm- Didn’t fall asleep. Feeling…normal.

9:30pm- Skipped nap; caught up in a conversation with a very talkative acquaintance. Feeling…normal again and boring.

Comments: Perhaps due to the abruptness of the alarm that sounds at the end of each nap, I wake up feeling as if several hours have passed since falling asleep, and I have to remind myself of having only lied down for 20 minutes.

Day 2: Sun Jun 28

1:30am- Asleep for what seemed like a few seconds; had difficulty staying awake until 1:30 but suddenly perked up right when it was time to sleep. Feeling…wired, but without the caffeine.

5:30am- Same feeling except actual-sleep-time seemed longer, maybe a few minutes; a few waves of sleepiness, but not a problem when I was doing my work. Feeling…wired, but focused, as if pulling an all-nighter for a large, important assignment.

9:30am- Slept for longer than before, almost to the “enough sleep” point. Feeling…normal and alert.

1:30pm- Accidentally set alarm to 1:30AM instead of PM, slept for 1.5 hours. Feeling…normal, except having had one sleepy phase.

5:30pm- Didn’t fall asleep. Feeling…normal.

9:30pm- Didn’t fall asleep. Feeling…normal.

Comments: In the first couple of naps during which I did fall asleep, my sense of time was “off” when I woke up. It felt like I had been in bed for several hours. Let’s call it the time warp phenomenon. Seemingly reduced appetite.

Day 3: Mon Jun 29

1:30am- Overslept to 7-8am (6 hours)

5:30am- Overslept again! Feeling…still tired, but normal once out of bed.

9:30am- Didn’t fall asleep. Feeling…normal.

1:30pm- Didn’t fall asleep, had to sleep on the stone floor of the employee break room. Feeling…really fighting to stay awake until next nap, despite being occupied by mechanic work.

5:30pm- Didn’t fall asleep during the second attempt to sleep at work, in the bathroom this time. Feeling…perked up back to normal.

9:00pm- Getting more real sleep than before during naps, seemed like I was interrupting good rest when the alarm sounded. Feeling…slightly more rested than in the afternoon.

Comments: After the first oversleeping incident, I figure an easier way to start off would be to go to sleep 30 min earlier, so allow for falling asleep time, and waking at the same time as one normally would. This would be done until a proper amount of rest is achieved by 60 minute naps what is normally done by 8 hours. Then should begin a progression of shortened naps down to 20 minutes each. Maybe there is something called the “extended sleep-start” method.

Day 4: Tue Jun 30

1:00am- Fell asleep readily.

5:00am- Fell asleep readily.

9:00am- Took some time falling asleep.

1:00pm- Not very sleepy, but not much fuss going to bed.

5:00pm- Not very sleepy, but not much fuss going to bed..

9:00pm- Took a long time fussing around getting settled, really short actual sleep time.

Comments: With 1-hour long naps, I have enough time to go through my toss-and-turn sequence that I normally perform before falling asleep every night. Overall, the extended sleep-start schedule has allowed more consistent energy levels throughout the 24 hours. Now I don’t feel as horribly tired in the 10:00pm-1:30am slot, and stand a better chance of maintaining the sleep schedule until my body fully adapts to operating on autopilot.

The appetite is low in general, such that not only have I eaten fewer meals in the day, but also my nuts and dried fruit treats appear less appealing. Normally I would be able to eat copious amounts without stopping, while now there is a delicate point after which the snacks seem almost sickening, and I usually hit that point after a few mouthfuls. Not bad at all.

Day 5: Wed Jul 1

1:00am- Same abrupt feeling of  interrupting real sleep when alarm sounds.

5:00am- So sleepy that I fell asleep at 4:50, and woke at 5:50 without registering that the alarm had sounded. I don’t recall having turned it off at all.

9:00am- Not very sleepy, but no trouble falling asleep after toss-turn sequence.

1:00pm- Not very sleepy, but no trouble falling asleep after toss-turn sequence.

5:25-6:30- Was so immersed in reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged that I almost forgot about nap time.

9:20-10:00- A prospective roommate visited the apartment at 9:00, and I showed him around. Took most of the time trying to fall asleep before the alarm would sound.

Comments: I have kept up quite consistent levels of energy throughout the day, due to the extra nap time allowed to fall asleep. At this rate, I should be able to maintain this sleep schedule in the long term.

Day 6: Thu Jul 2

1:00am- Overslept until 6:00

9:00am- Skipped nap.

SWITCH to Everyman schedule

1:00pm- Didn’t fall asleep.

7:00pm- Didn’t fall asleep.

Comments: So much for the “extended sleep-start” method. It turns out that, according to Puredoxyk’s Ubersleep Book, trying to alter the length of naps to compensate for not falling asleep will only delay the necessary adaptation/sleep-deprivation phase; it is not recommended. Oops…of course someone would have tried (and failed) to weasel out of adaptation pain before I had even heard of polyphasic sleeping.

Day 7: Fri Jul 3

12:00am- Overslept until 6:00

6:50am- Overslept until 9:00

1:30pm- Napped on and off at work before shift.

7:30pm- Seemed to have fallen asleep, quickly turned off alarm, and promptly jumped up to eat dinner like a good polyphase napper.

11:30pm-7:00am- Clearly a sign of sleep deprivation that must be overcome in these first couple weeks, and the need for a loud second (or third) alarm.

*End Attempt*

Throughout most of the week during which I tried to convert to polyphasic sleeping, I was experiencing muscle soreness for the first time in months of consistent swim-bike-run training. As not one to be sore for several days at a time, I decided to wait until completing the Ironman before trying polyphasic sleeping.

Next time, I shall attempt the “Dymaxion” variant of polyphase, napping 30 minutes every 6 hours. Until August rolls around, stay tuned…

Without using emotional intelligence, with very little information, in a short period of time.

*Coming soon…