The bad. Waking up and getting up in the morning – yes, I now call 2am ‘the morning’ – was harder than the day before. It seems like I am still not catching up with the REM sleep that I’ve lost since the beginning of the experiment.
The good. On day 3 I finally had a dream during a nap. Unfortunately, it was only during the very first nap of the day (at 5:40am), but it is a good start nonetheless and I felt more energized afterwards. Other than that I was in a good mood all day and didn’t feel too tired while the sun was out. I’m also noticing that my mind seems to be calmer than usual; a lot of the mental chatter is slowly disappearing and I am spending more time enjoying the present moment.
Another good aspect of this experiment is that I am writing more than before, which is not only enjoyable and fulfilling but is also driving more traffic to this website. Besides, simply the fact that I am taking control of my sleep and exercising will power to be able to spend more time awake is making me want to be more productive. So far this desire to get more done hasn’t produced many results, mainly because it is still hard for me to focus during the day and the extra hours I have between 2 and 5:30am are when I am most tired. However, I believe that I will be able to take full advantage of my desire to create and do more as soon as I am better adapted to the sleep schedule and actually get to dream during the majority of my naps.
On day 4 I had the worst morning so far. I felt so tired and drowsy when the alarm clock rang that ending the experiment then and there suddenly became a real possibility in my mind. I did not feel that I had enough energy to even leave my bed but eventually managed to go get a glass of water and get dressed. My friend Chloe (who also agrees that yesterday was the harshest day so far) and I went for a walk and ended up running slowly for a few minutes, which helped me wake up. If you try out this sleep cycle as well, I definitely recommend taking a few pre-dawn walks. They wake you up, get your juices flowing and just an awesome way of starting your day.
After our walk Chloe and I watched the film Inception on the computer (I had already watched it several times, but I still love it). I was so tired that I almost fell asleep multiple times throughout the movie and was very grateful for my 20 minutes on the couch at 5:40. I didn’t fall asleep immediately and don’t think I had a dream, so I didn’t feel very energized afterwards. To get my energy back, I took a warm shower and turned the water as cold as possible at the end. Works every time.
For me, the days still only begin at around 6:30am, which is usually the time when I’m ready to start working. I am slowly beginning to be more used to the 2-5.40am cycle, though, and I’m slowly accepting that it is officially part of my day.
My two afternoon naps were dominated by a light-sleep / meditative state. I’m noticing that such naps are very relaxing while I’m having them but aren’t otherwise very restorative. I’m also noticing that the quality of my sleep during naps is slowly improving, which will translate into more alertness and energy down the road.
Right now it is 3h19am of day 5, and I am feeling much better than in the previous morning. I faintly remember having at least one dream in my core sleep and it wasn’t nearly as hard to get out of bed today as it was yesterday. Does this mean that I’m finally catching up on sleep and everything will be better from now on? I hope so, and I can’t believe I’ve come so far as to actually surpass the hump. It has been a fun ride until now and I think it is going to be even more fun – a different kind of fun though – in a few days when my body has completely adjusted itself to the schedule.
I am drinking Opium Lettuce tea from some plants that are randomly growing at the land. The name suggests that the plants can be prepped and used as a drug; however, the tea is so weak in terms of the active ingredient that all it does to you is calm you down and – here’s the awesome part – have really crazy dreams! At least that is what we’ve heard from other people at the house who drank 1 or 2 cups before going to bed. Hopefully this will let me make better use of my next nap REM-wise and maybe even lucid dream.
It feels really good to finally be able to concentrate and do something productive almost right after waking up, and now I’m going to use this newfound focus to catch up on the several editions of The Economist that I have been neglecting.