It's Testing Time Again: Gradual Adaptation & Dymaxion
I've been quite happily sleeping on the Everyman sleep schedule for years, but it's time for a switch. After much delibration, I've decided to test out one of the major schedules I've never tried — the one commonly called Dymaxion, after the excellent scientist Dr. Buckminster Fuller. I'm also attempting to transition to this schedule gradually, as opposed to all at once ("suddenly"), which has been my usual way of doing things.
One reason for both of these experiments is that I simply haven't done them before, and both this schedule and this method have become pretty popular over the years, so I'd like to be able to offer a more informed view of them than reiterating things other people have told me.
The other reason is that they happen to fit well with how things are at the moment, minus a few predictable and not-overwhelming challenges; and after the recent changes to my career settled in, I was left with my usual E3/E4.5 schedule being less than ideal. (That may also not have been work-related: Perhaps something else changed.) For me personally, "What haven't I tried yet?" is a valid consideration when choosing sleep-schedules, lol.
*Dymaxion* is usually described (and I'll be trying it) as four 30m naps per day — so, the same 2h total as Uberman, but in two fewer naps. Of course, one additional challenge for me is that I've learned to nap quite handily in 20m chunks; can I get 30m regularly enough to make up for having no 3h core at night?
Wellllll…we're about to find out!
The other big question is about the method of moving slowly, rather than quickly, into a new sleep schedule. I wrote a chapter on Gradual Adaptation in the Ubersleep book, and in the first edition I was pretty against it; by the Second Edition, I had spoken to more than a few people who claimed that the gradual adaptation method made their transitions to Uberman and Everyman easier and less gross in terms of severity of sleep-deprivation felt (though I never was able to definitively tell if their sleep-dep lasted longer). Since then, I've developed two more detailed thoughts on gradual adaptation:
1. It seems to be a really popular thing for people to try and sell about polyphasic sleep, which makes me very wary. Basically (and this I have experienced already), figuring out a sane "gradual adaptation schedule", which bridges the gap between your current schedule and your target one in a not-crazy amount of time (since you want to get on your new schedule asap) and is still possible around something resembling real life is _complicated_. So there are apps and people out there who would love to take your money to help you do it, all of which I've read up on and all of which trip my BS alarms pretty hard. Maybe the complexity is just a necessary evil, but then again, maybe it's more than just convenient for the people looking to get rich on bullshit.
(Life rule: There are _always_ people looking to get rich on bullshit, and you can often spot bullshit by looking for those people, the same way you can spot a watering-hole by looking for a bunch of drinking animals. If you're not great at the subtleties of this, just watch religious preachers to see it in it's pure form…they're like the giraffes of the bullshit watering-hole: really visible and pretty ridiculous if you stare too long.)
2. Plenty of people seem to succeed with gradual adaptations, though I have no way of knowing how the success rate compares to sudden adaptations (i.e to getting right on your chosen schedule and staying there), other than my gut feeling that they seem to be about the same.
Those two thoughts have made me eager to try it myself for some time.
So, here's where I'm at!
– I did a perfect E3 schedule for 2 days (E3 is my normal schedule a couple days a week, with Everyman 4.5 filling in the other days, when I usually miss a nap), then dropped my core from 3h to 90m.
– This gives me my Dymaxion schedule, but with one nap being 90m instead of 30. (Naps are at 7am, 1pm, 7pm, and 1am; 30m each. So yes, I'm banking that I can learn to nap for 30m, when I've been taking 20m naps for a freaking decade. Neuroplasticity ho! :D) The plan is that I'll walk that nap down from there, giving it 2-3 days in-between changes. My hope / the idea is that this will be gentler on my system than just losing my core all at once, but that it's close enough to the final schedule right away (none of the other 3 naps will change at all) that I can still be adjusting to it even while making that one change.
– I have an adaptation buddy (testing the same schedule & method as me, but starting from monophasic — and also an experienced polyphasic sleeper). It's mad helpful! We maintain a shared spreadsheet where we log all our naps, plan check-ins with each other, and keep our BFLs (Big Fat Lists of things to do).
– I'm on Day 3 right now, it's ten to five in the morning and I've been awake since 2:30am; I have a nap coming up at seven. I feel pretty good at the moment — look, I'm being productive and finally writing a post on this! — though last night was brutal…I had a super long and unexpectedly physically draining day at work, and couldn't sleep for either my morning or evening naps due to tension and whatnot. (I did lay down for them though! No skipping naps or oversleeping during adaptation!!) So last night I was really tired, but with help I made it through, and got up on time, and things are easier this morning. So it goes.
– And yes, I'm insanely busy this month — sorry for the lack of updates, generally! There've been a million things I've wanted to post, and to write elsewhere, and all kinds of stuff; but I took on an extra job (brining my total to four, LOL) for holiday money that turned out to be a bigger investment in time and energy than I realized it would be; and things were already kind of full up. That job lasts two more weeks, but obviously if this works out (it and my other jobs are ALL nap-friendly, now! \o/) then I'll have some additional time on my hands to start chipping at this MONSTER to-do list. Mother of god. :P
– CONSTANT UPDATES AND INFO about how this adaptation is going are available on our Slack, if you want to follow along or ask questions!
More updates, and more stuff in general, coming soon! Hope you are all well, and if I owe you an email, my bad; thanks for your patience with me! <3