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Hacking sleep timing and patterns

Discussion in 'Biohacking 101' started by sjoshua, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. sjoshua

    sjoshua New Member

    Before humans started to make our own light, it seems that the evidence shows it was most common that humans practiced segmented sleeping, which is sleeping with a period of wakefulness in the middle of it for a couple hours. Please check out this TED talk about it (~4 minutes): http://www.ted.com/talks/jessa_gamble_how_to_sleep?language=en

    I'm of the understanding that having a well-functioning circadian rhythm is vital to achieving and maintaining health. Following the sun's schedule seems to be the easiest way to do this on Earth...

    But, what of taking the reins and re-programming your body to it's own circadian rhythm? I'm referring to polyphasic sleep, which in essence is poly- or, multiple, phased sleep patterns. The idea put simply is that the beneficial sections/stages of our sleep are intermingled with light-ish, unnecessary segments when sleeping monophasically, and by training your body and brain to a different schedule you can increase usable awake/alert time by learning to get into the beneficial stages of sleep better and faster while reducing the unnecessary light-ish stages of sleep. (ample info here for those who want to learn further: http://www.polyphasicsociety.com/polyphasic-sleep/beginners/)

    On the most extreme schedule termed 'Uberman', there are 6, 20-minute naps spaced exactly 4 hours apart throughout the day, totaling 2 hours of total sleep time per 24-hour period. The scheduling of said naps and proper timing would be paramount to entraining a new circadian rhythm, so of course it wouldn't be overly convenient for most (i.e. desk job folk), but there are a slew of other templates that even work for 9-5ers that can reduce total daily sleep time to 3-7 hours.

    By the numbers, it is an appealing choice - quick math tells you how much you could truly gain here:
    'Average' sleeper:
    Per night: 8 hours
    Extrapolated per year (8*365 days): 2,920 hours
    2,920 hours = ~122 days/year spent sleeping

    Polyphasic sleeper:
    (the absolute floor minimum polyphasic schedule does 2 hours sleep/24 hours; for a more reasonable schedule, let's estimate we cut sleep down to a conservative* 5 hours/day)
    Per night: 5 hours
    Extrapolated per year (5*365 days): 1,825 hours
    1,825 hours = ~76 days/year sleeping

    *conservative for poly- schedules ;)

    122 - 76 = +46 days per year of realized awake time. Basically an extra 21 hours every week...

    This means, for every 8 years that pass, you would realize the equivalent of an extra 365 days of life awake! In an 80 year 'lifetime', that's an extra 10 years...

    I'm sure this wouldn't appeal to everyone.. Also, numbers are a human fallacy, so I try to think much beyond them. Also, I don't think it would be wise to even approach or consider this unless already in a healthy state!

    I'm curious if anyone here has ever experimented with such a thing? Thoughts? Contraindications?
  2. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    I talked about Jessa Gamble video in CT 1 or 2 if I am not mistaken.
  3. Da-mo

    Da-mo Gold

    Even though as a shiftworker I would love this to be possible I'm thinking of how Jack described various cycles in the last Q&A webinar . . .

    Picturing each cycle as a juggler and theres a number of jugglers and then suddenly they start sharing the balls they are juggling . . . when you mess with the timing of one it necessitates either affecting the timing of them all or else they stop sharing the balls.

    Still, being that we are meant to be metastable and adaptable maybe it is possible that mutliple cycles could adapt together in a way different to that described in CT7 http://jackkruse.com/cold-thermogenesis-7/

    CT7 also contains the Jessica Gamble Tedx

    I just remembered a guy I studied with who was invovlved in an experiment/test as an armourer in the RAF. Basically they were worked into sleep deprivation while uploading and downloading armaments as part of an exercise and monitored for mistakes. During debreif they found out that while they continued to function acceptably in their tasks, they became increasingly unresponsive to anything anyone said to them. So perhaps training to increase the priority of one function means that other functions may be dropped, de-emphasized or damaged as resources dwindle.

    I believe there is someone on this forum who works in the feild of sleep but sorry cant remeber who it was.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  4. Da-mo

    Da-mo Gold

    My sister is a flight attendant and some of her training regarding sleep was different to mine so I tried it and found it useful.

    She was taught that any sleep should be less than 40 minutes or longer than 2 hours and anything beyond 2 hours should be in multiples of 2 hours.

    My n=1 . . . . .

    I have tested this over the years and found that it has a large effect on whther you feel rested when waking. Anything between 40 minutes and 2 hours made me feel worse than if I hadnt slept at all. I'm sure this has some link to cycles of brainwaves or stages of sleep but not sure what it is exactly. Less than 40 minutes was ok and more than 2 hours even better - didnt seem to make much difference which part of the day or night this occured.
    nicld likes this.
  5. sjoshua

    sjoshua New Member

    That's interesting, it aligns with some of the data I am finding on polyphasic sleep. I used to stay up late and take afternoon naps in college, ala a schedule that would be considered segmented or maybe moreso siesta, but irregularly implemented. Looking back, multiples of 90 minutes worked best for me for naps.

    Sadly we are mostly stuck with N=1 data here, since similar to long-term keto dieting there is no solid research to reference... We are swimming in unknown waters taking cues from other swimmers who may be just as lost for all we know :) But someone's gotta take the first swim.

    Curious @Da-mo : Do you have any idea if the guy you'd studied with was in a short term vs long term study? I.e. were they given ~3-4 weeks for their body to at least begin to adjust to a differing schedule, or merely thrown into sleep deprivation? I ask because in the information I can find, it seems there is a cross-over/transition phase (similar to 'carb flu' or whatever you'd term it for keto) that takes a week to a month to en-train your system to operate on the new schedule during which 'sleep deprivation' symptoms are expected. After that point though, the schedule apparently becomes normal and the reduced sleep time would no longer mean being in a sleep deprived state, rather operating at full/normal capacity (or potentially beyond; some uberman schedulers seem to even get a feeling of added/super energy vs. their prior monophasic schedules).
  6. Da-mo

    Da-mo Gold

    Having done shiftwork for 20+ years, I am of the opinion that you never get used to it - you just get used to feeling like crap so it feels normal - then years into it you start getting brain fog etc. My mental abilities are nowhere near where they were 10 years ago.

    What makes you realise is when you go off shift and return to normal sleep patterns - around 2 weeks you suddenly have this massive increase in energy and feel really good. Thats when you realise how not normal the new normal was.

    No prep, they were thrown into it as a drill but they didnt know it was a drill - scenario was a submarine appearing and disappearing within maritime limits - submarine detected, upload weapons, submarine disappears, download weapons. I think the RAF was just testing how far they could push their people before they made a potentially fatal mistake
    David Limacher and NeilBB like this.
  7. sjoshua

    sjoshua New Member

    Interesting, I appreciate the perspective, Da-mo. I can understand how those type of experiments would probably be just throwing people into it, since most do not practice outside of monophasic sleep so that would be the truer 'test' of their abilities given an emergency arises (since, obviously with an emergency there isn't a month of lead time to adapt to a new schedule :))

    To clarify, in your own experience, by shift work do you mean constantly entertaining a different sleep schedule: i.e. working nights, then days, then nights over consecutive days/weeks? Or, do you mean long-term night shifts, for example. I ask because, at least conceptually, I think the difference there would be night and day vs polyphasic sleep. If you are switching back and forth, or constantly moving your sleep timing around, you are never actually giving your body a chance to adapt to a new set schedule, so I'd expect it to be very difficult or impossible to ever get used to. Where as polyphasic sleep emphasizes the importance of being very strict to your newly established/establishing schedule; it does not entail a rotating or shifting rhythm.

    But of importance here: polyphasic sleepers seem to suffer sleep deprived symptoms IF they go off their established schedule, the same as someone would missing a monophasic night of good sleep, or alternatively I could imagine same as someone working swing shifts that cannot get into a regular cycle.
  8. Da-mo

    Da-mo Gold

    12 hour shifts . . . . night, night, off, day, day, off, off, off . . . . and then it starts again every 8 days

    I think we turn around twice as much as we need too - Id rather 4 nights then 4 off then 4 days then 4 off if I have to do nightshifts at all.

    I do try to keep a tally of total hours slept but its obviously not the same as normal sleep.

    Im working towards not doing shiftwork anymore - its still at least a year away. This is my personal thunderstorm - shiftwork working in a power station.

    Hows that for a perfect storm? :eek:

    The stuff I have learned here has had very many positive effects so far - especially the diet and CT and hacking most of my non-work and some of my work artificial light and EMF out of my life. But I know optimal wont come until I've hacked the storm.
    nicld, Lahelada and Josh like this.
  9. BTA

    BTA New Member

    In the US most States will turn back their clock an hour during Saturday night. I hate the time change - my brain is out of wack for awhile. Time to get ready.
  10. Brother John

    Brother John Silver

    Da Mo,
    I had a similar experience: More than a half hour did not refresh but a half hour did. However 20 minutes of meditation, (relaxing, clearing mind with attention to breathing or simple mantra) was as good as the nap, maybe better..
    Brother John
    Da-mo likes this.
  11. sjoshua

    sjoshua New Member

    Geez, I'm sorry to hear that... That'd be a pretty tough swing to try to adapt to, I can see your struggles. Not-fer-nuthin, polyphasic sleep strategies may be helpful to such a situation in order to bring some consistency to it all, but I'd imagine the adapting period and the napping during shifts would be extra difficult considering...

    I've been kicking the idea around of meditation as a replacement for the naps, but haven't found anyone who has practiced and documented that as their 'normal' routine yet.

    But there are rumors of monks and people who meditate for days, weeks, months on end with out stopping, which implies:
    a - it is possible to replicate the necessary stages of REM sleep through meditation
    b - it isn't necessary to obtain REM sleep when solely meditating
    c - ? some hybrid of both? or some factor unconsidered
    Brother John likes this.
  12. kovita

    kovita Gold

    Joshua, form my experience it does not have to be necessarily proper mediation. I am not trained in meditating at all and i understand it is not easy. I do often some sort of my meditation. I just lay down with my eyes closed and concentrate on a good and healthy feelings traveling through my body. I often thing about myself as if I was a perfectly harmonized musical instrument and I let the harmony vibrate through me. I find it much more refreshing than a nap and after 20-30min Ia m as good as a new one ;-)
    Brother John likes this.
  13. sjoshua

    sjoshua New Member

    Those sounds like very effective meditation strategies :) Thank you for your insights here, I think it goes to support the idea that a POTENTIAL replacement for a polyphasic 'nap' would be an equal-length meditation, as long as the individual is adept in entering the proper brainwave frequencies.
  14. Josh

    Josh Gold

    You may appreciate these...


    http://www.oshoworld.com/e-books/en..._Vigyan_Bhairav_Tantra_Vol 2.pdf&download=Yes
    sjoshua and kovita like this.
  15. Da-mo

    Da-mo Gold

    So I've just done 16, 20 and 30 mins in an icey tub after dinner for the last 3 evenings during my days off.

    I can maintain CT at this time of the day for 6 days out of every 8.

    For the other 2 days I work 2 x 12hour nightshifts in a high EMF and artificial light environment from 7pm to 7am.

    I usually wear the ice-vest during work for about 2 hours out of the 12 hour shift near the beginning and end of the shift.

    I have the impression that the best time to CT is after exercise, dinner and before sleep to help maximally re-condense matter while we sleep. This also is a time when cortisol should be lower as melatonin starts kicking in.
    I'm wondering whether it is worth the risk to CT before, between and/or after the nightshifts and what, if any, the best timing would be. My main concern is the heart risk associated with doing CT when cortisol is high like when we wake up naturally at sunrise as mentioned here . . . .
    It goes wthout saying that the nightshifts are the problem here - Im moving away from them but its still 6 months to a year before any significant change in work hours will happen. Until then I'm wanting to do what I can to minimise the damage. I do not have any heart problems that Im aware of and Id like to keep it that way.

    Should I CT before the nightshift (when my body should be thinking about sleep), after the nightshift (when my body should be waking up but needs to go to sleep) or skip CT (except for the ice-vest which has not been a problem thius far) until I'm back to normal sleep hours?

    Hmmm, thinking about the question a little more Im beginning to think the jetlag Rx might be more beneficial . . . .
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2014
  16. Not sure if you guys have ScribD, but I'm about to dig into this one. I have a strong interest in optimizing shift work. I've done it for 7 years now, but I will soon leave that job to run my business full time. My parting gift to my co-workers will be something about coping with shiftwork.
  17. I came off night shift last night and fasted until 6pm. When I woke up I drank a bunch of water, took a cold shower and a bunch of ubiquinol.
  18. Da-mo

    Da-mo Gold

    I often do that fast as well - eat at around 5pm before nightshift, come home in the morning and straight to sleep without eating, then eat when I rise sometime in the afternoon - resulting in a fast somewhere between 19 and 24hours.

    If I don't do that fast, I might eat at work around 4am for an 11hour fast (sleeping about 8am).

    Generally, if I am able to get a few hours sleep at work I'll do the long fast - if not then I'll eat at 4am (nightshifts shift are 12hrs 7pm-7am).

    I find using blue blockers from a few hours before the end of the shift until bedtime helps significantly.

    It still seems that we do what we can - but it still comes down to trying to rebuild our reserves durring the non-nightshift times.

    BTW, I find it difficult to get enough fat in my diet and as such it is predominantly protein. Since Dr. Kruse had said that intermittent fasting turns off mTOR I am considering the IF a good thing in my case. I also wear an ice vest for an hour at the beginning and end of every shift.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015

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