Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Did you know I used to hate sleeping?

I still relate to why I felt like that at one time, but I don't hate sleeping anymore.

For a period of time in my twenties, I undertook an experiment that lasted for approximately a year. It involved a polyphasic sleep schedule known to some as "the Uberman schedule." On this schedule, I would take six naps a day, with each nap lasting for twenty minutes, and . . . that was it.

The schedule had been refined and experimented with, and somehow this twenty-minute-nap-every-four-hours thing had been determined to "work" for most people as long as you could handle discipline--provided you did not have an unpredictable life in which you frequently had to be flexible. It was regimented, and you had to go down for your nap as close to the prescribed time as you could, and if you actually did it right without any mishaps, you could get your sleeping down to a cumulative total of 2 hours a day without being exhausted at all.

It actually did work decently well for me, though I will say I had understanding friends and FREQUENT "oversleeps" at night that pushed me into what was really more of a modified golden schedule--with a little bit of core sleep, it was way better than when I used to try to stumble through life on three hours of sleep without the other naps.

Obviously, the main drawbacks were a) an extremely regimented schedule and b) the consequences of not keeping to an extremely regimented schedule. Plus the method had not been long-term tested and you had no idea if you were messing yourself up.

Anyway, I resorted to this method because I felt like I had no time that was mine.

So much of my time was spent working, traveling to work, and interacting with friends or family that I just felt bitter about having so little time for my own leisure activities or hobbies. I was so slammed for so long, and felt like I needed to do something to reclaim some of my time or my sanity would suffer. Some would say the choice I made to experiment with my sleep was itself a kind of insanity, but I don't feel like it did me any damage.

What it did do was teach me the value of a break.

When you're constantly ON, without much of a pause in between bouts of going strong, you get far more exhausted than you ever will skipping sleep.

Now entering my forties, I'm trying to teach myself the value of pause. Not just because I'm getting older, worn out, or lazy. Because I think it's healthy, and helps my "on" times be more productive. I'm not as panicky about clinging to windows of me-time anymore, and I'm much more flexible about impositions on my time than I used to be. I don't resent "unproductive" time quite the way I used to, though I do still intensely dislike when people actively waste my time or make me feel like my energy just got poured down a drain from interacting with them.

I'm pausing more in between to take time for myself, without thinking it makes me selfish or indulgent, and I'm enjoying the definitive BREAKS I get through sleep. These divisions are pretty artificial, but the world operates on them, and I'm part of the world. I can participate in putting myself down and picking myself up along with this population I'm part of.

I still sleep less than many people, and probably less than I should; I still hammer out projects at breakneck speed sometimes; I've still got my fingers in so many activities that the idea seems to exhaust most people just listening to me or looking at my updates. But I've always kinda been set on high while getting frustrated at not being higher. I'm learning it does help maintain those precious highs if I remain content with the off position sometimes.

I delight in the pauses, in some of these in-betweens. They give me the strength to do what I need to do when the switch flips on again.

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