One of my personal mantras is “Listen to your body.” I really believe in this. Whether I am fasting, feasting or anything else, I believe in listening to what my body is telling me, and following the instructions that my body is sending to me. I believe that when I do that, it keeps me safe and improves my health.
When fasting, there have been times when I felt that I needed to end the fast and to eat something, and I have always followed that feeling, because it is what my body is telling me, so I think it is the right thing to do. There is no shame in doing what your body is telling you that you should do. In fact, it is more a badge of honor than anything else.
So, over the past weeks, as I have been thinking about my inability to sleep at the times when I “should” sleep, I realized something. One night, I was laying in bed trying to get to sleep, after a long while, I thought to myself… “My body just does not want to sleep now” so I got up and did something else. As I continued to think about this thought of my body not wanting to sleep, I decided that in the area of sleep, I was not following my mantra. I was not listening to what my body was telling me.
I made a decision
So, I made a decision that I needed to more closely listen to my body and do what it was telling me. I needed to stop trying to force myself to sleep at times when my body was telling me that it did not need any sleep. I decided that when I was tired I would lay down and sleep. When I woke up, I would get up and do something else, and then when I was sleepy again, I would go to sleep. Up until now, I have always followed the clock. If the clock told me that it was time to sleep, I slept. When it was time to get up (according to the clock) I would get up. Now, I decided to just do what my body was telling me.
So, starting last week, I have been going to bed at about 9 PM, and then I would sleep until 10:30 or perhaps 11, whatever time I woke up. I would then get up and work or do something that needed to be done until I was tired again. I found that I was getting tired at around 3 AM, and I would go lay down and sleep until 5 AM or 6 AM, just whenever I happened to awaken again. I am finding that I am following this pattern in the early afternoon as well. So, I am sleeping 1 1/2 to 2 hours usually 3 times per day, for a total sleep of 4 1/2 to 6 hours per day. When you sleep several times per day like this, that is called Polyphasic sleep.
Most people follow a Monophasic sleep pattern. They sleep once per day. Some people follow a Biphasic sleep pattern getting most of their sleep at night and taking a nap in the afternoon.
My experience with Polyphasic Sleep
To be honest, I really don’t have any “experience” with polyphasic sleep. However, years ago, I used to read a blog where the writer (Steve Pavlina) did a lot of unusual “self-improvement” type things. He would usually try these things as experiments, and then if he liked the effects he would incorporate the item into his daily life. I followed Steve for many years, but he started getting into some practices that I did not really agree with (specifically, polyamory, where he would have intimate relationships with multiple people at the same time), so I decided to stop following him.
The first such experiment that I recall Steve doing was with fasting. As I recall he did some Intermittent Fasting and then some longer-term fasting as well. Next, I recall him doing the polyphasic sleep.
Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine via email, and I mentioned to him that I was going to start listening more to my body and sleeping at the times when it was sleepy. He already knew about my fasting. He mentioned to me that I was starting to sound like Steve Pavlina (he also used to follow Steve) and I realized that he was right, although it was unintentional.
Right now, I am sort of an “unofficial bachelor”. My wife, Feyma, is in the United States and will be doing some seasonal work there for the next 4 or 5 months, so that will also give me the freedom to experiment with things like Polyphasic sleep (don’t worry, I am not going to do a polyamory experiment!) while she is away. Doing something like that while my wife is around could be disruptive to our marriage, but this is a great opportunity to do something like that. If I try it and find that it has a positive benefit on my life, I feel that I could already be in the routing when Feyma returns and it would not be all that disruptive if I am already in the routine.
When I first started doing a ketogenic diet, Feyma had no interest, but when she saw the positive effects that it had on me, she started doing a ketogenic diet herself. Later, when I started doing Intermittent and longer-term fasting and the benefits became obvious, Feyma started doing that as well. Maybe, who knows, she will get into the polyphasic sleep as well! I can’t even say that I will find it rewarding, but we are going to see.
I do think that listening to your body is always a good thing, though!