After 3 weeks of doing polyphasic sleeping, the experiment is at an end.
It was great to have all that extra time, but I found that it was too difficult to maintain. Perhaps I never “turned the corner” from the adjustment phase, and thus my naps might not have been the all-REM that they needed to be. Whatever the reason, it was just too hard to maintain the schedule. Most of my waking periods were good, even great. But then every once in a while I’d have a time when I was awake that I could hardly keep my eyes open, and the sleep was just dragging me down.
Maybe the worst side-effect of polyphasic sleeping, for me, was being cold. My hypothesis is that my body was trying to go to sleep, so it’d lower its temperature. Whatever the reason, especially at night, I felt extremely cold. I’d sit with a space heater blasting on me and still not feel warm. (that cannot be a good sign!)
It was also socially very hard to maintain the schedule. I had many events over the weekend, none of which I wanted to miss, and couldn’t seem to fit a nap in in the right place. So I missed two naps in a row yesterday and decided to call it quits. I slept a regular night last night (8 hours) and feel perfectly normal today. I didn’t even get tired just before my nap times, as was happening before.
I also realized that the sleep schedule and its side-effects were keeping me from doing things that I really enjoy. This morning, I was able to cuddle in bed with my son for the first time in three weeks. When on polyphasic sleeping, I wouldn’t have dared to lie down in a bed like that because I would surely have fallen asleep. I also felt like I had to be “on” all the time, that there was no rest. Any sort of relaxing time would probably have led to me falling asleep — but I like to relax. And I missed my morning routine. And especially missed green tea.
I wouldn’t rule out trying it again if the need arose. But for now I’m back to my early riser schedule, which seems to suit me just fine.