Sleeping Like an Idiot: Week 7 - Charts!

David | Sep 24, 2012 min read

I managed to pull together four charts to help demonstrate progress. I took a cue from The Hacker’s Diet and used a 20-Day moving average to get trends. In each chart the actual measure is in blue and the trend is in orange. For now I just used a Simple Moving Average since the charts are just to get a sense of how things are going and aren’t meant to give highly accurate measures.

Sleep Chart 1

Sleep Chart 2

Sleep Chart 3

Sleep Chart 4

Here’s a quick review of and update on my goals as set out in my [Week 5 Post]({% post_url 2012-09-09-reintroducing-the-sleep-experiment-5-weeks-5 %}):

Core Sleep of Four Hours

I’m doing okay here. My core sleep is trending toward four hours a night, but I had a lot of bumps this week that don’t show in the charts because I turned my Zeo off. On two mornings this week I woke up at close to the 4-hour mark, but instead of getting up I turned off my alarm, took off my Zeo, and slept for another hour. I’m no worse off than before. I’m waking up at about the right mark, I just have to work on staying awake. I have a little insight into why I went back to bed. According to my Zeo, both times I woke up I was in the middle of REM sleep. Looking back over my daily sleep charts I can see the easiest days were those I woke up during light sleep. Not sure I can do much about this other than let my body adjust some more.

Three 20-Minute Naps per Day

This one’s been tough as well. I started with two naps per day, one before work and one after. My naps are really meditation. I sit quietly for exactly 20 minutes using an app on my iPhone and do not actually fall asleep. I thought I could fit one in at work in our meditation room during my lunch break. Seems pretty reasonable, right? We even have a meditation room at work, so it’s not like I’m sleeping at my desk or anything. Exactly twenty minutes of meditation during my lunch break in a room designated for exactly that purpose.

Except it turns out our meditation room gets a lot of use. I have difficulty staying focused with people coming in and out of the room even with headphones on. I’m glad to see there are other people at work who think stopping for ten or twenty minutes during their day is healthy, but it’s not working out so well for me. I scrapped the idea of a mid-day nap. Instead, I increased my naps before and after work to 30 minutes each. I still fit an hour of nap time in and I avoid the extra difficulty of trying to nap at work.

Sleep on a Hard Surface

I set my sleep number mattress to 100 (hardest) two weeks ago and haven’t changed it since. Doesn’t seem to bother me. Not sure it’s helping anything either, but hey, it’s interesting, right? Okay, not really. I haven’t tried sleeping on the floor yet, but I’ll get to it.

Shower Immediately on Waking

I’m big on showers. No problem taking one right away when I wake up.

Skip the Coffee

The coffee is another matter. I’m not drinking coffee when I wake up, but that wasn’t exactly the point. The point was to reduce caffeine intake. The thing about coffee is, once I start drinking it I don’t want to stop. I love coffee. Not like the “What the hell, I’ll have another cup.” love, but the “Hey, I just got home from work—time for a second pot!” kind of love. Horrible.

But I am drinking Enerji Green Tea energy shots—only one on waking from core sleep. I don’t particularly like the taste so I don’t see myself ever wanting more than one. They also give a caffeine content (100 mg) which make me feel like I at least have some handle on my caffeine intake. And I still let myself have one cup of strong coffee during the day.

Fall Asleep During Naps

I have yet to actually fall asleep during a nap, but I do feel more and more like I’m entering a dream state. It’s a very strange state, not like night dreaming. Not much change from what I described in Week 5. The dreams have grown a little more vivid and I feel somewhat more immersed in them, but mostly they’re the same as before. There is one new addition. Just before the onset of my dreams during my naps I see a brief flashing pattern. It’s like a high-resolution black and white checkerboard. Probably nothing. Or maybe it’s just the aliens trying to contact me. I’m kidding. It’s really the government’s attempt to keep me from unlocking the secrets of telekinesis. Nah, really it’s This Man trying to get in touch with me.

That wraps up another week. I’m off to get some writing time in before my day starts! That is, after all, the point of this little experiment.

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