Results of the Sleepathon

So, my internship at Schell Games has started in full swing and is awesome thus far! However, I thought I’d post about what I learned, or concluded…or just theorized from my 2 week sleep study.

1) I think I caught up on an amazing deficit. The first few days I was sleeping upwards of 14 hours a day, and eventually this tapered off somewhat to around 9 or 10 hours a night. I felt it was good, rejuvenating sleep, though. Kind of like the subconscious version of a 2 week cleanse.

2) I am, at heart, a night creature. I’ve denied this for ages, because for some reason I had some deep resolution that my being a night person was “bad.” The world, after all, does not cater to us very well. But screw that. I harbor tons of nocturnal energy, and this can’t be corrected by a rigid sleep schedule, which I think causes more harm than good. I’ve started working out at midnight, doing my grocery shopping at 1, going to bed around 2 or 3 and that’s okay, because that’s how I roll.

3) I’ve identified my napping needs more closely. I tend to need a small nap in the early afternoon, even if it’s just 45 minutes, to kick me back into gear. Around 3:00pm seems a good time. This is often followed by a longer, evening nap. I used to get so stressed about taking naps at 8:00 at night, worrying that it would “mess up my sleep schedule,” but now that I’ve embraced point number 2, I’m much less worried about it (and being less worried means I get to bed more easily when I do sleep at 2 or 3).

Overall during the test, my sleeping periods tended to be vastly erratic. At first I was concerned about this, but I think what I learned is that spaced out, shorter blocks of sleep just work better for me in general. This is roughly what my most comfortable sleep schedule has ended up being…

2:30am – 8:30am (6 hours, my “main” night time sleep)
3:00pm – 4:00pm (1 hourish, my afternoon nap)
8:00pm – 11:00pm (3 hours, my evening nap)

With this, I still get the 9-10 hours of sleep that I seem to need a day, and I’m not tired during the day or stressed out about the fact that I’m staying up late. I imagine that on the weekends I will let myself sleep more freely, to catch up on any deficit, and I will stop beating myself up over it.

One thing that has helped me IMMENSELY during this experiment was this little device, the Sleeptracker Pro:

Jesse lent it to me. Basically, it is a watch with an accelerometer in it that you wear at night. It detects “near-awake” periods based on your movement. When you set your alarm to wake up, you give it a window of time instead of an exact time, and the alarm won’t go off until it detects a “near-awake” moment in your sleep cycle during that window. Thus, you’re more likely to get woken up when you are in the light stage of sleep, versus being yanked out of REM or stage 4 sleep, and all groggily.

I’m normally not one for gadgets, but I’m in love with this thing, and am going to get my own as soon as I am able (Jesse kindly is lending me his for the duration of my co-op, and I really think it will help).

So! There are my sleepy conclusions, and it’s midnight now…time to go to the gym! 😀