It’s 02.15 in the morning on the Monday that will soon see me leave the Transkei, where I’ve been staying for 5 days or so. I came to see a friend and his plot, do some observation with him for a permaculture start-up, and generally to have a break from an intense 2 months of productivity on several levels back home in Port Elizabeth.
Just before I arrived in Coffee Bay I had spent 2 nights in Grahamstown where my partner Emma finished a lecturing contract. I posted the previous polyphasic sleep log entry from there, on the first morning (6 days ago); I was very positive about the polyphasic sleep process, as evident in the post. Ironically, Murphy the bastard was out to get me and I really felt tired for the rest of the day; my naps didn’t really help, and I became a bit cross-eyed by the evening. I can’t explain why this happened, but I feel like it’s still early days in the new sleeping regime, so I’m happy that the odd curve-ball comes my way.
So it is unsurprising that on the second morning I somehow slept though my alarm – it definitely went off, because the screen of my phone (which is my alarm) displayed the usual indication that it had. I awoke feeling very good though, as if I needed to catch up on some lost sleep. But then came the 6+ hours’ drive to Coffee Bay from Gtown, during which I managed to take only one nap before arriving to a busy afternoon and evening.
I knew immediately upon arriving that my sleeping schedule was in jeopardy. My routine has been well established at home, but largely around the computer, which I did not bring along for the trip – I needed a break from it (I’m typing this post from my cell phone). So initially I thought I would spend the early-morning awake-time meditating and reading a bit, maybe playing via pen and paper with a proposal I have to rework yet again.
The first night (Wednesday), however, I went to bed an hour later than usual. I did get up on the adjusted schedule and did meditate, but found myself making a lot of tea and taking an extra nap instead of reading. During the day, I could not sleep at preferred times, so by the end of the first full day here, I was awake but aware that my sleeping pattern had been disrupted.
Then I went and pulled the trigger on the schedule by not setting my alarm properly at the end of Thursday. We went to bed early that night, at 09:00 – so I set the alarm for 12.15 instead of 00:15. I awoke at 03:35, after 6+ hours of sleep!! I hadn’t slept so continuously in 5 weeks, and I did feel somewhat disappointed at myself for the mistake. I got up and stayed up, and took only a brief nap later in the day.
But things were to get worse. It was Friday at this point, a big social night here, and we went to a place called Jah Drums where a new friend was to play a gig. It was a strange night, as I didn’t drink any alcohol, but almost everyone else around me seemed hell-bent on getting wasted – each to their own! Emma and I declined the offer after the gig to go to the next watering hole, and we went back to the night’s last-minute change-of-plan accommodation – the kitchen floor of a friend of our host.
It turns out that 2 other people had been given the same offer, so 2 hours into my core sleep, we were awoken to the sound of drunk people moving furniture around. One of these people then lit a cigarette in the closed room, fell asleep with it in his hand, and started snoring for the championship title. Needless to say, I was not going to sleep through it, so I went to the car and awkwardly huddled myself in foetal position over the front 2 seats (it’s a small ‘bakkie’) – and promptly slept through my alarm again!
No naps during Saturday, seeing as my night’s biphasic sleep had given me what I needed. At this point I started to wonder if I had completely undone in unholy armageddon all of the work put into becoming an Everyman 3 polyphasic sleeper. I really was quite alarmed (ha!) by the thought. But yesterday (Sunday) morning I managed to stick to the schedule, with the exception of an extra nap between core and nap 1.
I was up at 01:00 earlier and meditated for a full hour, with only occasional nodding! Now I’ve written this post, and I feel great. Some tea is on order. I’m looking forward to the sunrise over the coastline here – see the picture at the end of the previous post – that’s what I’m facing now, though it’s dark, but I can hear the waves crashing on the rocks below. Maybe I’ll take an extra nap, because I’ll be starting the 8 hours drive home by 8 o’clock, and I’d prefer not to pass out at the wheel en route home. Luckily Emma shares the driving and is a second pair of eyes.
So it’s quite a relief that I feel like I’ve slipped straight back into the routine despite being derailed for a few days. I imagine that more botched nights would make recovery difficult, and then impossible. Strangely though, looking back on it now, it all seems like it was meant to be – I feel awake and alert, enthusiastic and ready to get back to the tall order of work that now awaits me. Whereas in the past I usually felt sad when leaving a holiday destination, and depressed by the thought of returning to ‘normality’. Not so right now: again, as mentioned in previous posts, this good state of mind could be attributed to the mix of polyphasic sleeping, meditation, diet, discipline, etc. But polyphasic sleeping is the obvious main change that has allowed me to fit in all the work I need to do, as well as some of the things I’d like to do. Invaluable, at this stage of my life at least.