Archive for the ‘Sleep’ Category

Day 10: More Research

I did some more research and I found yet another contradiction. Does anyone have a real firm grasp of how sleep works? Everyone says something different. I want my own EEG machine so I can just see for myself.

Here’s the deal:
Most research says that the stages of sleep are NREM 1, NREM 2, NREM 3, NREM 4, NREM 3, NREM 2, REM -> repeat.

However, I just found a very recent publication, which says that there is a very short slipping into REM right away, then sleep progresses all the way to deep sleep and back to NREM 1 before it returns to REM. This model makes much more sense when considering the ease of waking up during each phase–REM being the easiest and progressively getting more difficult down to NREM 4.

Sleep Stages
From “Complete Home Medical Guide” © Dorling Kindersley 2004

This would explain why everyone seems to agree that the most vivid dreams happen in REM. Since, I always fall asleep dreaming, it would make sense that there is at least a short phase of REM right away.

And now that I’m looking for it, here is another resource with the same claimand another.

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Day 9: wicked dreams, overslept

My dreams were intense last night. Right before I finally got up, I would have sworn I was in the middle of a David Cronenberg film (something like Naked Lunch crossed with Blade Runner. It was complete with government assassinations, which led to political takeovers, genetically perfected artificial life, which would control the minds of normal humans, highly intellegent artificially intellegent machines, which would leave 800 messages in my voicemail box, each one telling me that it just wanted to talk to me, and several other strange and undefinable moments.

I got up at 3am, remembering a different dream, turned off my 4am alarm, thinking that I would get up then. Two hours later, I was eating at a neo-mexican (which strangely meant ‘european american’) Interzone border restaraunt, trying to keep the chef from eating all the food off of my plate, which he was keen on doing. When I time/space shifted to an office where I was listening to my voicemail (the countless artificial messages) and a man told me the door AI, which I had called an ‘A’ generation, was actually an ‘E’ generation–and was not to be trifled with–I realized I was asleep and jolted my eyes open, only to find that it was already 5am. An expletive involuntarily jumped out of my mouth, which hopefully did not wake Lena.
In the shower, I decided that I need to just lie down for my scheduled nap times, even if I can’t sleep, just to get my body in the habit. I didn’t do so for the latter half of yesterday. I’m not sure if it was just my dreams that kept me enthralled enough to oversleep or if it’s the result of totalling 5 hours and 20 minutes of unevenly spaced sleep, yesterday.

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Nap at the Office

My employers purchased a couch for the sole purpose of taking naps on it. It’s a fabulous tool since school doesn’t have any decent place to rest.
I was just sleeping on that couch and I had some very interesting dreams.
First off, I’ve read in several studies that REM is where people dream. I don’t believe this is true. The best way, and sometimes the only way, for me to sleep is to dream my way asleep. I try to focus on blurring out my surroundings while formulating some visual scene about the fuzzyness around me. On my most recent nap, I kept sliding in and out of deep sleep. I must have shifted 6 or 7 times. It felt like an enormous sine wave, what seemed like fully awake at one end and REM at the other, neither lasting very long.

There were these two beings, human like, although I didn’t get a close look. I was too busy focusing on the two colossal gladiators they were worshiping as gods. These gladiators were almost robots, huge bulbous metalic helmets, reflecting shards of light placed around there heads. On closer inspection, the helmets were domes holding hundreds of thousands of people, as if these giant beings had each swooped up a football stadium full of bloodthirsty fans and kindly wrapped a glass ceiling to cover them. Then it became clear that all of these dome dwellers were worshiping the two tiny people on the ground.
The small ground people worshiped the giants because of their magnificent size difference. The giants were full of people just like them who looked out and saw two unworldly beings, which they delighted to concieve of as Gods.
Mentally, I wavered between the two groups, zooming in and out–a dizzying thing to do when you are bobbing up and down the sine wave of sleep. I couldn’t be sure if I should focus on the absurdity of the two people on the ground or the countless people in the domes. They both seemed so silly, although, in retrospect, the people on the ground seem rightly less silly. I would certainly marvel at two enormous beings of any kind if they towered so high over me, even if I knew they were full of people (though, the groundlings clearly did not have that knowledge).

Anyhow, I had many other detailed dreams and I remained lucid throughout all of them. I even remember a moment of paralysis, which I believe was my body entering REM. I’ve read that the Pedunculopontine nucleus is the supposed (but not proven) main trigger of REM, which also halts motor functions at that stage of sleep.

Well, I’d tell you more, but I’ve got to get to class.

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Day 8: Taking it Easy

You know it’s early when you step out of the shower and your cat is staring at you with sleep deprived eyes.
My cat always wakes up with me, regardless of the time. He just sometimes can’t take it any better than I can. He’s my little at-home sleep support group.
I set my phone’s buzzer for 3am and (I thought) 4am, last night. When I awoke at 3am, my muscles still felt a little sore so I just let the first alarm go. What I had forgotten is that my 4am alarm was actually set for 4:30am. My phone likes to name the alarms and when I push one alarm forward 30 minutes, sometimes I forget to change the name of the alarm to match.
Constant vigilance!
I’m going to have to watch out for that.
However, I’m glad I got the extra bit of sleep. Now my muscle soreness is down to just my triceps.
Sleep is good. No argument there.
This morning I’m going to make a little database so I can enter in my exact nap times each day and be able to generate little charts and stats. That should help motivate me.

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Day 7: Revved Up and Ready

Alright, this is the start of the 7th day, one week, 168th hour (hey, I did that in my head and it’s 5am :))

So, since I took a longer nap than usual last night, I wasn’t able to sleep until a little past 12:30am. Before I fell asleep, I realized it would not be prudent to wake up at 3am, since I needed some extra neurotransmittal help to heal my muscles. I’ve read that REM is especially good for the nervous system and mine was fealing a little abused yesterday.
The steaming hot bath, last night, before my nap, was probably a nice touch too. My body felt a little stronger after that nap–although it was too long so I didn’t wake from REM as I should have.
I only have one class today, so I’m hoping to take a break at work and nap before class. There just isn’t a decent place to sleep at school. Go figure. The University of Washington is so much better equiped for napping than Seattle Central Community College. Oh, well.

I’m starting today off right, with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a handful of vitamins. I need a high power breakfast since dinner is so difficult for my schedule. Usually, I just end up bringing a cliff bar and a bunch of mixed nuts, dried fruit, seawead (nori), and whatever else I can find to snack on.

Well, today is going to be much better than yesterday. That I’m already sure of. My shoulders are still really sore, but it’s several orders of magnitude improved.

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So tired, so sore

I suppose it has something to do with sleep deprivation. My muscles are very sore as they have been all day. I suppose it also has to do with yoga and exercising way too much on Saturday.
I had to leave my first class early today (Information Security) and ditch out on my second class (Typography). I was too tired. By 4:30pm, I had been up for 8.5 hours since my first nap. I’ve gotta figure out a way to manage my daytime naps when I’m working and going to school.

I took a nap from 7:30pm – 10pm. A bit longer than I intended. So, all told, I slept 6 hours today. Not terrible. I’m still maintaining a low average. However, I’d feel a lot better about it if I weren’t so exhausted that I had to ditch class today. I can’t tell how much of it is just being overworked from Saturday and how much is not getting enough neurotransmitters of some kind. I’d really like a personal USB EEG machine for yule/x-mas. Any wealthy scientifically minded supporters out there can make a donation if they like–as can anyone else :)

Donate towards my web hosting bill!

Never hurts to try.

So, for the record, today, I slept from:
(I’m going to make a pretty graph in about a week)

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Day 6: Samhain

Well, I woke up at 3am. Now I’m all dressed up as a pirate and nobody else is awake. Yaar!

I’m still incredibly sore from working out on Saturday. It hurt to put my shirt on.
Well, it’s back to work and school today. Gotta figure out a decent schedue. I’m going to take a nap from 7:20-8am right before I head out. That should give me a jump on the day. By that time, I will have been awake for over 4 hours anyway. Maybe I’ll be a little late for my first class today and take a nap at about 2pm (six hours later might be pushing it though). I’ll see how busy work is.

Yesterday, I ended up taking a nap from 7:20pm – 8pm. I was really tired all day but I didn’t have the opportunity to nap until then. After watching a movie with Lena, we went straight to bed at 11pm. I fell asleep at about 11:30pm, so I have 3.5 hours of sleep to start today off with.
If I take a 40 minute before I leave, another at work and crash [edit: no pun intended] on the 45 minute bus ride on the way home from school, that will make it 5.5 hours all together. That’s my goal today.

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Day 5: Oops!

Fie on’t!
I screwed up last night. I was very good yesterday. I slept from midnight to 3am. Then I took a 40 minute nap as planned. However, I did a 1 hour yoga class and started my first of 3 free sessions with a physical trainer at the gym. I got worn out. All my muscles are so exhausted. I can barely move my upper body.

Last night, I skipped my 19:20-20:00 nap. That was a mistake.
I ate a bunch of ginger snaps instead while watching two movies. Another mistake.
Then, I went to bed at midnight. I fell right to sleep since I was so tired from the day of early exercise.
At 3am, my phone went off in my pillow (my new personal alarm clock–the vibrate mode doesn’t wake Lena). I turned off the alarm and while part of me was thinking, “I’ll just lay here and remember my dream for a minute”, I know another part of me was thinking, “hey, daylight savings… I get an extra hour. I may as well sleep.”

So I did and I didn’t wake up until 8am (7am after daylight savings).
The worst part is that I don’t even feel like I got a full night of sleep.
My body feels so sore and tired.
But I’m not giving up. I can reason this lapse, which means I can prepare for it again in the future.

There was a time, when I was working the graveyard shift at a restaurant and I would get 12 hours of sleep a day. It was great. I remembered all of my dreams, which were usually lucid. I suspect that part of my lapse was my body saying that I have so much sleep potential. I may as well use it when I need it. I don’t think sleeping 8 hours last night is going to prevent me from taking 1-1.5 hours worth of naps today.
I’m still waking up at 3am tomorrow morning!

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Day 4: With Will Alone I Set My Mind in Motion

I just got out of a steaming hot shower after waking up at 3am. That’s right. It’s Saturday morning and I chose to get up way before the sun. That was tough. I most certainly was not in REM sleep when I awoke. I feel quite groggy. It really makes a whole lot of sense that people would feel groggy waking from NREM. Since the brain almost totally halts neurotransmitter production during NREM but has to start up the factory works as soon as we become conscious, it must be a real mental strain to jar awake during NREM. I can’t wait for my body to readjust.

Yesterday, I was looking up Electroencephalograph machines on ebay. I was surprised to find so many. Then I found a nice new USB model. It’s a little pricey. I’d love to be able to document and view my brainwave activity during my naps.

I’m watching Mad Max Beyond Thunderdom while writing this. Let’s see if sleep deprivation affects my ability to multitask.

I’m going to yoga at 9am and working out at the gym right afterward. I hope I make it.
Here’s today’s schedule:

Time (24 hour) Minutes State Activity
00:00-03:00 180 Sleeping Core Sleep at home (bed) – slept very well – hard time waking
03:00-08:00 300 Awake wakeful things
08:00-08:40 40 Sleeping nap #1 (bed)
08:40-13:40 300 Awake yoga, workout, etc…
13:40-14:20 40 Sleeping nap #2 (bed)
14:20-19:20 300 Awake wakeful things
19:20-20:00 40 Sleeping nap #3 (bed)
20:00-24:00 240 Awake wakeful things

I’m hoping for 5 total sleep hours today. Meanwhile, I’m drinking lots of grape juice. (flavonoids, which are normally produced by the brain in deep sleep, help recycle antioxidants)

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Day 3: Success

Since I didn’t go to work or school today, I didn’t really leave the house much, which gave me the opportunity to plan the perfect schedule.

This is the 4.5 hour core sleep schedule:

Time (24 hour) Minutes State Activity
00:30-05:00 270 Sleeping Core Sleep at home (bed) – slept very well
05:00-10:00 300 Awake homework and reading
10:00-10:20 20 Sleeping nap #1 (bed) – slept well
10:20-15:20 300 Awake homework, blogging, etc…
15:20-15:40 20 Sleeping nap #2 (bed) – mostly dozed and dreamed
15:40-19:40 240 Awake wakeful things
19:40-20:00 20 Sleeping nap #3 (bed) – dozed and dreamed
20:00-24:30 270 Awake wakeful things

It consists of 4.5 hours of core sleep, then 5 hours awake, 20 minutes napping, 5 hours awake, 20 minute nap, 4 hours awake, final 20 minute nap, 4.5 hours awake.

Total Daily Sleep = 5.5 hours = 23% of daily activity
Total Daily Wake= 18.5 hours = 77% of daily activity
Sleep required for each waking hour = 29.73%

These are incredible stats considering I was able to focus all day and (aside from the short bit of nausea when I woke up at 5am, which quickly passed) I felt well rested all day. I experienced 4 seperate dream sessions, in which I was able to remember much more than usual. Having more entrances and exits to the sleep phases does have the advantage of adding up more lucid dream opportunities.

It’s certainly better than what I was getting before. I got 2.5 extra hours today. I’m actually going to try to sleep by midnight tonight so I can wake up at 3am and get back on track. I hope daylight savings doesn’t screw up my schedule. It’s so precise :)

On another note, I just watched “Crash”. That is a seriously intense film. If you’re having trouble staying awake during a long session between naps, watch this movie. You will be wide awake.

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