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observations about being sleep deprived

April 14, 20202 min read

I started a polyphasic sleep experiment last week. The final sleep schedule (which I’m now on) involves sleeping from 11 pm to 2:30 am every night, and taking three 20-minute naps during the day. However, the best way to transition to that schedule, according to The Internet, is to pull an all-nighter on the first day, and then spend the next few days taking only 20 minute naps (up to 12 per day), and never doing a longer sleep.

So this weekend I was sleep deprived.

You’ve probably been sleep deprived before from pulling an all-nighter or jet lag.

In this case I was sleep deprived for longer than I’d ever been before, so I noticed my body’s responses more acutely.

Here’s what I noticed:

  • I was colder than usual. I had to wear pants and layers, even when the sun was out.
  • My short-term memory was worse. Particularly, I would start to do a task and then immediately forget what I was intending to do
  • I was much grumpier, especially in the middle of the night or early morning. (On one particularly grumpy morning, Andrew founded the Semi-Annual Grumpy Conference and invited me to be the guest of honor. We talked about all the things that make us grumpy, and then made abstract grumpy art with orange peels).
  • I only had interest in doing introverted low-energy activities like watching TV. I enjoyed watching TV significantly more than I do when I’m alert. That was a nice feeling because I miss watching TV, but find I have less patience for it these days. (I recommend Unorthodox and Tiger King on Netflix, and Run This City on Quibi).