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observations from sleep deprivation

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 being jet-lagged, or just being really really busy.

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 invited me to the Semi-Annual Grumpy Conference. 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).