Sleep Experiment

Last week Michelle and I decided to alter our sleep schedule. We generally feel more tired an hour or two after coming home than we do when it's "bed time". This is frustrating because we sometimes nap a little only to find it nearly impossible to actually get to sleep later. Even the times we don't take a nap, we somehow get more alert as the night progresses. Going to bed rarely feels like something that's needed; rather, the motivation is in the knowledge that waking up will be a bitch when the alarm sounds at 5:30AM.

So, we decided we'd embrace that natural tiredness we feel after work and just turn it into our night's sleep.

We started the experiment last Wednesday. Enough of the week had happened such that we were starting to have a hard time waking up on time. Showering and laying down at 5:50PM was a little forced, but after about an hour I fell asleep. I woke once at 8PM (we were taping Lost, so no worries there), had a feeling I'd never make it on this schedule, then fell asleep again. I woke again at 11PM. Not bad, I thought. Then somehow I fell asleep again and woke up at 1:30AM. (Somehow Michelle just slept straight through all of this; I don't believe she woke once at any point. She's a sleeping machine, no matter the hour)

I hopped out of bed sprightly and limber, my legs firing like pistons on fire. I was proud for my limbs, for us.

Please excuse this intermission. Lost is on again and I didn't hack draft support into this blog engine...

...back. We both woke up pretty easily at 1:30. Adrenaline probably had something to do with it. We played Lost, fast forwarded through the commercials (benefit #1 of this schedule), and then started doing some work. I worked on my Rails app, and Michelle did some coursework.

It was easy to avoid wasting time surfing the internet. Nobody was updating anything. No emails were being sent to us. So we worked pretty hard, without interruption. Benefit #2.

We also did our shopping at Walmart in these early hours. The place was empty and stocked with brand-new goods just off the truck. Benefit #3. The employees stared at us though, so this benefit gets cancelled out. They don't like people crashing their party. This shift has no knowledge of customers; they do not encounter them.

When morning came, we had some "lunch" and prepared for work. Normally it's hard to wake up and rush to get to work, but after being awake for a few hours, it was as easy as running an afternoon errand. We just got dressed and walked out the door, already fully awake and without the stress of having to rush. That's the third benefit.

The next day went well also. Woke up at 12:30AM this time and watched recorded versions of Earl and The Office. We managed to stick to the schedule Friday also, but by Saturday we were waking up later than usual.

I think on Saturday night we woke up at 5:30AM (early Sunday) and realized we'd screwed up. So we reverted to the normal, human schedule for work this week.

We're considering going back. I think we got more done.