Stephen Brown's Blog

6 Months of Biphasic Sleep

Posted Friday 01 March 2013 19:29 by Steve in Sleep

I have now been sleeping like this for 6 months! Back when I first started I felt that this was a nice sleeping pattern, but you never know if you are really going to keep something up for a long time. Now that 6 months have passed I am still just as enthusiastic about my sleeping pattern and have no intention of going back.

Here is my sleep chart for February:


If you want to view this chart with all of the mouse over comments go here:February Sleep Chart.

This month was the first month in the past 6 months where I have missed a lot of naps. The main time where this happened was the week starting 11th February:


On the Monday I was meeting someone for a language exchange in town at 7:30pm, so I knew that I had to fit in my nap before then if I didn't want to feel tired. Although I had plenty of time, for some reason I always feel a little bit stressed when I have to go somewhere afterwards and I think this made it a little bit more difficult to sleep. I ended up laying in bed for a long time and only dozing for a while. Despite not having my nap I actually felt fine in the evening so in the end it wasn't a problem.

That night I had a little bit more sleep than usual to make up for the poor nap, but looking back on it that was probably the wrong thing to do as it resulted in another bad nap the following day. Then the next night I was tired so I had a longer sleep at night, then the next day I didn't sleep at all for my nap so I was even more tired, so then I slept even longer ...I think you can see what was happening here!

The problem was that I didn't want to revert back to sleeping monophasically but that is basically what was happening, but I wasn't getting quite enough sleep to go without my nap so I felt a little tired. In order to get back into my sleeping pattern I decided to make sure I didn't sleep for more than 6 hours on the Thursday night as I am sure I cannot survive on just 6 hours of monophasic sleep, and it seemed to do the trick as I managed to have a nap the next day!

I think the main reason that I was naturally going back into a monophasic sleeping pattern is that the optimal time to nap seems to be around 1:00pm when I am working. Each day I felt tired enough to sleep at that time, but by the time I came home I was feeling more awake again and couldn't sleep. 4:00pm is actually an unnatural time to take a nap but it just about works for me under normal conditions, but as I was getting more sleep at night I was not able to nap at that time.

That weekend was also a new experience for me as we went to London to visit Yu Lee's family, and I decided that it was about time I stopped planning my life around my naps and started planning my naps around my life! I had a driving lesson on the Saturday, and then we had to leave to go to London so in the end I just slept for 45 minutes in the car. This worked well enough, and the next day I went without my nap at the normal time, but I felt tired at 7:00pm so I took it then. I was surprised how easy it was to stay awake for so long without having my usual naps and I think this is something I will be more willing to do in the future.

The next week I did actually manage to sleep every day except Friday, but the quality of my sleep was very poor and I struggled to tell if I'd actually been asleep or not! The only way I knew that I was sleeping is that it felt like I was laying there for 10 - 15 minutes, but when I looked at the clock 45 minutes had passed. This happened throughout the week and then on Friday I didn't sleep at all.

Over the course of the second week of poor napping, I think I realised that my body just wasn't needing as much sleep as usual, so I started sleeping a bit less at night and after that things just sorted themselves out. The following is a graph of my hours of sleep each day for the entire month:

sleep_per_dayThe grey dots in this graph represent the total number of hours that I slept each day, and the blue line shows the same data averaged over a 7 day period. As you can see I slept an average of just over 7.5 hours per day in the first half of the month and just under 6.5 hours per day in the second half. I have no idea why this happened! Looking back over the data for the whole 6 months (you can see the whole graph here: Hours Slept per Day) I have noticed that my total amount of sleep seems tooscillate between 6.5 and 8 hours per day, and in general I have no clue as to why this happens. I seems that this month it went down a little and as I had got into a routine of sleeping at set hours each night it stopped me from napping.

This week things got back to normal again and I have been enjoying some good quality naps. The amount of sleep I've been having has averaged around 6.5 hours in the last week, but I'm sure it will start going back up again soon.

Overall, I feel that I have learnt how to deal with missing naps, and in the future I will find it easier to fit my naps in around my life.

In total I slept for196:36 hours in February which is an average of 7:01 hours per night.

Leave a Comment

Biphasic Sleep - January

Posted Saturday 02 February 2013 07:56 by Steve in Sleep

January was my fifth month of biphasic sleep. Here is my sleep chart for the entire month:

jan2013If you want to view this chart with all of the mouse over comments go here: JanuarySleep Chart.

A couple of interesting things happened this month. First of all as you can see, the month started off with a very strange night's sleep on New Year's Eve due to an extremely loud house party next door. I was worried this would mess up my sleeping pattern, but as you can see I got straight back into the next day.

The second thing that happened this month is that I got ill in the middle of the month and ended up taking 4 days off of work. It was nothing serious, and surprisingly I didn't need any extra sleep, but due to the fact that I'd taken so much time off work my sleeping pattern changed slightly and I ended up napping around midday for over a week. This wasn't really a problem (in fact it feels better to be able to nap around the middle of the day) but it did make it harder when I went back to work as my body was used to falling asleep in the middle of the day. I had quite a few days where I felt very tired in the afternoons at work and found it more difficult to sleep after work.

On Friday 25th I had to stay late at work for something so I took a 2 hour lunch break and tried to go for a nap then. In the end it didn't really work very well. Every day that week I had felt really tired at lunch time, but that day was different and I felt a lot more awake and in the end I didn't really sleep for my nap. I think it was a combination of not feeling as tired, and feeling stressed that I only had a limited amount of time to nap. There's something a little bit stressful about napping with an alarm that makes it harder to fall asleep: you keep thinking to yourself "I only have 1.5 hours left, so if I don't fall asleep soon I will not have enough sleep and I'll be really tired."

Due to missing my nap my sleeping pattern got a bit messed up and I ended up going to bed at 7:30pm and waking up at 11:30pm. I then slept twice for a couple of hours during the night and I was alright afterwards, but I felt very tired all morning until my second nap at 9:20am.

The final thing that happened this month is that I had a 4 day Oracle training course in Central London, and spent 4 nights staying in North London with my girlfriend's mum. Each day I would get home after 5:00pm which is about an hour later than when I am working, and this obviously had a bit of an effect on my sleeping pattern. I did manage to nap most nights but it took me a little longer to fall asleep than usual, and also meant that I woke up from my nap, had a cup of tea, ate dinner, chatted for a while and then went back to bed for the night. I only had about 3 hours awake between my nap and my night's sleep.

One night I really couldn't sleep for my nap but I laid in bed for almost an hour before giving up. In the end I went to bed a little early (at 9:30pm) and only had 6.5 hours sleep which worked well as I was only slightly more tired than usual the next day and easily got back into my routine.

Overall I slept a total of 216:42 hours in January, which works out to 6:59 every day. Interestingly this is half an hour less per day than in December, and I'm not really sure why I need less sleep now.

Leave a Comment

Christmas / Fully Adapted

Posted Friday 04 January 2013 22:05 by Steve in Sleep

First off let's have a bit of a recap. When I initially started my sleep experiment, my goal was to try out a different sleeping pattern to try and decrease the hours of sleep that I needed each day, so that I could spend more time awake and doing things. This was a failure! I couldn't get through the adaptation period as it was making me miserable, so I decided to give up and try something else.

The next thing that I decided to try was a biphasic sleep schedule, as this was supposed to be much easier to adapt to and still offers a slight decrease in the hours slept each day. As I continued with the biphasic sleeping pattern my goals began to change: instead of trying to optimise the amount of sleep that I was having I decided to work on the quality of my sleep instead. Around this time I created my sleep mission on my website with my new goals.

Throughout most of my life I have nearly always had problems sleeping. When I was very young, one thing that I clearly remember was having to go to bed at 9:00pm each night but laying in bed for 1 or 2 hours almost every single night before I could get to sleep. As a teenager I often would get by on a lot less sleep than I needed during the week, and then sleep in until the afternoon on the weekends, and this is something I have continued to do right through until my working life.

When I was at university things got even worse and at one point and I actually ended up with a sleeping pattern that was longer than the 24 hour day! I had a cycle that went a bit like this: sleep for 9 hours, stay awake for 16 - 17 hours. During term time I would keep this under control but during the long holidays that I had back then I would end up going to bed 1-2 hours later each day until I ended up going to sleep at 8:00am and getting up at 5:00pm! My main memories from this period were staying up all night and playing computer games, and going shopping at Tesco at 3:00am (which was cool because I used to cycle and no cars were on the roads trying to kill me at this time of day!).

Since university I have been working so my sleeping pattern has obviously not been able to get that ridiculous, but recently I had been sleeping 7.5 - 8 hours each night during the week, and then on the weekend laying in until 10:00am to catch up on sleep. On Sunday I would normally be mostly caught up, but then I wouldn't be able to sleep until 2:00am, which meant I would only get 5 hours sleep and would feel tired again for all of the following week.

I'm pretty sure that I could have improved on that without switching to an unconventional sleeping schedule, but it would probably have involved sleeping 8 - 8.5 hours each night, and this would have been difficult for me. Whenever I tried to go to bed early enough to get this amount of sleep I would often find it very difficult to sleep, so normally I would end up laying in bed for an hour and still only get 7.5 hours.

My Biphasic Sleeping Schedule

Since I have started my biphasic sleeping schedule my whole lifestyle has changed. Before the switch I was drinking 2 or 3 beers every single night, and sometimes having a whiskey afterwards. I was drinking 5 or 6 cups of tea every day, so my body was constantly under the effects of either caffeine (which I am really sensitive to) or alcohol, apart from when I was sleeping. Every night I would need to get up to go to the toilet and every morning I would wake up really thirsty. The shortest amount of time it would take me to fall asleep was generally about 20 minutes, and on a bad night (of which there were many) I would go to bed at 11:30 and still be awake at 2:00am! I felt tired every day during the week and wasted half of the day in bed on the weekend, and even when I felt tired in the evening I still found it difficult to sleep.

Since I have changed my sleeping pattern all of this has changed! Practically overnight I went from having 2 or 3 beers a night to having 2 or 3 beers a week, and I reduced the amount of tea I drank to a sensible amount (3 cups a day). I no longer feel tired all day in the week and I get tired very quickly in the hour or so before bed time and fall asleep easily, both for my nap and for my evening core sleep. I get up early every day including the weekends and if I want to I can easily leave the house by 6:00am.

The main difficulties with keeping a schedule like this stem from the fact that I am living in a society where everyone sleeps differently to me. Sometimes it can be difficult to do certain things, for example going out for a beer after work or staying away from home. Most of these things are not as big a deal as you would think though.

First of all, with respect to my sleep pattern affecting my social life, it is generally not really a problem. I come home from work early (at 4:00pm) and sleep, and I can set an alarm for 6:00pm if I need to meet up with my friends in the evening. This generally isn't a problem as a lot of people get in from work later than this, so on a week day it has very little impact on my social life.

The main problem with this sleeping pattern is when I need to be away from home for longer periods of time. When I am staying away from home I either have the option of finding a way to nap, or skipping my nap and being very tired for half of the day. I would always prefer to take the nap if I can as I am not very good company when I'm half asleep!

The one thing that I haven't really experimented with at the moment is going out for the day, but I'm sure I will get to practice this in the summer when the weather is better and we go out more. I expect I will just leave the house earlier and come back earlier. I can easily leave the house at 6:00 and then I can come back home in time for my nap, or sleep in the car on the way back.

The other problem with sleeping during the day is finding somewhere dark and quiet to sleep but normally I can get by with a face mask and some ear plugs.


For a while I have been saying that the real test of whether or not I have fully adapted will be if I can survive Christmas without screwing up my schedule. Christmas is over now, and I think overall it went pretty well!

This year I worked Christmas Eve and finished early, so that day I took an early nap just like on a weekend. On Christmas day we got up early and drove down to London to spend the day with Yu Lee's family.

We had Christmas dinner with Yu Lee's sister in her house and it was a very big meal, so by 3:00pm we were pretty tired. We had already decided to go back to Yu Lee's mum's house for our nap and when we got there her next door neighbours were having a bit of a party, but once I had put my ear plugs in I could barely hear it and fell asleep easily. We slept for about an hour and a half and got back to Yu Lee's sister's house just in time for dessert! I actually think it was lovely to have a break from everything and when we came back we felt refreshed and alert and enjoyed the rest of the day, and were easily able to stay up until 12:30am.

Throughout the rest of the days at Yu Lee's mum's house things were similar to this. We napped as usual and it wasn't a problem at all and none of them cared that we were missing in the middle of the day for a couple of hours. One of the things I love about staying there is that we can always do exactly what we want as everyone seems to do their own thing. The only difference to my sleeping pattern was that it shifted a bit later than usual, and we went to bed between midnight and 1am and I got up between 5:30am and 6:00am.

On 27th December we went to my mum's house for a second Christmas. This went very similarly to Christmas with Yu Lee's lot, and we had a lovely Christmas dinner and went to bed for a while in the early afternoon. We sat around the table after our nap until about 1:00am again and had a lovely time. Our family don't all get together very often so it was nice to see everyone in one place.

When the topic of sleep came up before our nap, my brother's girlfriend actually sounded interested in trying an afternoon nap. She said that she often falls asleep in front of the tv at about 9pm and would like to be able to feel less tired in the evening.

My brother and stepdad on the other hand weren't so enthusiastic! I think my brother just wanted an excuse to have a bit of a moan at me, but my stepdad really didn't seem very impressed. He said things like "When I was your age we used to stay up late without needing to take a nap. I don't see why you can't just get on with it" and "I think you're putting too much emphasis on your sleep". I remember feeling a bit upset at being judged like this, especially considering that this is the only time in the past 4 months of doing this that anyone has taken offense to my sleeping pattern. I don't think either of them have ever had any trouble sleeping though so I suppose they don't understand what it's like to lay in bed for hours every night without being able to sleep.

Apart from that everything was pretty uneventful until New Year's Eve. We didn't really do a lot for the new year: we stayed at Yu Lee's mum's house and spent the evening playing Boggle which was actually surprisingly good fun. We went to bed just after midnight and laid in bed listening to the fireworks which was surprisingly relaxing, and then I fell asleep easily and drifted off into a nice sleep.

The next thing I knew it was 1:30am and I was woken up by the loudest house party I have ever heard in my life! Next door to Yu Lee's mum is a student house, and all of the students were there over the new year. At 1:30am they decided it was a good idea to play Gangnam Style at full volume which actually woke me up from a deep sleep. I remember feeling quite angry as it was extremely loud. I don't think you should ever really play music that loud when you are sharing a party wall. I think it's fair enough to have a party but this really was excessive.

After that I laid in bed for about an hour before I managed to fall asleep again. Luckily I had earplugs to block out most of the noise. When I did finally fall asleep I had the following lucid dream. This is copied straight from my dream journal.

Tue 1 Jan 4:00

This dream took place in the garden of my Mum's old house at 35 York Avenue where I grew up. There were a few people there and I don't remember who exactly, but I remember that Yu Lee's mum was there. In my dream I am my current age

We are sitting on the ground in the garden and suddenly someone has a big horrible spider on them. I look at it as they flick it off and I say that actually it is not a spider. When it's on the ground I look closer and it is big, green and looks like it is made of plants. It isindescribableand has a very dream-like look to it.

I say that I think it is an insect, and I am sure that I know what type but I can't think of the name. All of a sudden I think of the name at the same time as another dream character and almost in unison we both say "It's a Goliath".

The next thing I remember happening is that a fighter plane flies over, pretty close to the ground, and we all look up at it. Suddenly I can somehow see a news report on the TV and the same fighter jet is being shown, but this time the camera moves above the plane so that you can see the markings. It is a grey colour with a white logo on each wing that consists of a thick white outline with a big white dot in the middle.

The news says that it is a Jewish war plane and that the Jews are invading the UK! Everyone is taking it very seriously and seems to be quite alarmed.

As soon as I saw the logo on the news I felt that I'd seen it before very recently, probably from an earlier part of the dream.

As I stand there in the garden thinking about what is happening I begin to think that this cannot be real and that I must be dreaming. Even while I think this I don't really believe that I'm dreaming, but as a test I leap into the air and jump about 4 meters over the gate in the side passage. I realise that I really am dreaming and fly over to the house on the opposite side of the road.

As I fly towards the house the dream starts to fade so I try to focus hard on the scenery and look around noticing every detail. This works and the dream becomes more vivid again.

I continue flying towards the house, and fly close enough to the chimney to touch it and look at the colours and textures of the brickwork. The texture is incredibly detailed and I can't believe that my brain is capable of generating such realistic images. The dream starts to fade but this time it fades out completely to black. As my vision fades and the sounds of the dream world start to disappear some kind of electronic music starts to fade in.

I open my eyes and I am in Yu Lee's bed at her mum's house. It's 4:00am and loud techno music is playing from next door from the house party.

I got up to write some notes about the dream and got back to sleep about 40 minutes later, when I had another lucid dream! This one was much longer, and this was the first time I had ever had such a long lucid dream or had 2 in one night.

After that I went back to sleep again and had broken sleep until 8:00am.

The next day I felt tired all day, but when I went for my nap I couldn't sleep. In the evening I felt really sleepy and went to bed at about 11:00pm, and woke up the next morning at 5:00am. I felt really sleepy the next day too as I obviously had accumulated a bit of sleep debt, and this lasted until I finished work when I had one of the best naps I have ever had! I slept solidly for nearly 3 hours and woke up feeling like a different person.

Since then my sleeping pattern has gone back to exactly how it was before Christmas. Overall things went pretty well. Even though I did mess up my sleeping pattern on New Year's Eve, it went straight back to normal after just one day, where I would normally have a whole week of feeling tired on my old monophasic sleeping pattern. I almost feel like I am better adapted to this than I ever was to my 'normal' sleeping pattern, so I have decided to mark my sleep mission on my website as a success!

Leave a Comment

Biphasic Sleep - December

Posted Wednesday 02 January 2013 22:29 by Steve in Sleep

December was my fourth month of biphasic sleep, and brought about some changes to my schedule. First let's have a look at my sleep chart for December:

December 2012 Sleep ChartIf you want to view this chart with all of the mouse over comments go here:December Sleep Chart.

The main thing you might notice when comparing this chart to previous months is that (apart from the Christmas period) my sleeping pattern has shifted slightly, and I am going to bed before midnight and getting up at 5:00am. This wasn't something that I intended to happen: I just missed my nap one day and ended up going to bed early and my pattern shifted. I think the main reason that I kept it earlier like this is that I like going to bed at the same time as Yu Lee, and as she normally goes to bed between 11:00 and 11:30 this earlier bed time means we can fall asleep together which is always nice.

The other thing that happened this month is that my overall hours slept increased again. The following is a breakdown of how much I slept each day:

Date Total Slept
Sat 01 Dec 2012 8:32
Sun 02 Dec 2012 8:04
Mon 03 Dec 2012 7:03
Tue 04 Dec 2012 7:04
Wed 05 Dec 2012 7:17
Thu 06 Dec 2012 8:08
Fri 07 Dec 2012 7:00
Sat 08 Dec 2012 7:12
Sun 09 Dec 2012 7:29
Mon 10 Dec 2012 7:28
Tue 11 Dec 2012 7:22
Wed 12 Dec 2012 8:09
Thu 13 Dec 2012 7:51
Fri 14 Dec 2012 7:24
Sat 15 Dec 2012 7:33
Sun 16 Dec 2012 7:59
Mon 17 Dec 2012 6:52
Tue 18 Dec 2012 7:54
Wed 19 Dec 2012 7:24
Thu 20 Dec 2012 7:36
Fri 21 Dec 2012 7:35
Sat 22 Dec 2012 6:39
Sun 23 Dec 2012 7:30
Mon 24 Dec 2012 6:48
Tue 25 Dec 2012 6:35
Wed 26 Dec 2012 7:31
Thu 27 Dec 2012 7:45
Fri 28 Dec 2012 6:27
Sat 29 Dec 2012 7:10
Sun 30 Dec 2012 7:01
Mon 31 Dec 2012 6:39
Total 229:13
Average 7:23

In November I slept for an average of 7:15 each day, and in December it was slightly higher. December would have probably averaged 7:30 per day if I'd have been able to sleep more easily over the holiday period, and I think this is probably the amount of sleep that I actually need on this sleeping pattern. Before I was trying to sleep between 6 and 7 hours but in the end this probably wasn't enough sleep, as I ended up oversleeping most days and struggling to get out of bed. Since I have shifted my sleeping pattern and started going to bed early I have found it much easier to get up when my alarm goes off and have also frequently woken up before my alarm (often at 4:30am).

Another thing that started to happen this month was that I had a few days where I woke up extremely early. The first time this happened was on the 18th of December when I woke up at 2:00am, and then it happened again on the 23rd of December when I woke up at 1:30am. Both times this took me by surprise, and I have no idea why it happened, but I don't think this is too alarming and it almost looks like my body was trying to fall into a segmented sleeping pattern which is actually a very natural way to sleep that was very common before the industrial revolution.

The final thing that I want to talk about in today's post is my sleep mission. I have been saying for a while that I wanted to mark my new sleeping regime as a success, but that the Christmas period would be a real test of whether it has worked or not. From the sleep chart at the top of this page it may look like I have been successful, but I feel that my sleep pattern got messed up on New Year's Eve:

New Year's EveI stayed at Yu Lee's mum's house for the new year, and although we went to sleep straight after midnight I was rudely awoken by one of the noisiest house parties that I have ever heard! To view all of the comments for that day go here: New Year's Eve Sleep Chart.

To cut a long story short I had a very interrupted night's sleep, which ended up with me sleeping in until 8:00am which in turn stopped me from napping. Last night I went to sleep no problem and today I did manage to get up at 5:00am as intended, but I have felt tired all day. I had an amazing 2:45 hour nap today and feel good, but I just want to be sure that my sleeping pattern easily goes back to normal before I say that this has been a complete success.

Expect another post in the next day or two!

Leave a Comment

If I Could Have One Thing...

Posted Saturday 22 December 2012 16:06 by Steve in Sleep

I feel really frustrated now. Today was Saturday, and I love the weekends. On the weekends I get up, do what I want all day, and eat and sleep exactly when I want to. My nap is always brilliant on the weekends because I can take it when I feel tired, instead of when I finish work.

Today I woke up naturally at 4:30am and spent this morning moving stuff back into my loft after having it insulated, and doing some last minute Christmas shopping. I had a nice lunch, spent some time with Yu Lee and went for my nap exactly when I felt like it. I drifted to sleep quickly and then...


To be honest I'm not sure what my neighbours were doing, but the above image gives an idea of what it sounded like. They got up and left the house at 6:30am and were out all day, and just when I was enjoying my afternoon nap they took theopportunityto make as much noise as possible for about a minute, just before I had the chance to fall into the deep sleep part of my cycle.

I woke up and immediately felt angry. Really angry.

It's stupid really, because when else are they supposed to do stuff like this? I know really that I am being totally unreasonable, and that I don't have the right to be angry, especially as they have been really nice when we have complained about the level of noise in the evening and are generally quiet at night now, but it is so frustrating to have your sleepinterrupted. Waking after 25 - 35 minutes is really bad for my sleep, as it leaves me feeling not tired enough to sleep again, but I will want to go to bed at about 9:00pm as this small amount of sleep has no long term benefit at all. It totally screws up the rest of the day, and I ended up trying to get back to sleep for 45 minutes, so it already wasted an hour and a half.

I realise this really is a first world problem! It's really frustrating because I have so many of the things that I want. I have a house and pretty much anything I want inside it. I have a girlfriend who loves me and puts up with all of my crazy shit. I go on holiday as much as I like, have great working hours and my life is easy. It's deeply frustrating that I so often wish for a really simple thing that I simply can't buy: Silence.


Nade on Thursday 27 December 2012 00:16

Noise pollution is a real first world problem, and I don't mean in in the sense of a meme... It measurably lowers concentration, increases stress a lot even when you are awake, and you don't want to know what it does to your sleep!

I really do feel for you man.

Steve on Thursday 27 December 2012 07:29

I often feel like I spend half of my life trying to find somewhere dark and quiet to sleep! It’s annoying because my neighbours are not unreasonable but I hear them a lot. I would love to live in a detached house but the house prices around here are crazy expensive…

Leave a Comment