The keyboard/pianist/base player in my band tells the tale of a friend of his who had few life commitments and decided to trail 36 hour days. He experienced two long 36 hour days for every three 24 hour days that most people experience.
For example; He would wake up at 8am on Monday and have a normal day. He’d stay up all night and go to sleep at 8am Tuesday morning. He would force himself out of bed at 8pm and stay up all night and all day and go to bed at 8pm Wednesday. Wake at 8am on Thursday and continue the cycle.
This gives you a wake to sleep ratio of 2:1 which is equivalent to a person sleeping for 8 hours a night in a traditional 24 hour cycle.
Admittedly this idea seems totally crazy but that didn’t stop the Wright Brothers and it isn’t going to stop me and my brother. We’re going to do it when we both have a few months holidays with no commitments.
I admit this scheme has huge gimmick value but, in addition it will help us to appreciate the dead hours. We’ll do this over the summer holidays when the days are too hot for activity and the nights are too warm for sleeping. A favourite past time of mine when I can’t sleep during hot January nights is to go for a walk in the cool of the morning or go cycling. For those of you who haven’t tried it, I highly recommend cycling at 4am. It feels almost surreal because it’s very quite and the roads are empty. You only have the hum of your tires and the gentle summer breeze.
I’ve also always wanted to see more sunrises. My proposition allows us to see 2 our of every 3. I think these activities are best facilitated through a formal sleeping pattern like this rather than our usual holiday pattern which involves progressively latter nights. In the past we have gone to bed later and later by playing games, reading books, surfing the net and watching too much RAGE and too many movies into the waking hours of the next day.
This leads to us sleeping through every day meaning we don’t do any daytime activities and our nights are unproductive. With this new schedule we will be able to balance our daytime/night time activities and waste less time getting to sleep which is a major problem in summer. Using this system we’ll also receive more sleep than we usually do.
Anyway, we’re going to Germany for January next year so it will probably be 2006 before we get a chance to play this little game. By then we might be over it and I’ll find something else to do.
This summer, during December, we are thinking of trying to replicate this experiment, where someone writes a log of his experiences of depriving himself of sleep over 127 hours. Without question I would attempt this without any drugs.