Over the last year or so, I have become rather obsessed with time. My dissertation involves theories directly connected with time. And I often struggle with my status as an 'adult' given the fact that I refuse to use time the way a traditional western adult is expected to. I refuse to get up before 9AM. And why should I? I do my best work in the afternoon.
Last summer, 2013, I took a post-Marxisms course in the Communication department from Ted Friedman. I fell in love with Marx that summer and he still haunts my daydreams. One of the things we discussed in the class was the nature of sleep. One student brought up the idea that humans didn't always sleep 8 hours straight through the night. The claim was that this style of sleep is in fact, an invention of the industrial age. I haven't stopped thinking about this since.
This summer I don't teach, take courses, or adhere to a work schedule. I have the distinct pleasure of working on my dissertation proposal and dissertation at whatever hours I chose. I also work for the Center for Instructional Innovation at Georgia State, assisting professors with making multimedia projects come to fruition. I can schedule that time however I need to as well. Because I find myself in such a specific spot - a spot that will likely never come again - I have decided to conduct an experiment. On myself.
Monday, June 16th, 2014, I begin my sleep experiment.
Here's how I plan to make the whole thing go down:
The experiment will happen in 2 distinct parts. First, I will practice segmented sleep. Segmented sleep is the idea that humans are supposed to sleep in 2 shifts - First sleep and second sleep, with a short awake break in the middle (1-3 hours). I have little idea how this is supposed to work, and so I will be conducting research as I conduct the experiment. I will post every day on this blog for 20 days. Every other day I will document an article or chapter I read about sleep (preferably specifically about segmented sleep) and the rest of the days, I will write a narrative about how the experiment is going - how I feel, struggles, and successes I am experiencing.
The second half of the experiment is based on a half-concocted idea I came up with for myself - that I would work best on a 30-hour day. Hence, I will be awake for 20 hours, and sleep for 10. I will do this for 20 days, and I will document it in much the same way. For these 20 days, I plan to read an article or book chapter based on sleep in general, and the other days I plan to narratively document my experiences.
Suffice it to say - I am not an expert, but I may just be at the end of all this. I promise nothing. I expect little. But I hope that I will begin to understand more about time, my own body, and how my friends and family will react to my strange schedules this summer.
At the very least, I hope this is interesting.