As I suspected, I have begun to experiment with this second half of my segmented sleep study. Two nights ago, I left from Decatur, GA to visit a friend in Augusta, GA, completely spontaneously. For those of you on the west side of this country, this is roughly the same distance as Flagstaff to Phoenix.
The selling point for me was that my friend was willing to let me continue my sleep experiment at his house, and he even agreed not to use electric lights during the night time hours. It mostly worked the way we planned. I arrived at his place at almost exactly 9PM, famished. He made some food, which needed a small electric light aid, but for the most part, I remained light free. Of course I was tired from my now normal sleep routine, and the 2 hour drive on an unfamiliar highway. I also have never eaten an actual meal right before bed like this before. I wonder sometimes whether my hyper-consciousness over my own digestion is due to my own noticing of it, or whether it's due to my continual reading about pre-industrial obsession with human digestion.
I had a little trouble falling to sleep because I could hear my friend moving around the house, and there were a lot of blue blinking lights that my house lacks. But it didn't take long. The whole thing went just as it usually does, except there was another person to be awake with me, which I have been wanting to try since the beginning of this.
It was really nice having someone to hang out with and talk to in the middle of the night. Nothing else was different than normal - I could tell I had just eaten; I was very thirsty; I was incredibly calm - but it was a different calm since I could chat with my friend.
The next night, he volunteered to go to sleep at the same time as me, and wake up in the middle of the night with me, and so on. The result was that we stayed up nearly twice as long in the middle of the night. I felt suddenly like there was so much more to do, even though we had no intention of going anywhere, or doing much. It was incredibly pleasant - having another person there to share the darkness and the generally unfamiliar quiet of between sleeps. This answers one of my first questions that arose when I began this study: "Was it easier and more worthwhile to be awake for several hours in the night when your family/community was also at it?"
The answer, I believe is decidedly 'yes.' As long as you like your family/community, getting up in the middle of the night and hanging out, or whatever it is you naturally do in the waking hours, should be easier, and more pleasant in general.
Sharing is nice.