Last night, I didn't feel like going to sleep until about 23:30. I went to bed, focusing on my 1:00 awakening... and possibly as a result of this anticipation, I didn't fall asleep until most of my 90 minute duration was over. I had just barely drifted off and don't think I'd hit REM before the alarm went off. I got up alert, but still feeling like I hadn't slept as a result. I decided that I would just go back to bed so that I could perhaps be well rested for my new waking time of 5 am, and also because I would be late napping today due to being busy during the afternoon, and late with napping tonight, due to it being new year's eve. So, I went back to sleep shortly thereafter and got almost 4 hours of restful sleep, waking up at 5 am as I wished. I felt good upon awakening, better than I expected. I spent some time thinking about my sleeping schedule after waking up, and decided that I am satisfied with it. If I continue to feel as well rested for the coming days, I will definitely be sticking with this. I think having the two nap times close together during the night makes it easy to change them into one sleeping period on days like this when I either get to bed late or won't be able to nap during the day. For example, I have a day trip coming up in the near future. For that, I will probably just plan on trying to get 4.5 hours of sleep the night before, and then take my next nap whenever I get home. I don't want to interrupt the trip to take a nap unless I just really need the rest for the drive back. If I start to get drowsy, I can enjoy some ice-cold caffeine and see if that wakes me up.
I decided to (on upcoming days, not today) aim for a 21:30 naptime for the evening. With naps at 3:30, 11:30, and 21:30, that means I have 6.5 hours, 8.5 hours, and 4.5 hours of waking time between naps. Not equidistant, but not bad, and I should be able to easily move them an hour either way if this ends up not feeling right or being inconvenient. I feel that I have plenty of afternoon and evening hours in there, which was my goal. I want to keep this flexible, yet I know that even with that aim and my other measures to try to make this schedule as customized and easy and natural as possible (such as trying to adopt the 80 minute naptime that my system seems to favor), my ability to sleep well in the future will benefit from trying to have some rigor in it as I am trying to learn a new way to sleep. I am being mindful of one of my original pursuits in polyphasic sleeping, that of training myself to sleep more efficiently by getting a certain amount of rest each day, and resting before I become exhausted. I want to break the cycle that I sometimes fell into of not sleeping some days and then wanting to crash on others, and sometimes having groggy days just because of only sleeping when I was very tired. I don't expect to make myself be able to sleep on a strict schedule, but I think trying to train myself to wake at certain times on days when nothing interferes with this will benefit me in the future. I realize that it is best to at least try to sleep before you get overly tired. At least with 90 minute nap times, if I don't fall asleep during them, I can meditate and then get up and go about my business until I'm tired enough to try again or another nap is scheduled. I know if I don't fall asleep within that time, I'm definitely not tired. And if I get tired after that, I know it's not that long until another nap. It was always a dreadful feeling to not be able to sleep at night with trying to be monophasic, and to know that I had to get up at x time but wouldn't be getting a full night's rest, and this time that could be spent on other things was being wasted with trying to fall asleep and I'd just be groggy the next day unless I got a nap.
I'm surprised that I actually felt good with the 5 am wake time. When I tried to improve my monophasic sleep, I dreaded going to bed early and trying to get up before sunrise, even though I thought it was probably a good thing to do. It was very different to be awake and energetic at that time with having actually slept beforehand, instead of staying up all night. Anyway, I hope I am on the way to accomplishing another of my polyphasic goals, which is to be both an owl and a lark at the same time.
Okay, that's enough obsessing over schedules for now. Happy new year!