I totally failed. I think it all started with some small scale personal problems on Friday, March 17th. One thing is for sure, I'll be trying it again, but not for at least another week and a half. I live in South Florida and this coming week is the Winter Music Conference. I'll probably be doing it up Miami-style (coke and hookers don't exactly fit with polyphasic for all of you virgin polyphasicers.)
I admit that the key is being extremely rigid about your naps - no doubt. The other key is learning from each of your failures. I really do believe that with some creative problem solving I'll be able to pull this off. For example, I think that not sleeping in anything that resembles a bed would help for my 1 am and 5 am naps (and even my 9pm if I'm specifically tired.) My afternoon naps are not a problem. I have found that any oversleeping past 20 minutes to be bad - really bad.
The caffeine nap is something I'd like to experiment more with. To do a caffeine nap to chug a cup of coffee right before you fall asleep. The idea is that you start to metabolize the caffeine while you're sleeping and you wake up with the benefits of caffeine on your side. I have had some problems with it however. The worst of it is waking myself up too much by the very action of administering the caffeine in order to facilitate going to sleep in the first place. I'd like to avoid the whole caffeine concept for as long as possible as I do believe that any substance with an upper-like effect to act against you. More broadly, anything that intoxicates you in any way is a huge no no. So, if you socially need to drink or can't help from drinking, you're going to have some serious obstacles to maneuver. I'm used to ordering water and being made fun of because I simply do not like to party when I don't have the time to do it right, but this may be quite difficult for those of you who have careers that center around that scene.
An interesting but weird side effect I found was that I became very dehydrated on the polyphasic sleep schedule. I had to religiously watch how much I was drinking and make sure it was about twice what my normal daily intake of fluids was while on a monophasic schedule. I effectively looked like I do when I get sick and am dehydrated - uneven skin color, things that look a lot like broken blood vessels, chapped lips. All of these things went away within about 1.5 days of drinking more fluids.
Also, I really thought that I'd be more depressed. I'm not depressed at all. But, when I sleep monophasically and get under 7 hours of sleep I want to die! I found I could get by on 2-4 on this schedule and feel more or less happy. I found this to be intriguing as well.
A strong positive about the schedule was that I eliminated stress headaches from my life. This leads me to believe that I must be doing something in my sleep that causes them. And, the first day I gave up and slept, March 17th, was the first time I got one since starting. Luckily I have not had another one yet.
Also, I was fully anticipating my whole inner vegetarian to come out and start dancing. It did not (thank goodness, she's probably not a good dancer.) I have found I do tend to eat better when I'm in general more stressed out but the polyphasic schedule didn't stress me out to that extent. I found myself to forget more often about eating, thus the dehydration possibly.
In summary, for next time, I'm going to buy a new alarm clock watch, a new Nalgene bottle, some no-doz, just in case, some cute work out clothing that really has nothing to do with sleeping, I just want it, and really try not to have any personal problems;). Wish me luck.