Our move at the end of May 2005 from Toronto to rural Ontario "cottage country" about 160 miles (258km) to the north east has resulted in us readapting to a 24 hour day. We are doing this so that we can interface with people where all face-to-face business is done (typically) during the hours of 8am and 8pm and there are no late night dance clubs. As of the date of this page we are not yet able to get to sleep early enough so that breakfast takes place before 11am, but we're working on it - with our goal to be 8am ;>)
For interest by those who wonder how to get more into their days, we are leaving the information on how we have done it in the past - by living 6 28-hour days each week.
These 28 Hour Schedules (3 Night Dancing, Excel version or MS Word version OR the 5 Nights Available for Dancing Excel version or MS Word version) are being shared for the purpose of keeping our friends and family informed of when we are awake. Which ever one we are using also provides us with a written plan of our regular activities around which to schedule special events.
Paul (Tom): In explanation as to "Why?", I gave this answer on sci.life-extension, May 23, 2001:
The reason is purely individualistic and personal to me, but it might work for, and even help others too.
I have always been a "night" person. For me, that meant that I started slowly after rising (no matter how much sleep I got) and toward the end of the day was most alert and productive. This always meant that I always felt there were not enough work hours in the day and consequently, I tended to remain up later and later, thus sleeping in later and later. The result was that I mostly missed the first half of every day and/or did not get enough sleep time. When I worked a 9-5 type job, I had to get up, of course, and I tended towards reduced sleep during the week which I somewhat made up on weekends.
Over the years, I have tried various schemes to correct this erratic sleep cycling (eg two short periods of sleep instead of one long) but have never been satisfied. About 1 1/2 years ago, I hit upon the idea of changing over to 6 28 hour cycles per week as a possible solution. I was able to do this because my necessary interface times with the external world were very few, and by arranging the phase of my 28 hour cycles, I could fit them all in. The 28 hour cycle was also appealing because it split a week into 6 periods which allowed easy arrangement of every other or every third day activities. Finally, 28 hours, both gave me sufficient working time in a cycle that I really felt like I had accomplished something, and made me tired enough that I was completely ready for 8-9 hours of sleep.
Thus, at the present time, each period I work/play 19-20 hours and sleep 8-9 hours. The periods begin with work starting at 00:01 on Sunday and extend 4 hours longer into the next day each period until they are completely wrapped through an extra day by the end of the week after 6 full periods. Another advantage of this arrangement is that I get to enjoy the world around me and the various benefits of all possible times of the day during each week. Often, I find that I now have even more of a feeling of being a spectator watching the rest of the world go by, which I find personally enjoyable rather than alienating. Soon into the experiment, I found that there appeared to be no residual 24 hour rhythms left to my body (I carefully black out my bedroom and use lots of light when I am awake when it is dark outside). After 1 1/2 years on this routine, I am still feeling very good about it, and both my dog and my new wife (as of August 2000) seem also to have adapted well to the routine. Some day, I would like to do a week long measurement of all my physiological parameters which have been found in others to vary diurnally, but for now I am going on my personal observations of my well being.
Note added (Sep 15, 2002): Recent reading of scientific studies has convinced me that 8 hours per night (48 total per week) sleep should be entirely sufficient for health and I have also found that I do not need more unless I have not sleep well the previous night or have been forced by travel or other circumstances to remain awake longer than usual.
Kitty: I enjoy being awake at various times during a day/night cycle since activities outside are considerably different in the light as opposed to the dark. However, I do at times find myself sleepy during our 20 hours awake and will take a nap of 30 to 90 minutes duration between lunch and supper. If this sleepiness doesn't "hit" me till after supper, I will try to stay awake till within 90 minutes of scheduled sleep. Retiring early usually results in me awakening earlier than Tom the next cycle and, in order to get back on schedule with him, I will take a nap after lunch.
There are times when we want to attend a function that would normally take place during our sleeping hours. In order to do this with the least amount of upheaval to our schedule, we either shorten our sleep period by awakening a couple hours early and then take a nap later in the "day", after the event, or nap first and stay awake longer. If the occasion and the normal sleep periods are greatly at odd, this adjustment takes more than one day; but is done only if there is significant importance in the event.
Note regarding October 2004 in Arizona
24 hour days are still a must while in Arizona for the reasons described in the previous Arizona note. However, Paul is mostly successful at getting to sleep closer to 1:00am and sometimes even earlier. This allows us to get up reasonably early to get yard work done in the cooler mornings, calling it quits outdoors about noontime. The exceptions to the earlier bedtimes are on the nights - typically Wednesday in Tucson and Saturday in Phoenix - that we go dancing; those nights it's more like 2am for both of us.
We have found now that we can fit 3 meals into the awake hours - but dinner and supper are considerably smaller than with our 28 hour days and snacks are infrequent. The reason for this is the conclusion that our supplements need to be taken 3 times a day. See Regimen Note 2).
Note regarding Spring to early Fall 2004 in Toronto
Our schedule has been the 3 night dancing version (Excel version or MS Word version) due to the paltry number of good dance clubs compared to just 18 months ago. Hopefully sometime in the future we'll again have reason to make use of the 5 night available version.
Note regarding December to April 2004 in Arizona
As described last year at this time, life in Arizona is quite different than that in a bustling city like Toronto. With very little opportunity for outside nighttime stimulating activity, and the fact that everything requires a drive in the car, we have not attempted a 28 hour day here. Kitty finds herself easily in a pattern of falling asleep by 2am (sometimes earlier if the day has been particularly busy), while that is a bit more of an effort for Paul. He typically is not sleepy until 3am and occassionally as late as 5am. However he will cut his sleep short if he gets that far "out of phase" so that we are awake and ready to go for breakfast around noon. (Paul finds that a long warm shower with lots of steam accumulation is very sleep promoting. He has even found it necessary at times to get out of bed when he's having difficulty falling asleep and take that shower that he didn't think he needed.) After a couple of months of this stay trying to fit 3 regular meals into our 24 hour day and often finding it just not possible, we decided to make 2 meals the standard plus 1 or 2 small snacks. Timing for the meals is approximately 12 noon and 8:30pm with snack at 5pm (the rule for Paul but not always for Kitty) and somewhere between 11pm and midnight for both. This has modification has worked out well for accomplishment of current writing endeavors, restful sleep, enjoying outside activities and maintaining lean body weight.
Note regarding Summer 2003 in the City - Toronto
It's July 4 and this is the 2nd spell of hot humid weather this summer so far (30-32C). Although we kept to the 28 hour schedule shown above during the last "scorcher" 2 weeks ago (temp reached 35C 2 days), we will this time - and for those in the future this year - modify it so that our days are shorter. By eating only 2 meals a day plus 1 or 2 small snacks - with the heat in a non-airconditioned apartment we are really not very hungry - and getting to sleep no later than 4am, we avoid sleep periods during the hottest part of the day.
Note regarding May 2003 Return to Toronto
When we were finally able to return to Toronto near the end of May, more than a month after our originally planned date, we were anxious to get back to dancing. Unfortunately one of our favorite clubs was under different management and the music had also changed from our desired high energy genres. Therefore we decided to modify our schedule so that we could have 5 different nights available for dancing depending on our writing projects at the time, the weather, and what "new" clubs were offering guestlists (no cover charge). The schedule now shown is what we devised and it works out well except when the weather is hot and humid.
Note regarding January to April 2003 in Arizona
Life in Arizona is considerably different than in Toronto. Because house and property maintenance work (which provides much of our exercise) and the need to interface with local people is very high right now, we are currently maintaining a 24 hour schedule. However as Paul has found before, it has so far not been possible to synchronize it well with the typical hours of most people. We are striving to arise by 8:00am and will likely manage this soon; it's the shorter number of hours between meals that is taking more time to get used to. It seems we have just finished eating and it's almost time to eat again ;>) And then Paul still just doesn't get tired at midnight; when he's on a roll he just hates stopping. After this house and property are put in order and the arrangements for security and grounds maintenance for when we are not here are in place, we may be able to return to a 28 hour schedule even in Arizona.
Note regarding changes September 2002
We decided to shift our "week" by one day in order to be able to go dancing on Saturday nights as well as on Wednesday and Friday. We had been discussing this possibility for several months but didn't decide to make the change until we discovered that our favorite spot (The Joker) has an affiliate, The Courthouse, playing disco on Saturday nights. Now on that night we will "warm up" with disco and then get in some real high energy at the Joker before they switch to hip-hop and rap. Or we may sometimes do the clubs in reverse so that we can take advantage of the older crowd thinning out after midnight at The Courthouse.
Note regarding summer schedule during 2002
As I write this, 5 days after our return from our 2 week trip to Switzerland, Austria, Italy and Lichtenstein, we are almost back on our 28 hour schedule. We kept to a "normal" 24 hour day during our trip in order to interface with people and see the sights during the daylight. Tom (Paul) was never as tired as Kitty come the end of a day and sometimes had difficulty falling to sleep and waking when necessary.
Before our trip and upon our return, Toronto was experiencing very hot and humid weather - it was actually continuous during our entire absence. In order to sleep adequately in our non-airconditioned apartment, we had been on a modified schedule similar to last summer (see below) for approximately a week before our departure. The heat and humidity, which finally broke yesterday, contributed to the longer readjustment to our usual schedule. During our 10 day trip to the UK in April, we also lived 24 hour days; realignment to the 6 28 hour days took place over approximately 4 days on our return without incident. If Toronto weather is now in a normal mode, we will not be bothered by any further severe heat and can continue to sleep in our normal pattern.
Note regarding summer schedule during 2001
Our "approximate 1 month hiatus from our 28 hour schedule to determine what differences in our sleep patterns and general state of health occur" stretched into the entire summer months. We wound up sleeping from approximately 4 am to 12 noon due to the fact that our third meal was eaten about 1:00 am - after dancing, done twice a week. We were just never able to get our personal clocks turned around so that the third meal ( see our diet regimen) was eaten well before dancing. We slept well enough (except for the disturbing garbage trucks four times a week about 9am. Tom frequently was not tired come 4am while Kitty often could have fallen asleep earlier if the day was especially busy. We noted that even though our day was 24 hours our bodies still wanted to sleep 8 hours. The "built-in" alarm Kitty had developed with years of awaking on an employee's schedule has dissipated somewhat, although she is still the more alert waker of the two of us.
Kitty did experience cycles in the beginning of the return to 28 hour "days", that a nap was occassionally needed - as she did when first starting the schedule. We both found though after a month or two that we were back to finding our "days" quite natural.