In response to the resurgance of Supermemo’s popular free running sleep article, it was time for a test run. Previously I’ve tried polyphasic and biphasic sleep to optimize my life with varying degrees of success

There is only one formula for healthy and refreshing sleep: Go to sleep only when you are very tired. Not earlier. Not later. Wake up naturally without an alarm clock.

Here’s the rules I set for a two-week free running sleep experiment;

  • No alarm clock
  • Retire nightly around 9pm
  • No caffeine after 11am
  • Only drink alcohol that will metabolize before sleep
  • Move exercise to the morning

After two weeks, what I found is that free running sleep forces me to assume responsibility for my sleep, rather than simply relying on the alarm and accepting that I will be groggy all day. Normally I ended up going to bed around 11pm and waking up before 8am, which never happens. Usually I would consider myself a late riser, working until 2am and then sleeping in until the crack of noon. At no point during my experiment did I sleep past 10am and that was one time due to breaking my alcohol rule.

Unexpectedly my dream recall was near flawless, twelve out of fourteen mornings I was able to record a dream journal entry. Not only was my recall more frequent, but more descriptive as well. Looking back at my entries they were quite a bit longer than normal.

It’s been about a month since I started the experiment and I’m still going strong. I found myself to have better control over my sleep, dream recall, and energy during the day.

Remove the first annoyance of your day and be better for it.