A Month of Polyphasic Sleep

Monophasic Sleep - Typical Night - Zeo Graph

A typical night’s sleep from BEFORE I started polyphasic sleeping. This graph is from the night of Feb 11. Each bar in the graph represents 5 minutes of sleep. Time awake is 0:00 because it only counts only times woken up DURING the night; not time awake before falling asleep or after waking up in the morning.

They say there’s a way to add more waking hours into each day.  It’s called “polyphasic sleep”.  I’ve always wanted more waking hours (who wouldn’t?) so I decided to try polyphasic sleep for a month.

The idea is that by having naps throughout the day (“polyphasic sleep”), rather than by sleeping just once at night (“monophasic sleep”), you can get by on dramatically less sleep overall. [Read more...]

A Month of Eating Vegan

Kale Plant Closeup

Kale: A common food during my vegan month.

While I was doing the Paleo Diet last year, an acquaintance suggested that I try eating vegan. In his opinion it was healthier, and he pointed out that some top athletes are vegan.

So last month I finally gave the vegan diet a try, and something happened that I never expected (more on that later). [Read more...]

A Month of Writing To Authors

Books by the four authors I contacted in October.

Ever read a book and wanted to talk to the author after? I have, but I never actually made an attempt to contact any authors… until last month.

In October I contacted a few authors who I’ve been wanting to contact for a while. I was hoping to send them all letters by snail mail (better chance of a response that way, I assumed) but could only find a mailing address for one of them. The others I sent by email or through website contact forms.

Here’s who I contacted…

Sam Harris – Atheist, Philosopher, Neuroscientist

After watching his TED talk on morality (it’s great) and thinking about what he said, I thought I’d found some exceptions to his idea that the “well-being of conscious creatures” is/should be the sole basis of morality. [Read more...]

A Month of The Paleo Diet

caveman hunting a woolly mammoth

The Paleo Diet is sometimes referred to as the “caveman diet”, although it doesn’t actually
involve eating woolly mammoths. (Illustration by Jasmin Lantos)

I’ve been curious about the Paleo Diet for a while. The theory behind it seems reasonable to me and I’d heard some convincing testimonials, so I decided to try the diet myself for 1 month. This post describes my experience.

What Is The Paleo Diet?

The Paleo Diet – short for “Palaeolithic diet” – involves eating the types of foods that cavemen (cavepeople) ate. The theory is that over millions of years, evolution designed humans to eat the types of foods that were found in their natural environments.

When agriculture began 10,000 years ago, the types of food we ate started changing so rapidly that evolution hasn’t been able to adapt our bodies fast enough to keep up (10,000 years is nothing on evolutionary time scales).

On the paleo diet you revert back to eating what you are designed to eat – what you’d find in your natural environment. That means eating meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and… that’s about it.

The theory makes a lot of sense to me, so I thought I’d give it a shot. For the month of May I ate 100% paleo.

[Read more...]

A Month of Crossfit

Group Crossfit Workout

Crossfitters doing a group workout (photo source)

My first ever one-month project was to do every Crossfit workout for the month of March 2012.

What Is Crossfit?

Glad you asked. To put it as simply as possible, Crossfit is an exercise program that focuses on overall fitness, rather than focusing on any particular aspect of it.

Consider 2 athletes who are the best in their field: a marathon runner, and a power lifter. The marathon runner has the endurance to easily outrun the power lifter, and the power lifter has the strength (& power) to easily out-lift the marathon runner.

Who is more fit? Tough call. Each could argue that he/she is more fit than the other. But probably neither would do very well at a Crossfit competition where the full spectrum of physical abilities are necessary to perform well (not only strength or endurance, but also speed, flexibility, coordination, balance, etc).

[Read more...]