I’ve been pretty quiet about the 28 hour days project, even though it has still been ongoing. I’ll be honest, I fell into a bit of a depressive state and didn’t have the energy to devote towards writing or productive work. I’m unsure about the providence of this episode; while it could be a side effect of changing my sleeping schedule, it’s also a well-known part of my schizoaffective disorder.
Instead of working on projects or learning, I spent a lot of time focusing on playing games, reading, and socialising online. I hit 45 hours of playtime in Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor - Martyr and finished The Peripheral by William Gibson. I also managed to teach three people Python programming, despite never having written Python code before, which I was pretty happy about. All-in-all I probably did about 20 hours of tutoring. While I may not have worked much on my own projects, it felt good to help others.
One thing I’ve realised is this experiment is probably better performed by people unimpaired by major mental health issues. Due to the fluctuating nature of my mental health, it would be hard to get a good reading on the success of the experiment without performing it over a much larger timescale (3-6 months). That doesn’t mean I haven’t been able to draw some conclusions from it.
The greatest benefit of this experiment has been more time connecting with people outside my usual time zones. As someone in Australia I’m temporarily disconnected from a lot of other English speaking Western countries, so as my “day” slowly rotates through the night period of a diurnal cycle I got to spend more time interacting with people in Europe and America. It allowed me to get involved with cool projects like Hexago.nl and help a friend in England study for a test.
I can foresee benefits to a 28 hour day for people who like to party on the weekend, with my setup I’d be awake for the evenings on both Friday and Saturday night, which would be perfect for going out. While I am usually pretty active in the IRL social scene, my depressive state did prevent me from taking full advantage of this.
Part of my interest in this schedule was the opportunity to have extra hours in the day to work on my productive outlets. I have a bunch of irons in the fire and wanted extra time to work on them. The reality was that I spent a lot more time shitposting online. Even on my productive days I probably only got a normal amount of work done, just devoting extra time to talking online. Perhaps this could have been solved were I more diligent in scheduling and avoiding distractions?
I also found that by the end of the day I was absolutely shattered and fatigued, which made focusing almost impossible. So any attempts at productivity later in the day were pretty much useless.
Every “night” when I finally made it to bed, I lay my head on the pillow and pretty much went straight to sleep. As someone who had been experiencing difficulties falling asleep (especially if I had had a productive night), this was a huge blessing. Even though I ended up needing extra sleep (swapping the 20⁄8 for a 19⁄9 and even an 18⁄10 system), I definitely appreciated being able to fall asleep nearly instantaneously.
Food And Exercise
An interesting side effect of the schedule was meal times. I ended up only eating 3 meals a day, even though technically I was spreading them out over a longer period. I haven’t checked my weight and don’t think I’ve lost any because I’ve been spending too much time at my favourite restaurants, but with a more disciplined approach it’d probably be a great way to lose some extra weight without ending up feeling super hungry.
You need to make sure you have meals prepared or food available at home, because a lot more of the time your meals are going to be at times when most places aren’t open (22:00 - 06:00). You’re also going to be really disappointed if you have a Macca’s in walking distance because they start the breakfast menu at ~03:30 so no lunchtime nuggies for you.
I had started to get back into cycling as I entered this system, but as I realised a lot of my awake times are when there’s insufficient light to cycle I ended up not getting out as much as I expected. Especially when by the time it is light you’re also feeling too fatigued to ride safely. On the flipside, a few of the dawn rides were absolutely gorgeous and so worth it.
If you’re working for yourself or not working or in a really flexible work situation, give this a shot. I think it could be helpful if you have a lot of trouble getting to sleep at night, and potentially someone with more discipline then me will gain a lot of productivity out of it. Make sure to plan and prep your meals!
The Final Day
As (false) dawn rises for me on the final day of the experiment, I plan to be pretty chill. I want to do some reading, some writing, and some cycling. I’ve enjoyed heading down to my local library and just finding a comfortable chair to read a book in, so that might be part of my day sorted.