There are several reasons for lack of sleep… although in my case, our supergroup’s weekly gaming night isn’t until Wednesday. And even then I’ve usually had to skip it. Perhaps HoloSync can fix that too?
There is still some vegetation in my sinuses, although it mostly only blossoms up over the workday. Perhaps my workplace is cursed, there certainly are plenty of people who have felt the reason to curse us. Or perhaps work just sucks. There was some poll here in Norway a few years ago among the people on disability pension, and the vast majority of them reported good or very good health. This upset some people, who thought these folks were just relaxing with a drinking straw in our tax money, and not even sick at all. But the thing is, they were almost certainly ill, and many of them gravely ill, back when they had to work. Conversely, if we had the year off, we would be practically bursting with vitality. Work sucks. Even the Bible says so. But it has to be done. Even if that means my sinuses run full of stuff you don’t discuss during meals.
So on the night to yesterday, I went to sleep at a decent time, but told myself that if I woke up early, I would just get up and do a Dive (the entry-level HoloSync session) instead of trying to sleep more and get my bronchia full of goo. This also came to pass, although I should probably not have gotten up after only four and a half hours of sleep. In retrospect. Hindsight. 20/20 and all that.
The reason why I got up was actually also that I had just finished a rather dramatic dream, by my standards. It was certainly more exciting to me than I am able to describe it, but every bit as exhausting. I will write it later in the entry if it looks too short.
Anyway, I did the extra sync (I also do one after I come home, sometimes right after and sometimes later in the evening, but well before bedtime so I don’t go to bed too rested). I fell asleep, as usual, but I guess it helped. I did not fall asleep at work, or at least not for long. (I have written repeatedly about the value of naps at work. I don’t have as many of them as I used to, but often a short one, which restores my energy greatly in only a few minutes. Naps are good. People should do those instead of smoking and drinking coffee, and the world would be a better place.)
Fast forward to this morning. I had gone to bed too late, for reasons that fall outside this entry. So I only had 5:30 hours to sleep, while the optimum for me is 6:30 to 7, depending on my energy level. I decided against adding an extra hour to the timer, knowing that this will likely incur a cost when I try to get back. My body does not “go back” when it comes to wake-up time. Add that to the intestinal routines of my morning (again outside the scope of this entry) and I would soon end up at work after lunch. So once again I put my trust in HoloSync.
You may already know that yogis, gurus and Zen monks get by on much less sleep than most people. Because they meditate hours a day, and have done so for decades, something has changed inside them so that some of the meditation time counts as sleep time. Should I explain the biology of that? Normal sleep consists of several phases, which follow each other in a 90-minute cycle. The two supposedly essential phases are delta (deep dreamless sleep) and REM (vivid dream), but there is also time spent in vague, non-vivid dream sleep. People who wake from that “filler” sleep often believe that they have been thinking rather than dreaming, more so the older they are. (This type of sleep becomes more and more lifelike over time, in other words. It also makes up more of the total sleep time.) It is also worth noting that in the beginning of the night, delta sleep makes up more of the 90 minutes, while toward the morning REM takes up more time and delta sleep dwindles.
People who meditate very deeply enter into brain/mind states that are similar to some of the sleep states, but with the difference that they are passively aware during them, conscious instead of unconscious. In extreme cases they are also passively aware (“witnessing”) during actual sleep. I don’t know if there is any benefit to that except that it is cool. But making do with less sleep certainly sounds like a benefit to me!
Now HoloSync (and its competitors in the binaural technology) induce these altered brain waves through technology. The Dive starts with alpha waves, which are common in deep relaxation and just before falling asleep. It then moves on to theta waves, which plays some role during REM and possible also during filler sleep (I need to check that again) and which is slower than alpha. Finally it moves down into delta waves for the last part of the 30 minutes it lasts.
There is a second track on the CD, which you can set to play right after the Dive once you have gotten used to it, and it keeps you in delta for another half hour. That is substantially longer than you normally stay in deep sleep in one go, unless you are badly exhausted. I only use the Dive yet, however.
This time I stayed awake during most of the Dive, and minimally aware even during the last part. Although I lost volition fairly early, so that I could not have looked at my watch even if I wanted to (which I might be tempted to, since I did not have much more than the half hour before I had to go to work). I was surprised at staying aware so much for so long, since during all my earlier listens I have fallen asleep fairly quickly. (It still has some effect as long as your headphones stay on though, so no big loss.) This time I even had a very brief lucid dream scene, nothing interesting really (I was running toward our mailboxes and saw them coming closer and closer) but it was kind of cool to watch this and know that it came from my brain entering theta waves. (I can not normally visualize, the way most humans can, when awake. It just does not work.)
I was a bit tired at work, but I am pretty sure it helped at least somewhat. Normally I would have needed a 7 hour sleep at least since I was already in sleep debt from the previous day.
I think only the last 10 minutes or so of the Dive is actual delta, and perhaps 10 minutes theta, so it hardly makes up for a whole lost sleep cycle. But it does seem to mitigate lack of sleep somewhat. If I ever move on to add the 30 minutes of delta in Immersion, I ought to report any changes in my sleep habits here.
It strikes me that there are two groups of people who could benefit from this side effect. The most obvious is those who suffer from insomnia. If you don’t fall asleep when listening to the HoloSync tracks, that is considered a Good Thing. It is more effective if you are conscious at the time and can listen to it. If you fall asleep after all, well, sleep is what you don’t get enough of, right?
The other group is those who suffer from alpha intrusion in their delta sleep. There is a meme going around in the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome camp that this alpha intrusion is found in most people with the illness, and I have seen some who think it may be a cause of the chronic fatigue itself. Delta sleep is important for regenerating the body. There needs to be more study of whether delta without sleep has all the same benefits, but the few tests that have been done show hormone levels changing as if the test persons got lots of delta sleep. So theoretically binaural beat technology might restore function to ME/CFS patients, although they might need to use it for a couple hours a day for the rest of their lives. Also, they would lose their disability pensions, but if they are anything like me, they would probably rather work than be sick. Even though work sucks, being sick sucks more.
OK, this got pretty long. The dream was about getting off the train by mistake and chasing it. Not very exciting, I’m afraid. Then again it wasn’t a lucid dream at all. Lucid people rarely get off the train hours before their station. Although I am sure it happens and is more interesting to hear about than my dreams.