Heya everyone,
It has been a while since I apparently did a sleeping experiment. Well, let me reassure you I have by will or circumstance changed my sleeping pattern beyond recognition to for example a year ago. 

Ever since I started my current job at Rawligion, I have worked hours I could not even dream of before, including at my previous jobs a year ago or three years ago when juggling between a few jobs at the same time during uni. Well, now I know better. Be it my work ethics or my love for my job(place), but the will to set up this brilliant start-up has motivated me to do as much as I can for it. Being the kitchen manager means a lot, as a lot is falling under my management. And thus it all started with one night in July when I was determined I could create this master excel sheet including our inventory, orders, production, menu, costing and more. Well, little did I know.. The motivation still was incredible and I powered through the night inputting the data to a template file I found online and got so motivated to gather information together like this. Hours passed and before I noticed the early hours of morning had rolled around and soon the other staff were arriving, and there I was, still sitting more or less comfortably upstairs, with some great 80s rock playing, working on this excel sheet.

John, my boss, the director of the place, arrived and was slightly upset about what I had done. Not that he did not appreciate the work, I mean I still use it to this day for the sake of convenience, but the state of being overly tired and getting hysterical came with the morning too, and when a silly joke followed another we all knew I had gone a bit too far.

What came after that I cannot remember too well, but I think it was not till actual afternoon when I managed to leave and get some sleep.

You know the feeling when you live so close to the place you spend a lot of your time at that it is so accessible it is almost pointless. That night was the start of it all. 5 minutes to walk home yet I could not be bothered. Just a little bit more. Finish this sheet. Add another supplier. Write another recipe. It never ends.

There was one more night if I remember correctly not too far away from the story told, otherwise I just worked till some 12/1/2am and came back in at 5.20am. And so until my holidays in August.

The night of my leaving, given it was one of those ridiculously early fights, I had finished work late, come back home, packing, shower, cleaning up and making sure I had done all I needed – it was already time to catch my bus to Liverpool street station to catch the train to Stansted. I dozed off during the flight, but no quality sleep there.

Given the day was already full of plans I was quite surprised I survived until 6pm when I quite literally crashed, not being able to keep me eyes open anymore. I wrote in the middle of the night and spend near an hour petting my mum’s cats, and went back to sleep. I totalled with 16 hours of sleep that night. I felt great! On the right track!

Too soon did I rejoice. The couple of nights I did sleep alright, but then i went on a car trip, which involved sleeping in the car and in a tent. Despite my tiredness, it was still difficult to rest properly. After that I only slept properly when I was visiting my brother’s family. Three nights that was in total.

Now John did quite literally say he is forbidding me from working such hours as I did before, again. And I agreed.

And them I returned, thinking I had done most of the work that required me to stay there for such long hours.

Boy was I wrong.

But it was a start for something beautiful. Biphasic sleep.

I started doing late nights again, leaving at similar hours I did before, or even later, then making sure my staff knew what to do in the morning and around 9/10/11am/12pm I would go back home for another couple of hours of sleep. Now I was at the stage of tiredness where I could nearly literally pass out anywhere I wanted to. I tried different places at work, but only found the best location very recently. So going home to sleep in the morning was not a problem for me at all.

The funny aspect of it was, for me, that my daytime sleep was often longer than the nap I had during the nighttime. The beauty of it, for me, was utilising more hours of the day, number one, but also that I had such good quality sleep twice a day. Imagine that! Rem sleep two times per day! And honestly that kept me going until again the early hours when I returned for my nap. I quite liked calling them my naps.

What took a lot, and I mean a LOT of my time was working on the winter menu. Not only coming up with the recipes, trialling them out, but then also planning them for production, cost calculations etc.

Anyway things got a bit out of hands even from that stage.

John was due to go on holiday for a week at the end of October. That time rolled around faster than anticipated. Winter menu had not yet launched, but somehow duties had doubled, not all to do with him leaving me in overall charge, being the only other manager on site. But it was certainly an aspect. Another was being down one chef and needing to work more in her absence. Work ethics or what not but I wanted to get a lot done with that week. And I did!

But with a price. It started on a Sunday. I had loads panned  for the day outside work, which I did all get done – a krav maga induction class and pan’s labyrinth film, before and after which – work. That is when I received the message that I am done one man in the kitchen. Wanting to get a lot done to help the guys with the prep, morning rolled around too fast again. My hopes to go for a nap were just that – hopes. I managed to go for a lunch break but next I slept was the night.

Morning came too soon yet again and work piled up, much to do and, I cannot say no time to do it, as there clearly was. There was just no time for sleep. Again. And the pattern repeated once again. So from Saturday to Saturday I had slept every other night.

What surprised me the most is that I never reached the hysterical stage. Why?? My food intake did increase as much as I am one to judge. But I was reasonably productive and dealt with the stress not too badly. How amazing is that!? I skipped every other night’s sleep and still functioned as a normal human! I thought it was revelatory. The time I had saved on the account of not sleeping. Superb!

Now what I realise now in hindsight, it being not long at all yet, is that I cannot recall what I did over the nighttime. Sure there was work, but to this day I have no clue what exactly I had been doing those nights. So the downside is, my memory is falling where sleep is not involved.

Still, a grand uncontrolled experiment it was!

For a month or two now I occasionally have these waves of exhaustion that just wash over me as I sit in the office doing work behind my computer. Eyes just do not stay open and this heaviness sets on me. And I got nothing else to do but to close the computer and take a 10-15 min nap then and there. And I am back to good after that! A wonder.

All in all I can say I am still tired, and mornings are getting increasingly difficult so I go in later than the normal 5.30am most mornings. But at my age and state it seems I can still push the normal human needs, the boundaries further. And I am quite happy with that. Not going to do it in long term for sure but this has been fun and I look forward to the time I will actually be well rested like I was on an average day a year ago.
And this has developed into quite a novel. But it has been grand to share my story.

Currently on my way to the airport with 1.6 hours of sleep behind me, hoping to catch an hour or two on the plane. But ‘I’m still standing better than I ever did!’, or at least the first part.

Here here to some sleep!

Eli x