Friday, May 25, 2007

Sleep

DXpeditions are to contesting as marathons are to sprints. Both can be intensive, but each requires that they be run at their own pace. In yesterday's post, I briefly mentioned some of the things that are required to stay in the seat including getting your sleep schedule aligned with your operating plan. Waking up at the right time to start the endeavor is one thing, but how do you manage your sleep schedule going forward?
There is an excellent article on the contesting.com web site describing A Sleep Strategy for DX Contests. The beauty of this article is you can start experimenting with some of the claims immediately (assuming you plan to sleep tonight). For example, the article states, "Researchers have found that sleep is structured into approximately 90-minute cycles." I have tested this hypothesis on myself by paying attention to the doze and wake times from a pleasant Sunday afternoon nap. Sure enough, I'll find myself sleeping either 90 minutes or some multiple of 90 minutes if I'm allowed to awaken on my own. If I set an alarm clock to wake me at some multiple other than 90 minutes, I do tend to be groggier when I rise. This is completely unscientific. The effects might all be in my head. But this 90 minute cycle seems to describe my sleep pattern.
I have made a point in those contests in which I have applied a significant effort to sleep in 90 minute (or 180 minute) chunks and have found that I am reasonably alert at the end of each sleep period. Though counter-intuitive, I believe that I feel less rested after a 120 minute nap than a 90 minute one. Again, this might be all in my head.
Contesters concern themselves with getting the most out of a 24, 36, or even 48 hour period. DXpeditioners typically do not have such constraints, though there are exceptions. If you have an opportunity to operate from some isolated island or other difficult to reach place and can only do so for a limited time, you'll want to get the most of every minute. Here, you'll be working the same game as a contester by trying to stay in the seat. Similarly, if you have only 24 or 36 hours left before you need to start packing and you've not met your goals, you may wish to put in that "last push" to fill your log. In either case, understanding your sleep needs (even if you cannot fulfill them) can be very valuable. With Field Day fast approaching, there is a ready-made laboratory for this research awaiting many of us.

I traveled to Illinois this last weekend to see my niece Katie graduate She was Salutatorian. She received one "B" in all her years of schooling (K-12) and that kept her from the highest honor. Mind you, nobody was quibbling about the grade this weekend!

While visiting my parents I noticed my Father's Icom IC-R2 was looking a bit worn. He is a retired airplane pilot and still enjoys listening to aircraft traffic, weather, and other things. So, with Father's Day coming up Sandy and I thought a nice new Icom IC-R20 might be just the thing. Thankfully, the manual for the radio is on the Icom web site. I have just downloaded it. I am sure there will be questions. He should get it tomorrow.

By the way, the radio is a surprise so don't tell him. Shhhh! {grin}

1 Comments:

Blogger Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus

May 26, 2007 5:37 AM  

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