Rich's Sleep Information
Commentary On Salem–Horta Delivery, And Suggestions for Transat Race
By Dr. Claudio Stampi, MD, PhD.
Chronobiology Research Institute, Boston, Massachusetts—May 21, 2004

Chronobiological Profile:

  • The data confirms Rich tendency to be an evening person, but not an extreme evening type (see circadian peak at 03:19 local time, Statistics Table)
  • During our Sleep Management Workshop for Rich we had identified 3 possible sleep ‘gates’ (times conducive to take naps) for him (referenced to local 24-hr times):
    1. 05-07: (beginning before sunrise) see napping chart
    2. 11-13: this window is optional
    3. 16-18: (late afternoon, but well before sunset): this gate is clearly present
    4. 24-02: this corresponds to the circa usual time Rich goes to bed (shore life)
  • Such ‘sleepiness gates’ are indeed the suggested windows of opportunity to take naps. Furthermore, we recommend that Rich should make an attempt to nap at around these times every day - even a short nap. This will contribute to reinforcing the pace-making capabilities of Rich’s circadian/ultradian system
  • Finally, 27 percent of Rich’s sleep occurred during daytime hours, and that is a good average for solo sailors

Homeostatic Profile (in other words, the amount of sleep):

  • Rich did not get much sleep, 3.7 hours/day is rather on the low side. Having said that, it is also true that Rich staid in the bunk longer that that, perhaps dozing-relaxing, which is contributing somewhat to the sleep counter, and that Rich’s asthma medications have clearly interfered with his ability to sleep. Nevertheless, we recommend that Rich should try to get more sleep than this, an extra hour would be a realistic goal to aim at (For comparison: during the 2000 Transat, monohull winner Ellen MacArthur slept an average of 4.2 hours per day).

Napping ‘Gears’ (in other words, the ideal nap durations):

  • First, the ‘cluster napping’ strategy works well for Rich: this is the technique of taking a nap, then waking up briefly to make adjustments or check the instruments, then going back to sleep, and repeating this several times. Rich’s average between-naps wake time was 7 minutes, normal for solo sailors.
  • Second, we agree in part with Rich’s own observations (he prefers longer 40-70 minute naps, it takes time for him to fall asleep – long sleep latency). However, with time into the race I am sure sleep latency will improve, especially if he tries to nap more or less regularly at the ‘sleep gates’.
  • Therefore, in addition to the ‘longer naps’ (which may accumulate also as short clusters if needed), the shorter 20-minute naps will also represent a good strategy, the data certainly confirms that. So Rich has at least 2 nap ‘gears’ (approximately 20 minutes, and 40-70 minutes) in his menu of possibilities

Pre-Race Training & Homework:

  • Try to take one nap every day during your mid-late afternoon gate. If it suits you, I would recommend a rather short nap, around 20–30 minutes: it will be a good training on a ‘nap gear’ you feel a bit less comfortable with (for now), and it will not be too long to compromise you nocturnal sleep pressure.
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