I have to say, I think my single favorite thing about polyphasic sleep…is the people I've met because of it. I won't try to list them all, becase I'd miss some that I talk to less frequently or recently and then feel bad; but man, there are quite a lot who are simply amazing, and of kinds and calibers I'd have a slim chance to ever run into otherwise. And a really surprising percentage of them have become really close friends of one sort of another, too; friends in many countries with wildly cool experiences, skills and interests.
I mean…YMMV of course. :) But in my case, it's been a pretty spectacular gain.
Anyway, this was a weird lead-in to talking about the Towards A Polyphasic City: Bedroom Exodus project I guess, but it's no lie to say that meeting and talking to these guys reminded me strongly of that point, of how stupidly grateful I am to my lifelong quest for better sleep, of all things, for putting me in touch with such fucking cool people.
So check it out: these guys, named Jerome, Florian, and Lukas [and BY THE WAY what is it with people I talk to having such ridiculously amazing names] started their architectural work on the effects of sleep on cities (and vice versa) two years ago. They've since been published, gotten a grant, and done a really impressive amount of thinking about these things from angles that legitimately surprised me at times. I guess we all knew that how we build our environments has a huge impact on how we live, but take a moment to really think about what would be different if things were nap-friendly — and contemplate the crazy degree to which they're not. It's a, well, eye-opener. >,>
One thing I've learned from extensive discussions with another great person I met doing this, an experienced neuro-anthro sleep researcher in Europe, is that although we take the way we sleep for granted, it really wasn't always this way, and therefore other options are possible. The Bedroom Exodus project is seriously exploring some details about "what options" and "how", and while I think we all agreed that their results are still just scratching the surface of the possible changes, they're incredibly interesting nonetheless.
You can check them out at http://cargocollective.com/bedroomexodus (yup, their project wins the Cool Name Award, too).
[ADDENDUM: I went on a trip this last weekend, and got a big fat reminder of how hard it can be to nap in middle America in the modern age — living in a rather bustling city, I think, shelters me from some of that. But out in Midgard, man, things close at five sharp and people frown hard at a person napping on a bench, especially indoors. (Did I miss something? Is sleeping filthy? I digress, but this is a point that bothers me a lot sometimes…people stick their noses up at me like I'm showering in their water-fountain.) I also had a hair-raising time trying to leave a campground at 6am (I'd been awake almost two hours!) to get started on the trip home: the staff were straight-up mad at me for violating their "obvious", unspoken rule that I would leave after they had arrived at 7am, so they could check me out. Their response to the idea that I'd want to be up and doing anything earlier was the kind of "but that's common sense, so you're just crazy" that I haven't come up face-first against in Boston in a while. Huh.]