I believe to be in a situation in wich I can gather data on the effects of interrupting one's sleep for two hours and above, so I decided to share what I find here.
There is a weekly livestream I follow which, due to differing timezones between me and the host, takes place at a bit after 3:30AM my local time. Needless to say I would usually be asleep at this time. After waking up so early, I will at some point during the day feel too tired to do anything else and so take a brief nap. In this post I will share all the timings I manage to record.
If you have any data on this particular topic, go ahead and share it in the comments so we can gather a large DataBase!
Data points so far:
I went to sleep just after 9PM and awoke naturally at about 3:20AM, after a dream in wich I was anxious not to miss the stream (wich I did the previous week due to getting the date mixed up). I then went about my day until about 2:30PM, at wich point I had a 2h nap, during wich I dreamt a fair bit. This one is a bit vague as it did not by then occur to me that this data was worth gathering. My general dream recall took a dip that day and the next.
I went to sleep at around 10PM and was wakened by my alarm at 3:30AM during a dream wich unfortunately I forgot. I went back to bed immediately after the life stream (just before 5:30AM) and decided to go for a WILD. It took me maybe 10min to fall asleep. I don't think I entered REM immediately as I had a lucid dream (yay!) from wich I was woken by my regular alarm at 6:30AM later. I doubt very much if it was a WILD as I don't recall the dream forming. I was dreaming without a sense of sight when, suddenly, I thought I might try seeing things, and did. I feel like the dream and the awareness built together like a weird hybrid between WILD and DILD. Dream recall did not suffer measurably the next day.
I went to sleep a bit before 9:30PM, awoke at 3:30AM. I have no recollection of dreams before this point, so I cannot judge where in my sleep cycle this took place. My dream recall has been horrible over the last couple of days, so unfortunately, this is not at all surprising. I went for a nap from arount 3:30PM to 4:30PM, at wich point my alarm woke me from a dream that I immediately forgot, but can say with certainty I had while waking up. This one is a little vague, sorry. Dream recall actually improved the next day.
I went to sleep around 9:15PM, woke up at some point fresh from a dream but didn't check the time and forgot what I dreamt about, then again at 3:12AM, again directly from a dream. I couldn't go back to sleep immediately and so stayed awake for the podcast, which took until just before 6:00AM. I fell asleep fairly quickly after that and once again got lucky and had a lucid dream. I did get some hypnagogic images before dozing off, and I don't think I entered REM directly as the assumed time I woke up after my LD (I didn't check, hoping to continue it) was around 7:00AM, though the dream had all the instability markings of a WILD. I fell asleep again and woke from that at 7:49, now I'm unsure of whether I had a dream in this interval at all. Then I went to sleep again, still feeling tired, and woke up from another non-lucid dream at about 8:30. Dream recall got significantly worse the following days.
I went to sleep at just after 10:00PM and woke naturally from a non-lucid dream at 3:08AM. As I couldn't fall asleep quickly again, I stood up, attended the stream and went back to bed afterwards, just after 5:50AM. I had a non-lucid dream, then a dream in which I knew from the start I was dreaming and then a false awakening during which I didn't reality test properly and lost lucidity. After that I genuinely woke up, this time doing a proper RT, at 7:25AM. I was quite full of energy and so began my daily business. Before returning to bed I had strong hypnagogic images again.
I had trouble falling asleep, it must have taken my until 11:30PM. Nevertheless, as there had been a full month of hiatus, I was eager to get up at 3:30AM. Before that I had awoken naturally, but I didn't check the time, as I was afraid it might keep me awake even longer. I got back into bed by 6:00AM, did my breath counting and, again, struggled with falling asleep, though I reckon it didn't take until past 6:30. I had strong hypnagogia before falling back asleep, but of a strange kind; it was more like a dream in that there were several coherent scenes all the while I was trying not to wake myself back up again. I slept to 9:30AM with a few interruptions, but unfortunately did not get lucid. Whether to put this down to the issues I had falling asleep the night before or the fact that I'd been slacking in my LD-practise over the last weeks I don't know.
Hypotheses/observations so far (TL;DR):
- Staying awake for between two and three hours has gotten me lucid every time which is
unusual for me as I have never before been able to get lucid regularily
- Naps don't seem to work anywhere nearly as well
- The lucid dreams are invariably dream initiated, but seem to share the fading quality of
WILDS; I really have to focus on things if I don't want to find myself suddenly not seeing them anymore
- There tends to be no trigger for lucidity, I just start the dream knowing full well it is a dream,
though this needn't mean anything, it's how I usually got lucid in the past
EDIT: Sorry for formatting, I can't get the bullet points to work in the second enumeration. I'm very much willing to put it down to personal incompetance so if you have an idea on what I'm doing wrong, tell me!
Even shorter synopsis for the terribly impatient:
Try WBTB with a 2-3h wake period if you have something to do during that time, it works wonders for me.
I attend the "Exploring the Lord of the Rings"-livestream by Signum University, which I can highly recommend if you're a fan of LotR and have a few hundred hours woth of spare time to catch up, then go to bed, count my breaths to 60, sincerely ask myself if I'm dreaming and go to sleep. If there is any, I pay attention to the hypnagogia I get. Not much of a technique, hence the quotation marks, but I would gladly experiment with this, so if you (sensibly) don't want to potentially deprive yourself of sleep, tell me what you'd like to experiment with and I'll see if I can manage that! This may or may not be a viable WBTB alternative for those who have trouble falling back asleep after beeing up for more than 5 minutes, I find it quite easy, usually, after 3 hours.