For those that have read my previous posts and who are interested in braving the potential of insomnia, I thought I would share how I set up my ramp timer. This tutorial will be very Android-centric, but I imagine that you could do something similar with an iPhone or any other MP3 player that allows the creation of playlists.
Step 1: Download the ramp timer files from the Lucidology site. These will come in a variety of different MP3's all wrapped up in a zip file. While at first you may think, "What is this nonsense? You mean I have to create my own ramp timer using these files?", in the long run, I really love the way Nicholas has provided the files so that they can be customized easily to accommodate different periods of silence, different numbers of beeps, and so on. Nicholas provides us with 12 audio files and a readme.txt. As I mentioned above, this provides us with a great deal of flexibility when creating our timer setup. The audio files are grouped into three different categories. First, you have silence in one minute, two minute, four minute, and one-hour intervals. Second you have beeps. These are exactly what they appear to be. Audio files that beep one, three, or nine times. Finally, you have some pre-made ramp intervals for what Nicholas calls "Rhythm Napping". These work well if preceded by a block of silence so you have a chance to fall asleep before they start going off.
Step 2: Decide what sort of setup you think will be most useful to you. Based on my own experience, backed up by the all-knowing internet, it is best to try this sort of thing in the wee hours of the morning. I personally have had most my successes between 2 and 4 AM. Personally, I have four different setups that I use depending on how long I expect to be able to sleep, and how often I feel like being woken up. I would say a good place to start would be, create a configuration that allows for 4 to 6 hours of silence, and then follow that with one of the pre-made Rhythm Napping timers. You can always tweak things as you go.
Step 3: Upload your files to the cloud of your choice. I am an Android user so for this example, I will be uploading my files to Google Play. If you don't have an iPhone or Android, any MP3 player that allows the creation of playlists should suffice.
Step 4: Build your playlist. Take the silence MP3s and repeat them a few times until you have the desired amount of silence preceding your beeps. Then add the desired beep files. The names of the Rhythm Napping files describe the intervals and length of the track. 2-minute-base-73-mins, for example, would be a 73-minute long audio track that uses two minutes as its base interval.
A note about Rhythm Napping. These files are randomized somewhat. A two-minute interval might beep at two minutes, then four minutes later, then 16 minutes later, then back to two minutes. The theory behind this is that your brain doesn't like to be jolted awake. Think about those days when you wake up with an alarm. I personally almost never sleep until the alarm goes off. My inner clock wakes me up 10 to 15 minutes before the alarm will go off because it doesn't appreciate being yanked out of sleep so abruptly. The same applies to Rhythm Napping. As your brain starts to anticipate these beeps, your mind will preemptively wake up and if you can remain still, your body might just stay asleep. This puts you in a prime position to experience the phase without hours of relaxation beforehand.
Here is an example of one of my playlists. This starts with six hours of silence and then moves into the 73 minute, three-minute base interval configuration.
Step 5: Don't give up. This can take some trial and error. I would recommend saving this endeavor for a night where you can sleep in the following morning since it is likely to seriously screw with the restfulness of your sleep.
Good luck dreamers! I would love to hear about any experiences you have.