Today marks the first day in my experiment to become a polyphasic sleeper. For those who are not familiar with it, ‘polyphasic sleep’ refers to several alternative sleep patterns which are intended to reduce sleep time to 2-6 hours daily.
The practitioner achieves this by spreading out sleep into short naps of around 15-45 minutes throughout the day, with some variations allowing a core sleep period of a few hours at night.
I originally heard about this while I was in Washington D.C. 4 years ago. My co-worker and I were talking about how busy we were and I remember telling him how great it would be if we didn’t need to sleep.
To my surprise he said that it is indeed possible and then went on to tell me about his roommate who, while at the University of Michigan, “took small naps throughout the day,” only sleeping around 2 hours in total. He called it the Da Vinci sleep schedule. His roommate had so much extra time that he was able to finish three Bachelor degrees and one Associates in a four-year period!
The basic idea behind it is that you can force your body to compress the necessary sleep stages (REM being the most important they say) into a 20-min sleep unit. By spreading six of these concentrated sleep units throughout the day, you can supposedly experience better and more effective sleep than on a typical 8-hour schedule that most people try to follow.
With a little information under my belt, I quickly tried to adapt to Uberman sleep back then but soon realized that my work schedule just didn’t allow it. I wasn’t able to consistently take the required naps — a huge no-no if you want to be successful with this.
Since then, I’ve gotten married, had a child, and although I’m working at a different job, my schedule with my family and work is even less flexible. However, last week I found a variant on the ‘Uberman’ sleep schedule (what some refer to as the ‘Everyman’ sleep schedule) where you take four (instead of six) naps throughout the day and supplement them with a 3-hour core sleep period at night.
Not only is this doable with my work schedule (I’ll only need to nap once during lunch), but my wife is happy because I still go to bed with her at night — at least for a few hours. I’ve also read that it is easier to adapt to this schedule than to the Uberman one — another bonus .
Essentially I’ll be attempting to sleep around 4 hours a day, made up of one 3-hour period of sleep (for me that will be 11pm to 2am) followed by three 20-min naps spread throughout the day (7am, 12pm, and 7pm).
So what is the reasoning behind all this? Well for one, I love to try out new things. Experiments that others find to be weird intrigue me (take the Lemonade Diet for example). Another thing is, I’ve realized in order for me to achieve some of the goals I have in mind without sacrificing time spent with my family, I’m simply going to need more of it. This seems to be a welcome solution.
So with that in mind, I’ll be posting daily over the next few days as I relate to you my experience attempting to adapt to the ‘Everyman’ sleep-schedule.