Polyphasic Sleep

By practicing Polyphasic sleep, one awakens the abilities of lucid dreaming, astral travel, and psychic awareness.  It just might be worth the effort...




“A couple days ago, I saw a post about polyphasic sleep on LifeHack.org. Since then I’ve been emailed about this topic as well, probably because I’ve written previously about becoming an early riser.

Polyphasic sleep involves taking multiple short sleep periods throughout the day instead of getting all your sleep in one long chunk. A popular form of polyphasic sleep, the Uberman sleep schedule, suggests that you sleep 20-30 minutes six times per day, with equally spaced naps every 4 hours around the clock. This means you’re only sleeping 2-3 hours per day. I’d previously heard of polyphasic sleep, but until now I hadn’t come across practical schedules that people seem to be reporting interesting results with.

Under this sleep schedule, your sleep times might be at 2am, 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm, and 10pm. And each time you’d sleep for only 20-30 minutes. This is nice because the times are the same whether AM or PM, and they’re consistent from day to day as well, so you can still maintain a regular daily schedule, albeit a very different one.

How can this sleep schedule work? Supposedly it takes about a week to adjust to it. A normal sleep cycle is 90 minutes, and REM sleep occurs late in this cycle. REM is the most important phase of sleep, the one in which you experience dreams, and when deprived of REM for too long, you suffer serious negative consequences. Polyphasic sleep conditions your body to learn to enter REM sleep immediately when you begin sleeping instead of much later in the sleep cycle. So during the first week you experience sleep deprivation as your body learns to adapt to shorter sleep cycles, but after the adaptation you’ll feel fine, maybe even better than before.

It requires some discipline to successfully transition to this cycle, as well as a flexible schedule that allows it. While you’ll be sleeping a lot less, apparently it’s very important to sleep at the required times and not miss naps.

It was interesting to read some of the posts from people who’ve tried this sleep cycle. They reported higher alertness and energy, more vivid dreams and more lucid dreams, and of course lots of extra free time. I also read of failures, but in each case the person wasn’t strict about the nap schedule and overslept on occasion. A side effect of this sleep schedule is that you need to eat more, since you’re spending more time moving around. It appears that the long term health effects of this sleep pattern aren’t well known. That’s irrelevant to me though because I find that being a long-term vegan, I can’t rely much on long-term studies done on non-vegans anyway. Some say that hormones in animal products negatively affect sleep patterns, and more restful sleep is commonly reported after making dietary improvements. So long-term studies on people eating average diets wouldn’t be of much use to me personally.

The downside to this sleep schedule is that it can be inflexible. I’ve read that you can delay naps by an hour if necessary, but missing a nap can cause a rapid crash that takes a while to recover from. This means you only have about 3.5 hours of waking time between naps, 4.5 hours if you push it. So this can restrict your options a bit. Of course, you have to balance that sacrifice against the gain of many extra hours per day, every day. Interesting trade off…. It reminds me of something you’d find in The Book of Questions.

Plus it’s just plain weird. So naturally I want to try it. 

I’m starting this polyphasic sleep schedule today, so last night was my last night of “normal” sleep for a while. I still got up at 5am this morning, and then I’ll begin doing the naps every 4 hours starting this afternoon. I’ll use a countdown timer alarm set for 30 minutes, so I won’t oversleep. I’ve decided that my sleep times will be 1am, 5am, 9am, 1pm, 5pm, and 9pm. I aim to continue at least until Halloween… or death, whichever comes first. If it seems to be going well and I retain basic functionality, then I’ll decide whether I want to continue with it.

My main motivation for trying this is curiosity, and it seems like it would be a fun test of self-discipline. Plus it meshes nicely with my own general weirdness. Whether the experiment succeeds or fails, it should be an interesting learning experience.

Of course I’ll be sure to blog about this experience, but if I start making posts about seeing dead people, then you’ll know I’ve become delusional due to sleep deprivation. 

What would you do with an extra 30-40 hours of free time per week?” – Steve Pavlina


Read more about polyphasic sleep at Wikipedia.

Steve keeps a blog of his polyphasic journey.  You can click the links at the bottom of this page http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/10/polyphasic-sleep/ to read more.

 He also writes about a variety of other interesting topics (links on the left hand side).  His website is worth a look. ~ Noa

Wendy's picture

I just love naps! I wish the work world would be a bit more flexible and supportive in providing workers a place to take a 15-30 minute nap at work. I could really use one after lunch a lot of days and I agree that the kind of light sleep you get during the day is very supportive of spiritual growth and allows you to process stuff better than the heavy sleep that usually comes at night. I can only imagine how much better my productivity would be after an afternoon nap at work. I take an afternoon nap on week ends almost every day I'm not busy with other things. When I have a busy weekend I can really tell the difference when I don't at least get a nap in once - I feel over worked and stressed out.

What ever happened to the siesta?

Noa's picture

Wendy, you're in the wrong country for naps!

The siesta still exists in many latin and hispanic countries.  In France, everything (except a few large conglomerates) is closed from noon until 2:00 or 3:00 pm.  It's terribly inconvenient for shoppers, but the French eat their biggest meal at lunchtime (at home with family).  I wouldn't be surprised if they squeezed in a nap, as well.


Wendy's picture

I guess I better re-think that move to S. America. I assume the kids get off from school as well? God, we're slaves in this country. This is what I deserve for continuing to pay for death and destruction overseas.

LightCommodore's picture

I'm looking forward to hearing your results, Noa. It's a fascinating experiment.

I was thinking that a pattern of sleeping 90-120 minutes every every 6 hours might me more natural. I notice, for example, that I get tired around 2 to 3 PM every day and again at 10 to 11 PM. If I napped at those times and added one more nap time, say from 4 to 6 AM, the cycle seems as though it would be very well balanced. The problem is that nap in the middle of the day--employers would tend to frown on that practice. ;-)


Noa's picture

Some employees have become adept at napping while sitting at their desks.  Now that takes practice and commitment!

Newborn babies sleep in shorter cycles (though they're asleep more than awake).  Parents are always trying to get them to sleep through the night.  Once accomplished, it can then be difficult to get kids down for a midday nap!

I think cats have it about right.


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