Do you have any advice for anyone looking to start a polyphasic sleep cycle? What was your adjustment period like? Is it hard to keep the routine?
I was wondering when someone would come asking about this!
For those not aware, polyphasic sleep means sleeping multiple times during one 24-hour period. Doing so generally lets people spend less time sleeping overall. Here are a few examples of polyphasic schedules:
The most extreme form of polyphasic sleep, Uberman, is comprised of six 20-minute naps, totaling only 2 hours of sleep every day. I currently sleep on an Everyman schedule—I take three 20-minute naps every day and a 3 hour core sleep. This is my old monophasic schedule compared to the Everyman one I use now:
Why should one not polyphasic sleep if they are under 18 years of age?
Hi! There are three main reasons.
First: children and teenagers are shown to need more REM and slow-wave sleep than adults in order to function properly. This defeats the ‘trick’ of polyphasic.
Polyphasic sleep works by cutting out all sleep stages except for REM and slow-wave sleep. Adults need only about 3 hours of REM/slow-wave sleep, and they can get that during poly naps. But children and teenagers need much more! It’s thought to be related to the fact that children and teens’ brains are elastic and constantly changing and growing, so they need more time to ‘process’ things via REM/slow-wave sleep.
If they were to do polyphasic, they’d need longer and more frequent naps to avoid REM/slow-wave deprivation (this kind of sleep dep is really bad). That would pretty much defeat the purpose of polyphasic—getting more time in the day—while leaving them with the annoying downsides of having to take naps during inconvenient times. It wouldn’t be worth it.
Second, depriving children/teens of REM and slow-wave sleep, or even just seriously mucking with their sleep schedules, might permanently reduce their mental capacity later in life.
Childhood and teen years are when the brain is busy growing and developing. It’s an amazing process, and it’s the one chance the brain has to do this—there is no other time in a person’s life when their brain is this elastic or malleable. You really don’t want to risk screwing up that process in any way!
There have been no long-term studies studying the effects on polyphasic sleep or what it can do to the brains of people, much less children. People can’t just ‘redo’ childhood if they get it wrong. So I say: don’t risk messing it up for the sake of an edgy sleep schedule.
Third, until a person reaches the legal age of majority in their country (usually age 18), their guardians are legally responsible for their health. Once again, there are no studies about polyphasic’s long-term effects. That means, that if a kid does end up suffering ill effects from polyphasic, or even if the neighbors see this wacky sleep schedule and report it as abuse/neglect, the kid’s parents are the ones who will be held legally responsible for negligence. It doesn’t matter if it’s not their fault. This is serious, child-services, go-to-jail level stuff.
If someone wants to try polyphasic sleep, that’s great. But they should make sure that they will be the only ones affected by the consequences. It’s really horrible to legally endanger another person for the sake of a silly sleep hack.
So, to sum up: it’s biologically unfeasible for minors, possibly risky to a developing brain, and legally irresponsible. Polyphasic sleep is really, really cool! I wish everyone could do it. But until we learn more about it, it’s something that should only be done after the age of majority.
I hate to jump in now what with the question influx you mentioned, but when I read your post about polyphasic sleeping on your other blog, it occurred to me that Pokémon trainers might find, say, a triphasic schedule really useful; for instance, they could catch and train nocturnal Pokémon more easily. Robin probably wouldn't/couldn't commit to one, but I'm curious as to how common polyphasic sleeping is among trainers in Alterity.
That is a really cool idea! Different sleeping schedules would probably be more accepted + common among humans in a Pokemon world given the number of Pokemon species who’d likely practice them.
Polyphasic sleep = Man delar upp sömnen i mindre vilopauser istället för en lång på natten. Det kan exempelvis se ut såhär:
Vara vaken 4 timmar, sova 20 minuter, vara vaken 4 timmar, sova 20 minuter, osv osv.
Detta ger alltså ca 22 timmars vaken tid per dygn. Grymt mycket extra tid.
Teorin bakom är att man lär hjärnan att hoppa direkt in i REM-sömn, djupsömn, direkt när man lägger sig för sin tupplur. I vanliga fall så har hjärnan många faser där man inte sover så djupt. Tanken är att man skippar dessa och tar det viktigaste.
Det tar ca en vecka att komma in i detta och det ska tydligen vara helvetiskt svårt. Jag funderade på att ha det som projektarbete men min biologilektor sa att det kunde vara direkt farligt.
Man blir ändå sjukt sugen på att testa. Tänk vilka möjligheter. Utöver den tiden som andra har skulle man kunna bli mästare på poker, schack, att svarva skålar, snurra pennor, jonglera eller vad som helst.
In 20 years, you will be more disappointed by what you didn’t do than by what you did.
Sjukt mycket man säger att man borde göra men aldrig gör… What say you?
I hadn’t before, but I just looked it up and the theories about how it may be our natural sleeping pattern are actually really interesting. (Polyphasic sleep is when you sleep multiple times in a 24-hour period—usually more than two, in contrast to monophasic sleep (once per day).
We assume we are meant to sleep in a 7/8 hour block every night to maintain good health but it seems like that’s a bit of a myth. Sleep historian Roger Ekirch talked about how early humans may have slept in two four-hour blocks, which were separated by a period of wakefulness in the middle of the night lasting an hour or more. During this time, some might stay in bed, pray, think about their dreams or talk with their spouses before going back to sleep.
It’s an interesting thought because when we wake up in the middle of the night its common to panic that we won’t get the sleep we need, but if we can recognise that it is a natural part of our sleep cycle we can learn to accept it.
Cecily and I are now both a week in (at least) to our adaptation period for the Everyman cycle. Having a partner (whether a significant other, or roommate, or family member) taking the polyphasic adventure with you certainly makes things a little easier. We’re able to support each-other, keep each-other awake between naps (we’re both still sleep-deprived while we adjust), and make sure we don’t oversleep.
Cecily, especially, seems to enjoy finding and reading blogs and articles on polyphasic sleep, and we’re able to make minor adjustments to our schedules, lifestyles, and activities based on some of the information we’re discovering.
A big one for me is going to be journaling. I have a small moleskine notebook, that, in addition to this Space, will allow me to instantly record the results of a sleep session. It won’t be a long diary-like entry, but more on the lines of this:
1/8/12 Nap 8-3:30pm - trouble falling asleep, but woke up refreshed using iPhone alarm on a low volume setting.
I’ll be able to keep multiple entries on a single page, and it’ll be simple, instead of relying on an app, or something.
David Rossi: I never could do that.
Emily Prentiss: Do what?
David Rossi: Take a nap. Never felt natural.
Dr. Spencer Reid: I’m actually wide awake, but for future reference, polyphasic sleep is completely natural, quite common in the animal world, and highly beneficial
David Rossi, Emily Prentiss, Spencer Reid. Season 7 Episode 21. Criminal Minds quote of the day.
In ways, I’m great at sleeping. I just have bad timing. I don’t sleep well at night, but I could sleep through morning and well into the afternoon. Even if I force myself out of bed at 7am, I still don’t sleep well at night. My body doesn’t actually tire until around 3am. I’ve been trying for years to fix it.
I did some research on polyphasic sleep schedules. When I was still in school, I slept 5 hours a night (maximum) and took 60-90 minute naps between class and work. A counselor I was seeing told me I needed to cut out the naps, and really put effort into getting to sleep around or before midnight. That was, and still is, unrealistic. I can’t force my body into a sleep schedule that doesn’t feel right. I feel sick to my stomach when I attempt a “regular” sleep schedule, and I feel even worse if I let my body sleep more than 8 hours at a time.
I’m going to try something called a biphasic sleep cycle. It consists of either 6.5 hours of sleep at night and a 20 minute nap in the afternoon, or 6 hours of sleep at night and a 90 minute nap in the afternoon. The hard part is going to be getting myself up after the “major sleep” at night. Apparently this is healthy, because your body still has the chance to enter REM sleep, and the 6 hours is enough for your cells to rebuild themselves, etc. The power naps in the afternoon are to prevent you from being tempted to sleep in.
I am a little worried, because I’ve been feeling nauseous quite a bit lately, so I’m going to be tempted to stay in bed. I just need to be headstrong about this. Just like anything else.
En resumen, dormir en secciones cortas durante el día puede reducir al mínimo el sueño innecesario, y forzar al cuerpo a aprovechar al máximo este poco tiempo de inconsciencia, para recargar mejor y más eficientemente nuestra energía. Claro que de ahí a que el resto del mundo se acomode a nuestro ritmo bizarro de siestas… pero bueno, ya bastantes problemas tengo por trabajar hasta las 5 AM.
I think this summer I'm going to try polyphasic sleep cycles.
Usually in the summer I stay up all night anyway. I think I’m going to try it and made vlogs every day to document my experience and make actual scientific observations about how my body reacts and stuff. I also kinda want to really focus on my dreams this summer and have a lot more lucid dreams. Supposedly this is the best way to do that since you’re immediately entering REM when you nap.
What do you guys think? Would that be something you would like to hear about or should I just do it for myself and not post it on here?
so hey if anyone’s interested in trying polyphasic sleep or wants to know more about it, you can totally ask me! I did it for about a year, maybe a year and a half, for a summer and my entire senior year of high school. You can google it to read wikipedia’s view on it and get more info, or ask me about how it worked and stuff. I’m thinking about doing it again, since a friend of mine is going to try it. I mean, personally, I found it really fun and I got a ton of shit done and I felt AWESOME, and it was way better than the sleep schedule I had before, which was sleeping maybe 5 hours a night tops throughout all of high school, but I can’t really tell you about any specific health benefits/risks or anything. There isn’t enough research about sleep to give anything concrete, so it’s kind of ‘try at your own risk’ but I will say it is hella cool.
one of the major pros was it CURED MY INSOMNIA. permanently. it’s gone. it hasn’t come back, and I haven’t slept polyphasically in over 2 years. If you suffer from really bad insomnia like I did for years (does it take you 2+ hours to fall asleep? that shit isn’t good or normal) then I would totally suggest trying it out for a few months because you can gain the ability to fall asleep anywhere in about 5 minutes. Way better than getting dependent on a pill, in my opinion.
Ohmygosh, that mocha coconut looks amazing…<3 And if you don’t mind, how does the polyphasic sleep work? Do you get up for a bit, or just wake? And you’re one of my favourite people too! I’m so glad I found that comm. :)
I don’t mind at all! You may have noticed by now that when I have the spoons for it, I love explaining stuff. : D
The basic idea is sleeping in naps, instead of in one big chunk. Most of the patterns also have the added bonus of less total sleep (because the way the patterns are organised gets you more REM), which means more time in the day for actually doing stuff.
It doesn’t work for everyone, and the adjustment period is shitty because obviously you’re going to be sleep deprived, but after the first couple of weeks it’s rather nice. It’s often suggested as a treatment for insomnia, surprisingly enough. It worked wonders for me; it used to take me hours to get to sleep, and the sleep I was getting wasn’t restful. But introducing such a strict routine sort of kicked my body into shape; something clicked and went “Oh, if I don’t go to sleep during this time I’m not going to get sleep at all.” Which normally would make me too anxious to sleep, but having it be consistent for some reason made it work. : ]
Every once in a while I fall back out of it and go back to sleeping in nine-hour chunks, but for the most part I’m consistently polyphasic. (It’s also recommended that polyphasic sleepers forego the nap thing if they’re ill or recovering from surgery or something, so their body can rest as much as it needs to.)
The side effects aren’t reliably documented. Some people claim increased focus, more energy, more balanced mood, and so on, but it’s all anecdotal so do take it with a grain of salt.
So I'm thinking of adopting a polyphasic sleep schedule
Because I cannot keep to the normal monophasic sleep cycle the rest of the world is on. Even when I have a job it just doesn’t work out.
The Everyman sleep cycle requires less sleep and is a lot less harsh during the adjustment period than other polyphasic sleep cycles. It also includes a core nap instead of just being made up of a ton of little naps throughout the day, which I feel would mess with me and my going to bed ritual a lot less. Also, I would probably actually use my bed for that one. I tend to just use a blanket and lay on my bed backwards when I take naps.
I get the blanket thing, what with naps being short and all, but have NO idea where the laying down backwards thing came from. Or when it started, for that matter.
And I can’t do it at night. I always end up waking up at strange hours. Being backwards on my bed must inherently create a naptime effect where I don’t sleep for long periods of time. I don’t know. =P
Point being, I’m officially nocturnal as of this week and every single time I try to get back to not being nocturnal it fails horribly.
So why not screw nature and stay up all night without actually being a frikkin’ vampire, says I.
tonight/tomorrow morning. i begin to implement my everyman polyphasic sleep schedule. it’s going to be a crazy, ridiculous ride, and i’m going to need everyone to yell at me when i say things about wanting to quit, okay? just tell me that i need to stick it out for two weeks for partial adaptation. and then smack me if i try to fall asleep off schedule. cool?
for more information/to follow my personal logs, be sure to follow me at everymyrrhgoingpolyphasic.tumblr.com!
Introducing Easyman, a polyphasic sleep schedule with no adaptation period
Is your life a gleaming example of the woes of modern society? Do you find yourself always at a loss for time? Unending obligations, unattended hobbies, and aspects of your life tossed to the wayside for the more pressing urgent matters of NOW? Well, I just might have a solution ;p
By whatever random chance, my life came to that point. No so much by bad decisions but just life dumping things on me unceremoniously. Despite all of them being wonderful opportunities, I had to make a choice: take all of the opportunities, enjoy life, and miss some serious sleep…ooor pick what I wanted to do most.
Well, it wasn’t much of a choice in the end. A brand new semester was starting for me abroad, I was welcoming a sibling to join me during my year in China, and I had no choice but to offer our place as a month-long hostel to yet another sibling and his girlfriend as they made their way across Asia. It was overwhelming. But, I admit, pretty exciting too.
I resolved to miss sleep for the month or two. I had recently stumbled across the idea of Polyphasic and since I would already be sleep deprived, I figured “why not be for the benefit of science?” Over the course of two and half months I blundered my way through sleep-deprivation trying several different schedules, sometimes seeing progress, sometimes not. In the end, I had done everything: saved money, hosted family, served as tour guide, apartment searched, broke leases, signed leases, established my brother in his new home abroad, and attended class (mostly).
But, I collapsed and a week after I came down with a nice case of leisure sickness, I had a cold for the weekend. But much worse than that, I still wasn’t adapted to any sort of polyphasic schedule. It’s near impossible to get through the adaptation phase and be productive. I could feel my body had adapted some but the mornings were still excruciating (especially with 3 straight hours of Chinese grammar classes in the morning).
As soon as the most life-crucial stuff resolved, my motivation to keep up such crazy-ness also faded with it. I realized I would have to wait until winter break and use that month to do absolutely nothing while I adjusted and gave polyphasic an honest shot.
Sadly, winter break is still about a month out and I had completely fallen in love with all the extra time I had. Going back to sleeping 9-10 hours a day just wasn’t gonna cut it. One of the ideas I came across during all my experimentation was the concept of Sleep Saturation (a term I have coined). I noticed that if I took a nap fairly close to the core at night, I usually slept pretty lightly and felt as if I had overslept. But, in the morning, when I awoke after only 4.5 hours of sleep, I felt much more rested. The mornings were still pretty difficult though. I started pushing the morning nap closer and closer to the core. And just a few days ago decided to make the morning nap symmetric to the “booster” nap at night.
The idea is that the two naps buffer the core nap with one nap ending at least two hours before the core and the morning nap starting at least two hours after the core. There is only two hours of somewhat grogginess. If there are really pressing matters to be taken care of, I am fully awake. When it’s a lazy weekend day, I might just use the two hours in the morning to get through internet articles, media, and brainless stuff that usually takes a nice chunk out of the day (i.e. replying to emails). Later on in the day around 2:30pm, I am ready for a nice post-lunch siesta and this works into just about any schedule pretty easily.
So what does my schedule look like? and how can you give it a try?
I wake up at 5:30am.
7:30-8:00 20-min nap
2:30~3:00 20-min nap
~10:30 20-min nap
1:00am to 5:30 4.5 hours of sleep
On the first day, whenever you normally get tired and are ready for sleep, take a nap and stay up for another two hours. After two hours, lay down for four and half hours and wake up. You’ll probably feel pretty whipped but take the two hours and do as much as you can. You’ll really want the 7:30am nap when it arrives. Before this, I slept on average 9-10 hours and I feel like I am sleeping 7 hours when I get up at 7:30am. As the morning progresses and especially after the afternoon nap, I feel as if I had slept a full night, except it’s only been 5.5 hours. That’s an entire 4 extra hours for me!
Everyone sleeps a little bit differently and you will have to find what works best for you. I also learned to nap pretty well during my two and half months of consistent sleep-dep and that might affect how well this works. I expect the longer I stay on this schedule, the easier and more effective it will become, as well.
This post brought to you by the sheer efficacy of the 20-minute nap™.
*I still plan to try Uberman come winter break. Post coming…then.
We had a wonderful day with Caribou in the studio yesterday. Here are some photos of the band and their gear. Catch them on tour with Radiohead if you can, should be a real face-melter of a show, I saw their monster lighting rig!
I’ve been interested in the subject for a while, just as a point of curiosity. It appears that, while over extended periods of time - over eight moths, from what I’ve been able to tell, though resources have been limited and rather subjective - general higher functions begin to degrade in the same manner that a sleep-deprived person would have. HOWEVER, it looks like that, once the body has adjusted to a new pattern of shorter sleep, it performs well until the other symptoms catch up - maximizing time and, sometimes, efficiency outside pure sleep-cycle.
Anyone have more information, or things to add? I’m interested in the subject. I was wondering if adjusting myself to a particular sleep pattern might help me find more time for social time and school work. Knowing my erratic and uncomfortable sleep schedule being what it is, I can only figure that my day can only improve with structuring.
Of course, I worry about people I know (friends and family, precisely) having fits because of the hours I intend to begin with, before charting progress and modifying accordingly. Hmm.