WezM.net Menu

Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

Published on Fri, 21 January 2011

I’ve lamented the amount of time dedicated to sleep for many years now. There’s evidence of it as far back as 2001 where I included the following “motto” on my home page:

“Sleep is the single biggest waste of time in life. Avoid it at all costs.”

I have lots of things that I’d like to do but due to the amount of time that work and sleep occupy only get an hour here and there.

Around 2004 when I started working full-time I read about what is now known as the Uberman sleep schedule. Under this sleep schedule all sleep is replaced by six 20 minute naps across the 24 hour day. This sounded great but the schedule had to be strictly stuck to and I didn’t have an employer at the time that would be ok with me taking naps through the work day.

Fast forward to last week during our weekly Monday meeting. My current boss, Matt, announced he was going to start the Everyman 3 sleep schedule. In this modified variant of the Uberman schedule there is a 3 hour core sleep and three 20 minute naps distributed across the day. The inclusion of the core sleep seems to provide a bit of flexibility in the required nap times potentially allowing them to taken up to an hour either side of their scheduled time.

So with Matt starting a sleep schedule and me now working for a nap friendly company I’ve also decided to give the Everyman sleep schedule a try. My schedule is as follows:

Core Sleep11pm - 2am
Nap 17am
Nap 212pm
Nap 35pm

The way the sleep schedule is supposed to work as follows: Initially you become so sleep deprived that at each of the nap times your body decides it best make the most of the 20 minutes of sleep it has available to it. It skips the usual sleep phases and jumps directly to the R.E.M. phase. R.E.M. sleep is what is mainly responsible for recharging and fending off tiredness. Its also been reported that by getting R.E.M. sleep across the whole day you wake up feeling really switched on and alert and therefore potentially more productive. Wikipedia has a good summary on polyphasic sleep.

Of course there is an adaptation phase for the schedule, which can be a couple of weeks or more. As mentioned this basically involves driving yourself to exhaustion to trigger R.E.M sleep in naps. Tonight is my first night on the schedule so I’m in for some rough days ahead. I aim to post weekly updates on my progress.


Comment icon Stay in touch!

Follow me on Twitter, or Mastodon, subscribe to the feed, or send me an email.