Friday, February 03, 2006

Well, it's been 3 1/2 years since my original experiment, and I still get several emails a week asking me one common question: "Are you still doing a polyphasic sleep schedule?" I usually point people to my other blog where I made an entry about how things are going these days. You can read that entry here:

The last "Polyphasic Sleep Experiment" blog entry

I still love to hear from people who have suceeded or are thinking of trying it, so feel free to drop me an email if you want.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Well its past the two month mark. I've gradually settled into a polyphasic sleeping pattern of 3.5 to 4.5 hours of core sleep and two or three 30 minute naps. I've been maintaining this without a slip (reboot) for quite some time. This totals about 4.5 to 5.5 hours of sleep a day, which is still a bit more than I had intended at the start of this, but still a gain on my old 8-9 hour sleep per day habit.

I eliminated the mid evening nap as it was usually not productive and seriously impaired my evening activities. I nornally have the most energy late at night anyway, so I am probably riding on that and reducing the need for that last nap. The morning nap is subjective. If I feel very tired, I will take it as it usually helps a lot. If I am feeling energetic, I will skip it. On those days when I get 4.5 hours of core sleep, I usually skip the morning nap.

This particular schedule is a little more flexible, and fits my lifestyle better, which is pretty important for me to stay enthused and motivated to continue. To break it down:

Core sleep : between 2am to 3 am for 3.5 to 4.5 hours
Morning nap : around 9am for 30 minutes (optional)
Noon nap: around 1pm for 30 minutes (always)
Supper nap: around 6pm for 30 minutes (always)

On this schedule, I feel quite normal. I am alert, creative and able to do any activity as if I were monophasic. So I guess I've reached one goal. I've discovered a sleeping pattern that I can maintain for long periods of time that will net me 3.5 - 4.5 extra hours per day.

Next I will venture into the realm of pure polyphasic sleep and see how that goes. How exciting =)

Friday, July 26, 2002

I received the book written by Claudio Stampi today! I'll be reading it over the weekend and I'll post a short review of it soon. After reading the book and a little more research, I will be diving into the 6x30 min. napping schedule. That will reduce my sleeping time per day to 3 hours per 24 hours. Part of me is still sceptical that it will work, but from what I've read people are doing it, and Stampi's subject actually had improved performance after a few weeks.

So stay tuned =) Part two of this experiment will be underway in a little while!

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Day 40

I guess counting the days does not make much sense anymore. I am still living the polyphasic life more days a week than not. But I am not the perfect polyphasic sleeper, I take days off when its impossible to nap -- like over the long weekend of the 4th of July as I had guests and we were out and about doing the tourist thing. It was pretty hard to nap regularly, so I just switched back to the mono life for a few days.

Now I am seriously looking at planning to jump into the full blown schedule. As preparation for that, I am also going to bite the bullet and slap down cash for Stampi's book which can be found here: Why We Nap, by Claudio Stampi. I'll post a review here once I've gotten the book and digested parts of it.

One reason for the new interest is a partial review of that book posted to an Uberman Sleep Support group over at Yahoo Groups ( Since it requires subscribing to read it, I'll copy some interesting bits from the post by Christophe Saout (hope you don't mind Christophe!):

Christphe Saout writes:

In chapter 12 he discusses the "Leonardo da Vinci Ultrashort Sleep Strategy" which is actually exactly the 6x 30min napping strategy.

Stampi had the luck to find a subject that was willing to try living on the Uberman schedule. The subject was a graphic artist, so he appearantly didn't have any trouble to sleep when he wanted to.

The first test lasted only 19 days. He tried it with 15 minute naps, but these were appearantly much too short and he had a lot of napping incidents, overslept, etc...

One year later he tried it again. This time with 30 minute naps. But he didn't try to follow the all-or-nothing strategy described on kuro5hin, he gradually reduced the sleep amount over 10 days. Starting with 8 hours of monophasic sleep, he reduced the core sleep to 3 hours over 5 days while adding 80 minute naps over day (80 minute naps). After these 5 days the nap duration was gradually reduced to 30 minutes. This was done to minimize sleep deprivation in the beginning. At the beginning it's easier to get asleep if have 80 minutes to get asleep, while later, when your brain gets the hang of the rhythm, your ability to get asleep for the 30 minutes naps increases. This is also the result of other studies (there a very many described in the book!).

At the beginning everything went the usual way. The subject was very tired, had some oversleeping accidents, etc... but it was motivated enough to continue and also had enough work. No real crashes.

The interesting thing now is that Stampi told the subject to do some test on a regular basis. Usually 30 minutes after waking up or so to minimize the effects of sleep inertia. These test were 2 kinds of performance analysis tests. The first was the so called "Memory and Search Test" (MAST), the second one the "Descending Subtraction Test" (DST). Okay, the MAST focuses on memory while the DST focuses on "thinking".

Both performance levels rapidly degraded after being on the schedule and remained on this level for two weeks.

But somewherey day 21 something strange happened: The MAST performance suddenly raised over the baseline levels! (baseline = the levels before the schedule with normal 8hour night sleep). And it stayed on this high level for the rest of the test. The DST performance however didn't change much. On day 34 the subject was told sleep for several consecutive hours (how much he could) and then immediately return to the Uberman schedule. Appearantly this worked fine. After that the DST performance also jumped over the baseline levels and stayed there.

After 48 days the test was aborted (not because of any problems, I suppose the subject simply didn't know what to do with all the time or something).

The subject had to wear a special gadget like a wrist watch that recorded when he was asleep or awake. Also an EEG,EOG, EMG and EKG were recorded when possible (to distinguish the types of sleep, REM, NREM, SWS).

What was found: At the beginning the naps mostly containted stage 2 NREM sleep and a reduced amount of stage 3/4 SWS sleep but nearly no stage 5 REM sleep.

After adapting (around day 21) suddenly the relative distribution of the sleep stages (stage 2 NREM, SWS, REM) returned to nearly the same distribution a normal night sleep has (30% REM, 70% NREM). This is very unsual because normally REM sleep is only possible after at least 60 minutes of NREM sleep and only lasts for a few minutes, except in the last half of an 8 hour sleep, where you find a lot of stage 2 and REM sleep. But after having adapted to the Uberman schedule some naps contain a lot of SWS, other contain "only" stage 2 NREM (light sleep) and other contain REM sleep. That's what is being described at kuro5hin, being able to jump directly to REM sleep. But where he was wrong: You won't get only REM sleep, the sleep distribution returns to normal, that's all (but under very unusual and surprising conditions).

Conclusions (from the book):

1. Adult humans appear to have a natural ability to adapt to polyphasic sleep schedules
2. The 4-hr ultradian cycle of sleep-wake pressure previosly described (note: from other studies before) may be an important factor in allowing adaptation to polyphasic patterns
3. The sleep-wake system appears to show a high level of flexibility in terms of sleep timing and duration
4. Polyphasic sleep may be a feasible, and perhaps the only, strategy allowing remarkable levels of sleep reduction during prolonged quasi-continuous work situations, without unduly compromising performance effectiveness.
5. THis may be analogous to what is observed in a considerable number of mammalian species, particularly in thos living in dangerous enviroments.
6. Further studies extended to a larger sample of subjects may provide powerfull tools for developing sleep-wake schedules for individuals involved in irregular or quasi-continuous work situations.
7. These findings and hypothesis raise challenging questions concerning what is known about the regulatory mechanisms of sleep functions.

I find especially the last one very interesting. A lot of scientific research is done without even noticing that other cycles than the monophasic sleep patterns! A lot of assumptions that are right on a normal schedule can't apply to polyphasic sleep. As seen, after 2-3 weeks there is some sort of switch.

Interesting, no? Looks like Stampi did some indepth research into the ultra short sleep schedules. Its nice to know that there is some hard scientific research out there we can use.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Day 33

Not much in the way of updates lately. Yes, I am still on the schedule for the most part. I have rebooted the last few weekends, but beyond that, my core sleep is between 3 and 4.5 hours, and the naps are atill at the same times.

Found a pretty good link for more juicy polyphasic information :

I am thinking of switching to the full system, but still need to find the *courage* =) Now that I've pretty much been in-country for a month, finding things to fill the time is no longer a problem. Instead, I find the opposite true. On those reboot days, I feel like I have lost so much time! I'll use that is another tool to get myself out of bed in the mornings.

Getting up after the core sleep is still pretty difficult, tho I am sometimes finding myself waking up before the alarm goes off. Those are the best days. But on those days when the alarm shatters my peaceful dreamtime, I still have to struggle to get up and into the shower. Maybe if I am a little more strict with the core sleep and limit it to only three hours, instead of flexing it a bit like I have been.

Shane has remarked on the quality of naps when the core sleep is 3 hours or 4.5 hours. With 4.5 hours, its hard to completely fall asleep for the naps, but with 3 hours, its not a problem at all. Lots of variables. I need to think about being a little more strict to get some reliable results instead of all this conjecture.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Day 20

Wow, I can't believe its already day 20!

Welcome, Shane, to the world of the polyphasic sleepers! My friend Shane just decided to join us. I've added his blog as a link of the left hand column. He's decided to live with that egg timer by setting it for 30 minutes and waking on that first 10 minute warning beep. See, we polys are creative!

Brief note on "reboot" days. Every now and then, I've hit a wall or just had an overwhelming need to sleep. I try to make it to Sunday in order to do this so as not to disrupt the other days that are usually filled with various activities. What are "reboot" days? It a day when you get a nice long period of sleep, in essence, rebooting your body to flush out the fatigue and refresh the mind. Harken back to the days when it was recommended to reboot Windows periodically to maintain a healthy computer.

"Reboot" days are not a weekly thing, but I've done it twice in the last 20 days. Basically I turn off all the alarms, egg timers, unplug the phone and just sleep till I wake up. I think its healthy, as it lets your body decide what it needs -- I am not pretending that this polyphasic sleep schedule is good for you, and doing a "reboot" day probably helps a lot in letting the body do what it needs to do while one sleeps.

The day after a "reboot" is pretty good. In fact, I can't nap at all since I've slept for so long. So I nap only when I am tired again (usually around midnight or 1am) and then go back to the core sleep at 4am and the naps. The next day I am very tired but that first nap at noon is a deep refreshing one. Then I feel fine and am back on the polyphasic schedule.

I put this out there as a tool for anyone trying to do this sleep schedule. I think the body will sabotage you and you will find yourself "rebooting" even if you don't plan on doing it. Don't treat that as a slip and get depressed, use it as a tool to keep yourself sane and healthy =)

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

When choosing an egg timer to act as your nap companion, its very important to give it a test drive! The other day, we went out to buy egg timers for a friend that is thinking of joining us in the polyphase world. It was a small, digital egg timer. It seemed very nice and had a fairly loud beep. Good stuff... or was it?

The problem was that this little device decides its a good thing to beep 10 minutes before zero, just to let you know its coming... then beep again at 5 minutes. Not good at all for napping! So these things are worthless and will be returned.
Day 19

Well, I am still officially polyphasic, but I've been modifying my core sleep time depending on my schedule and need to be awake. I am tending closer to 4 hours of core sleep these days as I do not have any pressing or urgent projects at the moment. And I've decided to allow Sundays to be the "reboot" days. Basically I will return to monophasic sleep if I feel the need to "reboot". Which is what I did this past Sunday. I did not set my alarm for my midnight nap, and slept through till morning.

I had forgotten how good it feels to sleep for 10 hours =) But I am back on. The original three are still meeting at the local diner at 1am, 2am and sipping our decaf coffee and wondering what rest of the sleepy city is dreaming...

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Day 15 and 16

Well its day 16. A Saturday, no less, and I managed to get up at 7am! Its been a long productive day and I am actually happy today that I am on this schedule! I was able to do so much stuff, and still get my fill of TV, vids, games, reading and just hanging out.

I think from this point on, I am going to post less. We've been through all the adjustment stories, the tips, tricks, and other notable events. I think from here on out it will be pretty much just trying to fit this schedule into my life and reap the benefits.

I will post when I decide to quit tho, so we can see how many days I continued.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Day 14

Today was very sloppy. I did not roll out of bed till 9:30am... Picture this: Alarm goes off at 7:00am. I get out of bed, walk across the room and hit snooze. I crawl back into bed. 9 minutes later, the alarm goes off again. I get out of bed, walk across the room and hit snooze. I crawl back into bed. 9 minutes later, the alarm goes off again... repeat every 9 minutes for an hour and a half... *smirk* Does that count as 10 naps? The ultimate polyphasic pattern? No, just amusing.

If some alien were watching studying me, I wonder what they would have thought of the intelligence level of this poor creature!

But, yay! Its been two weeks! Now I have to find a way to get motivated to get out of bed in the mornings and stay out of bed and I think I will be fine.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Day 12 and 13

Its pretty important to stick to a semi-strict schedule. The last few nights I've gotten a little sloppy and hit the snooze button a few times. And occasionally skiped a nap because I felt fine... Well it kind of caught up to me today. I was not really falling sleep during my naps anymore, and I thought that was a little odd. This morning it took a monumental effort to get out of bed. I think I was getting sleep deprived and slipping back into monophasic habits. The good thing is that for my noon nap, I fell asleep fast and slept like a baby. It was great and now I feel a lot better. I guess it just takes a day of horrible sleep inertia and then a couple of true naps to get back on track.

For me, mornings are traditionally not a productive time. I've been thinking of moving my core sleep back and getting up at 4am instead of going to sleep at that time, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that may be a bad idea. The chances are that I will just sleep through and hit snooze till its 7 or 8am. So for now, I will keep to the same schedule - core sleep from 4am to 7am and naps at noon, 4pm, 8pm, and midnight.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Other tips for the polyphasic sleeper

  • Get an egg timer - Preferably something that is small enough to carry in your pocket. Being able to nap where ever you happen to be is a good thing. With an egg timer, you can find a shady piece of grass, or curl up under your desk, or even nap in your car and not fear oversleeping. Get an egg timer that has a constant alarm, and not just a single *bing*. It should be something that you have to turn off.

  • Take your vitamins - You body will be under unusual stress as you adjust, so I would recommend some form of vitamin supplements to give you that added edge and lessen the chance of catching a cold or getting ill.

  • Hydrate! - Drink lots of water. It helps to keep the body healthy and prevents dehydration and headaches.

  • No caffine - Caffine is a bad idea during the adjustment phase. It might prevent you from napping properly and that will mess you up and you will just feel worse, and the chance of oversleeping when you do manage to drift off is greater. I've started moderate caffine now that I am adjusted, but during the first 10 days, it was definitely helpful to avoid it.

  • Avoid alcohol - Drinking will mess you up during the adjustment phase. You might fall asleep too soon, or oversleep, or both. Since you are sleep deprived during the adjustment phase, drinking will affect you more than normal. Your body is having a hard enough time getting adjusted. So avoid the beer, wine, etc.

Day 12

I am feeling pretty good today! I am wide awake, able to work, and clear headed. I am in the same mental state as when I was a monophasic sleeper. I guess I am now fully adjusted to this sleep schedule, and have been for the last few days. We'll see in the next few days to make sure, but it looks like 10 days is the time it takes to fully adjust to this cycle.

So if you are thinking of doing this, give yourself at least 10 days to get adjusted. Its a long time, and its easy to quit, but keep at it and you will break through.

I don't think I could have gotten this far without the "support" I've had. Its been in various forms. But taken together, all the things added up and gave me the motivation to continue, even during the worst of it when all I wanted was to sleep.

Things that will help you get through the first 10 days:

  • Start a blog! - For me, it was important to update this blog, so I kept at it to report to you my progress.

  • Do it with friends! - Three of us are doing this currently. Its so much easier when you can talk about how you feel and how its progressing when you have someone who is doing it with you. Plus the slight peer pressure to keep at it definitely helps.

  • Get a list of things to do during those extra hours! Don't start this with no idea what to do during those extra hours you will get. Its too tempting to fall asleep if you are just sitting around bored and waiting for that next nap.

  • Dont let slips discourage you - You will slip and oversleep from time to time. Don't let this discourage you. You'll just sleep more =) Chalk it up to experience and get back on the wagon. From my experience, it does not hurt the adjustment time much, and you are not starting over from day one. Its just a little extra sleep and might even help you to get through the next few days.

BTW, I've pushed through the funk and have been doing little projects all night. Guess it was just a phase and I've gotten over it. Maybe it was a Sunday thing and I just needed to be lazy.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

Day 11

Hit all my naps at the proper times, plus of minus half an hour. Felt pretty good today, although I got hit with a case of apathy. I sat and watched TV most of the day. Totally unproductive. Not sure why, I had several things planned, but I just never seemed to get the motivation to get dressed and going. Instead I loafed on the couch in my sweats all day. I guess thats a pretty normal Sunday for me, but now I just have more time to be a potato.

One would think that with all this extra time, I would be jazzed and diving into a lot of projects... We'll actually thinking back, I did finish the book I was reading. I've been reading it for the past few months, and in the last few days I read the last half.

I am going to try hitting the gym in the morning before work. Hopefully that will give me some extra energy and motivation.

I've also had a low grade headache all day. My eyes hurt as well. Might be the withdrawl from caffine, but more likely my sleep schedule is starting to manifest physically.

Saturday, June 08, 2002

Day 10

Its now day 10. I think that I've started to adjust. I am usually not tired during my waking times, except for just before the nap times. I am still not hitting REM suring naps. But new theory is that we should not be getting REM sleep during naps anyway. We should be getting the light sleep, the kind that is supposed to rejuvinate without leaving you tired. There are so many conflicting articles and notions about sleep, that its hard to know what to believe.

I guess that is part of what this is about, seeing what happens thought first hand experience.

One event that happened today, I lay down for my noon nap. I guess I did not set my egg timer, so I slept on for 4 and a half hours. Oops. Another slip. Funny thing is that now I feel as if I've overslept, that wet blanket type of fog that is a little different from the zombie state of not enough sleep. Ah well. I will skip all the rest of my naps today till the core sleep at 4am since I've gotten the equivalent of 7 and a half hours of sleep now =)

Friday, June 07, 2002

Day 8 and 9

Sorry I could not post yesterday. The power went out yesterday. They say it was a tree, but can a single tree take out a city? It was the alien space craft, I just know it. (just kidding, I am not the victim of sleep deprived illusions).

Yesterday was hot, and there was no power. Amazing how reliant we are on electricity. My life just kinda stopped. No TV, no Internet, no nothing. I couldn't even read in the evening since it was dark. I was feeling pretty miserable from the heat. Naps were all light.

Today I got up and feel really good. Its hard to believe that I have been going to bed at 4:30am each day and getting up at 7:30am, plus a couple of snooze buttons here and there. This cycle seems to work for me.

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

4pm nap. Was feeling sleepy just before. It was the good drool-all-over-the-pillow kind of sleep. Felt great after.

Talk today about moving the core sleep about a bit. 2am - 5am or 3am - 6am. Its summer and it would be nice to get more core sleep time in. I think 1am to 4am might fit my own schedule well.
Day 7

One week has passed! So I am half way through the initial two week trial. If I am fully functional at the end of the next 7 days, I will continue this throughout the summer and see how it goes.

Today feels fairly normal. Took a nap at 11:20am and did manage to fall asleep. Good sign. Getting up after 3 hours of sleep is getting easier, but its still by no means easy. I've been able to attend meetings and even fix bugs (I am a programmer by trade) so I think I am over the hump and can be productive and not dangerous =)

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

I've been hitting all the naps on time, and I am actually falling asleep now. Thats a good thing. I was a bit worried that I was not falling asleep, thus missing out on the important REM sleep, but I've started to adjust. Its really quite hard to sleep when its bright out. I may have to invest in a pair of sleeping shades, you know, the kind you get on airplanes to sleep. Reminds me of my friend Roger who wore them on his head all the time as a kind of hat... but that is another story.
Day 6

Today I feel pretty good. I am not tired, and my brain seems to be working. I've been hitting all my naps and not oversleeping. This morning, I awoke from core sleep a few minutes before the alarm went off. I actually felt really good at that time, even though I had only been asleep for 3 hours. I was pleasantly suprised! Of course I shut my eyes to wait for the alarm and was awoken 4 minutes later feeling pretty tired. Morale of the story: get your butt out of bed as soon as you wake up!

I am clear headed, alert and ready to go today. I hope that I've passed over the hump and things get easier from now on. Of course, this could be one of those random things and there is no hump, just endless days of tired torture... We'll see over the next week how it goes.

Monday, June 03, 2002

Day 5

It was pretty hard to get up this morning, but not as hard as it was on Saturday. Back to work starting today, so things should be easier. Its more convenient to regiment a schedule with work to provide the skeleton. Plus Karl and Mark are about so there is that mutual support thing which helps a lot. I probably could not have done this alone, this long. So if you out there are thinking of doing this, grab a friend or two and make them do it with you =) It will increase your odds of success, I guarantee it.

Took till about 10am for the sleep inertia to wear off. But after it did, I feel relatively normal and alert.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

My ISP has been out most of the day, and it still drops the connection every five minutes, but fear not! I have not forgotten day 4!

The day started in tradgedy for this experiment. I lay down for my midnight nap, and set the egg timer for 20 minutes. Well, the egg timer either did not work, or I rolled over on it and paused it, or I slept right throught it. Lets just say that I got many naps worth of sleep all at once this time.

I was so upset when I did wake up, but then I realised that this is not a life or death situation, its just a bunch of guys changing their sleep patterns. But I am disappointed since I have no idea how this will effect the cycle. I have been taking naps all day afterwards at the proper times, so hopefully I did not reset back to day one.

Oh well. We forge on! I knew there would be slip ups, and I guess its a good sign that it took till day 4 for it to happen. What one really needs during the adjustment phase is a master seargant yelling at you to get your lazy butt out of bed! when the times to wake up roll around. =)

I've been avoiding caffine all day, and you know what? Its easier to fall asleep for the naps. And I have not felt all caffine deprived at all since I am mildly tired all the time anyway =)

Saturday, June 01, 2002

No caffine today for me. After this mornings fatigue wore off, I've been feeling okay all day. My naps are starting to work; I am falling sleep during the naps at last. I am a little concerned about the sleep inertia (the grogginess you feel after sleeping more than 20 minutes) from the core sleep. This morning sucked, plain and simple. It was painful. I am contemplating a move to the full blown Uberman with naps at 4am and 8am to replace the core sleep and avoid that sleep inertia. But I will continue with this current schedule for at least another week to give it a good run for its money. Hopefully waking from core sleep wont be as bad in the next few days.
Day 3

I always thought that today would be the worst day. You know what? It is! I woke up this morning after core sleep and was completely zombifed. I think that today, I will have no problems falling asleep for the naps. Up till now, I've only fallen asleep during a couple of the naps and none were REM sleep naps, just light sleep. Today I hope to crash down through the sleep stages and hit REM. We'll see. The way I feel right now, I think that will be no problem.

Duh.... Brain. Not. Working. Sorry this is not my most eloquent entry, my brain is not quite working yet.

Oh yeah, I wanted to mention caffine. I think that its not a good idea to use if you are a polyphasic sleeper. It messes with naps and prevents deep restful sleep during them. I could be wrong, but I am going to try the next couple days without caffine and see if I can nap better.

Friday, May 31, 2002

Day 2

Well, I've made it to day 2. I think this will be the real start of the adjustment period. I am pretty brain dead this morning. Thoughts are slower, and I find myself spacing out if I am not activly engaged in some task. Coffee, mmm. Not sure how coffee will effect my naps, but its helping me to stay awake. I am tried, but not as tired as I expected.

According to Dr. Stampi, the adjustment time to this schedule is 3.5 days with a 1.5 day deviation. So at best, I will be adjusted sometime today! I doubt that, but definitely tomorrow or the next day. I can do that. I am kind of worried it will take over a week like some people reported. We'll see, I am optimistic that I will make it through to the otherside.

And to keep with the spirit of this journal to report my progress truthfully, I must confess a slight slip. My alarm clock did not go off this morning (or I slept right through it, but that is doubtful). I managed to wake up on my own tho, only 40 minutes after the time I was supposed to get up. So core sleep last night was the 3 hours, plus an extra 40. And since it took me a little while to fall asleep, I think the slip is minor, but what suprised me is that I woke up on my own. Thats a good sign, I think. To prevent further slips, I am going to use two alarms.
I've just risen from my midnight nap. Now the home stretch to 4am when I can sleep soundly for 3 hours...

I just have to make a brief comment about time. Our lives are so structured and patterned. We wake up the same time every day. We go to the same school or job and put in our time, rushing home to catch our favorite TV show, get some chores done, and maybe have a little time for a hobby or a social life in the mix somewhere.

Well, today I stood and peered into the vast expanse of ... time. I have bucket loads of it! I know I started this experiment with the idea of getting 4 to 6 extra hours per day, but it did not really hit me till today what that really means. I am so locked into my patterns of daily life, that I do not know what to do with all this extra time! From the time I left work at 6pm till my real sleep at 4am, I have 10 hours! Oh. My. God.

I woke up at midnight and realized I still had four hours of quite time. Time when all sane people are asleep. And let me tell you, late night TV is not something I wish to get accustomed to... So here I am. I've done my TV, my reading, my chores. Its 1am, and I have three hours to enjoy. Guess its time to do some thinking and find something to fill this time with. Something. Time. Here I am with exactly what I wished for, and have no clue how to use it!

Sorry for the side path, its just I find it extremely amusing.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

8pm nap is over. I fell into a very sound sleep, even though there is a heat wave and the room was a sauna! Kinda sleepy dazed right now tho. Need to do something to clear the head -- EQ? Sure =)
Just a quick update. Noon nap was great, felt good and refreshed after 20 minutes. Prior to nap, I had a few periods where I was pretty drowsy. I can just imagine it getting worse over the next few days before the body adjusts. I would recommend anyone tying this to minimize driving or operating heavy machinery during the adjustment time!

About to hit the 4pm nap. Been wide awake since the noon nap.
Day 1 - 9:30am

Well, Karl, Mark and I have been through one day. Its been 24 hours since we started anyway. I am very sleepy as you can imagine. We met at a local diner at 2am for decaf coffee and pie. Then I slept from 4am to 7am. It was hard to wake up, but not impossible. First core sleep is passed, now I am looking forward to the naps! Yesterday's naps were kind of meaningless -- I never really fell asleep -- as we started into the nap cycle with a full nights sleep behind us. But today with only 3 hours of sleep, the naps should be for real.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Some notes:

Most people are monophasic sleepers, that is, they get all their daily sleep in a single long period. I believe that we are perfectly capable of polyphasic sleep, which just means that we can get our sleep in several sleeping periods instead of one long one. But how long do you need to sleep? Polyphasic sleep is not very common and the most cited examples are from popular pop-myth of Thomas Edison and DaVinci never sleeping, just taking catnaps throughout the day. But there is very little documented examples of polyphasic sleep. So to help fill that void, some friends and I are donating our sleep to science and attempting some polyphasic sleep schedules.

After some perliminary research, it seems that 15-20 minutes is an ideal time to nap. Any longer and "sleep inertia" over comes the benefits of a short nap. Sleep inertia is the groggy disorientation after a nap longer than 20 minutes. If a nap is longer than 20 minutes, then it should be at least 1.5 hours to overcome the negatives of the sleep inertia.

Sleep Cycles:
Another tid bit I found is the claim that people sleep in 1.5 hour cycles. So ideal sleep times are in multiples of 1.5 hours, ie. 3 hours, 4.5 hours, 6 hours, 7.5 hours (or my past favorite 9 hours!).

The Conjecture:
I am making the conjecture that people are designed to have 6 sleep cycles. I further conjecture that missed sleep cycles can be made up for with a 20 minute nap (to avoid sleep inertia but get the benefits of the nap).

Thus a five cycle person (who sleeps 7.5 hours a night) can get great benefit from a single 20 minute nap during the day.

And at its furthest extreme, some one who never sleeps a full cycle can function with six 20 minute naps, once every 4 hours -- the ideal uberman schedule.

For this experiment, we are thinking of doing a 3 hour core sleep, which is two cycles, so we will need to get four additional naps throughout the day. If we sleep from 4am to 7am, that leaves 21 hours of wakeful time, with four 20 minute naps -- one every 4 hours or so, at noon, 4pm, 8pm, and midnight. On a full uberman cycle, you would also nap at 4am and 8am and skip the core sleep.
Welcome. This blog was created to keep a running journal/diary of an experiment with alternative sleep methods. In particular, a small group of us are attempting to adjust to the Uberman Sleep Schedule, more technically described as a polyphasic sleep schedule. The essence of it is a short 3 hour core sleep time in the early morning, and several 20 minute naps (every 4 hours) spaced throughout the day.

A few months ago, there was a post on Slashdot that led to two articles about the Uberman Sleep schedule. You can find them here:

Intrigued, I tried to find more information, but sadly, there was little to be found. But some co-workers I sent the links to were also intrigued, and we are now setting off on an experimental trial of this sleep shcedule to see if it actually delivers its promise: 6 extra wakeful and productive hours a day with no side effects.

A few days ago, it was discovered that there is actually a lot of information out there about Uberman Sleep, but its technical title is "polyphasic sleep". There is even a book written by a Dr. Stampi, C. (1992). Why we nap: Evolution, chronobiology, and functions of polyphasic and ultrashort sleep. Boston: Birkhauser.

One person's experiences:
Royal Airforce article on napping:

I'll keep a running journal of how it goes, and any research links I come across.