Sleep

For the past couple of weeks Frank and I have been experimenting with a polyphasic sleep schedule. Polyphasic sleeping means that you sleep more than twice a day in comparison to monophasic (sleep once a day) or biphasic (sleep twice a day) sleeping. Being on a monophasic sleeping schedule normally means only having one long core sleep, most likely during the night. A biphasic sleeping schedule adds in a nap somewhere in the day, usually in the afternoon.

Through some research, we discovered that there are some set patterns for polyphasic sleep routines that people have used: everyman, dymaxion, and uberman. The everyman usually includes one core sleep in addition to 2-3 naps throughout the day. The dymaxion removes the core sleep and replaces it instead with roughly four 30 minute naps in the span of 24 hours. The uberman is similar to the dymaxion in the sense that there is no core sleep. It is instead replaced by six 20 minute naps, being broken up roughly every four hours.

Frank and I have started with the everyman schedule to experiment. We decided to try this because we felt like we didn’t have enough hours in the day to work with. This was our schedule that we were working with:

Time Activity Duration
6am Training 2 hrs
8am Breakfast 1 hrs
9am Training 3 hrs
12pm Lunch 2 hrs
2pm Training 5 hrs
7pm Dinner 1 hrs
8pm Free 2 hrs
10pm Sleep 8 hrs

As seen, with our normal biphasic schedule, we had an 8 hour core sleep with about a 30 minute break at lunch and trained for 10 hours a day. In addition to this, we still had to eat and do chores during our meal blocks. This meant that we would only had about 2 hours each day to work

Now, we sleep around 9:30pm, wake up around 2am, and have two 15 minute naps during the day. With our new schedule, we only sleep for about 4.5 hours but are able to “free up” about 4 hours a day.

Time Activity Hours
6am Training 2 hrs
8am Nap 15 min
8:15am Breakfast 45 min
9am Training 3 hrs
12pm Lunch 1 hrs
1pm Nap 15 min
1:15pm Free 45 min
2pm Training 5 hrs
7pm Dinner 1 hr
8pm Free 1.5 hrs
9:30pm Sleep 4.5 hrs
2am Free 4 hrs

There are both pros and cons to this new schedule:

  • Pros: It’s nice being able to work without any noises or interruptions, I get a longer block of time to concentrate on specific things, and Frank and I usually have a morning chat session when we both take a break.
  • Cons: It can be tough waking up at 2am in the morning, it’s difficult to sleep and wake on time during breaks, and it can be a bit stressful to keep the schedule while trying to fit in cooking or livestock duties.

As of now, we are both interested in experiencing the other sleep schedules, but I don’t think we would keep them for very long. After this first experience with polyphasic sleeping, I have realized how much I enjoy sleeping. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, when I get to close my eyes and lay down, it’s probably one of the best things in the world.


Graphs provided by Wikipedia.com.

One thought on “Sleep

  1. Interesting experiment. One of the things to keep in mind is that the deeper sleep cycles (including REM sleep) are the ones that are really effective in terms of body/mind restoration. I think the dymaxion or uberman cycles would actually kill you eventually, or at least mess up your mind pretty badly. Biphasic is actually the most efficient, in terms of providing higher energy levels over an extended period of time. In other words, if you need to work a 12+ hour day regularly, napping somewhere in the middle will result in higher performance over the entire period than not doing so.Also worth noting that the U.S. Marines a while back determined that a single stretch of 4 hours is the minimum amount of sleep necessary for someone to operate at close to 100% capacity for the following day (although that someone isn't necessarily happy about it).

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