T Nation

Polyphasic Sleeping

Anyone have any experiences with polyphasic sleeping? Described as the “sleep of genius” it is supposed to have a great effect on your creativity and increase your production due to spending 2/24 hours sleeping.

"Polyphasic sleep is known to sleep researchers as a variant of a sleep pattern that is set in opposition to monophasic sleep. In monophasic sleep, an individual or an animal sleeps in a single block during a single wake-sleep cycle of 24 hours. Polyphasic sleep is also set apart from a biphasic sleep in which there are two blocks of sleep in 24 hours, i.e. the night sleep and the typical Latin siesta - the “6th hour nap”.

Polyphasic sleep is quite widespread in animal kingdom. In a recapitulation of phylogeny, human babies also sleep polyphasically, and gradually lose their nap slots until they become roughly biphasic around the age of one. Human adults, as much as all great apes, are largely biphasic. Although a majority of westerners do not nap on a regular basis their alertness shows a slump in alertness in the middle of the subjective day. This slump can consolidate in a short block of sleep in free-running conditions.

The theory behind the Uberman’s Sleep Schedule is that with some effort, we can entrain our brain to sleep along the ancient polyphasic cycle and gain lots of waking time on the way, mostly by shedding the lesser important stages of sleep (e.g. shortening Stage 1 of NREM, which seems to be just a transition state to the more “useful” stages of slow wave sleep)."


Done it. ‘Some effort’ was about a month and a half of failed attempts. Finally finished the adaptation period (two consecutive weeks) got on the cycle, felt smoothe, and then intentionally cycled back. It got boring and lonely, and I still wasn’t more productive.

Would highly recommend the experience though. You pretty much gotta be a badass. This is not for the faint of heart.

I was not lifting at the time and cannot comment on what it did to my gains.

Steve Pavlina kept a decent blog of his experience, which I found helpful, although I think he glosses over most of the grunge and grit involved. Also, there’s been some limited scientific inquiry on this done by a guy with a REDICULOUSLY expensive book and an italian name. Fortunately, it was in circulation at my University Library at the time.

i think this was on a seinfeld episode…needless to say it didn’t work out to well for kramer and i doubt it’s an optimal approach for any human being.

I knew a guy in college who did this. He claimed it worked great, but he seemed out of it all of the time.