2023-05-09 Genre: Articles

Polyphasic Sleep: Analysis

A different take on sleeping habit.

Polyphasic sleep is the practice of sleeping during multiple periods over the course of 24 hours, in contrast to monophasic sleep, which is one period of sleep within 24 hours. There are different kinds of sleeping habits where the most followed schedule specially in my country and also in the whole world is the monophasic sleep.

We usually sleep at night and work in the day in big chunks. Humans evolved as a diurnal (active during the day) species; we don’t see especially well during the night, and the hunting method that helped early humans catch large prey, which saw groups track them to exhaustion, works best if you can see where you’re going. It is safe to say that it's an evolutionary advantage, or is it?

I got interested in polyphasic sleep after the video from No Boilerplate. Though I haven't yet started to implement it. I have been researching about it extensively. I am a student with classes from 10:00 to 17:00 every day excluding Saturday as the weekend. So, my sleeping habits should be managed according to that schedule. And attending club events and working there after the college time, I have to cram in some sleep into the busy schedule.

Why ?

Computer Engineering has been an experience till now. This first year I failed miserably, the two semesters went by so fast, I wasn't able to do much except tinker around with this site and procrastinate by writing poems when I had time. 6 subjects in the first semester and 5 in the second, these were basic subjects but now in the third semester things are not going to be easy as it was before. 7 core subjects in 5 months is not very easy to handle. Especially being the class representative who has to manage class schedules, inform the whole class about notices, maintain the teacher-class relation, be available for almost anything regarding the class anytime and unfortunately should be okay with getting calls from unknown numbers any time of the day, which sometimes gets very frustrating.

Enough of the rant, I need to manage time, and it should not be like how I did in the first year, It was a mess. I need my working time to be the maximum amount and that means the sleep time should be the minimum healthy amount without it making me sick and unproductive. And I see polyphasic sleep as one of the ways to tackle that problem.

What ?

Polyphasic sleeping generally tends rely on the observation that our brain only gets about 2 hours of REM in every night of sleep. Hence, the main goal is to fall asleep to the REM phase and not waste time in deep sleep which is the rest of the time spent on sleep. Deep sleep is considered restful for the body but no more than waking forms of rest. Hence, the difficult part is to get to the REM sleep instantly.

There are many schedules for polyphasic sleep; biphasic, everyman, dual core, tri core, core only, nap only, flexible and non-reducing. Which have their own benefit and time constrains. Most of these are either very difficult to follow or do not work with my schedule and the schedules like Uberman and Dymaxion are very very difficult to follow but not impossible.

Scientist, artist, engineer, and inventor Leonardo da Vinci, who lived from 1452 to 1519, reportedly used an Uberman schedule to sleep for 20 minutes every four hours. Other engineers and inventors may have applied this unconventional sleep pattern, such as Nikola Tesla, who lived from 1856 to 1943. Though this sleeping schedule never quite took hold among the general public, polyphasic sleep rose in prominence in the 1940s as inventor Buckminster Fuller touted his Dymaxion method, which was four equidistant 30m naps taken every 6 hours, totaling only 2h of sleep a day.

Which ?

According to my routine I am leaning toward the Everyman Schedules. Particularly the alternate variant of the Everyman Two Schedule somewhat equidistant which is one of the rarest Everyman Two scheduling options. According to polyphasic.net, The ideas behind this scheduling option are:

  • Use the core as a blanket duration to stay awake until very late morning hours (close to noon/lunch break).

  • Once adapted, the night will feel much shorter as there is more time awake until almost noon. The core usually starts around midnight or slightly earlier; this trait can resemble certain reduced monophasic lifestyles with a very early morning wake time.

Though I can't follow the exact schedule, I am thinking of modifying it in a way that fits with my daily routine.

Modifications ?

Unmodified Everyman Two: Somewhat Equidistant variant:

  Core Sleep : 00:00 - 04:30 (4hours and 30 minutes)
  Nap I      : 10:30 - 10:50 (20 minutes)
  Nap II     : 17:00 - 17:20 (20 minutes)

  Total Sleep: 5 hours and 10 minutes

My variant:

  Core Sleep :  00:00 - 04:30 (4hours and 30 minutes)
  Nap I      :  08:30 - 08:50 (20 minutes)
  Midday Nap :    ~ 14:00 ~   (20 minutes)
  Nap II     :  18:00 - 18:20 (20 minutes)

  Total Sleep: 5 hours and 30 minutes

So ?

Adaptation is the most difficult thing to start anything. There are recommendations to jump start adaptation like; staying awake before starting, naptation and cold turkey. This is just me analyzing the possibilities. I'll write another article about it if I fail or succeed in the adaptation. Until then, goodnight!