The Idea behind Polyphasic Sleep

The core idea of polyphasic sleep is dividing the sleeping time into several periods. There are lots of sleeping patterns known and practiced by people around the world.

Why should you try polyphasic sleep?

1 Better quality sleep

2 Feel more awake

3 Save time

4 Defeat insomnia

Better quality sleep

Polyphasic sleep can not only save your time but also increase the quality of sleep. Actually our monophasic sleep is not a natural way of sleeping.

While we may only require about 8 hours of sleep, Mother Earth gives us 12 hours of darkness. As a result, humans evolved what we call biphasic sleeping patterns. After sleeping for several hours humans used to wake up and be active in the midnight hours and then returned to bed again. You may have a look at this article for more detailed information.

This biphasic sleeping pattern is reported to have been the norm all the way up until the late 1800's. It just so happens that the lightbulb was also invented about the same time. There were lots of experiments that prove positive effects of biphasic sleep.

Feel more awake

Power napping is a big part of polyphasic sleep. Power nap is a small (20–30 min) sleeping interval that you may take in the middle of the day. All researches prove that it helps to refresh your mind, work more effectively and feel energized and rested all day long. Check this WebMD article for additional information about napping.

Save time (after adaptation, without any side effects)

Polyphasic sleep is a very attractive life hack as you can save 3–4 hours of sleep without any side effects. That equals one extra day a week that can be a huge benefit since time is currently the most valuable resource in the world.

Defeat insomnia

Polyphasic sleep is all about dividing the sleeping time into several periods. It is pretty similar to how insomnia works. Well known polyphasic sleeper Puredoxyk originally was a hard insomniac before she started Uberman and Everyman schedules. She shares her experience in her blog http://www.puredoxyk.com/index.php/polyphasic-sleep-portal/.

How does polyphasic sleep work?

By itself, a sleep is an iterative process, and the brain wakes up and goes back to sleep 4–5 times during one sleep session. Every sleeping cycle takes 1.5 hours and consists of 5 phases that are not equally important.

When you break up a big sleeping interval into smaller pieces, the body starts to use the sleeping time more effectively, reducing the duration of inferior phases and periods of brain awakeness.
First 4 phases are slow sleeping and the last one is called REM-phase (Rapid Eye Movement).

The brain is the most active during the third and fourth stage of slow sleeping and during the REM-phase. The first and the second slow sleeping phases are transitional to make you sleep. Over time the portion of slow sleeping phases will diminish, while duration of the REM-phase will increase. It is remarkable that all 4 phases of slow sleep have to occur consequentially, whereas fast sleeping stage can be achieved directly.


Architecture of average man sleeping phases

You can get more detailed information on www.polyphasicsociety.com It is a community of biohackers and lifestyle designers. They are not medical specialists but very literate in the science behind polyphasic sleep.

The other source of information is puredoxyk blog. There are lots of posts created by real long term polyphasic sleeper.

Adaptation strategy

Perfect adaptation strategy consist of several stages lasting 1–2 weeks depending on individual.

Stage 1. Biphasic sleep

Before you start your adaptation make sure to have a stable sleeping regime. Keep going to bed at time you used to, but start waking up after 3.5–4 hrs of sleep and spend 1.5–2 hrs awake. Than return to bed for another 3.5–4 hours of sleep. If it is difficult for you to get up try to slightly vary the length of your sleep and find the perfect option. You should not feel any side effects.

Stage 2. Learning to nap

Learning to nap is a tricky part. You reduce the length of your second sleeping interval to 2 hrs and try to take 30 min nap during the day time. Firstly it would not be easy to fall asleep and have a nap. You may start just form closing your eyes and trying to relax. Since you take less sleep during the night you start feeling a bit sleepy in the middle of the day. And finally you learnt to fall asleep really quickly and exactly on time you plan the nap.

Stage 3. Polyphasic sleep

Since you know how to nap it is not hard to reduce your second sleep interval by another 1.5 hrs and substitute it with nap. After some practice you can improve your napping skills and your standard nap will last for only 20 minutes.

What is SmartSleep app?

SmartSleep application will be a useful tool both for beginners and experienced polyphasic sleepers.

Functionality for polyphasic sleepers:

  • Automatic notifications and alarms. SmartSleep application will take all responsibilities on controlling your schedule. You will never need to manually cancel notifications and move alarms if you want to nap right now. Just push the "Sleep" button.
  • Statistic collecting. SmartSleep collects extended statistic of your sleep — how much time do you save each day and have already saved so far.
  • Share your achievements with friends.
  • Game-based alarms. Besides just pushing the button to switch the alarm off you would need to complete a random task like find pairs, check memory etc. This will help your mind to wake up.

Functionality for beginners:

  • Schedule creation wizard. Application proposes the optimal schedule based on questionnaire about your lifestyle.
  • Adaptation planning. SmartSleep will create a gentle multistage adaptation plan. The basic algorithms of adaptation are described below.
  • Buit-in encyclopedia. Useful articles and tips will help you to improve the quality of sleep.
  • Schedule adjustment. SmartSleep application regularly asks your feedback on how do you feel and adjust the schedule accordingly.

The key feature — schedule adjustment

If you miss a sleeping interval, you can start feeling worse and get tired easily. What should you do in this case? SmartSleep will automatically make a transitional schedule for you that will get you back in the place.

Some drawbacks and medical issues
(make sure to check this)

You should strongly follow your schedule and miss naps only in case of emergency. In fact not so many people can do it.

Polyphasic sleep is strongly prohibited for people under 18 years old. Unusual sleeping pattern can influence the development of immature body.

Anybody with cardiovascular/any organ dysfunction/poor lymphatic function should not attempt any schedule that eliminates sleep under 6.5–7 hours.

First couple of days of the new regime can be rather difficult but when adaptation is completed you will feel fully energized. If it doesn’t happen or something goes wrong, try to get more rest, you can always contact us for competent advice. Some people just need to sleep more than others. In any case, you need to listen to your body and senses.