Polyphasic Schedule Update

I’ve been working on the schedule of 2, 6, 10 and it’s been okay, but I’ve noticed that my workday seems very staccato and broken up into pieces. I’ve decided to try shifting everything by 2 hours and see how that works. So far, it’s been better already. I’ll be taking 3 naps at work instead of two, but my day won’t be so rigidly focused on the last nap at 6 and whether I head home at 5 or 6:30 so I don’t miss my nap.

This means I’ll get to work a little early, take my first nap at 8, then one at lunch, and then one before I go home and my commute schedule is more flexible. I’m excited that my day will be more coherent.

Slow Polyphasic Adaptation

It’s become tradition that when the due date of a child approaches, I start going Polyphasic again. It’s been about a week since I started acclimating, and I’m trying a very non-committal method. It’s been reasonably effective, so far, and I figured I’d share the ups and downs.

I’ve always been a cold-turkey acclimator in the past. Give up sleep as much as possible as fast as possible and pray for the strength and willpower to get through the first 2-3 weeks. I’ve done it before with good success, but it’s never been a pleasant ride, especially now that I’m married with children.

My wife suggested that I just start taking naps for a week before starting acclimation to make sure that the schedule would work for me. I figured it probably wouldn’t hurt, it would help my body remember how to nap since it’s been almost 2 years since my last foray into polyphasic, and that maybe it would be a more pleasant want to acclimate.

So far, so good. The first week was a little odd. I didn’t nap well, mostly because I wan’t tired, but I’ve remembered a lot of the techniques for falling asleep quickly, and 7 days in, I feel like my naps are starting to become productive. I’ve always had success with the 2, 6, 10 schedule, so I’ve been doing that again this time. I plan to stay up till my 2 AM nap, then sleep till 6 am as the last step of acclimation before going full √úbermann. I expect to be tired but functional tomorrow, a big change from the usual completely useless for 3 days process I’ve done in the past.

Wish me luck, if this works, I’m going to be recommending it to people as a decent means of testing out the schedule in their lives.

Polyphasic Week 1

It’s been seven days since I decided to kick off what is probably the tenth time I’ve tried polyphasic. It’s been about two years since my last real attempt at adaptation, and the amount of time between attempts shows. My naps have been a little less effective, and I’ve found a few different quirks than I remember when it comes to napping. On the bright side, I’ve got a wife who’s excited to keep me on track as well as a job where I feel comfortable taking naps during the day.

I’m in a different mental place than usual when adapting. I’ve always approached polyphasic with a hardcore attitude, focusing on a perfect first three days and then trying to keep everything calm for the next two to three weeks. This time, I’ve been very lax with my structure, skipping naps, taking a core nap some nights, and in general trying to enjoy the experience of adaptation. I’ve never really minded being tired, but knowing that I have an option to work on it while still moving forward (I hope) in adaptation is refreshing. It feels like I can’t possibly fail, since there’s no real way to do so.

I’ve been tracking my feelings about each nap in a Google spreadsheet that I’ve kept pinned. It’s more accessible than a blog post, since I don’t feel like I need to be witty or even grammatically correct when I make my updates. I don’t know how useful it is in terms of data gathering, but the consistency is easier, and nice. I’d still like to get hold of a brain wave analyzer or at least one of the sleep trackers that’s out there to do better data gathering/analysis.

I’ve always been a good napper, but before when I’d try adaptation for about one month every year, I could fall back into a routine without too much trouble. Three days after starting, I’d feel like I was well on my way to true polyphasic bliss. This time, I’m distracted by noises more easily, and I feel like I’ve lost some of my confidence when it comes to falling asleep quickly. I’ve gotten some of it back over the week, reminding myself that even missing a nap here and there during adaptation isn’t a big deal, but the stress of lying down, feeling so tired, and not being able to sleep is frustrating. It gets easier. I need to remember.

All in all, I’ve slept about 30 hours in the last week instead of the usual 56 hours. What have I been doing with my time? Playing a lot of Hearthstone in preparation for our 24-hour gaming marathon this Saturday, watching some True Detective, working on Gallerus, and building/painting things in the wood shop. I guess I’m enjoying hobbies a little more now that I have some time to do them. Do you think my neighbors would mind me using the weed eater at three AM?

Polyphasic week 3

Things have started to solidify now; I’ve been having dreams, including one rare nightmare, waking up without my alarm, and feeling great during the day. The only real problem I’m facing is my 4:30 am nap. I have trouble waking up from it and I have trouble staying awake after. I find myself bobbing my head, drifting off, even in the middle of a battle of DiablO III. Travesty, I know.

I don’t know how to handle the lack of acclimation I’m feeling. Usually by now, I’m on cloud 9 and way too wired to worry about any of this. The surroundings are really different, the company is different, the job is different, I guess it’s not too much of a stretch to think that my acclimation might be different, too.

I wonder how much of this is stress-related, though. I’ve been feeling a lot of stress lately from various facets of my life and I could easiy point the problems I’ve been having at that. In the past, polyphasic has helped alleviate my stress and I fee, some of that now, but not to the same degree, I feel less in control of my life in general, so maybe the effects are stifled. Im still on track with about 3.5 hours of sleep a day on average, so regardless of difficulty, I’m still doing very well considering.

My wife’s recommended the compromise of the everyman schedule and I think she may have a good point. I’m going to research it tomorrow and see what that schedule should look like and whether I could easily fit it into the work schedule that had been working so well for me so far.

Polyphasic Day 7 – Missing Naps

Sometimes, things just don’t work out the way you planned. I’m not giving up polyphasic, oh no, I mean the whirlwind, last-minute road trip to LA that left me missing two naps in a row on Sunday. That was definitely not planned and reminded me the grave situation that polyphaic puts you in.

I’ve experienced missing naps before. When I was fully acclimated, I could skip a nap here or there without too much downside. In fact, I found that if I skipped a nap, I could just sleep that night for about 2 hours and not notice much difference. This was something that had to be done sparingly, but was sustainable. Missing two naps in a row, though, was like a death sentence.

Missing a nap is like staying up all night. You get that excited pump of your brain being overworked, but you can deal with it. You can function, but if you relax you fall asleep. Going two days without sleep can cause hallucinations, physical problems, or worse. That’s where I was last night after the road trip.

Take this as both a learning experience and a warning. You’re never more than 8 hours from being legally insane, and you’re a slave to your nap times. If you don’t sleep during your nap, you didn’t nap. That’s the meat of it. I laid down in bad places, with too much noise, without precaution and I paid the price.

That said, the 7 hours I slept last night were sufficient to put me back on track and I expect a difficult but doable evening. Laundry night, here I come!

Polyphasic Day 5

Shirt
I'm on vacation
Yesterday was busy. Trying to fit a nap in with chores and errands was difficult. My wife and I spent most of the night driving, and I think it was a little premature. I took an extra nap between my 12:30 and 4:30 naps because I didn’t trust myself on the road. It was too early, and I’d like to stress this a little more. Take your time. The reason for driving was important, and we felt the risk was worth it, but in hindsight, it was probably reckless.

I overslept once this afternoon. All of my oversleeps this far have been in a bed, not a chair. I really need to be better about that and ask for help if I crash in a bed or just really focus on the chair. I’ve got 2 more nights and days to make sure acclimation is close enough that I’ll be useful at work. I know I can do it, I just need to kick up the urgency a bit. I’ve been approaching this acclimation with a lackadaisical attitude and I think that’s hurt. Sure, it’s old hat, it’s been done 4 times before, but it’s still tough, and I shouldn’t be so cocky. My brain doesn’t want to change, it’s sheer willpower that motivates me, and I need to remember that.

Night before last, I managed to get some programming in during the wee hours. It’s nice to know that my brains still seem to function well at 4:00 am, even with a little sleep dep in there.

I’ve been on the Four-Hour Body diet for over a month now and I feel it’s pretty sustainable, even with polyphasic. I know Ferris has a chapter on polyphasic and whether it works with the diet, but I don’t know if he’s addressed my big question, “If I have 22 hours awake in the day, when does my ‘cheat day’ begin and end?” I opted for midnight to midnight, but I doubt he really has a recommendation for this. I’ll post here if I find anything.

Biphasic Sleeping Matrix

I built a simple matrix for when you should sleep on an ideal biphasic system assuming that you sleep 4 hours at night and 1.5 hours during the day. If you have a work or school schedule, this should help you figure out when you can work your midday naps into your schedule.

12:00:00 AM 4:00:00 AM 1:15:00 PM 2:45 PM
1:00:00 AM 5:00:00 AM 2:15:00 PM 3:45 PM
2:00:00 AM 6:00:00 AM 3:15:00 PM 4:45 PM
3:00:00 AM 7:00:00 AM 4:15:00 PM 5:45 PM
4:00:00 AM 8:00:00 AM 5:15:00 PM 6:45 PM
5:00:00 AM 9:00:00 AM 6:15:00 PM 7:45 PM
6:00:00 AM 10:00:00 AM 7:15:00 PM 8:45 PM
7:00:00 AM 11:00:00 AM 8:15:00 PM 9:45 PM
8:00:00 AM 12:00:00 PM 9:15:00 PM 10:45 PM
9:00:00 AM 1:00:00 PM 10:15:00 PM 11:45 PM
10:00:00 AM 2:00:00 PM 11:15:00 PM 12:45 AM
11:00:00 AM 3:00:00 PM 12:15:00 AM 1:45 AM
12:00:00 PM 4:00:00 PM 1:15:00 AM 2:45 AM
1:00:00 PM 5:00:00 PM 2:15:00 AM 3:45 AM
2:00:00 PM 6:00:00 PM 3:15:00 AM 4:45 AM
3:00:00 PM 7:00:00 PM 4:15:00 AM 5:45 AM
4:00:00 PM 8:00:00 PM 5:15:00 AM 6:45 AM
5:00:00 PM 9:00:00 PM 6:15:00 AM 7:45 AM
6:00:00 PM 10:00:00 PM 7:15:00 AM 8:45 AM
7:00:00 PM 11:00:00 PM 8:15:00 AM 9:45 AM
8:00:00 PM 12:00:00 AM 9:15:00 AM 10:45 AM
9:00:00 PM 1:00:00 AM 10:15:00 AM 11:45 AM
10:00:00 PM 2:00:00 AM 11:15:00 AM 12:45 PM
11:00:00 PM 3:00:00 AM 12:15:00 PM 1:45 PM

Uberman

The Uberman Sleep Schedule consists of six 20-minute naps spaced evenly through the day. This is a total of two hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, and is generally believed to be the least amount of sleep you can get in 24 hours without being sleep deprived. While it provides the most extra time in a normal day, it is also one of the most difficult schedules to adapt.

Uberman is by far the most famous of the schedules, supposedly having been followed by Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Edison, and more. Many of the other blogs you’ll find on the internet have begun or focused on ¬†Uberman.

Uberman is my schedule of choice, and so most of the posts about my experiences will be about Uberman.