A few weeks ago, I read about Steve Pavlina\’s experiment with polyphasic sleep. Polyphasic sleep means taking short naps every few hours, as opposed to monophasic sleep, which is sleeping for one long period a day (this is what most people do). In Steve\’s experiment, he slept took a 30 minute nap every four hours, for a total of three hours of sleep a day. After a rough adjustment period during the first few days, he was completely adjusted. Not only was he not tired, he said he felt a greater mental clarity and sharpness. He also described a different sensation of time, like a â€œriver of timeâ€ as opposed to the constant cycling of day and night. He kept this sleeping pattern for six months before switching back because he was tired of being out of sync with the rest of the world.
I was absolutely fascinated by his experience. I have a full-time job, an hour commute each way, and an energetic 18-month old girl, so I certainly have enough to fill my life. I enjoy everything I do, but there\’s so much more I wish I had time for. Just to name a few: learn foreign languages, learn to play the piano, build robots, exercise, program computers, start an online business, read books, cook new dishes, and more (hey, almost forgot writing blogs!). I drooled at the thought of having four to five extra hours of quiet, alone time every day to hack away at my personal wishlist. I spent a couple weeks planning and scheming to figure out if it was possible to fit polyphasic sleep into my life. Here\’s what I came up with.
In Steve\’s experiment, he mentioned many others who had tried and failed to switch to polyphasic, and the advantages he had that helped him succeed. These included being self employed, working at home, freeing up two weeks of his schedule to adjust to it, years of practice waking up to an alarm, no caffeine or other substances that altered his natural patterns, a high level of energy that came from his level of fitness and vegan diet, and the fact that, since his job is writing about personal development, this tied directly into his work. Congrats to Steve, but few people have all of those advantages, and many people don\’t have any of them. Out of that list, all I have going for me is the ability to get up to an alarm. My work schedule is not very flexible, I\’m not particularly fit, I have to keep working to support my family, and this isn\’t going to make me money. I\’m just like every other schmo working for someone else! It\’s not all bad though. My office has a â€œwellness roomâ€ with a couch where I can crash during lunch for a nap, and I commute by train as opposed to car, so I can also sleep there too. If it wasn\’t for those two things, it would be impossible to even try. I also gave up caffeine for the last two weeks to make sure that wasn\’t a hindrance. So the deck isn\’t as stacked in my favor as it was for Steve, but the potential reward is so great that it\’s worth trying.
The reason I\’m putting my experience on the web is so that there can be a second story for people to compare to Steve\’s. I\’d like there to be another record out there of a polyphasic sleep attempt by someone with a more common work and lifestyle. Steve\’s life sounds great, but not everyone has or wants it. I\’ll put up daily posts for a while, and I\’ll link to Steve\’s logs from the same day to make it easy to compare.
I hope that you some benefit out of this, and I\’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences!