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Sun, Feb. 14th, 2010, 02:52 pm
How to add four hours to your day without bending space-time

At a party last night, I met Lori who introduced me to the concept of polyphasic sleeping, which she has been successfully doing for a whole 10 days now. She says it's working for her so far--that she has more energy and time. Ideally, she has three 20-minute naps during the day and sleeps just three hours at night, from 3am to 6am. Her husband enjoys sleeping too much and isn't willing to give up any of it. Besides, unlike her, he has a regular 8-5 job. She works at home and takes her naps at 10am, 4pm, and 10pm.

I enjoyed talking to her about this at the party while coming up with a schedule that might work for me and give me more time to think. Below is a proposed schedule converted from scratch paper to an Excel chart:

Everyman, 3-Nap

Theoretically, with this schedule, after the initial, painful adaptation period, you really only need three hours of core sleep. We'll see how that works out. I put 30 minutes for naps on the schedule, figuring that it probably takes about ten minutes of overhead per nap.

The first problem to solve was to figure out how to get in the lunch-time nap. Since the hour from 12:00 to 13:00 is sacred at work as lunch hour, this shouldn't be a problem if I can find a place to sleep. I came up with a solution that I think will work by searching on "cot" at the REI store (to which Lyn's sister gave me a gift certificate for Christmas (Thanks, sis!)). Here's what I found:

REI Comfort Cot (Item # 765277)

According to the reviews, it's bulky, but very comfortable and good on backs. I went ahead and ordered one--it should arrive at our local store on the 26th. That gives me some time to work on weaning myself from caffeine (reported to have a half-life of over 5 hours and potentially problematic for someone trying to nap efficiently).

I'll have to let the folks at work know to hold all calls during nap time. I already often take the 18:30 - 19:00 nap.

They say that if you get bored easily, this probably wouldn't work for you--it would be too hard to stay up when you're supposed to. My response: I fantasize about being bored!

They also say that days 3 and 4 may be the hardest, so it's good to start on a Thursday.

I suppose another possibility would be to take a longer core sleep (say, 11:00 to 03:30) and skip the nooner.

References:

http://dustincurtis.com/sleep.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphasic_sleep
http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=Everyman%20Sleep%20Schedule
http://ohgodthechicken.com/
http://ohgodthechicken.com/sleep-discipline-experiment/
http://www.poly-phasers.com/enter.php
http://polyphasicsleep.info/index.php?title=Main_Page
http://sleepsask.blogspot.com/2007/08/summary.html

He switched from a 04:00-07:00 core to an 23:00-02:00 core by mistake and discovered it worked a lot better for him.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/why-you-cant-hack-sleep_b_52047.html

Looks like his very short post is just a critique of the Uberman or Dymaxion, not the Everyman.

http://www.supermemo.com/articles/polyphasic.htm

An attack on polyphasic sleep (or maybe just the Uberman schedule), rebutted by this article:

http://www.puredoxyk.com/index.php/2006/11/01/an-attack-on-polyphasic-sleep/

I wonder if it works to alternate patterns, between Siesta, 2-nap Everyman, and 3-nap Everyman? On some days, the lunch-time nap won't be an option. 

Mon, Feb. 15th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)
oracle_tx

worldmegan tried this for a while, she said the alarm was critical, oversleeping during the acclimatization period threw it all out of whack. It took her quite a while to get used to it, but she was also not doing a core sleep period, instead she had I think 6 ~30 minutes nap spread through the day.

I did a little reading too:
http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/10/polyphasic-sleep/

It sounded interesting, but I would need a big chunk of time to acclimatize myself; I'm usually pretty sensitive to light and sound when I'm trying to sleep, so I think it would be tricky. Also, it is not unheard of for my lunch at work to be delayed 2-3 hours, and I don't think there is a place where I can set up a cot.

Mon, Feb. 15th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)
chikuru

Sounds like she tried the Uberman schedule. I don't think that would work for me. Today my lunch was delayed, but the Everyman schedule is supposed to be pretty tolerant of moving the naps around a bit.

I'm planning to take the acclimatization slowly rather than going cold turkey since I really don't need a lot of sleep deprivation this month at work.

Tue, Feb. 23rd, 2010 01:50 am (UTC)
polydad

One trick of my own: I nap with two pillows, one under my head and one over it. Took this up when my now-22-year-old son was a fussy infant and it was my night off; original purpose was acoustic isolation, but it helps in blocking out ambient light also.

best,

Joel

Tue, May. 18th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
pure_doxyk

Hey, I loved your chart! Can I post it on my site, with credit?

-PD

Wed, May. 19th, 2010 09:31 am (UTC)
chikuru

Sure thing, PD.