A 19 year old by day, a learner, creator, designer, developer and dabbler by night. That is me in a nutshell. Growing up, I have always been a huge night owl. I rarely ever went to bed earlier than 3 or 4 am because I never found the time to do what I love during the day. This pattern stuck by me and really hurt me in school. I slept during class, couldn’t pay attention, and was always tired. I was never a big fan of the education system so I continued to do it and let myself suffer from poor grades. If only there were a way to sleep less and still have enough energy to make it throughout the day…
My Incredible Discovery
Not too long ago I stumbled upon a YouTube channel called Dev Tips For Designers which is run by Travis Neilson. He creates great quality videos on front-end development that always inspire me to do more and become a better designer. I watched many, if not all of his videos and fell in love with his welcoming and cheerful personality and decided to follow him on other platforms and look into more of his work – in other words, I’m stalking him.
Travis also runs a podcast along with another great person to stalk, Carlos Montoya, which is called Late Nights with Trav and Los. I stumbled upon one of their podcasts which was about how Travis increased his creative output by simply changing the way he sleeps. In the podcast he mentioned he saves about 4 hours of sleep a day, 28 hours a week, and about 42 working days a year! This is about a month and a half he didn’t have the year before… He calls it “Slumbtember”!
I decided I would try it out myself and see if it really does have all the great benefits Travis mentioned in the podcast. Without further ado, here is my blog series on Polyphasic Sleep!
What is Polyphasic Sleep?
Polyphasic sleep is the practice of sleeping multiple times in a 24-hour period—usually more than two, in contrast to biphasic sleep (twice per day) or monophasic sleep (once per day). — Wikipedia
There are many different polyphasic sleep patterns such as Triphasic, Everyman, Uberman, Dymaxion, etc. Each one is structured differently as you can see from the graph below and have different benefits and risks to go along with them.
Sleep is separated into about five different parts, four Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and the last being Rapid Eye Movement (REM). REM is the most beneficial stage of sleep; it is when the brain is most active and is when dreaming occurs. REM is the only stage of sleep that is actually required to survive and function normally. The interesting part of all this is that you only spend 1 to 2 hours in this stage of sleep every night. The other 6 or so hours spent asleep every night are seemingly wasted.
Polyphasic sleeping forces you to focus more on REM which is a much more efficient way to sleep. You can read up more on the science behind polyphasic sleep and the different patterns here. The pattern I am trying is called the “Everyman”.
The “Everyman” Sleep Pattern
Where traditional polyphasic sleep is based solely on naps and getting the most amount of REM in as little time as possible, the Everyman pattern is much more flexible and allows you to stay in a more natural sleep cycle. The way it works is you have one core nap which can be from an hour to four and a series of naps to help you replenish the desired REM.
The schedule I use is a 3 hour core nap and three 20 minute naps throughout the day. My schedule looks like this…
- 3 hour Core Sleep
- 9:00 PM - 12:00 AM
- 20 min. Naps
- 4:00 AM - 4:20 AM
- 9:40 AM - 10:00 AM
- 4:00 PM - 4:20 PM
The reason do it this way is that it fits in my schedule most days a week. The great thing about the “Everyman” is that it is flexible and you can move the naps by an hour or so and you’ll still be fine, as long as you don’t skip them or oversleep. For example, on Mondays I (will) have classes from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM and this really gets in the way of how I set up my schedule. What I would do in this situation is move my last nap to 2:30 PM and move my core sleep to 11:00 PM and I should still be okay. Of course I haven’t tried this yet so we’ll see how it goes together.
Going forward with this “Everyman” sleep schedule, I will post an update on my blog about my experiences with Polyphasic sleep probably every week. I kind of cheated in that this is actually my first day and let me tell you, it is definitely a different experience.
You are welcome to join me in my Polyphasic Adventures. If you have already, let me know your experiences in the comments below!