Fact: You are wasting a lot of time while sleeping.
The restorative functions of sleep are concentrated in only a fraction of the total time you spend in your bed.
Sleepers pass through five stages: 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages progress cyclically from 1 through REM then begin again with stage 1. A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes.
Here are the different sleep phases:
- REM, for Rapid Eye Movement. This is a stage of sleep which performs vital functions, but most noticeably restores mental clarity, reducing symptoms of sleep deprivation.
- SWS is for Slow Wave Sleep. This is a stage of Non-REM sleep which performs many immune and hormonal functions. You will be almost unwakeable at this stage, and your brainwave frequencies are slow very slow (delta). Also known as Deep Sleep or Stage 3 and 4 sleep.
- LNREM is for Light NREM. Also known as Stage 1 and 2 sleep.
The third stage, light sleep is a useless and intermediate sleep stage. You are basically just unconscious moving a bit around. It is not necessary.
Thus we try to reduce it as much as possible and we maximize REM and SWS stages.
To do that we sleep multiple times a day in shorter periods– usually more than two. In contrast to monophasic sleep, which is one period of sleep over 24 hours as most people do.
Why be a poly-sleeper?
Have more time in your day:
Ever thought you simply do not have enough time in your day to do all the things you wanted to do? Let me scare you a little bit, an average 9h sleeper is cumulatively only awake 227.5 days a year, out of 365 days! Changing to a single nap schedule you can have an extra 40 days a year to do what you want. That is like getting a free week’s holiday! Alternatively, if you cut down to only 3h sleep a day, you can improve that to an extra 91 days a year (an extra 3 months you never had). In the long run, your life will be effectively longer and you will live more years in a younger body!
‘Although it’s a common belief that 8 hours of sleep is required for optimal health, a six-year study of more than one million adults ages 30 to 102 has shown that people who get only 6 to 7 hours a night have a lower death rate. Individuals who sleep 8 hours or more, or less than 4 hours a night, were shown to have a significantly increased death rate compared to those who averaged 6 to 7 hours. ‘
Many may like to point out ‘or less than 4 hours a night’, but these individuals also were tested to get far less REM and less SWS than the suggested amount. Polyphasic sleep depends on the fact that you are getting the same amount of REM and SWS as you do monophasically. A 4h monophasic sleep will not be the same quality sleep as 4h polyphasically.
Become a better learner:
For humans taking a 90-minute nap “…containing both SWS and REM sleep… performance over 24h showed as much learning as is normally seen after twice that length of time. Thus from the perspective of behavioral improvement, a nap is as good as a night of sleep for learning. Ref: http://www.learningace.com/doc/1120222/1a85d23d9e16600aa31e638585176068/118natneuro_mednick_brief
Elevate your mood:
Sleeping too much has been linked to depression. Many adapted poly-sleepers have anecdotal evidence for feelings of euphoria, elevated mood, better social skills and increased happiness.
Dream More (Lucidly):
Because you are sleeping more often and getting dream-full REM in your multiple periods of sleep, you will be dreaming more! Many polysleepers are also practiced Lucid Dreamers, as they go hand in hand. Even without Lucid Dreaming techniques, many polysleepers experience frequent lucid dreams.
What schedule to follow?
There is a lot of talk about what is the better schedule to follow.
- 20 minutes nap every 4 hours?
- 4 blocks of 1 hours?
- One block of 3,5 hours and 2 naps ?
You can follow any of those schedules later on but first, we need to train our body/brain to access the important sleep phases much faster and wake up feeling refreshed.
How to wake up effortlessly? My more flexible version of polyphasic sleep
Start by reducing your maximum sleeping time to 3,5h with as many 20 minutes naps as you want for a few days.
Again, we want to train our body/brain to go into REM and SWS faster.
You will have two options whenever you start to feel tired:
1. Take a core sleep: 3,5 hours. People usually will take their core sleep shortly after sunset or before sunrise. I personally do it before sunset at 4 am. For the first few days, if you are really tired, you can take two core sleep. You won’t reduce your overall sleeping time but you will be adapting and start to increase your sleep efficiency.
Never go further than 3,5h and gradually reduce it as your body adapts.
If you workout or experience intense physical stress, you will need more of this stage so you can take two cores or extend it back to 3,5h if you were already able to reduce it previously.
2. Take 20 minutes naps during the rest of the day whenever you start feeling tired. You probably won’t fall asleep fast enough at the beginning. Don’t worry, it will change, after a while, you will fall asleep in 5seconds and wake-up feeling amazing after 20 minutes. Every nap will feel as restorative and be reinvigorating as an 8hours sleep. They will give you a nice shot of REM stage.
Until your body is trained and falls immediately asleep, you can simply try to relax your muscles while listening and focusing on instrumental music (to stay in a trance-like or meditation-like state).
How to wake up feeling refreshed without feeling drowsy:
1. Drink 300ml of water with a table spoon of sea salt before going to bed.
The sea salt will allow you to have a blood pressure high enough upon wakening to send a signal to your body that it’s time to get up.
2. Take a deep breath and hold it. Very simple but also super effective to increase blood pressure for a short moment.
3. Follow low carb diet (ketogenic, slow carb, paleo). the carbs will make you feel drowsy and delay the deep and REM stages.
4. Improve circulation with Chinese herbs like Ginkgo and Ginger. You can take them in their extract forms. 60mg of Ginkgo extract should do the trick, taken before the core or 1 hour before a nap.
5. Don’t eat before a nap/core sleep. The energy required for digestion will make your sleep less efficient.
6. Have a ritual. You can read for 5 minutes before taking a nap, meditate, reduce the lighting. Whatever signal you can give your body to make it learn when it’s nap time.
7. Do light exercise upon waking up from your core sleep like waking for 20 minutes or swimming. But do NOT workout or do any intense physical activities at the beginning as it will make your body require a lot more SWS to recover.
8. Plan activities ahead. Before you go to sleep whether naps or core sleep, know and be excited about what you will be doing when you wake up. meeting some friends, watching the latest episode of your favorite TV show? You can also reward you will a piece of dark chocolate or whatever gives you a short term pleasure.