Daniel Engerer is an Engineer turned Entrepreneur who can design and build prototypes of your idea. He wanted to achieve a more intense version of polyphasic sleep than our biphasic pattern to give him a better Work-Life balance.
“Everyman 4.5” involves 2, 20 minute naps and a 4.5 hour Core sleep. This gives him 20 hours a week savings, opposed to our 12 hours in Biphasic. It seems more rigid than our biphasic naps, but Dan has great tips and an experience that anyone considering polyphasic sleep can learn from.
My experience with Polyphasic sleep
Chances are, if you’re reading this article, you’re already a rather productive and motivated person, interested in continually improving yourself.
In my humble opinion, polyphasic sleep is one of the BEST ways you can do that.
Why? It’s a simple matter of time. Anyone over the age of 25 knows that time is an incredibly scarce resource. Most of us feel a strong lack of time to do the things that we want to in life. As a result, we make compromises: Watch TV or go to the gym? Read a book or fix the car? Our time is constantly stretched thin. As a result, we settle for mediocrity in many areas of life.
Thankfully, even miraculously, there is a way to hack your sleeping so that you need less of it. MUCH less. How? Polyphasic sleeping.
Polyphasic sleep offers an alluring potential to gain more time, tapping into a seemingly sacred resource: Sleep. We’ve all been told our whole lives that 8 hours of sleep is an absolute must for health and performance. Our bodies seem to reinforce this, as most people who get 6 or less hours of sleep generally feel awful all day long.
Polyphasic sleeping is the splitting of sleep into multiple small chunks as opposed to one large, “monophasic” block, with the key difference being that polyphasic sleep enables you to spend much less time asleep without sacrificing your health. There are many different polyphasic schedules (Uberman, Dymaxion, Everyman, and others). Polysleep is a relatively recent discovery and is therefore unsurprisingly controversial. I do not claim to be an authority on the subject, and I implore anyone interested to do their own exhaustive research before tampering with something so important as their sleep. I’m simply here to share my experience.
One disclaimer, though: During your adaptation period, you WILL feel awful. A temporary period of sleep deprivation side-effects are the necessary gauntlet that any polyphasic sleeper must pass through in their transition from mono to polyphasic sleep. The more shorter (ranging anywhere from a week to a month) but more acute your sleep deprivation symptoms will be during your transition phase. And, from repeated personal experience, you WILL NOT become a polyphasic sleeper unless you have very good reasons to do so (an extreme desire to fulfill life goals, increase productivity, have more fun, whatever). Good reasons are important because they are the primary fuel of your motivation. Trust me, when you wake up in the wee hours of the morning during your adaptation period, you will find ANY excuse to break your cycle and get back into that soft, warm, inviting bed. I myself have been seduced into this behavior many, many times. For me, the cost was too high. I would awaken hours later with the realization that I not only ruined my hard-earned adaptation, but also lost the entire morning to sleep.
The Difficult Cost But Lucrative Rewards
The vast majority of people will fail and give up in their polyphasic attempts. You simply need extreme desire coupled with extreme self-control to successfully adapt to polyphasic sleep. I’ve gained a massive improvement in discipline, purely as a side-effect to my transition to polyphasic sleep. Your transition will be painful. It will not be fun. You will question your motives and almost definitely fail many times. In my opinion, the rewards are absolutely worth it. Even with the most mild polyphasic schedule, I already unlock nearly 3 hours every single day. To a person concerned with efficiency, I don’t need to explain how amazing that is.
This most definitely sounds too good to be true. It must be a scam. How could you possibly cheat sleep? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only skeptic. The internet is full of detractors, and naysayers. As with anything this new and unverified, you must find the truth for yourself.
Exciting, isn’t it?
For what it’s worth, I can tell you from my own personal experience that there is most definitely something to polyphasic sleep. I practice the “Everyman 4.5” polyphasic schedule, arguably the easiest variation. I have a 4.5 hour “core” sleep from 11 pm to 3:30 AM, then two equally-spaced 20 minute naps (mine are around 7 AM and 4 PM).
How I Physically Feel
While it’s certainly not sufficient evidence, my belief is that how your body feels is an extremely important indicator as to whether something is healthy or not. That being said, I feel totally fine. As a previous monophasic sleeper, I was extremely sensitive to sleep deprivation and would generally feel awful if I didn’t get a full night’s sleep. I feel perfectly alert and awake during the day. I am able to workout (at 4:30 in the morning, when the gym is empty) and lose fat, gain muscle, etc. The only times I feel tired are immediately before my regularly-scheduled sleeping times. To me, this is an indication that my body has indeed adapted (to some degree, at least).
The only major long-term cost to polyphasic sleep, in my opinion, is the lack of flexibility. You must stick to your schedule. You must not miss naps. Your body does not care that it’s Sunday morning and you feel like sleeping in today (polyphasic sleep will not magically cure you of laziness). If you break your schedule, you will jeopardize your precious adaptation and have to start from square one again.
I do want to make it perfectly clear that I myself am not a perfect polyphasic sleeper. I have struggled with adaptation myself. I have not been on this schedule for years, which I believe is an important and necessary test to verify that this lifestyle is sustainable. After all, your health is the most valuable thing you have, and what a shame it would be to ruin it through tampering with such an important function: Sleep. Thankfully though, there are brave guinea pigs who have exercised polyphasic sleep for many months and even years. The best resource available, in my opinion, is the book “Ubersleep” by Pure Doxyk, who is arguably the most authoritative source on the subject. Again, I strongly urge everyone to do their own research.
I am simply here to share my limited, subjective experience on something that I believe is truly powerful. Nothing more, nothing less. The rest is for you to discover.