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I've been really interested in polyphasic sleep for a while, so thank you for consolidating and clarifying some of the points. Whn I first read about the practice I was also introduced to the concept of 'sleep debt'. The idea is that while each person needs different amounts of daily sleep depending on their different physiological factors, every person has a certain amount of sleep that they've missed out on which needs to be recouped before the full enefitsof polyphasic sleep can be achieved. The article (the source of which I cannot remember for the life of me) stated that before begining any regimented sleep cycles, a person should take 3 days and sleep for as long as their body wants to. This means nothing to wake you up, no alarm clocks, cell phones, anything-one should go to sleep at the time they want to begin their sleep cycles and sleep until they naturally awake. Each day (supposedly) the person will sleep less and less and after the 4th day have a metaphorically recharged battery, it is then much easier to adapt to a polyphasic sleep cycle. For myself, this also eliminated the need for 4 naps-I was able to adhere to a core sleep of 4.5 hours and 1 30 minute nap a day.
Additionally, I read of a rather abstract experiment which I have never had the chance to put into practice myself because it's primary action is the complete disregard of 'time' as we know and use it each day. In James Gleick's book "Chaos", the author recounts the story of an actual graduate student who altered his lifestyle by all-together ignoring time. Obviously he knew when the sun rose and set, but apart from that-no watches, no clocks; nothing to indicate to himself what man-made incriment of time had gone by. The only marker he had set for himself was to ask a friend to let him know when a month (if I remember right) had gone by. Long story short-without the psychological effect of time, he ended up sleeping for less than an hour at a time, three times a day, for the last two weeks of the experiment. Like I said, because of the requisits for the experiment I've never been able to do it myself (my boss and landlord are just two of the people that value promptness over scientific endevour) but it sounds like something I would love to try out.