I posted this thread in Steve's section, but since I don't know when or if he will answer it, I was told to post it in this section in hopes of getting some answers.
Here are the questions:
1. What is the effect of rigorous physical activity (e.g., gym, sex...) on polyphasic sleep? Do you get excessively tired?
2.If you don't have a flexible schedule, does biphasic sleep work (1.5 hours long, once every 12 hours)?
3. Is it wrong to use caffeine during the first difficult week of getting used to this new sleep cycle?
4. I have read that polyphasic sleep does not work when one is trying to carry out overtly intellectual activities: studying physics, differential equations, organic chemistry... Did you have ANY such experiences when you were practicing polyphasic sleep and what was your impression? Please be honest here. If you have not studied complex science while on poly cycle, you can't answer this question.
I also read that many of you sleep 8 or more hours. I was sort of surprised. At most, I sleep 7 hours a night. Nevertheless, I never drink any coffee.
I have found out something interesting in my experimentation with biphasic sleep: usually drowsiness begins to strike me around 11-12am. I tried to take half a caffeine pill (100mg) around this time to cope with the new cycle. Then I discovered that I could easily stay up till 2AM (or 4AM if I took the second half as well) and wake up around 6AM in the morning completely rested and full of energy. I have been doing this for a few days only, but if I can do this for months without ever getting tired, then perhaps this is way better than polyphasic or biphasic sleep? Since I'm already getting around 4hrs/night without any inconveniences, it doesn't seem to be worth it to go to polyphasic sleep to save just an extra hour a night (but I wish I could if I had a flexible schedule)
2. Probably not. 1.5 hours * 2 per day is reportedly way too little.
3. It will make sleeping harder and less restful. Not recommended.
My opinion, which is based on everything I've been able to gather from the internet about Polyphasic Sleep is that you should only attempt it if you have a flexible schedule.
Do have a look around this board at the other sleep related threads. A lot of good links as well as experience with poly and biphasic sleep have been posted, which might be of interest to you.
I'm finding biphasic sleep to work real well as long as I'm not distracted from my schedule and I'm in the process of finding out whether adhering to a particular schedule is actually the best way to go, that's not always easy in a primarily monophasic world :rolleyes:
RE. your questions:
1. I think that muscle building or regular strenuous physical training adds a significant additional to the equation here, with many chemical changes involved. I'd be paying attention to the training literature which addresses what I'm doing if in regular training (i.e., weight training, cycling, track etc.). Also listening to my body about things like sleep. A different thing altogether.
On the other hand, episodic physical activity--that seems like just something to respond to as it comes along. For example, after skiing or an afternoon of hiking in the mountains, I might go for an extra 90 minute block of sleep if I felt significantly fatigued.
2. I think yes, but have a look at the literature and reports on how much sleep/24 hrs work for people. I also think that 1.5hrs X 2 is likely to be too little.
I'm doing 4.5 + 1.5 and finding that when I'm doing this steadily, I'm very rested and energetic, have little trouble waking up and it works well for me for days to weeks at a time or longer. If I try the same 6 hours per 24 monophasically, I routinely feel increasingly sleep deprived after about the 2 days ! That's a significant difference for me.
3. Big variation on recommendations and opinion here. I have a cup of coffee (2 shots espresso) in the mornings, that's all and it feels good. I don't know about caffeine pills or using coffee to actually stay awake. It's just part of my morning routine and gets things going nicely. After my 90- minute nap, no caffeine, and none in between.
4. Good question there. I did those courses and later went on to medical school. That was a while ago and I slept monophasically. A friend of mine tweaked his sleep schedule and went to bed around 7pm, got up at 1am to study, studied til class in the am and this worked well for him. As I remember, he sometimes took 30 minute "power naps" during various parts of the day, head on the desk in the library. Not a biphasic sleeper but this routine seemed to do something for him.
Hope that's useful! Keep us posted on your progress!
Apart from the caffeine tablets, do you currently have any other sources of caffeine in your diet (tea, cola etc)? Personally, I drink 2-3 cups of coffee per week as well as 5-6 cups of green tea per day. This doesn't appear to have any impact on biphasic sleep (I'd imagine that polyphasic is similar in this regard), but occasionally I have more caffeine than this and that DOES affect the quality of sleep.
The amount of caffeine defintely can make a difference (at least in my case).
But over 90% of those who try polyphasic sleep don't have the will power for it.
1. From what i have read on the Yahoo Uberman Mailing list, those folk haven't seen real changes with exercise.
2. No 1,5 hrs + 1,5 hrs probably won't work.
3. The greatest problem is not that you are too tired to stay awake. The problem is that you are too tired to wake up and that your subconscious hijack you to turn the alarm clock off without leaving any memory of it.
Unless you find a way to drink the coffee while sleeping to wake you up I think it would be a real bad idea.
In addition coffee may reduce the amount of "sleep deprivation" you have. But you need the "sleep deprivation" to tell your body to adjust to the shedule.
4. Some of the succesful Polyphasic's are programmers, does that count as intellectual activities?
4 hrs without inconveniences is probably better than 2 1/2 with the fixed polyphasic cycle. But most people get problems when they subsedize sleep with coffein.
Scott, I don't drink cola. My only source of natural caffeine is tea that I drink 0-2 cups/week. As for caffeine pills, I don't take them regularly. I often don't have to take any or at most half a pill (100mg is less caffeine than contained in most cups of coffee).
That's an interesting point there. I was wondering that too since to me the idea behind success is to force the body to enter into REM cycle much faster and apparently it can't be done without real tiredness. Since finals are approaching, I think I should still rely on caffeine for help once in a while and afterwards, during Christmas, get rid of it completely.
Programming is definitely an intellectual activity, but I'm not sure whether it has enough difficult concepts to compare it to physics. A lot of repetitive processes there.
I thought about it for a while and I think caffeine should not affect any cycle as long as I take it 3-4 hours before sleep. By then all of it should be gone and I'll sleep as if I didn't take any.
Anyone in here has successfully slept 5 or less hours a night with biphasic sleep? If so, could you provide details or links (if another thread)?
In the end, however, I settled into a 1.5/4.5 split which now (a little over two months later) feels great.
It's a personal thing, and definitely one for a bit of testing.
I would say to make your sleep periods multiples of the length of your sleep cycle--which for the average person is 90 minutes. From what I've read and experienced, you tend to wake most naturally and get the most energy from sleep if you wake at the beginning or end of a sleep cycle--those are the times when you're in the lightest stages of sleep. So if you're looking for about 4.5 hours of sleep a day, a 3-hour core sleep and 1.5-hour nap would probably be ideal.
Good luck with your sleep!
I'm finding the same thing as Glen - the sleep cycles gradually shorten as your body adapts to the new pattern. Currently my cycles are around 75-80 minutes.
Scott, are you still doing biphasic sleep? If not, why?
Thanks David. I'll try to post my results as frequently as I can, but probably what I'll end up doing is just publishing the entire data after I'm done. I have made an excel spreadsheet and this is what I'm recording:
2. Sleep start time
3. Sleep end time
5. Caffeine amount ingested
6. Time when caffeine was ingested
7. Time when began feeling tired
8. Tiredness level (scale of 1-5)
9. Physical Activity level (1-5)
10. Mental Activity level (1-5)
11. # of Hours of TV
12. # of Hours of Internet
Are there any more fields that you think I should add? After I have reliable data, it will be very easy to make 2 and 3D graphs and correlations will come through. It's not likely that I will take on a rigid discipline right away until my finals are over at mid-December, but I have started recording the data anyway. Recording qualitative data consistently (fields 8 to 10) is going to be the most difficult, but I'll do my best.
I believe that if all of us were able to unitize our time 100% efficiently (no TV, internet, etc.) we would not need to cut down time from our sleep. Including the # of hours spent on these can really make us realize our addiction to these media and thus take corrective action. In US, people watch more than 4 hours a day. In 75 yr lifespan, that adds up to 150 months or almost 13 years! Now consider that 20% or more of TV are ads. This means you spend almost 3 years watching only commercials! This is just crazy. Even tying shoelaces eventually adds up to several days. Unlike polyphasic sleep, these small things in our lives are much easier to control. I haven't been in a movie theater for 2 years and only watch 0-2 movies a week on commercial free HBO. BUT, I think I spend too much time on the internet, even though it is mostly for educational purposes.
Incidentally, one of the benefits of biphasic sleeping (and a reason to do it) is the improved quality of sleep, not just the reduced quantity. My productivity increased as a result of both changes.
Also why only a scale from 1 to 5? I would think that a scale from 1 to 10 would store more information and need the same time to file out.
Good idea. I had never heard of sleep inertia, but it makes sense.
Now I'm not sure about recording dreams. Is it associated with REM? If so, then recording it would be beneficial to track the strength/duration of REM. Othewise, dreams by themselves are simply our minds trying to work out problems. As Freud put it, they often display our repressed desires.
Scale of 1-10 would be too ambiguous. At least 1-5 doesn't include too many choices and thus the results can be consistent. Keep in mind that I could use decimal places, negative numbers, and numbers beyond five, which would be off the scale and might be encountered when something extreme is done (no sleep for 2 days, etc.)
I didn't have anything complex in mind; just a pencil and paper on the bedside table. Write down what you remember when you wake up.
Great thread this is getting to be here. Might I suggest that folks put their sleep logs or other daily reports on the Record Your Polyphasic Sleep Logs Here thread, both polyphasic and biphasic? David has suggested that several times and it would be neat just to run through various people's experiences.
Couple random comments, I've got to run in a minute...
Who knows, maybe with improved sleep and other activity adjustments which have to do with energy and focus (food, exercise, media, the actual timing of various things including exercise/food/studying/media), you might find you've actually increased your best-useable time, or increased your energy and focus so much that you need less time to get more done.
---yah, I'm an internist and psychiatrist in a small mountain town in western montana. Great that you're working to understand your energy cycles and sleep cycles now :) Good luck with all that :cool: :rolleyes: :)
(:eek:--only sometimes!) I enjoyed med school and residency an amazing amount while I was doing it.
Re. dreaming-----quite a while ago, I got into recording my dreams just to see what they were. For abt a year, I had a notebook at the side of my bed and I wrote whenever I had a dream, upon awakening and in the middle of the night--the latter based on suggestion while falling asleep. I found I could write legibly and not even remember having woken up to write! The dreams themselves were fascinating.
All best, looking forward to more,...
(Sorry about the layout - this seems to change
multiple spaces that I've used for alignment to ONE space.)
My experience with polyphasic sleep:
I discovered it by accident in March 2004 and
found it amazing! You can get a HUGH productivity boost.
The downside: if you interact with anyone they ***MUST*** be
trained to not bother you while you are:
1) in training/transition to polyphasic sleep
2) then actually doing it
THAT only works if you have the power/clout to force people to not
annoy you except on your terms.
After a month I had to force myself back to monophasic sleep because
I didn't have that clout.
My social life (with friends, etc.) immediately got better. I could make
regular appointments again without fear that I would miss them.
(The best time for polyphasic sleep would be, in my opinion, if
one's career was something like (choose one or more)
artist, private investor, writer, programmer, etc. where
you do NOT have to interact with anyone at a specific time!!!)
MY hours were:
- 6am - 10am solid sleep (4 hours)
- 2pm 30 minutes solid sleep (*NOT* napping)
once you get going, 60 minutes at first
By solid I mean YOU ARE ASLEEP a moment after
your head touches the pillow.
- 7pm or 8pm 30 minutes (60 at first)
- midnight 30 minutes sometimes, and sometimes not necessary
I could have even improved on this (shortened the times) if
I had had better support. (I had friends whining about where I was,
I couldn't make appointments, etc.) Next time I will smooth that out
by preparing everyone I know first!
I hope in the future to shift to polyphasic mode if I start working
on something complex (like a software product, or stock options trading, etc.).
- I slept using polyphasic sleep for four weeks
- the first week was rough because of adjustments that had to be made
(I had no idea what was going on and was frightened, but not enough
to see a doctor)
- weeks two through four were FANTASTIC!!!
- during week one I slept: 6am - 10am (4 hours)
2pm - 3pm (1 hour)
7/8pm - 8/9pm (1 hour)
00am (30 min daily first 5 days)
- weeks two-four: 6am - 10am (4 hours) - this never varied
2pm - 2:30pm (30 min.)
7pm - 7:30PM (30 min.)
00am - 00:30am (30 min. rarely)
Had I continued I think that I would have slept a total of 5 hours daily
(the norm) with the occasional 00am - 00:30am booster sleep
once or twice a week.
Note: I have no direct evidence, but I *do* have a strong conviction
that had I taken the time, trouble, and money to get a complete
medical diagnostic "readout" leading to a fully planned diet
by someone trained in such matters ALONG WITH regular physical workouts
I could have reduced the need-for-sleep times by at least 30 minutes.
Possibly a bit more!
Note: I say "FANTASTIC!!!" and "HUGH productivity boost" because
the times were exact. During monophasic sleep these days
(the usual 7 - 8 hours a night) I may go to bed at midnight,
then spend an hour reading, then slowly fall asleep over 30 minutes.
When I wake up I may snooze a bit, stretch, scratch myself, etc.,
then take it easy, etc. before actually getting up. This can waste
45 minutes to 2 hours daily! (I'm retired, so it doesn't matter that much.)
During polyphasic sleep I was awake at 5:59am, 1:59pm, 6:59pm
AND FAST ASLEEP AS IF SOMEONE HAD PRESSED MY OFF SWITCH at 6am, 2pm, 7pm.
I estimate it took me between 5 to 30 SECONDS to (WHAM!!) fall fast asleep.
AT 10:01am, 2:31pm, 7:31pm I would be wide awake AND OUT OF BED!!
Before and after the polyphasic sleep periods (and also these days right now)
I felt/feel like I'm using 5 to 10 per cent of my full mental capability.
(It felt higher when I was going to school full time but that was over 30 years ago.)
During the polyphasic sleep month I felt as if I was using 50 per cent of
my brain power. I likely accomplished more during that one month than the previous
twelve months combined.
IMPORTANT: If you are not prepared for it it can scare the hell out of you.
It's like suddenly going to warp speed in a fighter plane from just a bike with
training wheels before!!!
SUMMARY: Polyphasic (for me) resulted in around 3 extra free hours A DAY!
And some kind of fabulous mental alertness during the waking times!
Dec 18, 2006
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