Ubersleep: Nap-Based Sleep Schedules and the Polyphasic Lifestyle
Now in its Second Edition! The new edition contains almost 100 pages of new content, a fresh (and gorgeous) redesign inside and out, and a real e-reader-compatible electronic format (as opposed to a PDF, which was totally cutting-edge electronic format back in 2008, ::cough::) Experimentation and research compiled in the years since the First Edition has led to new sections on physical effects, compatibility of polyphasic sleep with jobs and athletic lifestyles, and more!
POLYPHASIC SLEEP INFORMATION
Welcome! I've been polyphasic for most of the last seven years at this point, and being naturally a bit of a word-spewer, I've collected quite a bit of information on it over that time. I've written articles, a book, and given talks and interviews — all fun experiences, and ones I certainly didn't expect when I set off to improve my sleep and time-management skills! But being polyphasic has done a *lot* more for me, and plenty of others, than that.
(Scroll down for a comprehensive list of links to major Polyphasic-related posts. You can also click on the Polyphasic Sleep Category to see all the posts on puredoxyk.com about polyphasic sleep, many of which are just minor updates and thoughts on my part.)
I'm one of the intrepid, or possibly insane, pair of college girls who lived on the Uberman Sleep Schedule (and gave it its name) back in The Distant Future, The Year 2000. I wrote a node on Everything2 about it, not knowing then that the last person to publicly live on the schedule was the awesome scientist Buckminster Fuller, now deceased. (There are a ton of rumors and stories about famous people who lived polyphasically — Leonardo DaVinci, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, you name it — but due to chronological distance, it’s hard to say for sure about them. Bucky Fuller, on the other hand, is a sure thing; he called his schedule "Dymaxion" and wrote about it more than once.) My friend and I stayed on Uberman for six months, because it worked really well, surprising the heck out of everyone, not least of all us. We both loved it and only quit because we had to take full-time jobs that wouldn't let us take our naps.
Years later, I decided to try the schedule again, and discovered firsthand that Uberman requires a certain kind of lifestyle, and 9-5 with a family (especially kids) isn't it. With the help of a by-then-pretty-sizable Internetful of other polyphasic enthusiasts, I decided to experiment with an alternate type of schedule, which picked up the amusing sobriquet "the Everyman Schedule". It involves taking a little more sleep, in the form of a longer daily nap (called a "core nap"), in exchange for more flexibility when it comes to nap placement. It worked really well too, though it lacks the euphoric effects and simplicity of the Uberman schedule. (See a full comparison of Uberman & Everyman here.)
I'll have been on the Everyman schedule for three years as of June 2009. (Except for a couple-month-long break, I've been on some form of Everyman through to December 2014, now.) While I would still go back to Uberman if my lifestyle would support it (and who knows, maybe someday it will), Everyman has been miles better for me than monophasic (one-chunk-at-night) sleep ever was, and I'd go a long distance to keep it.
So far, polyphasic sleep has been written about in Wired Magazine, Slashdot, Lifehacker, and Men's Health Magazine and by now, quite a few other places. Unfortunately it’s still true that most articles written about it are short and, overall, pretty dismissive — I'm hoping over time to convince people to explore the subject in more detail. A few other things: I also did a radio interview with a college station in Canada, which was very fun! And polyphasic sleep now has a very nice entry in Wikipedia (which I had nothing to do with writing, so thank you to its authors!). Plus, the company that makes the Zeo sleep-tracking device ran a whole polyphasic-adaptation experiment, complete with data from their awesomely clever little portable EEGs. There’s more stuff out there by now I’m sure, but I’ve got a lot to do, so I stopped tracking it, sorry. Google’s your friend. :)
LINKS TO MAJOR POLYPHASIC POSTS
All that said, here are the droids polyphasic links you're probably looking for:
Here's my Overview on polyphasic sleep, what it is and my history with it.
Charts of Types of Polyphasic Schedules will teach you the difference between the different known-to-work schedules, as well as some theoretical schedules that seem like they ought to work.
If you're under 18 (or the legal age of majority in your jurisdiction), then please read Polyphasic Sleep & The Age of Majority before deciding whether to try it yet.
The most updated description of my current schedule, and my goals for the ongoing experiment, is here (though I’m not great about updating this often, and you should read the latest posts for the most current information).
Polyphasic Sleep and Sex - because you know you were wondering. ;)
Here's an answer to the popular question "Does adapting to polyphasic sleep hurt your performance?"
Read the Six Month & One Year on Everyman posts here — the Six Month one has a really good breakdown of what's different between polyphasic & monophasic lifestyles, as well as the differences from when I did Uberman for the same length of time.
Hibernation: The Agony & The Ecstasy is a post about what it's like to sleep "all night" from a polyphasic perspective; there's also My Week of Monophasic Hell, which is the report of my attempt to "switch back" to regular sleeping. I went monophasic one more time recently (September 2011) and decided that YOU ALL MUST NEVER LET ME DO THAT AGAIN — see the post titled POLYPHASIC UBER ALLES for that.
If you're adjusting to a polyphasic schedule, you definitely want to read Things you can do to Avoid Oversleeping and Tricks to Avoid Oversleeping. Also my PSA: These Are NOT Good Ideas While Sleep-Deprived!; and if you're having trouble, read Fantastic Advice for Troubled Polyphasers.
There was, early on, a pretty serious attempt to attack the viability of polyphasic sleep — read about it, and my response to it, in "an attack on polyphasic sleep". There have been many follow-ups, but this discussion is one of the best, IMO. (There has been speculation that "a reader" who started this discussion may have actually been Dr. Wozniak, but as there's no proof either way you'll have to judge for yourself.)
The unbearable lightness of falling asleep is a post about napping, which involves a learning curve for most people — if you're in that curve, this post may help you as well: Can’t Fall Asleep for a nap? Try This.
Some more miscellaneous posts of interest: Some new Polyphasic Questions, answered; The How and the When (good stuff for polyphasers); Schedule Hacks – The Five-Hour Swap; Sleep Drugs?; Is “Crazyphasic” the same as “Free-Running Sleep”?
See a regularly-updated List of Awesome (External) Polyphasic Links here, for all the great stuff that's out there besides my site.