Many people are intrigued by the idea of sleeping less or hacking sleeping schedules. But the vast majority of people confronted with the idea of sleeping 2h30 or even 4h30 have the same reaction: WHY would you DO that to yourself? Some polyphasic sleepers don’t sleep well or don’t like sleeping much (for ex. fabidée, puredoxyk or D. Curtis …) but it’s not my case. I love sleeping. I can easily spend 10h or 11h in bed on a lazy weekend. So why would I pull myself out of bed at 2:30 am? Or even attempt a schedule with 2h30of sleep? There are 5 main reasons that keep me motivated.
I would like more free time. I’m quite certain I work enough. Often too much (at least when I escape procrastination). So I don’t want work to eat away my free time. I’m hoping polyphasic sleep can let me continue working but will add hours for sport, friends and time with my partner. Like most, I have lots of little projects which need time (coding, DIY, travel, startups, community-projects, and the 10 websites I own).
During the last 7 years I’ve been quite busy. I’ve moved country 3 times, moved houses 11 times, done a PhD, had two jobs … and have recently started my own company. Oh, and I found my other half in the mean time! 🙂 All this has left a mounting pile of chores that I just keep postponing. For example: sixteen paperwork items (pension, tax, consulate, scanning of papers, etc, etc …) five finance items (banking, planning, accounting) twelve things to sell on ebay, amazon or give away. ten bicycle, motorcycle items ten important personal emails/calls. six travel items ten Sleep Experiment items So about 60items, plus maintaining this blog of course. So I’m hoping the structure imposed by polyphasic sleep, and the extra time can help me tackle those items. Especially during the tired hours of adaptation where doing mindless paperwork / organization tasks can help me get through. I am also trying to start a company so that to-do list is almost endless. Polyphasic sleep should provide me a few extra hours per day of lucid and focused work.
Steve Pavlina‘s and Kuro5hin‘s account of übermansleep is quite fascinating. Especially regarding time and awareness. One must certainly have a different perception of time as you are awake all day. There is no beginning or end of a day but rather just a continuum of “being” with short 20mn interruptions. From their accounts time seems to slow down while your actions and effectiveness speeds up. Dreams become more vivid and lucid dreams are more frequent. Their accounts don’t sound like the effects of sleep deprivation but rather a different state of mind altogether. Finding out first hand whether this is possible is a great motivator.
Challenging human limits
In a few occasions I’ve really had to push myself. For example writing my PhD thesis in 3-1/2 months, or mountain-biking 1100km alone (with no mobile, no tent, and no GPS).
Also moving to a foreign and not using English to be forced to learn the local language for a year or learning Quantum Field Theory in German. But these challenges have also given me a great feeling of achievement.
Mountaineering and competing in swimming and cycling (mostly in my teens and 20s) have taught me that our limits can be pushed much further than originally expected. And it often has more to do with patience, temperance and determination than physical fitness or strength. Polyphasic sleep is one such challenge. Sleeping 2h30/day for an extended period of time sounds impossible. But our bodies can function beyond the accepted parameters (multiple accounts of survival, sports achievements and lifestyles in other cultures are living proof). Exploring these limits is an exciting adventure.
Rewarding my sponsors
This blog is sponsored by some of you (see right column, or 2nd post). You helped buy the sleep monitoring equipment and the hosting. You also wrote to ask me all sorts of questions. But most of all you were all curious to find out the results of this experiment. Is it really possible? What are the benefits and drawbacks? How does it affect you? etc, etc. Carefully recording the data, analysing it, posting here, maintaining the schedule is also for you. So you can find out about these weird sleeping schedules from a person you trust.