Can We Sleep For Three Hours and Still Function Normally?
Polyphasic sleep - also known as *Uberman's Sleep Schedule*, consists of six daily naps taken every four
hours instead of one long sleep every night (monophasic
The naps can last from a minimum of 10 minutes up to 30
or 40 minutes. 25 minutes is considered optimal.
The polyphasic sleep concept is based upon the fact that
we have a 4 hour *ultradian* rhythm operating alongside
our normal 24 hour cycle. This ultradian rhythm means that
we go through a complete mini-cycle every 4 hours. Usually
at the following times: 4am, 8am, noon, 4pm, 8pm and
midnight. Have you ever experienced dip in energy at 4pm?
Those following the polyphasic sleep schedule usually sleep from 10-30 minutes every 4 hours . This goes on for the whole 24 hours. A modified version of this is also practiced, where 3
hours core sleep in the early morning is followed by 20
minute naps every 4 hours. Individuals can adapt
cycles to better suit their lifestyle.
Mammals living in dangerous environments practice the
polyphasic sleep schedule. Their survival may mean remaining
alert to danger throughout the day and night. Astronauts are
also taught it in case they need to deal with emergency
situations. The army also trains some troops in polyphasic
The type of sleep experienced by polyphasic sleepers is
mostly comprised of stage 5 REM. Thus the earlier stages of
sleep are largely bypassed allowing the user a few more
hours of 'awake time' each 24 hours. This is a gradual
process though. At first the naps may not be largely NREM
which may explain the seven to ten day stage where
some polyphasic sleepers feel heavy, grumpy, spaced out and
The Advantages of Polyphasic Sleep
Polyphasic sleep has been called the "sleep of genius"
Famous folk such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson,
Napoleon. and Winston Churchill have used this schedule in
some form or another. Many who have trialled polyphasic
sleep have reported feeling extremely creative, although
this state may take some weeks to achieve.
The obvious advantage of course is the extra time gained
in each twenty four hour period. If you follow the classic
schedule, six naps of twenty five minutes each, you would be
averaging only two and a half hours sleep!
Once you get used to sleeping this way, you can slip into
the sleep state within a few minutes, compared to twenty
minutes or longer for monophasic sleep.
Writers, or anyone who needs creativity in their field,
find that sleeping this way allows them to be more creative.
This could be due to the occurrence of more alpha and theta
brainwaves, rather than beta, during their waking hours.
This type of sleep schedule is not recommended long term although there have been some that have kept it up for 6
months with no apparent ill effects. There has been no long
term research done to find out any negative effects on
Although its been practiced through the centuries, it's not known whether depressing the other non REM stages of sleep - especially the stages 3 and 4 of deep sleep, may have a
negative effect on long term emotional health.
Polyphasic sleep is impossible to integrate into a normal
Oh! And another thing.
Those who have tried it have reported an increase in
appetite which may lead to weight gain. You would probably
need to spend some of that extra time doing more exercise!
If you're interested in trying polyphasic sleep, try it
for a while during your next holidays. It won't do any
damage short term, except possibly make you feel tired and grumpy!
It is recommended that participants review their eating
habits and make sure they are on an optimum diet with all
the necessary food groups and maybe a vitamin and mineral
Also recommended is to have a series of interesting
projects on hand to keep the mind stimulated and to prevent
accidental sleeping outside the schedule.
Visit our web-site below for a healthier way of
maximising the quality of our sleep in less time. Go to the
"Too much sleep" page.
Want to know how to have better sleep? Find out how. Check out www.insomnia-connection.com">http://www.insomnia-connection.com your resource for detailed information on better sleep and curing stress. The author, Wendy Owen, has had a lifetime interest in general and alternative health as well as being an ex insomniac!