What is Polyphasic Sleep?

What is PolyPhasic Sleep

What is it?
PolyPhasic Sleep, or PPS for short, is the practice of sleeping more than once, and generally more than twice, in a twenty-four hour period. It is a method of sleeping designed to increase sleep efficiency by spreading the hours of time spent asleep throughout the day. For example, sleeping for thirty minutes every six hours is a form of PolyPhasic Sleep (specifically referred to as the Dymaxion cycle).

What are the advantages of PolyPhasic Sleep?
The hypothesis pertaining to PPS is that as one sleeps for less time, one has more “efficient” sleep. Now this “effiecient” status is quite controversial. Our sleep cycles are characterized by a large period of nREM sleep, or dreamless sleep (although dreamless is not entirely accurate), and a period of REM sleep consisting of vivid dreams. Generally, one would have four to six sleep cycles in a normal night’s worth of sleep. As one goes through each cycle the period of REM sleep becomes longer and longer.

What is controversial about PolyPhasic Sleep is that it claims to remove the “wasted sleeping time” that consists of the long nREM sleep period. PolyPhasic Sleep shortens the sleeping time to the point where the body skips the majority of nREM sleep in an effort to compensate for the minimized sleeping time, thus making sleep more “efficient”.

PPS reduces the amount of sleep necessary to be rested, thus allowing one to have a larger amount of waking hours. Obviously this has the benefits of more time available for the sleeper, be it used for business or pleasure.

Another, more subtle, benefit would be that the sleeping periods are nearly entirely REM (depending on the variant of PolyPhasic Sleep). For the dream enthusiast this is great news. People who have slept polyphasically have reported extremely vivid dreams, and some have reported spontaneous lucid dreams. This is because REM sleep, the stage of sleep most associated with dreams, happens almost instantly.

Things to Consider
PolyPhasic Sleep is not for everyone. There is a major risk of sleep deprivation involved. Since one is reducing the amount of time spent asleep, the body has to adapt. During this adaptation period a person can enter a state that is referred to as being a “zombie”. This is because one will struggle to even think as the sleep deprivation worsens. This period is more prominent in some variants of PolyPhasic sleep than in others.

The “zombie” period occurs during the body’s period of acclimation. The sleep deprivation sets in, and, depending on the lifestyle of the sleeper, this could be an extremely difficult period. Prior to adaptation the body still expects to get a large, uninterrupted period of sleep. Because of this, when the sleeper awakes he or she has gotten very little REM sleep, which, due to the importance of REM sleep, is what leads to the period of thoughtlessness.

Also necessary to implement a PolyPhasic Sleep pattern is a very flexible schedule. One will need to be able to sleep at precisely the same times everyday in order to speed the adaptation period. Due to the “zombification” one may be unable to work or do much other than sit around if it is very extreme. This requires the aforementioned flexible schedule. One will need a flexible schedule to continue working, studying, or anything of the sort.

The length of the acclimation period differs from person to person. Dependent on how diligent one is with his or her schedule will greatly affect how long it takes for one to adapt. One out of place nap could easily reset the period so a strict schedule is important. This being said, once the acclimation period has passed the gains would far outweigh the costs in more available time.

Another thought one should pay attention to is that the majority of the world will not be changing schedules with you. One may decide to adapt to a PPS cycle, but the rest of the world will most likely remain monophasic or biphasic. Because of this you will find that your sleep times may conflict with your social or work life. It is important to recall the need for a flexible schedule.

The Methods / Variants
There are many kinds of “methods” or variants of PolyPhasic Sleep. They are quite efficiently categorized by this excerpt from Wikipedia, but here is a short overview of the more well-known variants:

While not exactly "Poly"Phasic Sleep, the Biphasic sleep cycle is the easiest and most common form of PPS. It requires the least amount of modification for the average person to adapt to, and is the basis for the “Siesta”.

Average Hours Spent Asleep: 6.5
Number of Sleep Cycles: 2

The next step up is the Everyman sleep cycle. This one has many variants of its own, but generally consists of a single large sleep episode and several smaller nap-like sleep episodes.

Average Hours Spent Asleep: 4.5
Number of Sleep Cycles: 4

One of the most demanding of the PPS sleep cycles. The Dymaxion sleep cycle is characterized by four equally spaced sleep cycles. Each cycle lasts for 30 minutes.

Average Hours Spent Asleep: 2
Number of Sleep Cycles: 4

Very similar to the Dymaxion sleep cycle. The Uberman sleep cycle consists of six, twenty minute naps which are taken every four hours. Along with the Dymaxion cycle, it is considered the most “sleep efficient” of the many PolyPhasic sleep variants.

Average Hours Spent Asleep: 2
Number of Sleep Cycles: 6

About The Variants
The above listed methods or “variants of PolyPhasic Sleep” are not the only ones out there. In fact, any sleep pattern in which one sleeps more than one time every twenty-four hours is considered PPS. This means that anyone can craft their own unique variant though that could be difficult task.

The variants tend to be equally spaced for the extreme PPS methods. The less extreme methods like Everyman tend to have a single large sleep cycle and several smaller nap like cycles. Still, the sleeper is free to customize these however he or she wish, though he or she should keep in mind that discipline and a rigid structure are necessary for success.

LD4All PPS Roots
The LD4All Forums have seen some, but not much PolyPhasic Sleep activity. Here are some highlights:

PolyPhasic Sleep! Lucid Lab
This lab was conducted by me, Scipio Xaos, in an effort to collect some more information from the general LD4All public that could be considered primary in source. Overall there was little participation in the experiment (only four people!), but the logs located in the main topic, the report thread, and the support thread all contain a valuable insight into the acclimation process and period for the curious and interested. One should probably take at least the following from the threads:

[*]Polyphasic sleep is difficult! Be prepared to be vigilant or you will fail.

[list]Many of us who participated in the experiment had trouble attaining a PPS schedule because we were not ready to commit fully or we had things preventing our due diligence.[/:m]
]Polyphasic sleep requires structure! You must be disciplined in your sleep schedule.
Those of us who started to get somewhere definitely maintained a strict schedule while those who lagged behind or had difficulty adjusting did not.[/:m]
]Polyphasic sleep will interfere with the average human life! Your schedule will need to be completely revamped.
When we were starting to adjust to our respective cycles we began to have noticeable conflicts with our sleep schedules and the demands of everyday life. I particularly had to navigate mine around attending college classes.[/:m]
]Polyphasic sleep can yield rewards! Should you get there, increased REM time, and heightened vividity and lucidity are possible.
Those of us who managed to get mostly adjusted reported increased dream detail and easier lucidity due to the increase in REM sleep.[/*:m][/list:u]

Other than this quick overview it is highly recommended that those considering PPS read through those threads to get an idea of what he or she is getting his or herself into. This is not meant to scare potential experimenters away, but merely to inform them with a personal recount of the ups and downs of PolyPhasic Sleep.

The Thread that led to this Article
The post that led to the creation of this article can be found here. Here you can read and discuss about the possible links between PolyPhasic Sleep and Lucid Dreaming.

PolyPhasic Sleep - Gradual Adjustment Method
This thread written by me covers an idea pertaining to a “Gradual Adjustment” to the Dymaxion PolyPhasic Sleep variant. This slow change could easily be adapted to any of the PPS methods though it would be more appropriate for the extreme variants. Despite it ending early (partly due to how I felt and partly due to social pressures) the slow change appeared to be successful.

An Active Thread Pertaining to the Uberman Method
This thread includes a very detailed discussion about the Uberman Sleep schedule. It could be useful for those looking to try the Uberman PPS variant.

This list will most likely become out of date quite quickly. Should you wish to view more forum based information regarding PPS a simple forum search will provide quite a few links.

A PolyPhasic Sleeper’s Opinion on PolyPhasic Sleep
Though I have attempted PPS twice (each time the Dymaxion sleep variant) and haven’t successfully adapted either time, I believe that I have had enough experience with PPS to give some accurate, yet slightly biased, opinions on the subject.

PPS is a wonderful thing. It offers a different viewpoint on how we spend our time. Each time I attempted to adapt to the cycle I was presented with a massive amount of spare time. I was able to work longer on projects thanks to the additional hours. This kind of increase was the most noticeable aspect of my attempts.

I should note, though, that I am somewhat introverted in nature. The social interactions I do have are often out of necessity and not of choice. Because of this the imposing sleep schedule didn’t affect me as much. Now I’m not saying the extrovert can’t adapt to PPS. I am merely saying that part of my partial success may be due to my limited social life.

Each attempt I gave resulted in me getting further than I had been before. Therefore, I advise that if you try to sleep polyfasically you don’t give up after one attempt. My previous attempt was not the first, and will not be the last. Each time I try I make a little more progress and learn a little more about the nature of sleep.

In conclusion I would like to note that like all of the mysterious wonders worth having, PolyPhasic Sleep is a difficult, but achievable goal. It is unmarked territory. The truth, something we always strive for, is not completely known about PPS. There is no certainty with what effects will befall those who attempt PPS so I advise those who wish to try it to be cautious, be ready, and, most importantly of all, enjoy it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

[color=#e4ecee]~~~~~[/color] ~ Scipio Xaos

Some PolyPhasic Sleep External References

Steve Pavlina’s PolyPhasic Sleep Experiment
This blog recorded by Steve Pavlina documents his PolyPhasic Sleep Experiment. It documents his thoughts and feelings during his over four month long experiment in which he successfully adapted to the Uberman sleep variant. It is perhaps the largest recorded PPS experiment and is, in his words, “a treasure trove of free information for anyone interested in learning about my trial of polyphasic sleep.”

This article on the most popular wiki ever details PPS quite well. It also includes its own listing of further reading and external links that may be of more help than the LD4All forums could provide.

Lastly if you’re in need of even more information that has not been listed here and you can’t seem to find what you need… Here. Let me Google that for you. :smile:

Have you tried a polyphasic sleep cycle?

Personally, I feel sleep deprivation symptoms whenever I get less than six-and-a-half hours. And sometimes, less than seven hours is apparent to me.

Being a Monday through Friday 9-5er, I don’t have an opportunity to nap at any time, really, between 9 and 5. I’d love to try it, but alas. I think I’ll at least experiment once or twice with napping through the night and trying to be productive, and then seeing how I feel at work. (Hmm…)

I do break up my sleep cycle to recall my dreams more effectively and to lucid dream, though. Last night, for instance, I lay down to sleep at 10pm and woke up at midnight, 2:15am and 4:15am respectively. At midnight I was probably awake for twenty minutes. After 2:15am, I was probably awake for ten minutes. After 4:15am, I was probably awake for five minutes, and slept till about 6:45am.

It was a net of seven hours’ sleep, with about thirty minutes needed to fall asleep in the first place. I recalled seven dreams—three of them in great detail. Two were extremely vivid.

I didn’t have an LD last night, but I did the night before by employing the same interrupted sleep pattern.

I suppose that pattern doesn’t really count as “polyphasic,” because my waking periods were so short. But I did recall a relatively lot of dreams.

This is something I’d definitely love to try out, maybe one of the less extreme variants, because like dreamosis my schedule isn’t the most flexible at the moment :T

I’ve always complained I lost too much time sleeping and there are never enough hours in the day for me to do everything I want. Plus, with my best friend living five hours behind me (ugh timezones), it really stinks to go to bed waaay earlier than her.

And also seems to be a way to use the best of both sleeping and waking worlds!

Oh and I think I read somewhere that Leonardo DaVinci used to do this O:

Well this is a long time coming… heh heh. Better late than never, though, eh?

dreamosis: Yes. I’ve actually tried both Dymaxion (twice!) and the Everyman-3 cycle. And yea, I know what you mean when you say being unable to navigate the naps around your work schedule. That’ll definitely make this kind of life style not an option.

Maybe, though, if you have a long enough lunch you could slip in a small thirty minute nap. I believe the calculations I did before allowed for quite some flexibility with some of the variants if one could snag a nap halfway through the day.

paual: DaVinci eh? And yea. The extra time awake can be used for anything. Speaking with best friends included. :smile:

I actually considered this option before because my lunchbreak is 30 minutes long enough. But then I wouldn’t get lunch :sad: And as much as I love sleep, food is also important :tongue:

If you do to polyphasic sleep, you get more lucid dreams?

Stefano: You could get more lucid dreams. It ultimately depends on the person and the type of PPS you do. The theory behind it is because you sleep less, but more often you enter into REM faster. This could make WILDing easier.

Still, it depends a lot on the person since everyone is different.

Is it real that you must be 18 year or older for PPS?

Stefano: “Is it real”? If I’m understanding you, no. You do not have to be 18 years or older to have a PPS schedule. Sure, it helps cause then you can, perhaps, control your time better, but you don’t have to be 18 to do it. In fact, when you were just a baby you slept polyphasically all the time. :razz:

Alright, so… since you apparently can’t Edit posts in this sub-forum I’ll just double post. :razz:

Per recommendation of another LD4All member I’d like to clarify a few things I said in my previous post.

First of all, when you were a baby you did sleep polyphasically… only you slept a LOT. Polyphasic sleep isn’t “sleeping for only three hours, but spread out”. It’s sleeping more than once a day. So even though you slept polyphasically as a baby you slept quite a bit more than the goal of “this” polyphasic sleep (which is to reduce sleep time).

Additionally, there are recommendations to get a specific amount of sleep per night. A good thing to look at is The National Sleep Foundation’s remarks about it. They list quite a bit of details regarding recommended sleep for specific ages. Ultimately, though, they do say that it depends on what feels to you to be the correct amount of sleep and how you feel after said sleep.

While I’m not wanting to contradict something that most likely has scientific evidence to back it, I will state that it appears that those recommendations are based on a monophasic cycle. I’m not aware of any scientific studies on polyphasic sleep; only personal experience and experiences that were conveyed to me. As I said in the main article:

So, a simple rule: if you don’t like how you’re feeling when you try to sleep polyphasically, or you feel bad when trying it and it affects you negatively, it’s might be wise to change what you’re doing. Try a different form of PPS or choose to sleep monophasically.

I hope that answers your questions more accurately, Stefano, and I hope it doesn’t sound too frightening. :razz: If you or anyone else has any questions, please ask!

And, for good measure, thanks for alerting me to this, mystery LD4All member! :tongue:

Thanks for the information! Is it possible to stop with PPS and undo the Fast REM (more lucid dreams) or is my body permanently modifided when i do polyphasic sleep?

I have a Dutch site read that if you start polyphasic and you go through you can not go back. Well you can go to monophasic sleep back but quickly changing REM phase is permanent so you’re going to get. More lucid dreams
Is that really so, and it means that you only get LD and ND no longer?

Stefano, can I interfere :wink:
It is important to be at least over 18, when trying polyphasic sleep, because your brain is still developing into maturity.
One of the reasons that teenagers need more sleep than adults, is the fact that sleep is important for the development of the brain.
The brain usually reaches its mature form, size and functioning at an age between 21 and 24 years old. In particular the brain parts that are crucial for risk assessment, long-term planning and for self control, impulse control and dealing with emotions, are still ‘under construction’ untill the age of 21 to 24.
(Een van de redenen waarom pubers meer slaap nodig hebben dan volwassenen is dat slaap belangrijk is voor de ontwikkeling van hun hersenen.
De hersenen bereiken doorgaans pas hun volwassen vorm, omvang en functioneren tussen 21 en 24 jaar. Met name de hersencentra die wezenlijk zijn voor het beoordelen van risico’s, voor lange termijn planning en voor zelfbeheersing, het beheersen van impulsen en gevoelens, zijn nog ‘onder constructie’ tot de periode van 21 tot 24 jaar)

I tried PPS after reading about it on this forum awhile back and I must admit it did take my 2 dream recalls per night to 6 or 7 dreams. I stayed with it for a good 3 weeks and along made some adjustments ((i stopped because i am pregnant)). At first I would do 4.5 hours of core sleep ((12am-4:30am)) only to find out I was waking up to soon and missing dreams ((I was also very tired)) :bored: . I changed it to 12:30am to 6am ((5.5 core hour sleep)) during that time I ALWAYS had 2 vivid dreams to recall. After my core sleep, I took a 90 minute nap around 8:30am ((I ALWAYS had great dream recall and counted mostly 2-4 dreams during the 90 minutes!!!)). After that, i felt fully rested ((total hours of sleep=7hours)) sometimes i might add a 30minute nap to rest my body after exercise but no dreams came from my 30 minute naps so i didn’t push for those.

Core Sleep 5.5 hours
12:30am-6am ((1-2 dreams to recall))

90minute nap 1.5 hours
8:30am-10am ((vivid 2-4 dreams to recall))…I even had my first OOB experience during my 90 minute nap
:obe: :astral:
7 hours of total sleep

I know a lot of peoples schedule don’t allow PPS so I’m lucky to be a stay at home mom.
Try to play with the PPS, create your own schedule and remember to listen to your body and try to pinpoint when you are having dreams ((the timing)). I remember reading somewhere that its less likely for us to dream after 2pm ((don’t know how true)) but i tried to get my sleep and naps early in the am hours.

I can say it did help me with dream recall and my number of dreams shot up…my dream journal had more entries after using PPS.

More dreams= more practice to become lucid. :woot:

Hope this helped.

Sweet Dreams :wiske:

@Stefano: The PPS effects are not permanent, though some things do stick around. For example, when I was practicing PPS I had to fall asleep quickly during the day. Now, whenever I take a nap in the middle of the day, I’m usually asleep just as my head hits the pillow, and I tend to awaken twenty minutes later automatically.

No. PPS does not equal “Only LDs”. You can still have normal dreams when you sleep polyphasically.

@majah I agree with you, but I would like to add that I did PPS when I was 18 (and I’m pretty sure I have a normal human brain). Each person’s different and I still believe the best rule is as I said above: “if it doesn’t feel right; change what you’re doing”. :razz:

@ShyPrettyOdd Cool! It sounds like you did what I ended up doing last semester in college… bloody 8 o’clock classes. :razz:

As to the “no dreams after 2 PM” I’d have to disagree… I just had one from a 2PM nap! :eek:

[/img]@Scipio Xaos:Thanks for any information! I have a few other questions. As you begin to polyphasic sleep you get more lucid dreaming right? But if you want to stop lucid dreaming and you stop PPS will you then get a lot of lucid dreaming, or can you eventually go back to sometimes LD and usually a ND? And what do you mean by extreme and Zombiefication? That you are very tired in the beginning and (almost) can do anything? And PPS is dangerous? And if you start PPS, you can still stop lucid dreaming or is it not possible?

@Majah:Thanks for the information! I have a app to get lucid dreams and there is also a function Da Vinci. At Da Vinci, you can keep a schedule for polyphasic sleep and when i clicked on Da Vinci it says that i must 18 years or older for PPS. Have you ever tired PPS Majah? (Bedankt voor de informatie! Ik heb een app om lucide dromen te krijgen en er is ook een functie die Da Vinci heet. Bij Da Vinci kan je een schema voor polyfasisch slapen bijhouden en toen ik op Da Vinci tikte stond er dat ik 18 jaar of ouder moet zijn voor PPS. Heb jij wel eens PPS geprobeerd Majah?)

@ShyPrettyOdd:Thanks for the information! How did you make your first OOB to have experience? Was it fun or was it scary? And how long did it take?

No, I never tried PPS. (Ik word al moe als ik er aan denk :wink: )
I do love an occasional afternoon nap though!

I will not even begin to PPS (Ik ga ook niet aan polyfasisch slapen beginnen hoor :smile: )

Good for you :smile:
Would also be difficult to combine with a school schedule I guess :wink:

@Stefano That’s a lot of questions. :razz:

  1. No. PPS does not mean you will get a lot of LDs. The chances are higher, though, that you will have LDs because of the increase in total REM and the reduction in time reduces the nREM a bit.
  2. I guess you’re asking if the effects are permanent? Nothing’s permanent. :razz: And it varies depending on the person.
  3. “Zombiefication” is basically being so tired that you can’ focus. It’s something that can happen if you’re not getting enough sleep. Basically it’s when you have so much sleep debt you can’t think of anything except sleeping.
  4. Everything can be dangerous if it’s not handled with care. If you don’t get enough sleep that you need it can be bad for you. That’s why you have to be careful when you set up your cycle, and if you think it’s having a negative effect you should adjust it.
  5. Again… PPS does not equal infinite LDs. It just has a tendency to increase them.

I decided to answer your questions for others even though it seems you’re not going to be trying a PPS cycle anyways. :razz: