I’m doing it. It’s been almost five months since I first came across the concept of the Everyman sleep schedule, and I’ve finally determined the conditions to be right to give it a go.
Over the next few weeks, I will be experimenting with sleep. Or lack thereof, to be more specific. I will be attempting a polyphasic sleep cycle called the Everyman sleep schedule, which is a three-hour core nap plus three 20-minute naps spaced throughout the day.
You might’ve heard of the Uberman sleep schedule. That’s another variation of polyphasic sleep and consists of six 20-minute naps throughout the day. It’s much more hardcore and a lot less flexible, and I wouldn’t be able to do it because I won’t always be able to take naps at the same time each day.
The concept behind napping in polyphasic sleep is to get your body to adapt into going into REM during the short naps you take throughout the day. This makes sleep much more efficient in theory, since you don’t need the extra time getting to the REM phase.
Also, if you stick with the schedule past the adjustment period (a week or two of strict adherence, plus another month of sticking to the schedule), your body supposedly adapts to the point where you no longer feel tired from sleeping four hours a day on the Everyman. With Everyman, I gain that napping flexibility while still making the most use of my time awake.
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much scientific research in polyphasic sleep, but the practice is fairly well documented from people who’ve actually tried them. There are supporters (here and here), as well as detractors (here). Most of the reading against polyphasic sleep seem to be targeted toward the Uberman.
In short, there are definitely people who have been on the Everyman for the long term without any health concerns. I’ve done a good amount of research, and I’ve determined that this is a pretty low-risk experiment that could potentially bring some benefits. If it doesn’t work out, no problem, I can switch right back to a monophasic sleep schedule.
My reasons behind pursuing the Everyman:
1) I already function off limited sleep and naps during the day. I usually get 5-6 hours of sleep, and nap 20 minutes once a day. So I’d have a net gain of 1 hour of awake time with Everyman. However, the Everyman is nice because it would allow me to be awake at times when others aren’t. This is time that I value, because I can really pursue my own things, get work done, and most importantly think, without outside distractions.
2) I already have the 20-minute nap interval down. I’ve been doing power naps since freshman year of college, and last semester, I got to the point of dreaming during those 20 minutes. That’s basically the point to be at for Everyman, and should make the transition much easier. By the way, I love short power naps, because they really do refresh me. The key is to not sleep over 25 minutes, or else you’d be going into deep sleep, which defeats the purpose and positive effect of power napping.
3) Curiosity. That’s one of my primary reasons. I’m wondering what it’s like to have 20 hours of a day. Would I be more productive? Less productive? Will I be able to pursue things I’ve been putting off because I don’t have the time? Will I get more work/study in? These are some of the many questions I hope to answer with my sleep experiment.
In the meantime, stayed tuned! I’ll be periodically updating my blog with posts on how my Everyman sleep schedule is going. And bear with me at least for the next week. I might look a bit groggy, but rest assured I will either adjust fully or just switch back to my normal sleep schedule.
My proposed schedule at the moment is sleeping from 12 AM – 3 AM, and taking 20-minute naps at 8 AM, 12:30 PM, and 6:30 PM. Will modify based on how my regular schedule works out.
Bypassing the zzz’s at randomtidbitsofthought.wordpress.com.