Most people expect to sleep through the night in a single block of time when they go to bed. A monophasic sleep schedule refers to that single phase of sleep. Some cultures have biphasic sleep patterns, sleeping at night and taking a daily afternoon nap.
Polyphasic sleep schedules or Uberman Sleep Schedule entail sleeping in more than two periods per day. These periods could be quick nap breaks throughout the day balanced with a shorter amount of time asleep at night. Babies sleep in a polyphasic pattern until they are about three months old3. Others who work unusual hours or jobs that necessitate near-constant alertness may also adhere to this sleeping pattern. Some argue that polyphasic sleep schedules are preferable to monophasic sleep schedules because they provide more cognitive benefits, but research does not back up these claims.
Before changing routines, consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of polyphasic sleep schedules.
What Exactly Is Polyphasic Sleep?
Polyphasic sleep is distinguished by multiple intervals of sleep and wakefulness over the course of a 24-hour day. Polyphasic sleep patterns are not uncommon in animals. Many animals, including mice5, have polyphasic sleep patterns. Polyphasic sleep is not the norm for most humans, who prefer monophasic sleep or sleeping in one long block each day.
Polyphasic Sleep Schedule Types
A polyphasic sleep schedule can be practiced by anyone who sleeps more than twice per day. However, three popular polyphasic sleep schedules have emerged over the years. There has been very little research into the efficacy of these specific sleep schedules. Aside from individual reports, there does not appear to be any evidence that polyphasic sleep schedules are superior to monophasic sleep schedules. Popular polyphasic sleep patterns include:
Uberman Sleep Schedule: Six 20-minute sleep is taken at regular intervals throughout the day, for a total of two hours of sleep per day.
Uberman Sleep Schedule: This schedule consists of sleeping three hours at night and supplementing with three 20-minute naps throughout the day, for a total of four hours of sleep per day.
Everyman Sleep Schedule: This schedule consists of sleeping three hours at night and taking three 20-minute naps throughout the day, for a total of four hours of sleep per day.
Triphasic Sleep Schedule: Three short periods of sleep occur after dusk, before dawn, and in the afternoon, totaling four to five hours of sleep per day.
Uberman Sleep Schedule
Puredoxyk, the first Uberman sleeper, devised the Uberman Sleep Schedule, which consists entirely of 20-minute naps spaced equidistantly throughout the day. Uberman, in its traditional form, consists of six equidistant naps spread out throughout the day.
There is no information on the long-term health effects of being an Uberman, though some people have worked the schedule for up to a year without experiencing any serious health issues.
The Uberman adaptation process begins with 24-36 hours awake (or until one enters a’second wind,’ a surge in energy), at which point you begin taking a nap for every BRAC (1.5-2h). You could repeat this exaptation for 2-4 days until you are getting regular REM naps, or until you are no longer deprived of REM sleep and are unable to nap as frequently.
Also Read, REM Sleep Cycles: How Much Sleep Do You Need
You can skip the exaptation and go straight into the adaptation phase, as usual. Nap every 3 hours or every 4 hours on the dot, depending on which rhythm you prefer.
Uberman is expected to go through the infamous ‘zombie mode,’ in which normal cognitive function is severely impaired (due to sleep deprivation). Starting with an exaptation may help alleviate these symptoms, and an 8 nap schedule will be easier to adjust to than a 6 nap schedule.
After that, napping continues as your sleep cycles alternate (either on day 3, day 7, or day 10 – depending on the individual and their initial sleep deprivation). Getting used to the Uberman schedule takes 3 to 4 weeks. Some people adapt faster than others, but it can take up to a month for many people to feel adapted.
Because of its 2-hour sleep total, the Uberman Schedule is the most popular and well-known polyphasic sleep schedule. It should be noted that only about 5% of the population can function normally on six hours of sleep, implying that only 5% of people can comfortably follow this schedule. An 8 nap schedule may be more sustainable for a much larger percentage of the population, as the extra 40 minutes of sleep can mean the difference between SWS deprivation and health.
A Thought on Failure
People frequently try the Uberman sleep schedule only to fail and abandon polyphasic sleep entirely. There is no reason why you cannot transition from being an Uberman to any other schedule that follows your Uberman rhythm! Many people began on Uberman only to transfer to Everyman and become incredibly successful with their new schedule. Indeed, it is recommended that people aiming for an Everyman schedule try Uberman first, because Uberman has such a regulating effect on sleep, and the entrainment is very beneficial for those wanting to do a milder schedule in the lonng.