Most of us know the situation, we got a lot of things planned for the day but in the end most of the time we only finish a part of those things and end up saying things like “I wish the days had more than 24 hours”. For some people a better time management is the solution and for others a different approach might called “polyphasic sleeping” might be the solution.
What is polyphasic sleeping?
In theory it’s quite simple, instead of sleeping once a day for an average of ~9 hours you can split your sleep into multiple short sleeping intervals and also reduce the amount of hours slept daily to as little as two hours per day.
There are different polyphasic sleeping schedules ranging from biphasic sleeping to the Uberman schedule. The difference between those schedules mainly is the number of naps you take each day and the duration of each sleeping interval.
Why am I adjusting?
I admit my time management is far away from being efficient or perfect but no matter how much I try I just can’t improve it any more. So the next logical step is the polyphasic sleeping schedule in order to reduce the time asleep each day and get more time to deal with the things on my ToDo list.
About 10 years ago I already adjusted my schedule once to a polyphasic schedule consisting only of 20-30 minutes every four hours. It worked quite well for a few days but after all I stopped and decided to fall back into my old monophasic pattern. The reason for that was quite simple, I just didn’t know what to do during the night. Of course I spent a couple of hours working each night, but you can hardly work through the hole night, and since I didn’t have an Xbox One or a Netflix subscription back then I just got bored and figured that it’s not worth the trouble anymore.
Today I’m in the same situation, my ToDo list seems to be an never ending list and the only way I see to deal with it is adjusting my sleeping schedule again. The main difference being that today I got quite some option on how to spent the night if I don’t feel like working ranging from playing Xbox One, Xbox 360 or PlayStation4 over reading on my iPad 4 Mini to watching something on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.
How is it working out so far?
Well it’s hard to say. I tried adjusting to the Uberman schedule using an iOS App on my iPad 4 Mini (which I consider wasted money so I won’t name it here) with only 30 minutes of sleep every six hours about two weeks ago but ultimately failed after two days. After that I took the time to do a little bit more research and had to accept the fact, that a radical adjustment like that wouldn’t work without other people helping by waking me up in case I wouldn’t hear my alarm.
Since I’m living in a commune with two of my friends I’m blessed with two people fit for the task, however they won’t get up at 06:30 AM just to wake me up, and to be honest, I really do love sleeping for a couple of hours, so I decided to try it again using the following sleeping schedule.
00:00 to 00:30 – nap
06:00 to 09:00 – deep sleep
12:00 to 12:30 – nap
18:00 to 18:30 – nap
This schedule has the advantage that first of all, most of the time one of my flatmates is already/still awake and able to wake me up in case I don’t hear my alarm, plus I still get a longer sleeping period in the morning instead of only napping throughout the day. As a result I’m still able to reduce the time I spent sleeping each day from 6 to 8 hours to about 4.5 hours. Of course you’ll have to add a couple of minutes before and after each nap in order to prepare for bed and wake up, but after all worst case I still end up with one to three hours more available time each day.
That probably doesn’t sound much, but it certainly is. More about that later.
So I started with the new approach last Monday and it worked quite well until this Wednesday where I ended up sleeping from 00:00 to 06:00, and then just stayed in bed till 08:30 since 06:00 would have been my bedtime anyway. I figured one setback isn’t that bad, but unfortunately same thing happened yesterday when I slept from 00:00 to 05:00, this time I got up anyways since there was still one hour left before my next scheduled sleep. It really set me back in my mindset, since it’s been twice in row, but I’m not giving up on it, and as a result I’m writing this post at 01:30 in the morning.
How do I feel after one week?
In my first week I slept less then 31.5 hours total since I couldn’t fall a sleep every time I lay down to take a nap, or sometime simply forgot to take my noon nap at the office. Compared to and average of 7 hours daily before. This way I had another 17.5 hours more time available. I spent the time completing Forza Horizon 3 (without early access) on my Xbox One as #154 on TrueAchievements as well as catching up my gaming backlog a bit by completing the bonus summer episode of Hitman and participating in a Skate 3 gaming session (no results there, since the achievements it was setup for seem to be unobtainable by now thanks to EA shutting down Skate 3 servers a couple of months ago) – check my TA summary to see what else I’ve been playing and how I ended up compared with my friends.
I also got a bunch of work done and finish an overdue plugin update for one of my German clients as well as many small tasks I’ve been pushing for weeks now. So overall even though it’s not been that many additional hours I gained by torturing myself through the new sleeping pattern I still got a lot of things done I’m quite sure I otherwise wouldn’t have.
Besides that the new patter also has many other positive effect on my life. Instead of drinking a lot of coffee the whole day, I now only drink one cup at home in the morning and two to three cups at the office throughout the day. After that I usually switch to tea for the rest of the day and during the night or fresh juice. I’m currently also waiting for my first order of MyMana to arrive in order to switch my diet too, or at least change it from eating unhealthy and irregular through the night to drinking the MyMana “shake” during that time, ensuring my body gets enough vitamins and proteins and also ensuring it’s the same amount every night.
But that’s not all. The best thing is, I feel fresh and motivated 90% of the time. There are usually only one or two hours each day where I end up feeling really tired, usually once around 5 AM in the morning and then again around 4 PM, but besides that I feel more energetic than I did before and instead of spending endless days at the office I finally got some kind of a regular working schedule arriving between 10:00 and 10:30 am in the morning and leaving at 04:15 pm each day, in order to have my 6 pm nap at home in my own bed instead of the couch at the office.
Valerius, CEO of Viverni GmbH my main client here in Germany, is curious about my approach but doesn’t mind the “missing” hours I’m not at the office, since he is also seeing the results, meaning me being productive at 4 am in the morning as well, ending up getting more work done in less days than before.
To sum this up, I’m really happy I decided to give it a try again after all those years, and even though most of my friends think I’m a little bit insane, and perhaps a lot of them doesn’t believe that it’s going to work, most of the are supporting me as much as they can. I do not plan to do this forever, but I’m sure that it’s gonna help me for the next couple of months where I’m quite busy with finishing up the Deranged Society website, as well as founding a new limited in HongKong and getting my daily tasks done.
So what do you guys (and girls) think about my current approach. Have you every tried something like that before or know somebody (in person) who has? What’s your opinion? Let me know in the comments below. Also if you want to learn more about polyphasic sleep and the different variations out there I’d recommend you to check out polyphasicsociety.com.