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Friday, August 5, 2011

Polyphasic Sleep: How to Take Naps to Get More Rested with Less Sleep

An afternoon naps improves subjects' learning abilities a study performed by Matthew Walker at Berkeley found1. In Think Smart: A Neuroscientist's Prescription for Improving Your Brain's Performance Dr. Richard Restak describes how to get smarter by napping: lay down and relax at the same time every day and soon you'll be able to fall asleep - nap for no longer than an hour, less if you wake up feeling more tired than when you laid down.

Timothy Ferriss takes polyphasic sleep a few steps further when he suggests forcing the brain to enter REM sleep immediately and sleeping no more more than two hours a day, the amount of time normally spent in REM sleep. He describes this 'Uberman' sleep schedule: "You will be taking 20-minute naps, every four hours, around the clock.... By oversleeping just once, you'll upset the cycle and feel exhausted (for up to 24 hours) as a result... The first week and a half is the toughest." Matt Mullenweg, lead developer of the Wordpress software, recounts in one of Timothy Ferriss's interviews with him his initiation into the Uberman sleep schedule: "It was probably the most productive year of my life. The first three to four weeks you’re a zombie, but once you settle into the schedule, you don’t even need an alarm to wake up after the naps. I probably wrote the majority of my code contributions for WordPress.org during that time..."2

For people who can't keep to the Uberman sleep schedule, there are the Everyman sleep schedules: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=Everyman%20Sleep%20Schedule

See also: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/4/15/103358/720

1http://news.aaas.org/2010/0224this-story-could-put-you-to-sleep.shtml
2Ferriss, Timothy. (2010). The 4-Hour Body. New York: Crown Archetype.

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