Understanding The Reasoning Behind Each Choice
- Personal Monophasic Sleep Duration Assessment
- Work and School Schedules
- Short-term Polyphasic Sleep Strategies
- Polyphasic Sleep as a Long-term Lifestyle Choice
- Personal Health History and Lifestyle Habits
- Narrowing Your Choices: Process of Elimination
- Balancing Opportunity and Cost
- Some Practical Applications of Scheduling
- Your Final Choice
Some Practical Applications of Scheduling
In this section, let’s take a look at a couple beginners and how we recommend polyphasic schedules for them. We hope that you can apply to your situations as well.
Beginner 1: Flexible Schedule
Q1: Below is my information:
- I’m 34.
- Low physical activity at the moment, and I’m fine with it. Just walking and cycling to move around and get some fresh air.
- Currently experimenting with Everyman. I’m not sure if it’s 2 or 3 extended because I started 2 days ago with little knowledge; I’m reading a lot on the website to get this right and not mess up my attempt.
- On monophasic, I need about 8-9 hours to feel rested.
- I almost never woke up in the middle of the night until starting a dream journal a few weeks ago. I merely got curious about lucid dreams, now it happens once or twice.
- No polyphasic experience yet, I’m just getting started.
- No real scheduling limitations right now.
- I’m interested in polyphasic sleep because I want to:
- Increase the chances of lucid dreams.
- Gain the ability to fall asleep very quickly in almost any given situation,
- Have more time available for various activities.
A1: At first glance, it does appear that this beginner polyphasic sleeper can just go with any polyphasic schedules. However, by applying some core principles, we can rule out quite a few options already:
- Because monophasic sleep duration seems to be on the higher end (~8.5h average), all schedules with below ~4-5h total sleep are invalid. This means no nap-only, E4 (2.8h), E3 (4h) and any other shortened schedules.
- Lucid dreaming is what this sleeper is after. Therefore, schedules with any sleep session (some short nap or core) around REM peak hours meet this demand. Thus, all Biphasic schedules (except Segmented sleep) are less favorable, because of the long core sleep throughout the night already.
- Extra wake time is also another criterion. Therefore, very extended schedules (~at least 6.5-7h total sleep) do not really look to be strong candidates anymore. Similarly, non-reducing schedules are out of the picture, as they do not reduce sleep time.
- This sleeper is also old enough for some sleep reduction. Age requirement checks out.
Using the process of elimination, we still have a few valid options:
- DC1 (5.3h)
- DC1-extended (6.3h)
- E2 (5.2h, ~5.5h with a Pronap or~5.7h with a 5h core)
- E3-extended (5.5h)
- DC2 (5.2h)
- DC3-extended (5.5h)
- Triphasic-extended (6h)
- Quad Core 0 (6h)
- SEVAMAYL (~5.5-6h average)
- DUCAMAYL (~6h average)
- CAMAYL (~6h average)
Of these schedules, the highest utility schedule should take top priority. Long-term utility includes:
- Flexibility of sleep times later on (at least ~5.5-6h total sleep)
- Limited daytime sleep (a daytime core is harder to schedule than a short nap)
- Most favorable adaptation success rate, to avoid long-lasting adaptations
- No need to sleep too early in the evening for some social time (not before ~11 PM)
- With these 4 criteria for long-term polyphasic practice, QC0, CAMAYL are out because of their difficult adaptations.
- DC1 and E2 are somewhat low on total sleep for him, so these are a bit too risky. The Pronap variant of E2 looks optimistic, but still loses to E3-extended in success rate.
- DC3-extended is hospitable, but it’s too clunky with 5 sleeps per day.
- Triphasic-extended is solid, but it is inconvenient to sleep 90 minutes in the middle of the day long-term.
- DC2 is stronger than the former options, but quite harder to adapt to than E3-extended.
- Now, only DC1-extended (to DUCAMAYL), E2 with a 5h core and E3-extended (to SEVAMAYL) remain.
- Because he does not usually wake up at night, Everyman sleep is a more favorable option for him than multi-core schedules.
Upon looking at all these schedules’ information, E2 (5h core) or E3-extended is the final choice. Judging by the 90-minute sleep cycle rule, E3-extended is more friendly. It meets all criteria while able to develop into flexible SEVAMAYL later on.
Beginner 2: A Packed Schedule
Q2: Below is all my information.
- Age: 19
- Activity level: Low-Moderate, run 5 miles ~2 times a week, want to improve fitness level and consistency to prepare myself for the army in June (this is my most forefront concern with polyphasic).
- Sleep hours: Depends, either early or late, but lately it has been about 11 PM-early morning (3-4 AM).
- I wake up maybe once a night to drink water or adjust myself.
- Past experiences with polyphasic sleep: None; I have taken naps several times during a stressful senior year, and rearranged sleep schedules to wake up early; nothing complicated such as Uberman, Everyman, or Dymaxion.
- Scheduling limitations:
- I have Zoom classes from 8 AM to 11:20 AM on Monday and Wednesday.
- My class also goes from 10:20 AM to 11:20 AM on Monday and Friday.
- On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, I also have to work from 12 PM to 6 PM. However, my boss allows me to leave later, around 12:30 PM actually.
- I want more time to study topics outside my classes that I am interested. I also want to get ahead of where I am by studying materials in advance (for classes I am taking now and for future terms) ; Especially, I also want more time to read, work out, and fulfill hobbies; self-actualization is my lifegoal and I believe this will help me.
A2: The very first step is to map out the non-sleep hours, combining everyday.
- Right off the bat, we notice that this teenager has some potentially natural tendency for Segmented sleep. This makes Segmented a very solid candidate.
- The tricky thing is that like many other beginners, he does not know anything about his monophasic duration or sleep stage compositions.
- He is not exactly a beginner napper, with some napping experience. Thus, he can learn to nap effectively fairly quickly this time. This is an advantage to tap into schedules with naps.
- Some sleep reduction seems to be his criteria. However, given there is not really any clear information on his monophasic duration, it is hard to judge what total sleep is the start of sleep reduction. Regardless, non-reducing schedules do not suit him here.
- In just more than 2 months from now, he will have to join the army. This is a critical factor to consider!
- As he is entering the later stage of teenage phase, some cautions are necessary. As a very conservative polyphasic sleeper myself, I believe the last stage of puberty is still possible, but with little effects. Together with his noticeable levels of exercising, this leads me to think of schedules with at least 6 hours total sleep.
With my recommendation to start safe because he never really adapted to any schedules in the past, here are the possible schedules. Click on each to see their corresponding scheduling napcharts.
- E1 (6.3h or 6.7h with a 6.5h core)
- Segmented (7h)
- Siesta-(extended) (~6.5-7.5h)
- DC1-extended (6.3h)
- E2-extended (6.7h)
- At first, being a “natural” segmented sleeper may make it tempting to go with either Segmented or DC1-extended. However, the problem is not that simple. Both of them have drawbacks of their own.
- E2-extended seems doable with an okay second nap. It does not look to be too late in the day just yet.
- Siesta (extended or not) is very strong, because of a comfort of a core right after strenuous work hours. What’s more, the night core can move to later hours at night. This creates a lot of nighttime hours for social time.
- Lastly, E1 is also powerful with a quick 20-minute nap right after the classes and before the long work hours.
So… What do we eliminate here? The answer lies in the prospect of joining the army in 2.5 months.
- We know that an adaptation can take ~2 months, or even longer in bad luck cases. This means there is not much time left before he joins the army camp. He may even have to abandon or drastically alter the sleep schedule’s structure.
- In addition, the kind of sleep pattern that can survive the army training hours is another whole different story.
- While it is true that people there often sleep early (~9-10 PM range), that does not account for a proper dark period setup. It’s just lights out and sleep, so basically blue lights until the last minute.
- It will be tremendously difficult, if not impossible, to wake up at night and do things under such supervision. Therefore, one long chunk of sleep at night is pretty much mandatory. This effectively rules out Segmented and DC1-extended.
- During the day, training will take a lot of time, and can be quite physically exhausting. As a result, scheduling sleep (nap or core) outside of the possible lunch break will likely be impossible. Therefore, Siesta and E2-extended won’t fit. The lunch break does not guarantee a possible nap either, but it’s better than having to nap around middling afternoon hours.
In conclusion, E1 (at least 6.5h core) seems better to sustain the physical workload while having the convenience of just one short daytime nap. E1 core also does not start as early as Segmented and DC1-extended in case staying up late is necessary. The long core at night also lines up with what other participants would sleep, effectively disguising the polyphasic schedule.
What’s more, he would have to forget the habits of waking up at night now. It would take some time to fix, but it is far from impossible.
I need to make a quick note here. There is still a much simpler solution.
Technically, the 19-year-old can just go with any of the five aforementioned schedules. Why? In case he changes his mind or just wants to do a polyphasic schedule for 2 months. He would then just revert to monophasic sleep when joining the army and wait for a better time to try something else again. This way he does not have to worry about sustaining a polyphasic schedule at all.
With E1 as the real long-term choice, it now depends on if it (6.7h total sleep) can sustain his demanding physical recovery. It is also unknown if he can maintain the daytime nap everyday in the army. Because staying in the army usually takes a long time as an obligation (up to some years), it may still be worth it to make a long-term polyphasic plan. He still has more than 2 months to test E1 with the current physical workload and sees how things hold up.
In the unluckiest case, E1-extended (or non-reducing…) will be the only choice; at which point, he may no longer have enough motivation to sustain a schedule with such a high total sleep each day.
Phew, I am sure that may’ve been really overwhelming for you to follow through. I hope I’ve broken down the thought process thoroughly. My point would simply be to show you how you have to think everything through before arriving at a final schedule. The final call may or may not sound reasonable or ring nicely to you, but it’s not like it’s never happened before.
Just one more lesson to go, and I would like to have some words about your final decision.