ESSENTIAL Health Considerations on Polyphasic Schedules: The ULTIMATE Course on the Dark Period

Issues with the Dark Period & How to Overcome Them

Issues With the Dark Period and How to Overcome Them


The purpose of this lesson is to look into some restrictions that come with the dark period and how to overcome them. This lesson will focus on  the 4 main things that you will need to consider.

The hurdles

Apparently, the dark period places some quite heavy limitations on people. During the dark period, you should wear red protective goggles to foster the filtration of enough blue and green light. This is to protect your circadian rhythm  from disruption. However, there are certain problems that the community members have reported with the dark period.


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Scheduling non-dark-period-friendly work on Everyman 3

This might seem like an issue, because suddenly the whole world is monochromatic. But, as long as you are not doing graphics design or tasks that require you to see color, it should be fine. Even if you are doing graphics work, it’s still possible to distinguish between colors with the aid of some computer applications. We discussed these in previous parts of this course. Regardless, the method for overcoming this issue is preparing.
If you have tasks that will require you to distinguish between colors, complete them outside the dark period.

More difficulty staying awake

Another issue that polyphasic sleepers will find out is that the red glasses make you sleepy. Especially during the adaptation, you might have a pretty hard time staying awake during the dark period. Therefore, you are going to need to juggle and find a balance between using the tiring red glasses and moving around, which keeps you awake.

  • You do not want to become too sleepy and fall asleep.
  • You do not want to be too energized and not manage to fall asleep when it is time either. Now, how should you go about this?
  • Basically, you should try to avoid activities that keep you sitting or standing still.
  • Instead, do something that does not require much brain power and keeps you going. One great example of this is drawing/tracing!
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Activities to stay awake on Dual Core 2, Stage 3

If you are doing work on your computer, homework or something similar, set several alarms to go off frequently during your dark period so you do not accidentally fall asleep. You can set them every 20 minutes or so.

  • If you notice that you start dozing off, be sure to switch activities!
  • You can go for a night stroll and the air outdoors would hopefully wake you up.
  • Alternative, switch to some more moving activities like doing the dishes or cleaning around your house.

You should avoid using the same alarm sounds for the wake-up alarms and for your go-to-sleep alarms.

  • The purpose of your wake-up alarm is to, well, wake you up for a long time.
  • On the contrary, the purpose of your go-to-sleep alarm is to make you fall asleep.

You do not want to confuse your body with using the same sound for each of these functions. 

Alternate solutions

So far, we have established that during the polyphasic sleep adaptation, you should try to do mentally relaxing activities that keep you awake if possible. If you are doing this and still feel extremely unproductive during the dark period, maybe try to reduce the filtering intensity of your glasses.

While we do not really recommend downgrading your glasses permanently, temporarily doing so during the adaptation might be a good thing. This may prevent accidentally oversleeping and failing your adaptation. Yellow glasses, like Gunnars or just laser glasses would in this case come in handy. While you are making your nap kit, add a pair of these for those toughest adaptation stages.

Other cautions

Feeding time

Another thing that you should watch out for is eating during the dark period. Food affects the circadian rhythm, which is what we are trying to keep intact. If you go eat during the dark period, you are sort of doing all that light optimization work for nothing.

Some of you might feel like you need to eat around the clock to build muscles; however, in this case, I highly suggest you try to cram in all food during the day.

  • If push comes to shove and you are crazy hungry and feel like dying, you can eat a really small meal. Definitely watch out for making this a habit.
  • After some time of training yourself to fast when awake, you will not feel bad anymore. This will happen automatically as long as you avoid eating during the dark period.
  • Also, if you try to cram in productive work during the dark period, your productivity will increase if you avoid eating. This is because you will not face those distractions from your fridge that make you take extra breaks.


The last thing you should avoid during the dark period is exercising intensely. As previously mentioned, it might be necessary to move around during the adaptation to stay awake; however, you should not really do any sort of weight lifting or actual cardiovascular training.

So, how do you avoid training during the night?

  • Basically, avoid scheduling in your training sessions during the night. Do them during the day instead! It is that simple; allow the dark period to be a period free from eating and exercising.
  • Instead, either clean your houseprepare for the next day or do productive work. Your productivity is, by the way, probably going to be really high at this time.
  • When the world around you is sleeping, there is very little distraction that steals your attention from more attention-demanding tasks. You will quickly learn that you can achieve a lot of things really fast even at night.

Melatonin supplementation

Melatonin is an important hormone for sleep regulation, that can be ingested as a supplement. Can you replace your dark period with melatonin supplementation (MS)?

In short, most definitely not advised for long term usage.

In details:

  • MS will supposedly aid with REM regulation, but will change SWS regulation. This means that if you do swap the dark period with MS, you will have lower sleep quality. Your SWS may also scatter across all sleep cycles rather than consolidate in a long chunk in the first 2-3 sleep cycles. 
  • The issue is still uncertain due to lack of research, but ingesting MS might lead to substance dependency.
  • Using MS instead of dark period can weaken the connection the brain makes between red lighting and shorter sleep onset (Pavlovian habit).

Given all the above, we only advise to use MS in emergencies or short-term “solutions” if really needed. But certainly not as a long term replacement to the most beneficial dark period.

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2 thoughts on “ESSENTIAL Health Considerations on Polyphasic Schedules: The ULTIMATE Course on the Dark Period

  1. Hmm, I wonder why it says ‘Enroll’ for course & a lock symbol even though I clicked on enroll

    1. You would need to create an account on the website to view everything. If you don’t want to do so, you can see the abbreviated version in the Overview tab.

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