How to Prepare for Adaptations


There are three main ways to prepare for polyphasic adaptations.

  • Specifically, two of these methods induce more sleep debt. This would facilitate falling asleep for the designated sleep times. However, the adaptation process becomes even more difficult.
  • Third method repays sleep debt, so that the attempt is going to be easier. 

Each of these methods has more in-depth pros and cons, so look over them carefully before you start. NOTE, in polyphasic lingo, we sometimes use the word “exaptation” when talking about these methods. Exaptation simply means pre-adaptation and refers to preparatory tactics for an incoming adaptation.


Most of the adaptation methods detailed on this site (unless otherwise stated) expect the attempter to have no previous sleep deprivation. One can kickstart a recovery schedule (See “recovery”) until they catch up with all sleep debts. Recovery is the concept of sleeping with natural wakes until there is no more sleep deprivation. Because it is impossible to recover from all sleep debts within a day, this process can be long and drag out.

The following moments are suitable for recovery methods:

  • Before doing a polyphasic sleep schedule, if one is sleep deprived
  • After falling into OSS, or Oversleeping Syndrome, a series of oversleeping instances. The polyphasic adaptation at this point is irredeemable. 
  • After one oversleep so massive that it becomes impossible to continue the schedule. 

Recovery Duration

After a previously failed adaptation, it is necessary to recover for 1-2 weeks. However, it can take less or more time depending on the amount of cumulative sleep deprivation. Before the first polyphasic schedule, some can accrue a lot of sleep debts; thus, recovery can thus take several weeks or even months in extreme cases.

It is not a good idea to set a time limit for how long a recovery should be. This is because there is no guarantee it will conclude in the preset timeframe. While doing recovery, one should preferably have a fixed time for the start of the sleep. This should be start at the same time as the planned polyphasic schedule if possible.

To prepare a recovery from a polyphasic schedule, follow this pattern:

  • A few days with a short core. This is because the body still remembers to wake up earlier on a polyphasic regime. 
  • Many days with a very long core. 
  • 2-3 days with usual core duration

This is when recovery is over; when their sleep has stabilized at a consistent length similar to the length before their polyphasic attempt. This duration is usually 6-8h for most adults.

Other notes

  • Taking naps during the recovery period can possibly force the core to remain as short as before. In addition, this may also stall the recovery in the process. However, this depends on how long the adaptation period has been before the recovery period.
  • If it is impossible to recover with natural wakes due to scheduling limitations, then get as much sleep as possible. While this is doable, recovering will take a longer.
  • Speeding up recovery is not really possible, as the body will only allow itself to sleep a certain amount each day.

In sum, recovering itself is a very painful process. Experiencing long-lasting headaches, mood drops and such is very common. This is normal and in a way necessary. However, it is important to know that this phase is only temporary. Keep looking at the goal in front of you and stay strong. Do note that polyphasic sleep adaptation is not to be taken lightly; messing with extreme sleep debts perpetually can butcher the ability to adapt to any future schedules. 

Staying Awake Before Starting

To prepare for an adaptation, this method is about staying awake for 24-36h and then jumping into the desired schedule. You will start falling asleep faster especially in naps, and get an adaptation head start. However, this method has very glaring flaws.

  • Due to the increased sleep debt, the symptoms are going to be harder for the rest of the adaptation. This includes longer stage 3, shorter stage 1 and 2. Adaptation will not finish sooner with this method.
  • It is for the most part only an option for extreme or nap-only schedules, which will benefit most from falling asleep immediately. Human supervision is also an option to avoid falling asleep from the aggravated sleep deprivation.
  • Starting a schedule with pre-existing sleep deprivation gives similar effects as this method. The duration of stage 3 varies depending on the amount of sleep deprivation after one begins the schedule. A surefire sign is excessive tiredness during the first week.


An extreme way to learn to nap
Naptation, a nap every 1h40m

Similar to “staying awake before starting’’, one stays awake for around 36h until second wind. Then, start napping for 20m (or 30m for rare, extreme schedules) at the end of every BRAC (20m once every 2h or 3h). The frequent napping is to practice falling asleep in short naps. Naptation can resume for a number of days until you start falling asleep instantly (1-3 days); additionally, you can also stop after getting SOREM in the naps.

This method is also valid for people who prepare to adapt to a schedule but fail to learn how to nap. It can suit non-nappers very well.

  • During the Naptation process, people learn how to fall asleep instantly due to the accumulation of sleep debt.
  • The ability to nap has been anecdotally proven to be an ingrained skill even after doing monophasic sleep for extended periods. This is comparable to riding a bike.
  • By first doing naptation, one learns how to nap. Then, recover for 1-2 weeks to get rid all sleep debt. Finally, proceed with the desired schedule. People often do naptation for a bit longer than the direct switch to make sure the napping skills stick.

Naptation can prepare for napping in an uncomfortable situation. Sleep deprivation eases the preparation process for sleep. Due to the extreme sleep deprivation, one can learn to fall asleep:

  • While sitting
  • In a car
  • Lying on the back
  • Lying on an uncomfortable surface
  • In a cold/warm environment
  • In a bright room
  • Around a noisy environment, etc.

Some people recommend doing naptation for 3-7 days and then starting Uberman. If you prepare for Uberman sleep this way, it is preferable if you already have some prior napping skills.

Main author: Crimson

Page last updated: 2 April 2021