SPAMAYL is an abbreviation for “Sleep Polyphasically As Much As You Like”. This schedule will likely be below the minimum sleep threshold of most people, and adaptations to it are extremely rare. Having 8-12 naps around the clock gives little leeway for productive work between naps; in addition, it is necessary to schedule meals around the hectic napping lifestyle. Therefore, individuals without reduced sleep needs should avoid this schedule.
Stocking up sleep in a day and having few or even no naps the next day is reportedly possible on this schedule. However, there are a couple things to note:
- The ability to prophylactically nap strongly questions the possibility to get all necessary SWS and REM.
- Stocking up on those sleep types is not possible. It only suggests that the people who were able increase their sleep times were still sleep deprived.
- It is also crucial to detect the natural tiredness waves to place naps accordingly. This schedule has at least 1 SWS nap and several naps can contain mixed-stages.
- SPAMAYL can also stabilize by giving a rhythmic napping pattern for a fixed work schedule everyday. For example, one can have fixed nap times once every 1 hours and 40 minutes at night.
- Why Does It Work?
- Adapted Feelings
- Alternate Variations
- Adaptation Strategy
Rasmus proposed this schedule and reportedly stayed on it for 1.5 years.
- SPAMAYL was the first “-AMAYL” polyphasic schedule with hyper flexibility in sleep times.
- The main principle is to follow the body’s need for rest to place the naps accordingly.
- The original design of the schedule exclusively uses 20m naps. Alternatively, polyphasic sleepers also sometimes refer to it as flexible U7 or U8 (Uberman with 7 or 8 naps). However, over the years, no one aside from Rasmus succeeded with an exclusive 20-minute-nap SPAMAYL.
The birth of this schedule eventually led to the creations of 3 other “-AMAYL” schedules, while the primary sleep principles carry over. Another premise of the schedule is to hover around a somewhat consistent total sleep time from day to day to stabilize the naps. From that point, it also becomes effortless to predict the patterns of tiredness.
For what lifestyles is this schedule best?
SPAMAYL fits those with self-employment, but is also possible for programming jobs or any jobs with stable daily timetables. For those who are fully adjusted to 20m naps, there is allegedly no limit in SPAMAYL’s flexibility.
However, because of the flexibility of the schedule, it offers a lot of niches for consideration. Refer to the research below for a better idea on SPAMAYL’s behavior.
Interested in a literature source on SPAMAYL? Read here.
The effects from SPAMAYL during intense situations that require indomitable motivation are worth a deeper look. Based on the cited research, it is then reasonable to resort to SPAMAYL in critical living conditions that demand an excess amount of wake time. Most importantly, these physically and even emotionally taxing tasks are manageable with SPAMAYL if they only last for a few weeks.
Personal motivation is a strong factor for any nap-based lifestyles after all. The situations below as a few examples can benefit from a temporary SPAMAYL attempt:
- War and apocalyptic times
- SPAMAYL may become a very niche survival tool to at least hold on to for a short time (up to ~a couple weeks or so) until one manages to find a settlement area.
- Apocalyptic times also naturally force humans to stay awake longer to watch for any predatory threats (e.g, in the forest).
- New parents most likely won’t be able to adhere to any strict sleep schedules.
- They may even have to stay awake for long periods of time, similar to sustained operations.
- Taking care of the newborn at night and fulfilling social obligations in the day may force a temporary SPAMAYL schedule.
- Extended team projects
- Intense race or physical tournaments
The flexibility of the schedule (including nap duration) invites more possibility for longer naps to relieve more tiredness and sleep pressure. Getting some rest from naps coupled with the adrenaline from the stressful situations can provide certain amount of vigilance in the event of severe emergencies; skipping sleep entirely can heavily affect decision-making skills.
This flexibility also outclasses other fixed nap-only schedules like Uberman.
Oher notes on strengths and weaknesses
The goal is not to adapt to SPAMAYL under these circumstances, but to use it as a way to learn to increase the body’s efficiency to squeeze the most rest possible from each shuteye session. The brief experience with this nap-only behavior may be tempting for certain motivations behind some personal sleep experiments.
All can become doable without having to worry about the pressure of any obligation to adapt.
Despite the niches, SPAMAYL also has blatant downsides:
- Glymphatic system: Despite that the naps can be as long as ~60m, sleepers can still wake in SWS and interrupt the cycle.
- Physically active lifestyles: The demand for SWS rises. Variants with only 20m naps increase oversleeping chance.
- Disturbing adaptation: The ability to manage sleep in short chunks around the clock is almost impossible for inexperienced or unmotivated individuals. Same for those without sleep requirements to maintain the schedule long term.
- Longer naps: These naps can give REM and SWS wakes unpredictably, and waking up refreshed takes a very long time, if not to say impossible.
Why does this schedule work?
The idea behind the schedule is to entrain the habitual 20m naps by napping for only 20m when tired enough.
- Since there are no core sleeps, all necessary SWS and REM must come from the naps.
- Like with Uberman and Dymaxion, an SWS nap can show up during the REM peak; same for a REM nap during SWS peak.
- Sleep pressure is usually huge because all naps have to account for as much REM and SWS as possible.
- It is also near impossible to predict which sleep type each nap can have, due to the varied number of naps each day.
- SPAMAYL is less hostile than Uberman and Dymaxion, since it can allow more than 6 and 4 naps respectively. The extra sleep from the naps will also accommodate sleep needs by allowing for extra REM and SWS gain.
- Because of the flexibility in the naps, they will contain a lower amount of SWS or REM than the naps on strict nap-only schedules. Thus, the same equivalent total SWS and REM sleep would demand more naps.
- It is likely that only adults with genetically reduced sleep needs will be able to accomplish this type of sleeping pattern, due to the inefficiencies of inconsistent sleep times and the very low sleep total.
What does it feel like once adapted?
Rasmus, the inventor of the schedule, said he never felt tired and once he was tired enough he would lie down and take a 20m nap.
- Like other schedules, REM naps give huge boost to alertness and naps are usually very deep if they are well-timed, because the schedule doesn’t offer any core sleeps.
- However, it is also common to feel tired occasionally if a nap is ill-timed or one has to stay awake for too long.
- Overall, the alertness boost from the naps is enough to sustain alertness for the next hours.
- A nap can also be before or after a certain event comfortably, to ensure low chance for oversleeping as alertness starts to wane.
It is worth noting that the successful adaptations so far are pretty much from sleep mutants and heavy insomniacs.
What variations of SPAMAYL actually work?
In Rasmus’ words, most naps are focused in the night, because it is usually harder to stay awake at night than in the day. Adapted Discord user Charlaxy also reported the majority of naps at night (8-10pm through sunrise hours around 7 AM). Usually, nighttime naps allow for SWS gain and ensures some night sleep. As a result, she can limit daytime naps to have a more comfortable social life.
However, that is not the only variant of SPAMAYL that can work. Since SPAMAYL has so much versatility and can manifest in a vast array of forms in an adapted person, there is no limit on the number of SPAMAYL variants that can work.
Up to date, there has been more adaptation success to SPAMAYL, especially with the use of longer naps. “-AMAYL” polyphasic schedules do not confine to a specific sleep duration all the time, and SPAMAYL is no exception.
- Any sleep duration can lengthen, as long as it remains a nap.
- In the above example, a nap can last for as long as 60m.
- Longer naps around dawn (Pronap) are possible options before work to limit the amount of naps during work hours.
- The overall higher total sleep is also closer to the minimum sleep threshold for average sleepers (4h).
The reason why such nap lengths can work is largely attributable to the perpetually fragmented sleep in insomniac individuals.
- They often reportedly cannot sleep for longer than a couple minutes in one go.
- It is then possible to start waking up after a certain nap duration, stay awake and wait until sleepy enough for the next nap.
- As a result, their ever-changing nap durations persist from day to day, allowing each nap to also change accordingly from day to day.
- The versatility in such nap duration, however, is only viable for individuals with very reduced sleep duration.
The above example serves to illustrate the position of a longer nap in SWS peak to ensure more uninterrupted SWS goes into this nap; other naps concentrate during graveyard hours to reduce the sleep pressure at nighttime.
Contrary to the version with longer naps, experienced sleepers can also make use of ultrashort naps (~5m). The primary benefits from these naps include the following:
- Multiple naps of similar duration are easier to schedule than one nap of long duration (e.g, 30-40m).
- During sustained operations, sleepers can lie down and sleep for a brief 5-10m while there is not enough space to schedule longer naps.
- Ultrashort naps can prevent entering SWS, which results in a rough awakening.
- These naps temporarily help boost alertness and stall for the incoming naps that can be longer.
- Increase vigilance upon waking up if immediate attention is obligatory
However, these naps have more limited recuperative power than a longer nap. It is also unknown how long an individual can stay on a nap-based schedule with varying nap durations; more information from research would be necessary to understand how often these ultrashort naps can appear.
What is the best adaptation strategy?
Because of the rare adaptations so far, the most natural method of adapting to this pattern is cold turkey. Their drastically reduced sleep requirements enable these sleepers to sleep when tired in short bursts. They utilize their broken sleep as a result of insomnia or certain genetic factors to dictate sleep time and sleep around the clock.
Here’s a quick map of a SPAMAYL adaptation, and mileage may vary:
- First, many naps will not give any rest or only very little actual sleep.
- Naps generate more sleep inertia and potentially low energy level in the day as a result of a change in sleep behavior. A transition from monophasic sleep to a multiple-nap regime typically highlights an adaptation period.
- Once the body gets a hang of the napping habit, the naps become more refreshing and yield more vital sleep stages. Thus, it becomes possible to stay awake for a longer period of time before having to nap again. Eventually, the effects of drowsiness from delaying a nap fade quickly.
Having no core sleeps forces the naps on SPAMAYL to finally repartition REM and SWS into each nap. This is different from the naps on “-AMAYL” schedules with a core sleep, whose adaptations always require an adaptation to a strict base schedule first.
Note on Rasmus’ method
According to Rasmus, “during adaptation one can go nap for 20m, wake up (and actually do things rather than just sitting in bed) for at least 20m. After at least 20m has passed, they can go back to sleep for 20m if sleepy enough. Rinse and repeat the process. However, this adaptation scheme is debatable.
- Humans usually need to stay awake for at least 90m before sleeping again; otherwise, the body will treat it as an interrupted core sleep.
- It is necessary is to make sure that you actually only take 20 minute naps and space them apart adequately. Then, staying awake by engaging in any activities to signal wake time would be a more sensible reasoning.
- It is unadvisable to schedule the naps at any intervals less than 90m.
- An adaptation to a schedule with strict sleep times, for example, Uberman with 7 or 8 naps is possible as the first step.
- The next step is to learn to flex the naps as part of the flexing adaptation, one or two naps at a time.
- Afterwards, add more naps when alertness and productivity start to falter to get used to the varying number of naps.
While this approach looks viable, no one has successfully adapted to SPAMAYL this way. This is due to the immensely difficult adaptation to a nap-only schedule as the first step, let alone learning to flex sleep on a nap-only pattern.
Main author: GeneralNguyen
Page last updated: 8 April 2021
- Stampi, Claudio. Why We Nap : Evolution, Chronobiology, and Functions of Polyphasic and Ultrashort Sleep. Birkhauser, 2014.