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I would like to take some time to address some of the miss information that I see all over the place having to do with Polyphasic.  I don't mean to have this page be a long rant but it may appear to be so.

Be Skeptical:

Be skeptical of almost everything you read on the internet about Polyphasic sleep, there is soo much bad information on both sides of this topic, and much of it is from people who claim to have done the schedule, etc, etc.  When you are reading someones personal blog, or watching a youtube video, or following a discussion on a forum somewhere, try to let a single thing guide you through the bad information, ask or somehow find out how long the person giving out the information has been on the schedule.  If they say less than a month, disregard what they have to say, if its been less than 6 months, take it with a grain of salt, if its been a year or more, listen to them.

There are no shortcuts!

Let me repeat that statement, Polyphasic is not easy, and there are no shortcuts!  People keep trying to come up with a schedule where you can get away with 2 hours of sleep a day but don't require you to take naps when they are inconvienent, this will not work!  Some words to live by, the more flexibility you want in your schedule, the more sleep you are going to require.

Beware of "Magical" schedules

Everyone has their own idea of schedules they want to try that will make things easier, however they will most likely not work.  In general there are three main schedules, and out of them I believe only two of them are workable:

  1. Uberman: This is the grand daddy of schedules, you get to live on two hours of sleep a day, but you life is lived in 4 hour blocks, no exceptions.  You need to be very strict in your lifestyle and you have to take your naps no matter what is going down, you can't change the spacing of the naps, you are a slave to your 4 hour interval.  That being said, if you can fit this into your life you will be a machine, work, hobbies, relaxation, exercise, you can do it all, just DON'T miss a nap!
  2. Everyman: If you want to take the Polyphasic easy road, this is it, you can get by with 4 hours of sleep a day, you get more time in-between your naps, and you get a degree of flexibility as to when you take your naps.  However, same basic rules apply, you get 6 hours between naps, your core sleep is pretty set, and even though you have some flexibility, if you try and bend it too far, you will be sleeping about as much as the rest of the population.
  3. Dymaxion: Lets get this out of the way, dymaxion doesn't work!  Yeah, people have claimed to do this schedule before, but its main characteristic is being awesome and causing you to crash, just a couple times a week.  Here is the problem, if you are fully adjusted to your schedule and still are crashing from time to time, then your schedule is not working and you are sleep deprived!  Look up some general studies on sleep deprivation and then decide if you really want to do that to your health.

Expect to fail

Lets not sugar coat this, if you decide to try Polyphasic, the stats are against you, you will more than likely fail!  But don't let that discourage you from trying it, and also know there are things you can do to help ensure your success.  I will list a few of the well known ones below here, and if I think of enough I will make a page dedicated to the topic.

  1. Talk someone else into trying it at the same time.  If you have a buddy to keep each other accountable, you have just done the #1 thing you can to ensure your success.  Just knowing that you will be getting a call from another human being to make sure you made it up from your nap is enough motivation to get through some of the tougher parts of adjusting, plus the fact you have someone to chat with online or go for a walk with when you can barely keep your eyes open at 3:30am.
  2. Make a huge list of things you want to do before you start, make sure the list is mostly physical things (not reading a book, etc).  And make sure they are fun things to do, then when you are nodding off and can't think straight you don't have to think of something to do, just grab the list and do the next thing on it, it is the closest thing to magic there is in regards to converting to Polyphasic.
  3. Have a real reason for doing this.  Your mind will have a thousand excuses why you should just go to bed for "10" more minutes (which will accidentally become a 6 hour oversleep).  You need to know why you are putting yourself through this, and it had better be a good reason, doing it to get more work done won't cut it at 4am when your body is screaming for sleep.

Don't believe everything you read in major magazines/etc

Face it, Polyphasic is somewhat of a cult uprising, its not mainstream, but if you write an article about it, you will get a following.  That being said, I have seen several articles from actual magazines and such where the author decided to try Polyphasic for a month to determine if it was possible or not, then they write an article explaining how its not possible and anyone who says they are doing the schedule is lying.  If you have forgotten already, most people are going to fail, a writer should not assume they are going to succeed at the schedule, and Polyphasic takes the brunt of their failures.