Sleep Polyphasic
     A site about people with alternate Sleep Schedules

Create your own schedule

Many people that look at polyphsic sleeping have one of 3 reactions
1. WTF? You are all crazy.
2. That's so awesome I'm going to do it.
3. Hmm, sounds interesting, but I DON"T THINK I COULD DO IT WITH MY SCHEDULE.
For some people, this is possibly true, e.g. a doctor who on occasion does surgery for 12 hours straight. But, for most people, the reason they believe they could not fit it into their schedule is because they either don't really want to or none of the standard sleep schedules fit exactly into their schedule. Just because one of the standard schedules (uberman, everyman, and dymaxion) doesn't fit YOUR schedule doesn't mean that you cannot do polyphasic sleep.

Let's talk about sleep, baby, let's talk REM and Deep, (let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be).
OK, Songs aside, the key to making a sleep schedule is primarily the REM and secondarily the deep sleep. The first thing everyone has to decide about making a sleep schedule is whether or not you want a core sleep. Secondly, you should identify the times throughout a normal day when you could take a nap.

The whole concept of polyphasic sleep is that the most critical part of sleep is the REM. Most people need between an hour and an hour and a half between REM cycles, whether they are awake or asleep. Most people's REM cycles are about 15-25 minutes long and most people need 5 or 6 of them a day (for a total of 75-150 minutes of REM.) The amount of REM different people get/need is roughly a normal distribution with most people needing somewhere in the 100-125 minute range. This is the basis of all polyphasic schedules: be awake between REM cycles and sleep cycles. The Dymaxion schedule attempts to force the body to increae their REM cycle a little (unless you already are on the high end of the curve and get 25 minutes of REM per cycle). Then, one can get 25-30 minutes of REM, 4 times a day for a total of 100-120 minutes of REM. The reason this is difficult for many people is that (a) some people are unable to force their bodies to get a 25-30 minute REM cycle, they essentially get "stuck" with a 15-20 minute cycle, or (b) they need more than 120 minutes of REM no matter what.

The uberman schedule is easier because one "only" needs to adapt to getting REM at a short nap. Once successful, the body is able to get a ~20 minute cycle 6 times a day for a total of 120 minutes of REM. For people who need a little bit more, no problem, extend your nap so as to get up to 25 minutes per cycle and you can now get the 150 minutes of REM per day. For most people, the 20 minutes of sleep time shoud be about right.

An Everyman schedule is similar to the Uberman in the sense that it allows for 6 REM cycles of ~20 minutes each. The difference is that instead of being equally spaced throughout the day, three of them are "clumped" in a core sleep at night.

So, what does all this have to do with creating your own schedule? It means that you can come with almost any scheule as long as
1. it accounts for ~120 minutes of REM
2. it allows for at least 60 minutes between REM cycles, whether awake or more especially asleep. (When awake, a recommended minimum of 3 hours between REM cycles is suggested.)

Of course, the more evenly distributed your naps, the better. As an example, when I was first adapting to polyphasic sleep, I attempted to have 6 naps with 3 of them 5.5 hours apart (start-to-start) and the other 3 with only 2 hours of wake time between them. This could theoretically work, but I was VERY prone to just sleeping through. I hypothesize now that if you are laready polyphasic and only doing naps, one may be able move to something similar to this, but I am not very convinced. I think your body will always see it as expected to just sleep between these close together REM cycles. On the other hand, a schedule like 12pm-4am, 8am, 12:30pm, 5pm works fine. Actually, this is very similar to the schedule I am currently on. I actually have found that my body is happier with an extra nap some days, so if I am not doing anything and feeling tired, I take an "extra" nap around 9pm. Yeah, yeah, I'm a cheater, oh well; it means I can actually get up at the end of my core sleep instead of having the almost uncontrollable urge to roll over and go back to sleep. But, I also used to get 9 hours of sleep at night when I was monophasic and still sometimes wanted more. If you need something more like a normal 8 hours, you should be fine.

So, a step by step guide.
1. Identify time when you definitely want naps
2a. If you are not sure when you want your naps to be, instead identify when you do not want your naps to be, e.g. I cannot nap while I'm at work from 8am-12pm or 12:30pm to 5pm.
2b. Then put a nap in right before/after each of those sections. You now have an idea, at least, of when you mght want some naps
3. Remove naps that are too close to each other: you have less than 2 hours of wake time between naps (I'm guessing most people will not have this issue).
4. Move your naps around as much as possible (based on your personaly schedule) so that they are as evenly spaced as possible. They don't need to have the exact same amount of time between them but having 3 that are 3 hours apart from each other and then a 10 hour gap is going to be pretty tough to adapt to
5. Look at the number of naps that you have and add a core sleep so that you will be able to get a total of 120+ minutes of REM a day. (Note discussion of REM length above. Recommendation is 6 distinct REM cycles.)
5a. To determine how long your core should be, give yourself a REM cycle at the begining that is the length of your standard nap and then add 1.5 hours per additional cycle. This should get you in the ballpark. Once you are adapted, I would recommend experimenting with slightly longer/shorter cycles to see what works for you. Or you can use a Zeo to see if/when you are getting REM and for how long.

TADA! You have made your own personal polyphsic sleep schedule.