Taking a Break from Polyphasic!

Sounds drastic, right? I’ve decided that I’m going to take a break from polyphasic sleep – probably 3-4 weeks. As of today I’ve been doing it for about 4.5 months, and I feel like I have a good feel for what it’s like.

The truth is that napping during the day isn’t hard to do, but it is definitely disruptive – especially to other people. For example, last week a friend from San Francisco was in town for South by Southwest. I was hanging out with him and his friends, when all of a sudden it was nap time. They basically had to sit around and wait for me to take my nap, or lose my company. If I was deriving great benefit from the schedule, it would be worth such social impositions, but I’m not really getting that much from it.

I don’t really need the extra time right now. I thought I would make good use of it, but I honestly don’t. If I was super busy, then I would be more motivated to stay on polyphasic sleep. Also, no one else is doing it with me anymore, so my options for what to do during the night are fairly limited. Because I don’t really need the sleep, and usually don’t have too much to do at night, I end up slightly oversleeping. This means that I probably sleep 4-4.5 hours per day on average.

I’m also curious to see how much sleep I really need. My suspicion is that thanks to Raw Food, I only need 4.5-6 hours anyway. A schedule of 5am-10am or so would probably serve me just as well, and remove an incompatibilities between polyphasic and real life. Determining how much sleep I naturally need now is probably the biggest motivator to taking a break.

The biggest hesitation for taking a break from polyphasic sleep is derived from having done it for so long. I don’t like breaking the streak, and I feel like people may read this and decide not to try it for themselves. However, I think that with the knowledge I’ve gained through these past months, I could easily get reacclimated to the schedule if I decide I want it back.

I also intend to continue napping during the day when it’s convenient. I’m hoping for about 4 hours at night plus one or two 30 minute naps during the day. I actually really enjoy every nap, I just don’t like the restrictions they impose.

All that said, I will really miss my naps. Most of them involve very deep sleep and an interesting dream, which is more than I can claim for my monophasic sleep.

Brace yourself for updates!

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12 comments

  1. Let me be the first to say, this is a huge blow to me in my goal of getting on a polyphasic sleep cycle. The fact that you were on it for so long was enormous motivation for those of us watching.

  2. I can see your reasons, and I can see that you really do not need the extra time. Besides, you suceeded in getting to full poly so, like Tony Robins would say: “Is that all there is?” 🙂 Most important you made it clear to US that it is posibble and soon I will need as much time as posible (starting a company and keeping the old one) I will go poly… and nuts in the proces. Tnx for showing us the light. Now go get some proper sleep.

  3. I was talking to my dad on what he thought about polyphasic sleeping and he said that it doesnt sound like an good idea. Now there are possibly some benefits from this like more time but it really doesnt make sense. When going poly your body doesnt get the rest that it needs. Poly gives it a false feeling of rest. Adults need about 8 hours of sleep a day to live a healthy life. Im not saying tests have been done on people doing poly and they are fine, im talking about long term. I was also thinking since your poly it could be the reason you couldnt build the 15 pounds of muscle you wanted. Less sleep equals more fat. If you are consistantly getting less sleep and still working out then your just fighting an uphill battle.

    I have been doing some research on this because I thought it was interesting. But im into a healthy living and this doesnt seem to be my cup of tea. People wanting to try poly don’t let me hinder your thoughts on doing it.

    Hey also read this: http://www.tech-recipes.com/blog202.php

    Thats where I got a little of my info.

  4. AJ- I knew some people would have that reaction, which made me reluctant to do it. However, I am really glad I personally did it, and there’s an excellent chance I will gain perspective during these next few weeks and do it again. Once I work on my productivity (which is very unimpressive at the moment), and can effectively use the time, I will definitely go back.

    Bender- You nailed it on the head. Thanks!

    David- I full believe that polyphasic is completely healthy. It *feels* right when you do it. The reason I can’t gain 15lb is because the foods I eat are extremely calorically sparse and I don’t eat enough of them. I have been losing fat this entire time, down to 9.5% BF. There are a lot of indications that polyphasic may in fact be healthier, for your brain at least.

    (down to 50 minutes of computer for the rest of the day!)

    Tynan

  5. Hey tynan,

    We may not know for certain whether or not its good or bad untill some good research is done. I am full vegetarian and started working out about 2 months ago and have gained about 15 pounds of muscle. I will do more research on it and get back to you. You are prolly more informed about it than me anyways.

  6. Just another comment… Polyphasic sleep gives your mind the feeling of rest. You feel ok but the lack of sleep starins your immune system. You are also eating really healthy so you are most likely keeping your immune system up to par, but people that arent eating extremely healthy and want to attemp to sleep in polyphasic mode be weary that you may tend to get sick more often. Also Poly rests the mind as it goes into the REM cycle. The REM cycle is the part of sleep where you get most of your rest. But REm rests the mind. The problem with Poly isnt the short term effects that are harmful but years later. Your body isn’t getting enough rest. Your joints will wear out muscles will get used and you will be more likely to have major health problems later on in life. Diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis and thats just the body. Diabetes would happen because sleep deprivation causes your body to not digest the sugars you eat properly.

    I have learned a lot about how the mind regenerates portions lost during the day. Later on in life you could be more prone to memory loss.

    There hasn’t been much research on this to presuade me to go either way on this. Only personal testimony which is useless.

  7. Good luck with the monophasic. It’s like I said in one of my updates, polyphasic is a tool you’ll use for the rest of your life, so just use it as that, it’ll definetly come in handy when you need it!

    To David, I’ve gained 28 lbs of muscle and have been fully polyphasic for well over 2 months now. Here’s a good article I read last night that you might want to take a look at http://www.solegoal.com/2006/03/sleep-deprivation-the-great-american-myth/ not to mention the updates I’ve done throughout the entire process 😉 http://www.solegoal.com/2006/01/polyphasic-sleep/

  8. Paul Clow, you’ve gained 28 lbs of muscle in two months? WHILE polyphasic? Are you a professional bodybuilder or some kind of genetic superfreak?

    Please explain.

  9. Those interested in polyphasic sleep: try http://www.sleepingschedules.com/ (shameless plug 🙂 ).

    Milo: Hint: If you have 22 hours awake, you have a *lot* of time to work out! I never got any exercise except walking to work. When I quit, I started going polyphasic at the same time. While I haven’t succeeded yet, the nights I have been up, I’ve gone on a walk. I had to cut down from 2 hours to 1 because my feet weren’t used to coping with that kind of usage. But if I could get my feet to stop hurting (and they only hurt after about 50 minutes walking), then I’d walk for 2 or more hours/day. I’ve also lost weight since the last monophasic time I weighed myself, but that was a few months before I went polyphasic, so I’m not sure what the relationship there is. Still, my guess is that it’s not unreasonable that I lost 5kg (11 lb, I think) in 5 hours of walking spread over a week. Enjoy Paul’s blog; it’s one of the 3 best (along with Tynan and Steve Pavlina).

  10. Btw, Tynan, if you’re looking for polyphasic sleepers in your area, join the Yahoo! Group — they’re the best polyphasic community around.

  11. Cool success story, Tim! The thing is, weightlifting requires rest to allow for your muscles to recuperate and grow. So more time spent lifting isn’t necessarily better! It can lead to overtraining.

    28 lbs of solid muscle is a lot to pack on in just two months, especially when you’re only getting 2.5 hours of sleep per day. Difficult to believe at first, but nothing’s impossible. Tynan says he’s legit so I was looking for him to spit knowledge backing it up, provide a link or something. I was previously under the impression that polyphasic sleep and building muscle mass are imcompatible.

  12. Hey Milo, sorry I didn’t reply sooner, I’ve just gotten around to reading your post right now.

    No I didn’t put the 28 lbs on in 2 months, that would be a lot of work and wouldn’t allow for much time to recuperate as you suggested. I started out at 136 lbs in September of last year, I breifly went to the gym during the fall but quit in October after my gf moved out (we had been going to the gym together). Then I started eating a little better and in Janurary I got back to the gym occasionally. When I started the polyphasic sleep, I stopped going for a week or 2 because I wanted to adjust to the schedule without wearing myself completely out. After that I was going to the gym up to 6 times a week, so with my diet, the Whey protein powder and HMB pills (all of which I explain here: http://www.solegoal.com/2006/03/how-do-you-shape-up/) I reduced my recuperation time and felt a lot less soreness then I normally would. I managed to get up to 170 lbs, I’m at 166 lbs right now, having lost a few pounds on the treadmill but I have a goal of 180 lbs in the next few months.

    My quick reply to David’s post made it sound like I’m sucking back the ‘roids but that’s not what I meant, sorry for making it confusing. 😛

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