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What Is Polyphasic Sleep? Pros and Cons For Entrepreneurs

This winter I was searching for a way to be more productive, and sleep less without feeling the effects of not enough sleep. I wanted more time to focus on business, well spending less time sleeping and doing nothing. In my search, I came across polyphasic sleep. Better than sleeping for 8 or 10 hours straight, you sleep in different segments, with no large chunk. This allows you to cut out a lot of time sleeping, and may even benefit your alertness. Polyphasic sleep promises you an extra 11 years of productivity and time awake in your life.

In this article, we are going to discuss polyphasic sleep, the pros and cons of it, how it can help and hurt young entrepreneurs, and my thoughts and opinions on it.

Either before or after reading this article, I strongly suggest to you to watch the below YouTube video. It provides great Insight on what polyphasic sleep is, but also discusses the effects that it had on the content creator. It was this YouTube video that introduced me to the concept of polyphasic sleep.

I also recommend reading some books on it. The bottom of this article the list of three books that I’ve read polyphasic sleep after discovering it. One of them is so good that I’m going to recommend it here as well: It’s called The 4 Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman. It is written by Tim Ferriss, the same writer as one of my favorite books, The Four Hour Work Week. I strongly recommend you check told to the math, especially the one on polyphasic sleep as it contains a lot of information oriented towards business people. Learn more by clicking on the link in this paragraph, or the bottom of this article.

Polyphasic sleep basically means that you sleep in smaller sections rather than one large chunk. There are multiple types of polyphasic sleep,but today we are going to discuss the uberman sleep schedule, which is pictured in the bottom right corner of the image below.

The point behind this odd sleeping schedule is the gain more hours awake and productive than the average human. This is why it’s called the “Uber” man, or better man sleep schedule. Uber means “denoting an outstanding or supreme example of a particular kind of person or thing.” By using this type of sleep schedule, you sleep only 3 hours a day. That 3 hours of sleep is broken up into 6 different sections of sleeping, which are distributed equally throughout the day. That means, 6 times a day you take a 30-minute nap. There’s no good night sleep, only those 30-minute naps.

Before we continue with this discussion, it’s worth noting that you can add or subtract time from the schedules, and also try out the variation which are listed in the photograph above. However, for the rest of this blog post we’re going to assume you sleep for 3 hours per day using the Uberman, polyphasic sleep schedule.

This concept was introduced on various blogs in the early 2000s, and quickly caught on among many people. However, it’s worth noting that these blogs came with disclaimers at the bottom saying that this is a potentially dangerous and harmful way to increase your hours a week. However, the reason that many people flocked and still flock the try this sleeping schedule is because if you succeeded in sleeping 3 hours per day instead of the prescribed 8, starting at 20 years of age, you would gain over 11 years in an average Western lifespan.

APPARENTLY: You still get all the benefits of monophasic sleep (Normal 8-10 hour sleep patterns) as with polyphasic sleep, you go straight to REM sleep (the type that is really good for you), and skip all the other types of sleep that are just “fillers.”

Sounds good to me. But wait, don’t go off and try it without reading the remainder of this post.

What are the pros and cons to sleeping like this?

The Pros:

  • Increase of 11 years of awake time
  • More work is possible to be done
  • You are more awake and alert

Another interesting fact is that there are several solid rumors stating that famous thinkers, like Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla, followed polyphasic sleep cycles.

The reason I found this sleeping schedule is because I wanted more time to focus on business and not sleep. The numbers are clear, sleeping this way will add 11 more productive years for your life span. Think of all the work you could do in this time. Perhaps, some of the success that DaVinci, Edison and Tesla saw was because they slept like this.

Business Insider wrote that:

Personal development speaker Steve Pavlina adopted this sleep schedule for a brief time with impressive results. He listed boredom — not decreased concentration or sleepiness — as a major problem. In fact, he only reverted back to monophasic sleep to spend more time during the day with his wife and kids.

The Cons:

– Possible health issues
– You are detached from the normal schedule of socioety

There are no concrete studies stating that polyphasic sleep is bad for you. Many websites advocating for this type of sleep actually state that it is the natural way to do things. However, personally, I feel that there might be long-term health issues from doing this. The commonly accepted amount of hours to sleep per day is 8, and if you get under that then there could be health issues. Sleeping 3 hours a day I personally feel, could not be good for you in the long term.

However, there is a study that somewhat disproves this:

‘Although it’s a common belief that 8 hours of sleep is required for optimal health, a six-year study of more than one million adults ages 30 to 102 has shown that people who get only 6 to 7 hours a night have a lower death rate. Individuals who sleep 8 hours or more, or less than 4 hours a night, were shown to have a significantly increased death rate compared to those who averaged 6 to 7 hours.’

HOWEVER: This blog is written for people interested in business aged between 14 and 25. Every single study on sleep for teenagers states that they need over 10 hours of sleep a night to be healthy. Don’t try polyphasic sleep, unless you are an adult.

Personally, well it sounded good to have another 11 years of my life the work and focus on success, I feel that because I am Young there could be health issues. Perhaps when I am older, and not on a 9-5 school/work schedule, I will try polyphasic sleep for myself. However, at this point I’m going to stay far away from it.

What do you think about polyphasic sleep? Leave your questions and statements in the comments below.

For further reading, check out this article: https://www.supermemo.com/en/articles/polyphasic. It has all the (science) info that you may want to know before trying out polyphasic sleep for yourself.

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