Sunday, April 02, 2006

Polyphasic Sleep or catnapping

I am more productive today.

I have long felt that people sleep too much. I have even considered this to be a personal competitive advantage. If I sleep less than other people, I can get more done. I think of it as a fundamental time management tool.

I have been following the Polyphasic Sleep chatter in the blogsphere and on the internet. (Polyphasic sleep is sleeping 20 minutes every 4 hours for a total sleep time of 2 hours per day). Of course the attraction for me is huge. More time to get more done.

Challenges to me doing Polyphasic full time are:

1 - Health. I am a health guy and am not convinced of the health of it.

2 - Family. I do not have the support of Elizabeth. For some reason she thinks I should sleep at night. I have not spoken to mom or dad but would be certain they would not approve.

3 - No place to sleep. I work in an office and cannot easily nap at work. It seems to weird - even for me. For that matter, I usually wear a suit or good clothes so can't exactly sleep in them.

I use a variation of polyphasic sleep - some would call catnapping. It addresses all of the above concerns. I am convinced it allows me to be more efficient and sleep less than many other people do. I use it when I do the redeye which I seem to do every couple of weeks. I use it on the weekend and sometimes if I get home in the evening. What I am doing and what I have learned from Polyphasic sleep is:

1 - 20 minutes is the perfect length of time for a nap. So perhaps I do not practise polyphasic sleep but I do find a 20 minute nap refreshing. I set my alarm for 21 minutes and assume it takes me 1 minute to fall asleep. I do not feel guilty napping for 20 minutes. So far, I only use this on weekends and evenings.

2 - I have learned to fall asleep quickly. One minute is all it takes.

3 - I am trying to learn to fall asleep sitting up or in busy, bright, loud places etc. (like on planes, in my car (not while driving) and in airports or at home with the dog barking). This is where I could really use it.

4 - I use napping in the evening to give me the energy to continue. I usually do not get home until it is almost time for bed but if I do, I nap for 20 minute then go out, do what I want etc.

5 - I use it when my body naturally tells me to sleep. Sometimes in the evening I am reading and find myself nodding off or not concentrating. Perfect time for a nap.

6 - I have read that body temperature regulates partly how "awake" we are. To raise body temperature after I get up, I often (but not always) take a brisk walk or do some other physical activity to get me pumped again. I have used this technique for surviving the redeye for some time.

I am a strong advocate of cat napping. Learn how to do it and increase efficiency.







10 Comments:

At 4:56 PM, Blogger Noah Dyer said...

Thanks for coming by my site. This looks like a great site you have here. I'll have to spend some time here over the next few days and touch back often.

 
At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Amit said...

I've always loved the concept of napping but I've always found it difficult to fall asleep quickly enough. I still to this day have not worked it out but it's something I'm working on.

As for polyphasic sleep, As much as I think it can work I just don't think it's practical if you work a nine to five. I know that in some countries they promote "naptime" during work but there is no concept of that in the UK.

 
At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this comment interesting:
"2 - I have learned to fall asleep quickly. One minute is all it takes."

I'm curious to find out if you believe you fall asleep because you're exhausted?

 
At 12:13 PM, Blogger Ezio Carlino said...

Hmmm....

Having 2 young children at home this may be an interesting time management situation.

Since I generally only get about 4 hours a night on average....seems like a realistic alternative.

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger Gerhard Peters said...

Jim,
I like the idea of napping and I do that on regular basis. I can't support you with the Polyphasic Sleep idea and I think it is absolutely crazy! But I agree that sleeping less is a good idea
I regularly go to bed at 10pm and get up at 5am, go to the gym, have breakfast, shower, read for a while, quick 10 min nap (around 8 to 8:30) and then go to my office. If time allows I have a quick 10 min nap in the afternoon at my office leaning back on my chair. I get to do the afternoon nap about three times a week. It works well for me!!
Gerhard

 
At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Amit said...

Gerhard, how do you fall asleep in your chair? I've never quite mastered the art of falling asleep anywhere!

 
At 10:46 PM, Blogger Paul Speziale said...

I found that when I was working for someone, if I got less than 8 hours sleep, I felt terrible. Now that I am working for myself and am enjoying what I am doing, I average 5-6 hours a day sleep, work 14 hours and have time to go to the gym. Somehow, now, it doesn't affect me as much and I am forced to agree with you that the amount of sleep we need is somewhat psychologically dependant.

 
At 11:52 PM, Blogger Bill Reimer said...

When I worked at the Kitchener Library I managed to do the catnap thing during my coffee breaks... it amazed others how I could wake up after the 10 minutes and walk out... never slept too long... and their noisy conversations seemed to lull me to sleep...

2 short naps a day seemed to give me lots more energy

 
At 8:51 PM, Anonymous Amit said...

I have yet to crack the sleep thing. I'm trying to avoid using an alarm clock too as that seems to make me irritable

 
At 6:18 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Great post! I'd never heard of polyphasic sleep before...

 

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