Steve Pavlina’s Polyphasic Sleep Experiment

After reading about polyphasic sleep on lifehack, Steve Pavlina decided to try it for himself and blog about the exprience.

For those of you unfamiliar with polyphasic sleep, it is a schedule that requires only 3 hours of sleep each day, taken in half-hour naps every four hours. This is in contrast to the so-called monophasic sleep schedule that has most of us spend eight or nine continuous hours each night in bed.

Naturally, the transition to polyphasic sleep can be quite a shock for people who have spent their entire lives sleeping through the night. And Steve has done us the service of finding out just what it entails in a series of blog posts:

To make the long story short, it sounds like the the change is difficult, but once you get past the hump it is possible to feel as alert and well-rested with only 3 hours of sleep each day as you might with eight to nine hours.

I find the idea of gaining an extra 5-6 hours a day very tempting, although I wonder what the long-term health risks might be.

A while ago, I blogged about a story in New Scientist where scientists had identified the “sleep” gene in fruitflies, allowing them to cut their sleeping time by 30%. The last line of the story reads, “There is a snag, though, since the lifespan of [the genetically manipulated fruitflies that slept 30% less] was about 30% shorter than normal.”

I wonder whether polyphasic sleep has the same trade-off. And if it does, is that enough reason not to try it.