One of the most productive things that I have ever done

Jan 14, 2017

Polyphasic Sleep

I am the kind of person that gets these comments far too often:

  • Why were you responding to emails at 3 AM?

  • Those code commits or code reviews were done at a crazy hour!

Yes, I am awake more than most. This all started back in college. I wasn’t entirely sure what it was called at the time or if it even had a name. It was only in the last handful of years did I find out a proper name for this. Polyphasic sleep is dividing your sleep up into multiple phases. Most of these have be given well defined names already. Here are the names and associated hours of sleep with each cycle:

  • Dual Core 2 - 4.6 hours

  • Dual Core 3 - 4 hours

  • Triphasic - 4.5 hours

  • Dymaxion - 2 hours

  • Everyman (1, 2, 3) - ~4 hours

  • Trimaxion - 3 hours

  • Segmented - 7 hours

  • Segmented Siesta - 5.5 hours

I initially started on a version of the everyman sleep cycle in college and have gradually migrated to the dymaxion over time. There are some common questions I get about this:

  • Is this healthy? Probably not but I haven’t seen great evidence either way

  • Do you get bored at night? Absolutely! It does get boring after my wife and child go to bed. It was important for me to develop a to-do list prior to the night. I basically just drive thru a list of tasks each night then leverage any extra time on reading, writing, and learning tasks.

  • Do you snack all night? No but the urge is STRONG!

Tools that I use:

  • napchart - This is a great software (open source too) for creating nap schedules.

  • Smart Sleep Polyphasic Planner - I believe that this app has been abandoned by I still use it as there is no replacement.

  • Sleep Cycle - I track my naps with this app but the granualarity of the wake up time often creates issues.