As we know, healthy sleep is critical to high performance. "Healthy" is a subjective term, however, and despite my attempts to get the recommended 7 hours of nightly sleep, I frequently only sleep around 4. I am fit and eat well and maintain a healthy weight. I deal with chronic pain secondary to rheumatoid arthritis, diagnosed at age 5 (I'm 40), and this undoubtedly affects my ability to sleep for any extended period of time; my wife says I toss and turn constantly while moaning or occasionally yelling (from the pain, I assume). I have taken medications and have not reacted well to them, so I don't take them anymore.

Today a co-worker (a developer and entrepreneur) told me he's using the Uberman sleep pattern, where you take naps throughout the day rather than sleep in one lump sum at night. He claims he's only slept 4 hours in the past two days, and he says he's more productive than ever.

I'm interested but am very wary of this approach. Do any of you have any experience with Uberman/polyphasic sleep that you would share with me?

Thanks in advance,


G3's picture

Thanks for the question, Robert....


Consider consulting a physician. Sleep deprivation can be very dangerous. 

BizNinja's picture

 Thank you for the advice.


BizNinja's picture

 Thank you for the advice.


jrb3's picture
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I'm starting to play around a bit with the Everyman "Siesta" (one nap after lunch).  Haven't used it enough, or steadily enough, yet for reliable results.

Pathological self-experimenter Tim Ferriss has two chapters on this in "The Four-Hour Body".  Borrow a copy (it clocks in around 600 pages) and browse.  Some working hyperlinks he provides specifically on polyphasic are

He also cites several gadgets and apps and other tools to help out with sleep issues.  Sleep labs get top mention, followed by things to do to increase (or decrease) quality or quantity of sleep.  It wouldn't be a Tim Ferriss topic without something oddball, and his mention of the Clocky alarm clock which jumps off your nightstand and runs away certainly ticks that box.

Going into Uberman (six twenty-minute naps daily, evenly spaced) seems to be acclaimed a rough ten days to two weeks, followed by unparalleled productivity from having an extra quarter-day available.  Overslept naps ruin the effect by getting into the wrong sleep cycle, felt for weeks;  one missed nap means you're sub-par until after the second nap following.  Everyman ranges from four naps down to one, with each nap reducing core sleep by 90 minutes from zero-nap 7.5 hours.  (I think there's no 5-nap;  the last 1.5 hours seems to fission into two twenty-minute sessions to form the Uberman.  Your mileage might well vary.)

The more poly you phase, the more iron control you have to have over your schedule.  Uberman is intolerant of variation or interrupt, and punishing of mistakes, so it's not for me (wife imposes chaos -- hard on the children and I get no notice when to pick up what drops -- my household has a three-hour window of when dinner might start (!) and wife makes everyone's lives miserable if anyone else tries to cook ...).  Uberman's great for entrepreneurs in startups who already are monomaniac and have/can let go of everything else in life, progressively harder for anyone else who has conflicting commitments.  Pre-college teachers, and professional field rescuers such as firefighters and EMTs, would be very hard-pressed for anything beyond 1-nap, I think.

My work schedule lets me try the 1-nap and maybe 2-nap variants.  I'm starting with the 1-nap, set after lunch during work hours, and I might be able to swing a second nap in late afternoon.  Home chaos has prevented regularizing even the first nap at home on the weekends, so I expect I'll have to abandon this (like far too much else) due to spousal interference.

BizNinja's picture

 Thanks for the thorough response, JRB3. I will look into those resources. If i pursue this, I'll update you on how I do.

Take care,