I Slept For 4 Hours Per Day For A Month - My Polyphasic Sleep Journey

Well I failed to adapt to this schedule after 35+ days.  So instead of being a lifestyle change, this ended up being a 30 day challenge. But here is why I did it and what I learnt from it.

The sleep routine I followed is polyphasic - which means sleeping multiple times in a day for pre-determined time slots, instead of sleeping for eight hours continuously(monophasic).

Polyphasic Sleep
Polyphasic Sleep

What is polyphasic sleep?

I will try to explain this without going into technical details.

Basically, our one monophasic sleep routine has about 5-7 cycles, each cycle has different stages of sleep - light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep. REM stage is where your eyes move rapidly(hence the name Rapid Eye Movement) and where you dream. Each cycle typically ranges about 90 minutes. When we are sleep deprived, brain tries to catch up on deep and REM stages, but not much on the light sleep. Though the benefits of deep and REM stages are known, not much is known about light sleep purpose, apart from few negotiable things - like wakefulness sustainer(helps you stay awake for 16 hours in monophase). In a monophasic sleep routine, we spend a lot of time in light sleep as we go through those 5-7 sleep cycles. The technique of polyphasic sleep is to reduce/eliminate this light sleep. But as light sleep is the one which helps in staying awake for 16+ hours, in a polyphase sleep, you would need to sleep multiple times through out the day.

Polyphasic is not something new and many living beings including new born babies sleep polyphasically. Going back to old days, before the artificial lights dictated our sleep times, many cultures have a history of sleeping in two slots - one close to dusk and other close to dawn with several hours of gap in between them. Another common sleep schedule was to sleep for about 6 hours in the night and take a long siesta/nap in the afternoon.

What are the benefits of it?

  • You have more time in a day. If you save 4 hours per day, that's 5 days earned per month! This can translate into multiple things depending on you - time for more productivity, time to finally work on your hobbies, time to just be at peace with yourself etc.
  • Better sleep quality - there's no/limited light sleep.
  • Very low sleep onset times - you will be that person who can fall asleep in seconds.
  • You can experience lucid dreaming in naps. 
  • You get to take advantage of the sleep peak times and energy slumps, instead of just sleeping continuously. This keeps you energetic and fresh through out the day. A nap is your own restart button.


  • Though there's evidence in the form of EEG of sleep waves, we are not sure of the light sleep purpose completely. But there has been no change in the cognitive abilities before and after polyphasic adaptation.
  • Some people can gain weight, especially if you tend to eat in those wakeful night hours. I didn't notice any weight change in my body, probably because I am in intermittent fasting routine already.
  • It's not feasible for everyone to take naps through out the day. Work may not allow it.
  • Sleep schedule often conflicts with other people's sleep routines.
  • It's an unforgiving schedule, you can't afford to be disturbed or delayed from your precious limited sleep.
  • If you fail to adapt and keep continuing, you may accumulate lot of sleep deprivation which is not good for the body - lowered immunity, hormonal imbalance, sugar spike etc.

Who can't do it?

Pregnant ladies, people who do heavy exercise, under-aged teens, people with any pre-existing disorders - all these people need lot of sleep.


Polyphasic sleep has many schedules developed over time - ranging from 2 hours of sleep to non-reducing hours(8 hours). Some polyphasic schedules have cores and naps, while other schedules have only naps. A nap lasts about 20 minutes and a core is generally designed in 90 minute cycles. Depending on the number of cores and naps, the schedules names vary sometimes.

  • Uberman - sleep in naps for every 4 hours, accumulating a total sleep of 2 hours per day - probably the most tough and extreme schedule.
  • Everyman 1/2/3/4 - These schedules have both core and naps. Name varies depending on the number of naps you take. The schedule I followed was Everyman 3(E3) - with one core of 3 hours and 3 naps.
  • Dual core - Multiple core instead of single core as in everyman.

As I followed everyman 3, I will talk more about this.

Everyman 3:

Schedule :
Core: 9 PM - 12 AM (2 cycles of 90 mins)
Naps: 4.10 AM, 8.10 AM, 2.40 PM (each of 20 mins)

Everyman 3
Courtesy : Nap Chart

Deep sleep peak is from 9 PM-12 AM, REM peak is from 6 AM - 9 AM, we generally tend to have a mid day slump. E3 takes advantage of all these timings.

It's considered to be a very tough schedule and is not suggested for newbies. Every polyphasic schedule will have an adaptation time and you need to train your brain strictly to sleep only in these slots and not end up oversleeping or microsleeping. The more you fail in adaptation to stick to the timings, the more will be your sleep deprivation and the more difficult the adaptation. Your brain needs to learn to re-partition your regular sleep into a deep and REM dominant sleeps in your core and naps. Oversleeping and too much sleep debt will not help this purpose.

If you accumulate lot of oversleep, it's advised to recover back to monophasic and start over again or choose an easier schedule. And this is what exactly happened in my case. I overslept and now I am in recovery to monophasic.

Here is my log:

Everyman 3 log
Everyman 3 log
If I didn't already lose sense of time due to lockdown, I definitely lost it after polyphasic. It's tough to keep track of which day it is, when you wake up at midnight.

What went wrong in my schedule:

  • My family was constantly sabotaging my schedule, because they were worried that I am ruining my health(aaargh). Alarms have been switched off and there had been countless interruptions/disturbances to my sleep in one way or the other.
  • I didn't take this seriously in the first week - where I overslept and messed up my schedule. This resulted in heavy sleep debt accumulation at the end of the month.
  • If I fell asleep without even realizing it or if I was micro-sleeping, no one would wake me up. In fact, my family went on to close the curtains, switch off the lights, maintain silence to let me sleep(aaarrrrgghhhhh).

Why did I do this?

I wasn't really that serious about it and I kind of just wanted to experience it. But it gave me too much time to focus on my favorite activities and I fell in love with it.
  • I had time to work and also focus on hobbies.
  • I had lot of alone time - helping me to focus.
  • No one encroaches on your time here, because no one is awake.
  • I was happy - may be it's because of the hobbies, but it's also said that more awake time results in more serotonin(happy hormone thing).
  • I had very low sleep onset times - before this schedule, it used to take me hours to fall asleep and I could never nap.
  • As someone who can focus on only one thing at a time but have multiple interests, the naps literally reset me, to switch over easily to another task. I could always start an activity with a fresh mind.

Will I do it again?

Since I started recovery to monophasic, I have been hating my life. I only work and after that I am too tired to do anything. The hobbies which I have been progressing slow and steady are now abandoned. I am irritable and frustrated. I absolutely want to go back to E3. I have been posting about my progress on polyphasic discord and it was advised to me by the experts to ease myself into E2(1 core of 4.5 hours + 2 naps) first. So, yes, I want to try E2 next. Hopefully I will adapt better this time *fingers crossed*.


  1. Take it seriously from Day 1 or don't do it at all. Even one messed up nap can mess up your entire schedule, because sleep debt has this rolling snowball effect.
  2. Know that your family/friends may not be supportive of this and try to coax them into this somehow. If all fails, find alternatives to sleep undisturbed.
  3. It's better to sleep in a non cozy place, especially in adaptation. 
  4. Don't trust yourself - it's never closing your eyes for a second in polyphasic, it's always micro sleeping or worse sleeping for hours altogether. 
  5. Stand up when you are sleepy. Don't sit, don't lie down.
  6. Ask experts before following any schedule. Reddit has been great for this.
  7. Read and research before taking up anything - see what is feasible for you, know your sleep needs.
  8. Have activities pre-planned for your wake up time. Without these, you are bound to fail. 
  9. Set multiple alarms in multiple devices. Alarmy is a good app that doesn't let you fall asleep, but unfortunately somehow, in one of the settings alarmy got silenced on my last day where I overslept my core. Hence, it's better to have multiple devices than just multiple alarms in one device. In the initial days, it's better to set alarms every one hour in those graveyard hours.
  10. Log everyday and learn from your mistakes.

Resources:30 day challenge - Wake up at 4.30 AM


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