How I Decided to Sleep 4 Hours a Day to Have Time for Everything
Lately, I started sleeping 2–4 hours a day. I have enough sleep, I feel healthy, and my working productivity is at its highest. It seems unbelievable, but it really works. However, this system is not that easy to master.
I will reveal how I came to it and what I had to overcome to the readers of Bright Side.
How did geniuses sleep?
Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Salvador Dali, and many other geniuses were said to sleep from one to 4 hours a day according to the system of polyphasic sleep.
In short, polyphasic sleep is cutting down the night sleep and adding a few 20- or 30-minute sleeping breaks during the day. As a result, we get a few extra days a week.
The phase of fast sleep is about 20–30 minutes long. Our brain restores its resources and gets rid of stress.
Like the majority of people, I constantly feel the lack of time. It's already been several months since I started thinking about going swimming. However, when I arrive home in the evening, I just lie down on the couch and watch YouTube videos. I'm often late for meetings, and I put off plans for tomorrow. I realized that I needed more time and decided to start practicing polyphasic sleep.
There are many models of such sleep. You can use standard (the most popular) techniques, genius techniques, or you may choose to adapt these techniques to your own body just as I did. My schedule consisted of 4 hours of night sleep and 2 25-minute breaks (after lunch and after I came home from work in the evening). This is the calculator that I chose.
This is how my sleeping schedule looked: 4 hours at night and 2 25-minute breaks during the day.
I started immediately. In the evening, instead of going to bed at 22:30, I went to bed at 1:30 and slept until 5:30.
Day 1. The day was amazing. I had a lot of time to do all the work about the house and make a plan for the week. To stick to the schedule, I took earplugs and a sleeping mask with me to work. Immediately after lunch, I found a quiet place and fell asleep. I did the same upon arriving home from work. However, I couldn't easily fall asleep in 25 minutes.
This is what my 25-minute sleeping break at work looks like.
Day 2. Before I started my experiment, I spoke to those who successfully coped with this schedule. I was warned that, to form a habit, I'd have to endure the first 2 weeks in a "zombie mode." I had experienced that feeling already on the second day. I felt very tired and was emotionally exhausted.
Day 3. The borders between my days practically vanished, and all my days turned into a single monotonous cycle. People in the streets appeared and disappeared. However, I learned to fall asleep for 25 minutes during my break, but I didn't feel any better when I woke up.
In the evening, I couldn't get rid of these thoughts: "Why do you need this? Go and sleep as much as you want and feel happy." I made a lot of effort to overcome these thoughts and continue.
Day 4. The feeling of weightlessness became a norm for me. When someone was talking to me, I could just look "through" this person. I felt like I spent a lot of energy answering questions and keeping up a conversation. In the majority of cases, I was just sitting and staring at one spot.
This is how my face looked on the first and fourth day of the experiment: my skin became pale, and my eyes were constantly red.
Day 5. On the fifth day, the brain starts getting adjusted. When I closed my eyes during the break, I immediately fell asleep. I started waking up before the alarm went off and felt a little bit more energized.
I had a lot of free time at nights, and I decided to read books and watch documentaries. I found out that in Brazil there lives a tribe called Piraha. These people never sleep. Sometimes they take a 20-minute nap leaning on a tree. They believe that if you sleep for a long time, you stop being yourself, and these people simply don't like sleeping.
Day 6–7. I feel completely adjusted to the schedule. Whenever I woke up after a short break, I felt like several hours had passed, even though I slept only for 20 minutes. Dizziness and the feeling of heaviness in my head vanished completely, and my productivity was restored. I could do more than I planned. Every evening I read books, watched movies, and went swimming and to the gym. I completely gave up coffee.
This is how my to-do list looks. I manage to fulfill all of these before lunch.
Day 8–10. I could "reload" my brain in the right moment and restore energy, and my creativity and stamina increased. After the daytime power nap, I felt like a whole day had passed and I could return to a difficult task and find an effective solution to it. My face wasn't pale anymore, and my eyes stopped being red.
Day 11–14. I stopped following the schedule. Now I let my body tell me when I need to have rest, and it's very comfortable. To find out my own limits, I gradually made night sleep shorter. Having 2 breaks during the day, I can sleep around 2.5 hours at night. And to sleep at night even less, I need one more sleeping break during the day.
Pros and cons of such a schedule
- Productivity. I finish doing all the tasks for the day before lunch. I solve my tasks faster and easier.
- Sleeping without an alarm clock. I noticed that I wake up before the alarm goes off.
- Healthy food. It is very difficult to fall asleep when your stomach is full. That's why I began eating healthier. As a result, I don't feel lazy and sleepy after meals and spend less money on pastries and hamburgers.
- More books and sports. Now I have enough time for physical and mental development. I've read all the books that I put off for so long. I go swimming and to the gym. I don't catch colds as easily as I did before.
- Blurred days. It's difficult to evaluate time as a continuous flow. I perceive days as a sequence of sunrises and sunsets. Now people wake up and fall asleep.
- No parties and nights out with friends. Also, alcohol ruins the whole schedule.
- It's not for everyone. In the beginning, it's heavy on the nerves and circulatory system.
If your life resembles a never-ending to-do list where you have to find time for everything, then polyphasic sleep is just right for you. I definitely became more productive. I started having a lot of free time, and I have enough time to do all my tasks.
On the other hand, the whole world lives according to a monophasic schedule. Your friends and relatives may not understand you when you refuse to go somewhere with them or put a movie on pause because you have to take a nap.
Did you ever experiment with sleep? Did it work out well for you? Share your experience with us.