Polyphasic Sleep

Tips and Methods

By Nade

If you are new to polyphasic this is where you can learn about some of the methods of adaptation. These are all scheduled non-specific and the logic can be applied to any sleeping schedule, usually.

The Water Drinking / Bathroom Method

The water drinking/bathroom method involves drinking water or any non-stimulating liquid before sleep begins. The body feels a desire to urinate and finish the second or third sleep cycle naturally and wake up. Upon waking up the person will need to go to the toilet and therefore be more able to get up and be active after sleep. This method is useful for reducing oversleeps, and also useful to estimate someone’s ideal time to wake if they do not have a sleep-measuring device.

Begin this method by drinking 1L of water or electrolyte liquid half an hour before sleeping. Adjust the amount of liquid and timing as you earn experience in this method.

Warning: If you are using this multiple times a day for naps as well as core sleeps, do not drink much plain water, this can lead to an electrolyte imbalance which can create health problems, instead use an electrolyte blend containing table salt, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and perhaps some small amount of calories. One option may be to use this recipe, sweetened with sugar, fat or stevia as you like.

The Thermo Method

When you first wake up from a core sleep (or naps too when you are adapting and struggling to stay awake), have an eski filled with icy water next to your alarm. Stick your face into the icy water and hold it there for 60 seconds. Then jump into a hot shower, warm-up then switch to cold water until your skin normalizes the cold temperature, then switch back and forth between hot and cold many times. End the shower with 60 seconds of cold, and then go back to your eski and do another 60 seconds of your face in ice water.

This is not to confused with simply taking a hot shower. Hot showers actually make your body temperature drop, and a low core body temperature is good for sleeping conditions, so people will often take a hot shower before going to sleep!

If you want to wake up, you need to increase your core temperature, and you achieve this with cold thermogenesis. Shocking your temperature-sensitive body parts with water below 10C (50F) will activate a thermogenesis pathway in your metabolism. The contrasting temperature gets your blood pumping, and the icy water creates a metabolic shift to a more wakeful state.

Red/Blue Light Conditioning

Because light has such a great effect on the circadian rhythm, there are lighting conditions favorable to being asleep and being awake.

Whilst complete darkness is obviously best for sleeping, red light is the second-best light to be awake around before sleep as “reddish light from fire (our formerly primary source of nighttime illumination) has little to no effect on melatonin production, so sleep wasn’t disrupted when we relied on fire.” You can set your monitor to low-contrast and use F.lux on your computer screen at times your schedule expects night time.

Blue, green or white light can be used to improve alertness and wake up, and so can be used when you first get up from a core until real sunrise. Blue and green light causes disruption of melatonin production so do not use blue lights (or monitor backgrounds/themes) if you want to get restful sleep after dusk. You can turn off your F.lux on your computer screen at times your schedule expects day time.

If following an ideal schedule, you will be waking up to the sunlight at dawn, but if you cannot do this then there are alternatives.

You can use a Plug-in Electrical Timer and it could help a lot of you who do not have natural sunlight, nor the cash for a sun-lamp…

1. Plug-in timer in the bedroom on the far side of the room and set to turn on 15-30 minutes before wake uptime
2. Connect lamp and face it toward the ceiling, pointing away from your bed, and switch it on
3. Set to turn off some time after dawn
4. Sleep like usual

It will create false dawn for your body to detect which will help increase cortisol in time for your sound-alarm in the morning. Cortisol is not an instantly rising thing, it can take a few minutes or a whole hour (depending on your hormone health), and the timing is connected to the sunlight exposure.

It may be a good idea to have the same set up with a RED LED lamp for when you need to wake up in the middle of the night after your dusk core. This way you can wake up and because you can see more easily you will become aware more easily too.

Pavlov’s Conditioning

With conditioning, a person can learn to behave a certain way, even when in a state of stupor from sleep deprivation. For example many people will develop a habit of turning their alarms off without actually waking up. Instead, you can practice other habits.

One example: using the alarm you will use when sleeping, set the alarm for 1 minute in a position out of reach. Lay down in the position you will sleep in, and get in as much a state for sleep as you can. When the alarm rings, you will roll into a safe position, and literally jump out of bed onto your feet! When you turn the alarm off, hold the alarm and repeat a set of actions in your head (such as boil water, or brush teeth). Then start to carry out the action you have thought about. Repeat this 10 times every day until you are conditioned to repeat these actions unconsciously every time the alarm rings.

With this conditioning, you can resist going back to bed, and instead, repeat conditioned actions so that you may wake and start your day instead of sleeping.

Sleep “Refeeds”

Often doing a nap exaptation will be enough to make up for any sleep deprivation caused by an adaptation period, but not always. If you have been struggling to adapt to naps, or a certain core length for a long period of time it is sometimes wise to have an extra sleep refeed using a core-length you know you can do. A refeed consists of many core sleeps that add up to a 7h to 8h total.

Break up the cores so that they do not merge together into a monosleep by staying awake for at least 90 minutes between periods of sleep, merging cores can be damaging to your schedule.

For example, if you are trying to adapt to 1.5h cores, then have up to 4x 1.5h cores two hours apart until you are feeling less sleep-deprived.

Take note that this method is only valuable to people who have already somewhat adapted to napping, and their napping ability will not be so affected by taking longer sleeps.

Choline Nap

This tip is for any schedule with short naps that contain ONLY REM. Take huperzine when you wake up from your core, and again 6 hours later, and you will be much less likely to fall into a deep sleep when you do not want to.

Caffeine Nap

This tip is specifically for a nap-only schedule like Uberman. When you know that an oversleep is inevitable for an upcoming graveyard, then you might consider using an old businessman technique where food, then a caffeinated drink is taken right before going to sleep with something fatty (like full cream or coconut fat) and theanine. Because of the slow absorption into the intestines, the caffeine kicks in just as you are meant to wake up from your nap.

It is important to take fat and theanine with the caffeine so as to reduce the effect caffeine has on the sleep.

You could do this for a week and slowly ween off it as more SWS is repartitioned to other areas of the night. This is not a sustainable method because caffeine has a detrimental effect on sleep for up to 10 hours afterward.

Alcohol Core

If you plan to sleep at an early time and you know you will not sleep for it because it is so early, on the first night or two you can have a nightcap or two (assuming you are of drinking age). This will help sedate you for sleep, increase SWS and reduce REM whilst the alcohol is effective in your blood. This is not a sustainable method because alcohol has a detrimental effect on the long term parasympathetic dominance (and thus the quality of) SWS.

Binaural/Isochronic Beats

Neuropogrammer 3 is one of many a program that uses isochronic beats to induce certain brain wave patterns in the brain of the user. With this technology, you are able to improve the amount of SWS by playing slow frequencies whilst you sleep. You are also able to use it to improve concentration and wake up with high-frequency inducements, or use it for meditation, or create a multitude of brain-states manually.

The induction is very subtle, and if you use the same patterns consistently you can become resistant to the stimulation, rendering it useless, but there are ways to manipulate isochronic beats so as to stop this resistance from building. I highly suggest the use of this for improving the quality of a core sleep or helping to adapt to a new schedule.

 Sleepiness Evaluation

You can use this Psychomotor vigilance task to judge how your alertness is progressing. You might want to do it three times a day, in the morning, at night, and at a time you are normally asleep.

You can also use the Epsworth Sleepiness Scale as a more subjective rating of how tired you are, for use upon waking up or periods throughout the day. You may like to record and graph your ESS to see how you fair over an entire adaptation.

When you have data recorded you can graph these scales across time, and then calculate trends. You should be able to see when you are regularly most tired and make decisions based on this new data.