Polyphasic Sleep

Alternative Sleep Schedule Overviews

By Elijah

These are overviews of the most common alternative sleep schedules and not detailed guides. Please follow the link and read the appropriate adaptation guide page before attempting any of these schedules. Also, keep in mind that these schedules are not set in stone and many people choose to customize them to their needs.

Monophasic Sleep:

Monophasic is pretty much the most common sleep schedule in the world. Monophasic sleep essentially consists of sleeping once per day, usually for between 7 and 9 hours per night. Monophasic is not the best way to sleep contrary to popular belief, but instead, it is a byproduct of the long work hours of the industrial revolution that has remained a cultural norm even as work hours have shortened.


Segmented Sleep (biphasic): 

Segmented sleep is considered the most natural sleeping pattern according to common scientific literature. It consists of two periods of sleep, both at night time, first going to sleep at dusk, and secondly waking at dawn, synchronized with the local lighting patterns, sunrise, and sunset. If a person changes their sleep from monophasic sleep to segmented, then after some acclimatization they will experience a change in hormone regulation, energy metabolism and a profound mental clarity throughout the day, and the middle of the night. A Segmented Sleeper typically sleeps between 6 and 8 hours a day.


Siesta Sleep (biphasic):

Siesta sleep is very common in Spain, Germany, and various other European countries. Spain specifically closes shops in the middle of the day for a few hours so that people can go home for lunch, napping, and other quiet activities. The siesta schedule consists of 5-6 hours of sleep at night and a 20 to 90-minute nap in the early afternoon. This form of sleep matches with our natural Circadian rhythm and is commonly known by scientists to be healthier than monophasic sleep, with the short nap increasing productivity and alertness during evening hours. A biphasic sleeper typically sleeps between 5 and 7 hours a day.


Triphasic Sleep:

Triphasic was coined and made popular by Leif and is an efficient and simple schedule. There is little adaptation involved in a change from monophasic sleep to this schedule, and 3 to 5 hours extra are gained each day. The reason for its ease of adaption is that, similar to biphasic sleep, it aligns with the Circadian rhythm, with a nap after dusk, a nap before dawn, and a nap in the afternoon. A Triphasic sleeper typically sleeps between 4 and 5 hours a day.



Everyman Sleep:

The Everyman schedule is the most successful reduced-sleep schedule to date, it is constantly increasing in popularity, and people have achieved it without compromising their current health. While monophasic, biphasic, and triphasic schedules are all Circadian centric schedules, Everyman schedules rely on both Circadian and Ultradian Rhythms. This makes Everyman schedules have a significantly more difficult adaptation period than all of the previous schedules, as the consistency of times between periods of sleep matters much more. That being said, Everyman is still significantly easier than any of the nap-only schedules. Everyman schedules include Everyman 2 (E2) which is a with core sleep between 4.5 and 6 hours and two 20 minute naps; Everyman 3, with a core between 3 and 4 hours and three 20 minute naps; and Everyman 4 with a core between 1.5 and 2.5 hours, with four 20 minute naps.


Dual-Core sleep is a derivative of the other schedules but with a core sleep around dusk, a core around dawn, and a number of naps in the afternoon. Dual-core schedules can have the benefits of both segmented sleep and siestas and so is theoretically very healthy. DC1 is two cores totaling about 5 hours of sleep, and one nap in the middle of the day. DC2 is two cores totaling about 4 hours of sleep, and two naps throughout the day. DC3 is two cores totaling about 3h sleep, and three naps throughout the day.


Uberman Sleep:

Uberman is the most commonly attempted, and most failed of polyphasic schedules. This is largely due to a misunderstanding of the difficulties associated with its adaptation period. Uberman is the most well-known nap only schedule and is an extension of the Everyman schedules, to the point of getting rid of the core sleep entirely. While Uberman is extremely difficult, it can have great benefits by increasing the amount of time in a person’s day drastically. An Uberman will have 6 or 8 x20 minute naps a day, with total sleep time ranging from 2-3 hours a day.



Dymaxion Sleep:

Dymaxion is another popularly attempted schedule, although its difficulty is even greater than Uberman, to the point of being nearly impossible. It predicts only the genetically mutated DEC2 gene ‘very short sleepers’ can be successful following such a schedule, which would include far less than 1% of the world population. The Dymaxion schedule was coined by Buckminster Fuller and involves sleeping 4 times a day for 30 minutes. Even though the Dymaxion schedule does not increase available awake time any more than Uberman, it is prized for the increased convenience to the person’s social and work life.


SPAMAYL is the younger, fresher cousin of Uberman. SPAMAYL stands for Sleep Polyphasically As Much As You Like. SPAMAYL was coined by Rasmus, and so far it seems he is the only person to be successful long term. While Uberman has a sense of extreme rigidity, SPAMAYL takes in extra sleep for extra flexibility. SPAMAYL is more flexible than Uberman, in that Rasmus could move things around for social events and a SPAMAYLer can expect to take no less than 7 naps a day, and often need as many as 10. Rasmus usually gets between 2.5 and 4 hours of sleep per night.


Comments (52)

  1. If someone has narcolepsy, is it easier to transition to a polyphasic schedule? In people with narcolepsy (PWNs), they usually go into REM as soon as they go to sleep, whether it is a nap or whether it is at night. The idea of the transition to polyphasic, if I’m not mistaken, is to deprive yourself of sleep before you go onto the new schedule. But PWNs do not have this problem, since they have the symptoms to a deprived person.

  2. I suffer with severe bipolar type 1 disorder, and I am being drawn to the uberman type of sleep schedule, to put some order in my life. I have so much mental energy but I am lacking physical energy, I think because I am getting my sleep at the wrong time and for the wrong amount of time currently. If I want to do the uberman sleep cycle, do I just start immediately or is there a process that lead.

  3. The specific duration of the sleep and the placement of the sleep blocks are according to your schedule right?

    I would like to do biphasic, but one chunk would have to be 4.5 hrs sleep, 4.5 hrs awake then 2.5hrs sleep.

    Its slightly different than what the graph shows: 3.5 sleep, 2 awake, and 3.5 asleep.

  4. So I would like to avoid needing to nap during my usual 8-5 work day. I need to leave home at 7:30 and will get home before 6. I was looking at the Everyman 4 schedule but wasn’t sure if it would be likely to fail if I would try to not sleep at all between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. That is a long stretch with no rest it seems but maybe there is a different polyphasic schedule that could work well that I am not seeing? Or would I be alright to put in the 1.5 to 2.5 and 4 20 minute naps just between 6 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. then run for those 10+ hours without any naps?

  5. Hi I woud like to know your opinion on my sleep. I have my core at 23:30-3:00 then first nap 6:00-6:20, second 9:30-9:50, and third 14:35-14:55.
    I am doing this for week now, but still sometimes its hard for me to wake up. And stay awake durning before dawn time.
    Before I had 02:00-6:00 first nap 9:35-9:55, second 14:35-14:55 and third 22:00-22:20. But I think i didnt had so much rem, as I do know and on other hand I was very tired 1 to 1,5 hour before going to core :/ . I like my current sleep patern, but I am not waking so smootly like in my previous one.

  6. My schedule is terrible. Monday: school 12-2, work 3-11. Tuesday: Work 7- 3 Wednesday: school 12-2, work 3-11. Thursday: work 7-3. Friday: class 9-11 work 3-11. Saturday: work 6-3. And im constantly tired. Especially on the nights and mornings that i work late and then come in early. And i never seem to be able to sleep enough or when i need to sleep, i cannot sleep. Ive been hoping to find a new sleep schedule to work with me.

  7. We are different animals, and live in utterly different environments, we need not worry of wild animals eating us. health isn’t the only thing that goes into sleep schedules.

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