Polyphasic Sleep Hacking

Boost energy and productivity while sleeping less

Tag: exercise (page 1 of 3)

Day 164 | End of DC1 (for now)

Core 1 | 10:30 PM – 2:00 AM

Core 2 | 6:00 AM – 7:30 AM

Nap 1 | 2:15 PM – 2:35 PM

Even though I haven’t checked in on this blog in a little while, I’ve been really enjoying Dual Core 1 polyphasic sleep! This was the first time on polyphasic sleep that I really found a rhythm that wasn’t difficult to keep up. On Everyman, it was really hard to get out of bed about half the time (the other half I jumped right up). But on DC1 I’d say it was only really hard to get up about 10-15% of the time. Typically, these difficulties were tied to my inconsistency, like a really late nap or having a few drinks before bed.

If you’re enjoying it so much, why are you stopping DC1 you ask?

A few reasons:

  • I have a week long trip to Yellowstone coming up in 1 month that I’m really excited for! I’ve learned it’s hard to keep polyphasic on vacations spent with a lot of other people…
  • I’m picking up my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training and I want to gain about 5 pounds of muscle & boost my strength before I go on the trip. It’s hard to lift heavy and gain muscle on polyphasic
  • Honestly, after almost 6 months of sleeping polyphasic, I’m tired of napping and always being conscious of time and when my next nap needs to be. I just want a break.

I’ll circle back in a couple weeks of sleeping monophasic again and report back! I think in a couple months I’ll jump back on the polyphasic train and I’d still love to create the polyphasic adaptation guide! I wish I had one when I was first starting…


Thanks for always following along and being supportive!

Day 126 | Napping Well and Feeling Pretty Good

Day 124

Core 1 | 11:30 PM – 3:00 AM

Core 2 | 6:30 AM – 8:00 AM

Nap 2 | 2:30 PM – 2:50 PM

Overall, my third day on DC1 went well. I accidentally got somewhat drunk last night, which doesn’t ever help adaptation and is not a good way to go… (Do as I say, not as I do…)

I still was able to wake up to my first alarm and the only abnormal thing is how much water and snacks I had when I got up at 3 AM feeling pretty hungover, but still a little buzzed.

My second core and my afternoon nap both went great! I slept the entire time and woke up without too much trouble to my first alarm.

Also, I did a Brazilian Jui Jitsu class in the afternoon which kicked my ass. I’m excited to start testing polyphasic while exercising fairly hard again as I’m getting more healthy from a nagging ankle injury.

Day 103 | In a Routine

Core | 11:00 PM – 2:30 AM

Nap 1 | 6:10 AM – 6:50 AM

Nap 2 | 11:40 AM – 12:00 PM

Nap 3 | 4:40 PM – 5:00 PM

I’ve been in my routine and feeling great the last few days! I’m a big fan of my sleep schedule. The biggest changes I’ve consciously made this time around that have made a huge difference are:

  • Taking my naps in bed where I sleep better
  • Setting more alarms so I’m not worried about waking up when I’m falling asleep
  • Setting my schedule to be more evenly distributed and not having more than 6 waking hours straight
  • Placing my naps at transition times in my day, like right before lunch, etc.

Those are the biggest ones. One interesting thing is that I haven’t been working out nearly as hard this time around (thanks to an ailing ankle injury). I wonder how much this lack of hard exercise accounts for me feeling a lot better both mentally and physically on polyphasic sleep right now.

Day 65 | Smooth Sailing with Normal Life – Trouble with Exercise

Core | 10:30 PM – 2:00 AM

Nap 1 | 5:00 AM – 5:40 AM

Nap 2 | 10:00 AM – 10:20 AM

Nap 3 | 4:20 PM – 4:40 PM

My mental sharpness and energy in work, social, personal, etc. life is great! I’m happy and feel healthy on Everyman 3.

The struggle I’m facing recently is with pretty hardcore exercise. I’ve always played sports and pushed myself physically – if I don’t I get into a hazy funk. It seems to be turning into more and more of an issue that I just don’t perform as well when pushing myself physically on this sleep schedule.

Last night I had a friendly intramural basketball game and even though I’m normally no star on the court – I played horribly. We’re not just talking missing a few jumpers either – it seriously felt like I was playing in a foot deep creek slogging around and everyone else was on the hardwood. I responded slowly and I’m not sure if it was all physical sluggishness or mental quick reaction was lessened as well.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about extreme exercise exhaustion and lessened performance and certainly not the first time I’ve felt it. Previously, I decided to attempt longer sleep after extreme workouts – like pushing my core than night to 4 hours instead of 3.5. It sounds like a good idea still, I just haven’t stuck to doing that. I’m going to start for real now! Hopefully it helps. Stay in the loop.


Day 50 | In a Rhythm with Everyman

Core | 11:00 PM – 2:30 AM

Nap 1 | 5:15 AM – 5:40 AM

Nap 2 | 10:00 AM – 10:20 AM

Nap 3 | 4:40 PM – 5:00 PM

Today was a normal day for me in almost every way. I was really busy with work (I counted and today I put in 15 hours on my startup – holy hell!) and I felt good on Everyman! My first nap started a bit late because I got sucked into something and didn’t realize I was late getting back to bed. This first nap is my most strict one because I get up with Amanda at 5:40 AM consistently.

I have been pushing back both my 2nd and 3rd naps by about an hour to baseline them as 10 AM and 4:40 PM. I did this because I was rarely very tired at 9 AM and it allows me to make it until 10:30 or 11 PM feeling good as opposed to getting very sleepy at 10 PM and battling to stay awake that last hour or so. I’m really liking the adjustment.

Holding Strong on Everyman – Enjoying it!

My Everyman schedule is great for me! It is no longer a struggle to follow unless I mess something up in my schedule, then the next nap can be hard to wake up from… but in general it’s awesome! I have high energy levels all day right up to nap time, I’m consuming no caffeine (used to regularly drink tea), I am having high quality exercise consistently, and I’m more productive than ever before.

The worst parts are 1) having to think through social plans and my sleep schedule before committing and 2) bothering Amanda at 2:30 AM because 25-50% of the time my silent alarm doesn’t wake me up.

The best part is being awake from 2:30 to 5 AM. It’s so peaceful, I’m wide awake, and it’s my most productive and creative time of the day by far.


Day 41 | Exercise with Energy

Core | 11:00 PM – 2:30 AM

Nap 1 | 5:45 AM – 7:00 AM

Nap 2 | Skipped

Nap 3 | 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

I knew I was going to miss my second nap due to social plans today, so I purposefully extended both my morning and afternoon nap. I probably could have got by just extending one, but I also could use the sleep to put the finishing touches on the flu I’ve been fighting.

Today, I had a good hard workout. I didn’t push it to 100% since I’m still getting healthy, but it was a solid workout including a lifting circuit and skill work on the bags. I felt great! Lots of energy, warmed up quickly and stayed mentally focused the entire time. Hopefully, as I get back into a steady Everyman, I’ll be able to keep my current awareness and energy level throughout all my workouts.

Day 34 | Everyman Partying Recovery

Core | 12:45 PM – 4:15 AM

Nap 1 | 5:30 AM – 8:00 AM

Nap 2 | Skipped

Nap 3 | 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Disclaimer: my definition of partying these days is more than 2 drinks and staying out passed 11 PM. That used to be called “a weeknight” in college, but times change!

Last night was a big night. We had 16 good friends over at our tiny apartment and had a killer time eating, drinking, and being merry until after midnight. This is obviously not good for my sleep schedule.

One night of staying up late and having some drinks I know isn’t the end of the world and I can recover from the next day with maybe one extended nap and a cup of tea if required. However, it’s been 3 nights in a row of partying, with each night getting bolder. That’s hard to recover from. In fact, it proved fatal to my sleep schedule today!

Being really tired day after

I was really damn tired waking up from my core today. I believe after drinking and staying up late which makes me very exhausted when going to bed, my body is just craving extra rest! In the future, when this happens I’m going to try extending my core duration to see if that helps. Typically, after staying up late and drinking, I’m tired until either: a) I exercise, b) I intentionally take a longer nap or c) I oversleep on accident.

Main Lesson Learned

How closely I stick to the schedule is not a day-by-day concern. It adds up between days.

One day of partying with a few ‘responsible’ schedule days on either side of it is completely doable and I’d say healthy from a social and emotional point-of-view. Two days in a row is not insane, but will have significant energy level impacts and will take a day or two to recover from. Three days in a row is sleep schedule suicide! Keeping a reasonable sleep schedule and being productive (which requires not feeling exhausted) I’ve decided is impossible for me right now. I turn into a zombie and click off all alarms that come at me to catch up on rest.

I’d love to hear your experience with partying on polyphasic as I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s very person dependent.

Day 33 | Getting Extra Sleep

Core | 11:15 PM – 2:25 AM

Nap 1 | 5:20 AM – 5:00 AM

Nap 2 | 9:20 AM – 10:00 AM

Nap 3 | 5:00 PM – 5:20 PM

Today was a good day! I had a fairly good energy level and had a hard training session at 7 AM that I was alert and focused for.

However, I felt some extra sleep deprivation symptoms in the morning – a little groggy and honestly hung over feeling. A bunch of old college buddies met up at a bar and drinks were flowing last night. I was fairly responsible having 3 drinks and getting home by 10:30 PM. It still had it’s effect on me, especially after being out later than normal 2 nights ago too (and drinking some beer).

Playing sleep catch up without falling off the wagon

I did some research into this and the recommendation is one of two things: add an extra nap, or slightly extend one of your nap periods. So, I took a 40 minute second nap and felt extremely revitalized after! When I woke up I wasn’t sure where I was/what time it was/what I was doing/etc.

The sleep deprivation symptoms I was feeling were from a lack of REM sleep. Getting an extra 20 minutes of solid REM in an extended nap makes a world of difference on how your day goes.

Two notes: 1) this is more of an advanced move once you’re getting consistent REM in naps and not something to even consider for the first ~1 week and 2) keeping your core the same time and as close to the same schedule is the most important! Playing with # of naps and nap duration is more flexible.



Day 31 | Wearable Alarm FTW!

Core | 11:30 PM – 3:00 AM

Nap 1 | 5:15 AM – 5:55 AM

Nap 2 | 9:20 AM – 9:40 AM

Nap 3 | 4:20 PM – 4:40 PM

This morning was a much gentler wake up! A slight vibration on my wrist pulsing every ~5 seconds that didn’t freak me out, but also wasn’t easy to dismiss.

The Pebble smartwatch I used worked really well! It also didn’t startle my fiance in the middle of the night as my alarm that blares for 30 seconds before I wake enough to turn it off typically does. (A very good thing to affect her sleep pattern less!)

Sleep Tracking

Another really cool benefit of the smartwatch is actigraphy. That is tracking my sleep based on wrist movements measured by the watch. It isn’t the most accurate form and certainly a Zio or similar EEG would be more precise. But hey – it’s better than nothing (which is what I’ve been going off for the last month!).

My main goal with sleep tracking is figuring out how long my core should be. Everyone’s sleep cycles and rhythm are different, so the best core time for me could fall anywhere around 3.5 hours, probably between 3 and 4 hours. After a week or so of data I’ll report back on this!

P.S. I went rock climbing today, which felt great! Also, I went to a comedy show, had two beers, two slices of pizza and stayed up later than I should have… we’ll see how I feel tomorrow!

Day 29 | New Alarm System

Core | 11:00 PM – 3:00 AM

Nap 1 | 5:30 AM – 6:10 AM

Nap 2 | 9:30 AM – 9:50 AM

Nap 3 | 4:30 PM – 4:50 PM

I was pretty tired today. It seems to all stem from my first wake up. I apparently turned off my 3 alarms set at 2:30, 2:33, and 2:45 AM without having any memory of doing that. Then, my fiance went to the bathroom at 3 AM and I woke up fairly confused and groggy before toughening it out and getting up for the day. I napped pretty good and felt better as the day went on – especially during and right after a really hard training session.

Wearables to the Rescue!

There are a couple problems with my current alarm clock system of setting three extremely annoying alarms on my phone:

1) As shown this morning I can turn them off if I’m super tired without really registering anything

2) They must bother the hell out of my too-sweet-to-complain fiance

So, starting tonight I’m wearing a Pebble smartwatch to bed! I’m going to experiment with both a standard alarm that will go off at a set time and a smart alarm that will track my motion throughout sleep and wake me up within a time window when I’m in my lightest sleep. Definitely expect a follow up post on this in the next week once I settle in on the best method for me.

Other Suggestions (that don’t work for me)

Many polyphasic sleepers do crazy things to wake up after their core including alarms all around the house, alarm triggered lights, alarms with puzzles/math needed to turn them off, and alarms with barcodes around the house needed to scan to turn off the alarm. Creative!

However, I’m not the only monophasic sleeper in the house and I would feel horrible putting someone else through all of this torture in the middle of the night. Also, if you need all that to wake up it seems you are horribly sleep deprived, which shouldn’t last long in the adaptation period, hopefully!

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