I always had problems falling asleep and waking up. Spending 2 hours to wait is common, not waking up before the 15th alarm clock is usual to me, those who shared hostels with me can testify! Polyphasic sleep seems interesting to test, I already have a shitty sleep anyway!

When sailing sea, I don’t have that concern. If I have to wake up at 1:30 in the morning since the tide decided so, I do it without problem! So far I was sailing for two weeks and once back on land I was catching an incredible sleep, so I wonder what it will become when I will always be traveling?

I estimate that I lose approximately 1 to 3 hours of life every 24h trying to fall asleep or to wake up. I don’t want to put myself in danger when I’ll be sailing with Øya.

This unstable sleep troubles me!

While searching the net, I got in touch with polyphasic sleep. This will be the first real experience of the vilain project! The goal will be to test several methods in order to take control and learn more about my sleep.

Rule 4: Experiment with anything and everything

The rules

What is polyphasic sleep?

We, people of modern times are monophasic sleepers, that is to say we sleep in one go overnight. In the left hand side, the polyphasic sleep consists in splitting the sleep time in several parts among the 24 hours, and in the other to reduce the total sleep time in order to encourage the body to optimize it.

In short, it’s the art of optimizing the sleep.

The zombie mode

Few words about the zombie mode. Yes I assure you this is a serious case that is actually widespread! Almost or everyone has been a victim of it once in a lifetime…

The protagonist wakes up half conscious and automatically turns off the alarm clock to go back to sleep immediately. A few hours later, he wakes up in great shape to see that his job interview for example has started for 10 minutes, yet he does not remember hearing the alarm clock.
No, it’s not the fault of the alarm clock.

I suppose this extraordinary phenomenon is a consequence of troubles of falling asleep: if you wake up at a fixed time, the later you sleep the less you sleep, the less you sleep the more you are subject to the zombie mode, the zombie mode recedes the Wake up time, and therefore the time to fall asleep…
It is a painful endless circle.

A picture showing a cat under a bedcover
Cats are unquestionably the master of polyphasic “awakeness”!

Put into practice

There are plenty of kinds of polyphasic sleep. On Wikipedia you will discover the “Überman”, “Everyman”, the “biphasic”, the “mixed” and many others…

First attempt… pathetic!

Last week, I tried a “segmented sleep” that I heard about by reading this page. This rhythm seemed accessible to begin with:

  1. 12:00am – 03:30am, 3 hour and 30 minutes of sleep
  2. 06:30am – 09:00am, 2 hours and 30 minutes
  3. 04:00pm – 04:30pm, 30 minutes

A total of 7 hours every 24h. The round 1 has not been a problem. However, I never managed to get up before 10:30 for the round 2 due to the “zombie mode” and as a result, I never managed to sleep for the round 3.

In short, this first attempt was just a big fiasco!

Correcting the shot

The main conclusion from the first attempt is that I can get up early in the night. The second round, however, is not spared from the zombie mode. Why that ? I think the two first rounds are too close together, moreover my intuition tells me that it will be easier to wake up if the round starts by day whether than by night, like a nap.

I decided to remodel my rounds of sleep so that I only have one nocturnal round. It ended up on a mixed mode composed of the following rounds:

  1. 02:30am – 06:00am, 3 hours and 30 minutes of sleep
  2. 11:30am – 12:30am, 1 hour
  3. 06:30pm – 09:00pm, 2 hours and 30 minutes

A total of 7h every 24h again. This rhythm works so far much better!


I try to reduce my coffee consumption. For a polyphasic sleeper, the sleep phases are closer together and caffeine does not have time to go down in time and disturbs the falling asleep.

  • Day 1: a little tired before the afternoon nap, all the awakenings are easy going. It feels like having three mornings in the same day.
  • Day 2: more tired after each awakening, it passes relatively quickly. Time feels disturbed, I often feel that it is later than it actually is. I have breakfast when I awake round 1, I eat before round 2 and have diner after round 3.
  • Day 3: awakenings are much easier! I quickly have energy after each awakening. An impression of routine settles and a kind of continuity in time takes over the notion of “yesterday”. On the other hand I feel to have slept too well during the round 3, I doubt it will be easy to fall asleep next time.
  • Day 4: It doesn’t miss, I have trouble falling asleep, but ultimately less than I feared. By cons the awakening is very complicated: one hour and a half to finally emerge thanks to the help of a coffee. I think I entered the period of adaptation, it is the moment to leave nothing.

To be continue…