I was having trouble sleeping when I first posted this in 2009 and today I am re-writing this at 3:20 am. I still seem to nap a bit every three hours and I am not alone.
It’s well known that many famous persons have had unusual sleep habits, da Vinci, Edison, Churchill, Clinton and even P Diddy. Recently I read a legend about da Vinci never sleeping more than 20 minutes at a time in any 24 hour period. The brain needs at least 90 minutes of sleep to go through the necessary phases to maintain health.
This system of sleeping (aka da Vinci sleep or Uberman sleep) is called Polyphasic Sleep. It uses short naps to reduce total sleep time to 2-5 hours a day. This is achieved by implementing many 20-30 minute naps throughout the day. Advocates say that polyphasic sleep allows for more productive awake hours.
Though there are many variations of this form of sleep, a common schedule would be: 30 minute naps every fourth hour.
The reason many folks attempt to follow this alternate sleeping pattern is to increase their total waking hours. By decreasing sleep to only a few hours a day, these schedules do achieve that goal. In a year a “Poly” sleeper could gain an extra 45 days!
The main con to adapting an alternate sleep pattern includes being out of sync with the rest of the world, and difficulties maintaining such a rigid schedule.