Polyphasic Sleep - Planning

So, I’m going to adapt to Uberman, or fall asleep trying.

Last night was my last night of normal sleep for a while. It’s Thursday the 17th now, which I’ll call day 0. Thursday night will be night 0, Friday will be day 1, etc.

Saturday is the start of the Christmas break, two weeks of no obligations. With a weekend on either side of the break, and starting on Thursday, that gives me about 18 days to adapt to Uberman.


Many psychoactive substances (alcohol, nicotine, cafeine, etc) mess with your sleep architecture. I’ve stopped taking cafeine for about 45 days prior to starting my Uberman adaptation, and I stopped taking all other psychoactives about 10 days before starting Uberman.

If my Uberman adaptation is successful, I will experiment carefully with psychoactives, to see what I can reintroduce, and what effects on my sleep schedule they’ll have.


I will be napping at 1.00, 5.00, and 9.00 (both am and pm). I’ve downloaded the 20-minute placebo polynap v8 mp3 to use with my mp3 player and over-ear headphones. The mp3 consists of ±20 minutes of white noise, followed by gentle wakeup sounds, followed by increasingly harsher sounds. The headphones + white noise should help me sleep by suppressing outside noise, and the other sounds should heDiana's alarm clocklp me wake up.

To facilitate sleeping, I’ve also taped cardboard over my bedroom window, to ensure complete darkness, and I’ve built a wakeup light (more on that later), again to help me wake up.

I will be napping in my clothes, on my bed, on top of the covers.

So far, the mp3 seems enough to wake me up, especially when aided by the wakeup light. But in case I need more, I borrowed a kitchen timer of medium noise, and Diana gave me an old-fashioned mechanical alarm of hell-raising. I hope I won’t need them ;)


One of the (very real) dangers of adapting to Uberman is oversleeping, continue trying to adapt, oversleeping again, continue trying to adapt, etc. It’s easy to end up with 3 or 4 weeks of sleep-dep that way, and we don’t want that.

To avoid myself from keeping going despite having failed to adapt, I have set a deadline for myself. If I’m not functioning more or less normally by Friday 1 January (a few days before the end of the Christmas break), I’ll quit. Of course, “functioning more or less normally” is subjective, but at least there’s a hard deadline, and I’ll ask others to help judge my functioning.


Oversleeping sets you back by days, so it’s impervious that I avoid oversleeping. Also, during the later stages of adaptation, narcolepsy can be a killer, especially during the nights, so it’s also very important that I can keep myself awake.

(I’m abusing the world “narcolepsy” here and in following posts — Narcolepsy is actually a chronic sleep disorder, but I’m using the word to mean “falling asleep against your will”. “Excessive daytime sleepiness” would probably be a better medical term for what I mean, but that’s too cumbersome to type every time.)

So, to help me through the toughest times, I’ve asked a few people to help me. The night of Sunday 20th, Diana, a close friend of mine, will keep me company, making sure I wake up from my naps and that I don’t fall asleep. The night of Monday the 21st, another friend, Bart, has agreed to help me wake up and keep me awake. And finally, the night of Tuesday the 22nd, it’s my sister Nicole’s shift to help me fight off sleep.

Diana has also kindly offered mental support when the going gets tough, and she’s prepared to call me after every nap to make sure I’ve woken up during the hardest days. In short, she’s awesome :)

  1. “So, I’m going to adapt to Uberman, or fall asleep trying.” XD Nice!
    Oh, and sorry I didn’t call you after _every_ nap, and that you had to do last night pretty much on your own. But now that it’s starting to get worse, I will call you more often. :)

  2. @Diana, that’s ok, I wasn’t expecting you to at that moment. But calls will certainly be appreciated when it gets tougher :)

  1. No trackbacks yet.