I sleep four hours every 24-hour cycle. I am healthier and more alert than ever, my sleep is extremely rewarding, and I gain up to an extra 28 hours of productive awake time every week. For the past 20 months, I have implemented a thorough and successful polyphasic sleep schedule. I’d like to share with you how it’s going.
I’ve blogged about this before, particularly in My Fascinating 4-Hour Sleep Schedule one year ago. I’m not nearly two years into practicing this regimented sleep pattern, and I modified all that I studied into my own routine. Since adopting the polyphasic sleep schedule, I have accomplished more than I perhaps ever have. This has affected all the areas of my life in profound ways. Consider:
- Family Life. My household is nonstop, my dozen children in more academic and extracurricular activities than ever before, even bringing one of my children to two national championship speech tournaments this year (and he won both!).
- Professional Life: I just finished our busiest debate camp season ever (seven camps!), published with a larger writing team than ever (50 authors!), and am hosting more blog and podcast material than ever (two new ones this year!).
- Personal Life: I wake every morning to fresh coffee, pleasant devotions, and with the ability to watch the sunrise over a rich meadow and creek in our backyard. I love life and the beautiful added time in every day.
The whole idea of polyphasic sleeping is new to most people. Very simply: I discipline my many phases of sleep throughout my 24 hour daily schedule (“poly” and “phasic”). This post explains my life after 20 months of experimentation into my personal polyphasic sleep schedule.
NOTE: This has been purely anecdotal. There are not conclusive studies on polyphasic sleeping. While there are several studies conducted that measure people’s sleep patterns, there have been none that study people who intentionally try to control the quality of their sleep. There is a significant online community of people who are attempting to do this (i.e. people who blog about their experience, like me), but most of them are not of the community of people who suffer from sleep deprivation. There are many studies on people who struggle with sleep problems, but there are no studies that have attempted to measure people who intentionally manipulate their sleep patterns.
This is an important disclaimer, one that has kept me from publishing much at all about this. I’m not a doctor or scientist, but I believe I’m onto something fairly significant. If my anecdotal discoveries help stir the need for more conclusive study, then great! This is a fascinating topic, one that I believe calls for more attention. For now, my 20 months of personal trial, here is my polyphasic sleep schedule prognosis:
My polyphasic sleep schedule has me feeling healthy and alert, has given me more satisfying sleep, and has helped increase my productivity by up to 28 hours per week.
Allow me to break each of these down for you.
Healthy & Alert
If you read My Fascinating 4-Hour Sleep Schedule, you’ll read about the different polyphasic sleep patterns that gurus like me have adopted. I have my own that is flexible to how demanding my life happens to be at the time. Here’s a graph:
Generally speaking, I’m feeling pretty relaxed in November. My year rolls in waves. April-September I’m super-duper busy, but right now things are slow going. I’m getting about six hours of sleep per day (how lazy!).
My health has never been better, but I have to be honest: There are three additional considerations that I have found helpful in successfully pulling off a polyphasic schedule. I’m fairly certain that these considerations have helped make my 20-month stretch successful. I have talked with some people who have tried my sleep schedule without one of these considerations, and many have not succeeded. These considerations are…
- Regular exercise. I lift weights and jog. I don’t do this nearly as much as I should (shame on me), but I definitely feel it when I fall off the wagon of healthy exercise. Like any physical strain, a healthy and fit body will help improve your personal constitution.
- Low-carb diet. Breads and sugars are extremely taxing on your body. For a long season, I quit eating bread altogether, and today I limit bread and sugar intake. The body goes into hyperdrive trying to burn all those carbs, and coupling carb-burning with limited sleep is often a poor combination.
- Meaningful time. I have 12 children at home, I have a great marriage, and I’m self-employed with a host of customers and clients. My days are packed with plenty to do, and I believe this keeps me focused on every waking hour — fun waking hours — full of conversation and joy.
If you were to take on My Fascinating 4-Hour Sleep Schedule, you should consider adjusting these three in some form or fashion. Exercise and diet are key (and be honest, you should be doing this no matter what). And your activity should be focused on wholesome, fulfilling activity — family, work, relationships, life. You’ll be increasing your productivity by 28 hours every week, so make sure these are meaningful hours.
People often ask if I’m alert. This one observation — alertness — was the one aspect of the polyphasic sleep schedule that I was most concerned. If gaining 28 hours of awake hours every week made me groggy, irritable or unproductive, what would be the point? So, I was hyper sensitive to my sense of sleep deprivation.
On this side of 20 months of practice, I can honestly say that I am more alert and more rested. I have found My Fascinating 4-Hour Sleep Schedule to be the best way to increase my personal attentiveness and productivity. It has been very good for me. This has much to do with the level of satisfaction of my sleep patterns, which I get into next.
Every polyphasic sleeper knows that if you decrease the amount of sleep you get, you must increase its quality. If that hadn’t worked, I would have dropped this long ago. I have never been more satisfied with my sleep. Here’s how my daily routine goes.
- 3:00 a.m. I wake with my phone alarm, though I hardly have to set it. I make two cups of coffee, read and pray, and get on with my morning. For me, this time is cherished. The rest of the house is asleep and I enjoy my most productive and fruitful time to myself. I do most of my writing in this morning time.
- 7:00 a.m. The rest of the house starts rising. Wendy goes for her power walk, kids shower and do chores, and I round up some breakfast. By 8:00 a.m. my family gathers in the living room for a morning devotion time. We read from the bible or other literature and have incredible discussions. Our open living/dining/kitchen space allows late-risers to grab some breakfast during the devotions.
- 9:00 a.m. Our dining room is packed with kids delving into their homeschool. Their day is just beginning, but I’m feeling tired. I have been up since 3:00 a.m., and I go into my bedroom for my 20-minute nap.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: I do not sleep more than 20 minutes. Whenever I extend this, I regret it, because my mind and body falls into too deep of a sleep to get out quickly. After I wake, I shower and prepare to return to My Sweet Home Office Suite.
- 10:00 a.m. I’m back at work. So is the rest of the world, and I typically handle customer service and connect with people on the phone or Skype. Still productive, but more of the busy kind of productive. Answer emails, pay bills…that kind of thing.
- 2:00 p.m. I’m due for my second nap. This is another power nap, but I often take it on the couch or even in my office. I set my timer on my phone and knock out. I’m really good at these “cat naps,” and I wake refreshed and ready to roll.
- 6:00 p.m. Or there abouts, my family gathers for dinner. My work day is behind me and the entire family settles into a traditional evening together.
- IMPORTANT NOTE 2: This is where I veer from the traditional polyphasic “everyman” schedule (I explain this in My Fascinating 4-Hour Sleep Schedule). I skip the third 20-minute nap because it was too disruptive to the evening family time. I push through to at least 10:00 p.m….
- 10:00 p.m. I enter my “flex” time. I’m feeling fatigued. In my more demanding times of the year, I can make it to midnight. If I’m feeling more relaxed, I’ll retire at 10. That 10-12pm timeframe is “flexible.”
- 3:00 a.m. I wake, refreshed and ready to take on a new day.
There are a couple of myths about satisfying sleep that I have discovered since applying the polyphasic sleep pattern. First myth: more sleep is better. We often think this, but it isn’t true. We think our grogginess is from “not enough sleep.” We hear and use this excuse all the time, don’t we? I believe a much better reason for fatigue is lack of productive sleep. There is a world of difference.
I’ve gotten extremely good at this, as most polyphasic sleepers do. Even when traveling, I’m able to lay my head down and take my 20-minute power nap. Just recently, after explaining to a client I was traveling with about my sleep schedule, I laid my head down for a short nap in his car. My timer went off after 20 minutes, I woke up, and my client and I continued our product “windshield” conversation. He was quite amazed! But this is extremely disciplined for me. I’ve done the same in my office — sometimes just kicking my feet up and taking a sit-up snooze in my chair — as well as in airports or even debate tournaments.
I can’t help but compare this to how I used to sleep. “I’m tired…because I didn’t get enough sleep last night.” I’d say this even if I slept for over 8 or 10 hours. The truth was that I wasn’t disciplined with my sleep. I had no schedule to adhere to, and I merely defaulted to the standard excuse for the fatigue I was experiencing. “Not enough sleep,” said everyone in the world who happens to be tired.
Second myth: Everyone needs at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. When you think about it, this is a very egocentric view, assuming that somehow we have evolved into an animal creature that requires us to sleep 8 hours and be totally awake for 16. Every variation from the 8/16 monophasic sleep pattern is off the grid and into unhealthy sleep.
Not true. In fact, this is where studies are conclusive. I practice polyphasic sleep pattern, one of any different kinds (mine is called the Everyman), but biphasic sleep patterns (taking one nap in the day) is scientifically proven to be healthier than the conventional 8/16 monophasic pattern. The latter was derived just about 120 years ago during the industrial revolution. Before then in our more agricultural world people followed a biphasic or polyphasic schedule. (See “The Myth of the Eight-Hour Sleep”)
Come to think of it, what other animal in all of God’s creation follows the monophasic sleep pattern? I’m no zoologist, but I don’t think there are any. When I visit the zoo or venture into the wild world, I see animals enjoying shortened, quick naps all day long. They are more like uberman sleepers (a most radical polyphasic sleep pattern that never takes prolonged naps). Humans have “evolved” differently, or so monophasic loyalists think.
On this point — satisfying sleep — I am sold. My Fascinating 4-Hour Sleep Schedule has been very good for me.
When I fully consider how much extra time I have to dive into projects, I am floored. Other people are floored, too! I’m known by my colleagues and clients as a powerhouse productivity genius. I hang a lot of that image on My Fascinating 4-Hour Sleep Schedule.
Consider your life if you had an additional 28 hours per week. What would you do? For me, I compartmentalize my life into three significant pieces: family, profession, and personal. I touched on it at the beginning of this post, but I’d like to spend a little more time opening this up to you. Come with me as I explain the life of Chris Jeub.
- Family. I have 12 children left at home, all with educational and extracurricular activities. My wife, Wendy, and I tag team all day long. There is really no boring moment in our lives. I’m often up early to help sons and daughters with speeches or homework. We have a rich history of driving all night to California debate tournaments or Minnesota vacations. We spend great quality time around the fire pit enjoying summer evenings. These rich family moments are so much more enjoyed well rested and planned within my polyphasic sleep schedule.
- Profession. I get paid to do a lot of cool things, but most of what I do surrounds my writing. Trouble is, writing takes a tremendous amount of time. But really, 28 hours of writing can get a lot of material written. And it’s sound, crisp, and clear material. I am not fatigued in these hours. I’m productive, which is what makes My Fascinating 4-Hour Sleep Schedule an incredible help to my profession.
- Personal Life. I cannot emphasize enough how powerful my early morning meditations are. I wake at 3:00 a.m. with my coffee. I pray, I read, I write. What used to be groggy droopiness is now an exciting enthusiasm to start my day off right. I believe this has helped make me a better person. I’m seldom too tired to take on new things.
How Convinced Am I?
For the record, I have a few friends who are genuinely concerned for me and send me an article or two every week — particularly on how important sleep is. I take these articles seriously. I’m getting well read in sleep therapy and the studies that are out there.
But I’m a debater, and I read through evidence pretty well. I have yet to find a study that actually studied polyphasic sleep patterns. Instead, I find studies that survey peoples’ already-existing sleep patterns (like this one), people who have sleep apnea (like this one), and anecdotal evidence of healthy people who claim sleep is the reason (like this one). I read these articles and studies through and through, and I have yet to find any proof that polyphasic sleep is harmful to a person’s health.
Nearly 2 years into this is a pretty good track record. Let me know what you think, and I’d love to hear from you and your experience.