Unadvisable schedules

A word of warning

Warning! These schedules are not recommended, and should not be treated as suggestions. The only reason these unadvisable schedules are handpicked from a surplus of bad schedules is because these have been honestly attempted and failed, and because they go directly against recommendations made on this guide, thus providing a great opportunity to showcase a visualization of which fundamental rules have been ignored when the schedule was designed. Again, you are advised not to attempt any of the schedules talked about in this part, as they will most likely lead to failure!

Introduction

The following bad schedules have been picked to show which integral parts of scheduling have been ignored. This also provides you the opportuníty to catch information that you might otherwise have missed or misunderstood, so make sure to review the reasons given why these schedules were failed to be adapted to. It should be noted that some variations of these schedules might have actually been adapted to by some people, but the difficulty would clearly be a lot higher than with the standard versions, and there is no telling that you would actually succeed in the adaptation were you to attempt it.

Zoidberg

  • Proposed by: Dr. Zoid
  • Total sleep: 2 hours
  • Classification: Nap-only schedule
  • Specification: 6 naps
  • Mechanics: 6 naps with 20 minute long gaps of wakefulness between them
  • Fundamental rule broken: staying awake for at least 1, preferably 2 BRACs between sleeps

The basis of Zoidberg revolves around the idea that you can interchangeably nap for 20 minutes, stay awake for 20 minutes, then rinse and repeat, stacking these sections on next to each other, resulting in so called “z-cores”. It is a nap-only schedule like SPAMAYL, but instead of naps as-needed spaced throughout the day, they are all adjacent at night. Zoidberg allows for adding another nap if needed to the z-core(s), or during the day as need be. It attempts to capitalize on the high sleep quality from sleep onset REM or SWS that is known to occur with well-spaced naps by repeatedly triggering the sleep-onset REM and SWS, resulting in large totals of restorative sleep.

However, this is completely the opposite of what happens, and adaptation fails for multiple reasons. Two people who attempted the schedule for a few months never got close to adapting, even though they temporarily thought it was working. During adaptation stage 1, waking up, and going to sleep is problem free. Falling asleep for the later naps becomes hard, because of the wakefulness sustaining from the earlier naps, despite the fact that the naps consist  mostly of light sleep due to the brain considering the whole z-core to be one interrupted sleep block. This leads to failure to trigger sleep onset REM or SWS during the interrupted points, or for a majority of the naps. Every interruption in sleep also requires an additional amount of light sleep to serve as a transitional phase from waking back into sleep, further reducing time available for SWS or REM. Zoidberg can therefore be compared to sleeping a single, interrupted cycle a day. The percentage of light sleep is extremely high in this demonstration of what effect the zoidberg schedule has on sleep, as shown in the picture below, which displays two days of forcefully interrupting a core.

Scheduling sleep blocks too close together will lead to exactly the same thing happening on other schedules. The schedule is not even viable short term, as the humongous sleep pressure originating from only being able to achieve light sleep eventually causes people to oversleep. Short-term attempts only result in forcing light sleep into the cycles, replacing major parts of the SWS and REM chunks. This left one of the experimenters with impaired sleep after the adaptation attempt, as they kept waking up every 20 minutes for a very long time after returning to monophasic sleep. This habit takes time to fix, and it ruins any chance at adapting to other schedules with cores in the meantime. Both of the attempters were fine until adaptation stage 1 was over, and were then left with built up sleep debt, causing them to wake up from SWS or REM very often and leading them to feel incredibly awful and irritated.

It’s been demonstrated that no matter how much strategy or willpower you have, your sleep debt will get to you and you will not be able to power through. Waking up every 20 minutes won’t lead to restful sleep nor will it provide the amount of SWS and REM you need.

Alternating DC1 and E2

  • Total sleep: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Classification: alternating schedule type
  • Specification: changing number of cores and naps
  • Mechanics: increasing and decreasing sleep block lengths on an alternating basis
  • Fundamental rule broken: staying consistent with the sleep times throughout the week

Link to the full report: Alternating schedules Polyphasic Experiment Full Report

This alternating schedule was attempted in order to determine whether 48 hour long circadian rhythm schedules would be adaptable. There had been several people attempting schedules similar to this one where they sleep one pattern during the week, and another during the weekend, with poor results. Therefore the conclusions made in this text are applicable to such schedules as well. The schedule above, shortened as ADE for brevity, was constructed with the intention to vary as few variables as possible. Each sleep is woken up from at the same time every day, and the total sleep time is kept very similar. A dark period is also kept at the same time every day. Because of this the only changing factor is going to be the length of the individual sleep blocks.

During the early parts of adaptation stage 1, waking up was easy, however, fatigue started building up very soon. The issues became immense at the start of adaptation stage 2. The tiredness from when the previous days sleep blocks were had was extreme. Intense symptoms of sleep deprivation were experienced, like fatigue, forgetfulness, minimal ability to focus, a general feeling of disorientation and such. The days also blended together, and the sense of time was completely lost. Conclusively it can be said that varying the length of sleep blocks will lead to similar things happening on other schedules, and will therefore most likely lead to a very tough battle against extreme sleep deprivation symptoms and to an inability to successfully adapt.

NL4NM20

  • Proposed by: Edgarvny
  • Total sleep: Varies. 2h (Uberman base) and 8h (monophasic base)
  • Classification: Random (Uberman-Monophasic hybrid)
  • Specification: 6 naps when possible, and 1 monophasic core when necessary
  • Mechanics: Flexible 6 Uberman naps as a tool for sleep reduction, but occasionally doing monophasic is possible to take advantage of both polyphasic and monophasic benefits
  • Fundamental rules broken: Intentional oversleep during adaptation by sleeping monophasically when applicable, no flexing sleep during adaptation, recovery rules

This is a self-proclaimed flexible Uberman pattern that was proposed by Edgarvny from Reddit in 20141. The premise of the schedule is to keep a ~4-hour wake gap between each 20m nap, while betraying the core principle of polyphasic adaptation – where one is supposed to sleep at the same times everyday to complete the adaptation period. The schedule also promises a flexible timetable for social events, allowing sleeps to be moved around. 6 naps per day with the same nap duration of 20m are aimed for, similar to Uberman. The difference from SPAMAYL is that this schedule always favors staying awake for at least 4 hours before taking another nap while SPAMAYL allows the wake gap between naps to be as narrow as ~2 hours. The creator of the schedule also wasn’t aware of the fact that changing sleep times around during adaptation will confuse the body with irregular sleep-wake behavior, which results in chaotic circadian rhythm, especially on a nap-only lifestyle. Most notably, the creator also claimed to be “polyphasically adjusted” (basically reached the “adapted” state), but this simply was not the case.

During 4 weeks, the creator admitted to oversleeping because of some drinks (8-hour oversleeps), implying that he was constantly plagued in stage 3 adaptation (sleepy enough to oversleep). It was usually the case that oversleeping during nap-only schedules is very common and despite the claim that the “drinks” caused the oversleeps, it is more about the intense level of sleep deprivation. The adaptation progress was therefore reversed entirely, and napping for only 20 minutes in between while adaptation progress was reset could not guarantee full repartitioning of SWS and REM into all naps, as homeostatic pressure is restored to some decent extent after a whopping oversleep (e.g, 8 hours).

In addition, the creator seems to have taken the “oversleeps” as a blanket mechanic to fall back on whenever the nap-only structure is no longer sustainable, to enjoy both polyphasic and monophasic benefits at the same time. However, this is simply not the case. As total sleep time dramatically varies from day to day (some days sleeping with 20m naps some days reverting back to monophasic), it is questionable whether the sleeper has restored fully from sleep deprivation from the “monophasic oversleeps” to resume the nap-only lifestyle. It usually takes a couple days with extra sleep (monophasic-like core sleeps) to fully recover from extreme sleep deprivation on failed nap-only schedules. Not to mention the ever-changing sleep times in the schedule and no consistency, the schedule itself can result in messy circadian rhythm, and waking up with constant sleep inertia as the body is learning to “adapt” to 20m naps. In short, the adaptation progress is never completed, and the body is constantly in a sleep deprived state.

Therefore, this schedule is unsustainable, as continuous switch between nap-only and monophasic schedule simply does not progress adaptation. Having monophasic-tier oversleeps simply means adaptation failure, and coupled with that is chaotic circadian rhythm with very irregular sleep hours and random napping. Adaptation on this schedule is impossible, as demonstrated by no actual success that the creator claimed to have achieved. For health reasons, it is recommended that this type of hybrid polyphasic-monophasic sleep pattern should not in any sense be attempted.

Main author: Crimson
Page last updated: 17 February 2020

  1. “r/Polyphasic – A flexible Uberman-like Schedule That Works For Me.” Reddit, https://www.reddit.com/r/polyphasic/comments/2mmvf3/a_flexible_ubermanlike_schedule_that_works_for_me/. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.