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How to survive on 2 hours of sleep a day

  1. Jan 15, 2008 #1
    how to survive on 2 hours of sleep a day!!

    Wow!! I just finished reading this short article in WIRED magazine that explained how one can survive on just 2 hours of sleep every night. The article said that in order for this to work you must take a 20 minute nap every four hours. The article also said that the first seven days will be hell but then after that you would be receiving the best sleep of your life. Also, the article said that the long-term side affects are unknown. The article is on page 50 in the January 2008 issue if you would like to check it out for yourself. Don't know if I am going to try this sleep regiment or not, but if you decide to try it out let me know how it worked out for you either through this thread or through private message.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2008 #2


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    I don't know about that article. But you should try to get as close as possible to the recommended hours of sleep. If you get 2 hrs of sleep every night for week (!) your body will make you pay for it during the course of daily activities. Hence, thats probably why you have no choice but to take naps at regular intervals. I would also speculate that there would be long term effects. I don't think you would want to mess with something as important as sleep. Hell, I don't think the military even does that 2 hrs of sleep over sustained periods of time. Its just not work the implications.

    Personally, I could not even think about attempting that. Its killing right now with 4hrs of sleep. I am constantly drowsy and I refuse to get addicted to caffeine!
  4. Jan 15, 2008 #3
    20 minutes naps? It takes me an hour and a half to fall asleep.
  5. Jan 15, 2008 #4
    The article also said that the first seven days will be hell but then after that you would be receiving the best sleep of your life.

    You may be on to something. This may explain why people see Judy Garland and Ben Franklin dancing in their living room. "Lucid dreaming "

    Also, the article said that the long-term side affects are unknown.
    UM. "Let me think". How about Death.
  6. Jan 15, 2008 #5
    Sounds like this:


    Other people have tried this schedule but ultimately gave up, because of the social implications. There's plenty of blogs about it.

    I think it actually works, because all you need is REM sleep. By forcing yourself to nap short periods, you go into REM sleep immediately and you get all the REM sleep you need in those short naps.
  7. Jan 15, 2008 #6
    Kramer tried this on Seinfeld with disastrous consequences...
  8. Jan 15, 2008 #7
    I so that episode!!then again, that was on television, so it must be true...
  9. Jan 15, 2008 #8
    Nothing like a little Hollywood to skew the view of a perfectly reasonable method of rest.

    Polyphasic sleep is a method used by many people to, as the hypothesis goes, induce rapid REM stages of sleep to achieve a more restful and recuperative period in a much smaller time frame.

    Polyphasic sleep has been the subject of many studies, gaining interest most recently in the last twenty years, but remains largely a mysterious subject dominated by the prejudices of the individuals who swear by its utility or lack of.

    I have a few friends who have used, or continue to use a sleep method like the one described by the OP. Polyphasic (as you can no doubt deduce from the name) involves many rest periods by the practicing person, at little sleep (usually three hours total in a twenty-four hour period). Indeed the dramatic change from single rest period a day (say, eight hours per day) is very disruptive to the body, making it seem impossible to adjust for the first week. One person I knew who tried this method did very well (he succeeded in moving to this method during the summer break at the end of the school year). He called it "being like a zombie" for the first week, but suffered only from boredom after finally adjusting due to the dramatically higher waking time. He reverted back at the beginning of the school year due to the obvious obstruction it would cause with his schools daily schedule (they wouldn't allow him to nap every four hours).

    I have also had friends who tried Biphasic sleep (twice a day, usually in 1.5 hour blocks). They had similar results to the friend mentioned formerly.

    There is a basic theory of sleep that says that humans sleep in cycles; going through the entire cycle of sleep (all five stages) in ninety minutes, and waking due to an interruption in this cycle (such as from an alarm clock, for example) causes disturbances in waking life. This hypothesis suggests that this is the reason some days one might find themselves out of focus and still tired, even after a large rest period, and very well recuperated the next. Support for this hypothesis is to go to sleep and naturally wake up (no outside interfearence), and judge how long you slept - typically the result is a multiple of an hour and a half - concluding that one sleeps naturally in this cycle. Thus one believing this theory would suggest to sleep a total time where 1.5 hours is a factor, keeping your body from being interrupted from its natural sleep cycle by waking up at the end of one, and keeping out those 'muddy' days.

    Hope I shed a little light into these strange sleep methods. Cheers!

    -Daniel Y.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2008
  10. Jan 16, 2008 #9
    Does it help rest the body, though? For someone who exercises, can your body restore itself in such a short amount of time?

    Also, how would this affect healing? This is very similar to the above, but if you got sick or just injured somehow (muscle strain, cut, bruise, whatever), how so little sleep affect you?

    Plus, having to nap every 4 hours sounds like a pain. You can't really schedule your day around that very well.

    That sleep cycle theory sounds alright, but I can't imagine trying to fall asleep exactly at the right time so that I can wake up in a multiple of 1.5 hours. I can't control my sleep that well.
  11. Jan 16, 2008 #10
    I prefer the monophasic sleep system.
  12. Jan 16, 2008 #11
    i wanna do it!
    I sleep way way 2 much.

    I once slept for 18 hours Friday to Saturday. On average it was 13 hours.
    Now school is here and I'm hurting!
    I had an 8am class, and an 11 then a 12:00 and I slept from 2:00pm to 9:00pm now here i am 2:11am. My sleep sucks!
    Now I must do homework, luckily its only the 2nd day of class or else I would be in trouble.

    I've went on 4 hours of sleep for a week and I got sick as hell. So 2 hours would probably own my face.
  13. Jan 16, 2008 #12
    Yes, this would affect healing. I'm certainly not an expert on sleeping and the relation to your physical bodys health, but I can assure you that the more time you spend resting the injury to your body (after working out, the strain of walking all day, whatever), the better one will physically recuperate. However, I was not speaking of physical well being, but mental. I have no sources to quote whether or not there will be a difference in recovering (physically) by sleep or by wakefully twiddling your thumbs (but still not moving). One might assume tests to gain knowledge of the difference in physical effects of recuperation from a different form of sleep hasn't been attempted for the simple reason that it isn't applicable to those trying it. Most who try new sleep methods are college students, or virtually any kind of person wishing to gain more time to study and on and on (who will no doubt focus more on the mental as being more pertinent). Athletes aren't looking to change their sleep patterns, they've no need to. So research into the physical effects have probably been neglected more than the effects of the mental.

    In conclusion, it's still a resounding 'we don't know'. It is possible it could be less beneficial to be awake than sleeping when recuperating, but if you read the above, it is equally possible that your body adapts to the new sleep method and recuperates the same (perhaps better). Maybe me reading a book and not moving and you sleeping and not moving equals the same recuperation, and if it is the same then the only difference is that you haven't done anything useful and I just finished Hamlet.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2008
  14. Jan 16, 2008 #13
    Well, I wouldn't do anything useful while awake, either. ;)

    I understand that there weren't that many studies, but even with regular, sedentary lifestyles, your body needs to repair itself. Things like digestion, cell regeneration, etc. Has anybody you know of started to complain of general problems like that?
  15. Jan 26, 2008 #14
    It would be REALLY cool if that worked with no/little side effects. I sleep too much and abandon all motivation to do homework for a few hours of more sleep.
  16. Jan 27, 2008 #15


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    I tried this last year. I was okay for the first 3 days but after that I didn't have willpower to carry on. It is a really inflexible sleeping schedule because you HAVE to sleep every 4 hours or you oversleep and have to start again. This is okay if you are at university and can take a nap in the library but it is difficult to fit in to work or social situations.

    I still don't know if a normal person can actually do this for months on end but I would say try it out if you have nothing on.
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