Uberman sleep cycle (A complete guide)

In the following article, we will discuss the basics of sleep, effects of sleep deprivation and the Uberman sleep cycle.

 We will be discussing a sleeping pattern that most people follow, called monophasic sleep and biphasic sleep.

We also will be talking about polyphasic sleep.

What is the Uberman sleep cycle?

This pattern of sleep is known as polyphasic sleep. In the uberman sleep cycle, the person takes six 20 minute naps over the period of a 24 hour day.The uberman sleep cycle is a different pattern of sleeping followed by people, who wish to maximize their waking hours, and thus their productivity. 

The naps are spread over every four hours. The naps are generally equidistant- meaning spaced after a set amount of time. Some people follow the 6 np schedule, which consists of 2 hours of total sleep. An 8 nap schedule can also be followed, which consists of 2 hours and 40 min of total sleep. 

This schedule was developed by Marie Staver, an IT professional who was troubled with insomnia. It was developed in 1998 and named after  Friedrich Nietzche’s Ubermensch

What is polyphasic sleep?

People who follow the polyphasic sleeping pattern take small naps throughout the day, instead of sleeping for 7-8 straight, at night. 

 A polyphasic sleep cycle does not essentially drastically reduce your sleeping hours. This type of sleeping schedule is adopted by people who want to minimize the time they spend sleeping, and increase their weakening hours to maximize productivity. 

This pattern of sleeping is not very common. Some soldiers may adapt this pattern. But there is no scientific evidence backing the efficiency of the polyphasic sleep pattern. 

What are the different types of polyphasic sleep?

There are numerous ways to adapt to the polyphasic sleep cycle. Let’s look at some of them

Dymaxion Schedule

This schedule entails a person taking a nap every 6 hours for 30 minutes. A person following this schedule will get 2 hours of sleep everyday. 

This schedule was developed by Buckminster Fuller in the 1920s. He claimed to have used the schedule for 2 years, increasing  his overall productivity. 

Read more about dymaxion Schedule here

Uberman Schedule

This schedule involves the person taking a 20 minute nap every 4 hours. The total sleep a person will get with this schedule is 4 hours daily.

There are different variations in this schedule. Read more about it here.

Uberman sleep cycle (A complete guide)

Everyman Schedule

The people who cannot adapt to the strenuous schedules of Uberman sleep and dymaxion sleep prefer Everyman sleep schedule. 

This schedule requires people to sleep for 3 hours at night and take three 20mintue naps throughout the day. 

This schedule was also created by Staver, and it includes sleeping at night, which doesn’t disrupt your circadian rhythms. 

Pros and Cons of the Uberman Sleeping schedule

Pros Cons
Can provide increased productivityCan lead to sleep deprivation
May “train” the brain to enter the deep sleep stage soonerDaytime naps aren’t as quiet and comfortable as night time sleep
Reduce stress levels that accompany insomnia May be difficult to nap while having a rigid work schedule.
Accommodates the circadian desire for afternoon napsDoes not fit into our circadian rhythms
May meet your total sleep needs, if the schedule is followed strictlyIf the schedule is not strictly followed your sleep needs may not be met. 

How does the uberman sleep cycle help you?

Spending less time sleeping, and more in your waking hours, will definitely increase your productivity. 

If you have an irregular work schedule, this may be beneficial for you.

However, there is no scientific evidence that says polyphasic sleeping patterns are better than monophasic or biphasic sleeping patterns. There is not sufficient evidence to state that your body will adapt to it. 

Irregular sleeping patterns have been associated with low academic performance. Read more about it here.

How to start the Uberman sleep cycle?

Implementing this sleep schedule may seem easy at first, but it may not be so. Letting go of the monophasic or the biphasic sleeping schedule, practices that are rooted within us since childhood, is not an easy process. 

You must first, be mentally ready to take on this task.

However, if you have any pre-existing health condition, you may want to consult with your doctor first. 

Before taking on the uberman sleeping cycle, you have to make sure that you can adjust your schedule and take the proper amount of naps as mentioned. 

As you begin to let go of your previous sleeping schedule and take on the uberman schedule, you will be in the “adaptation phase” (also called the “zombie mode”). During this phase you will likely be sleep deprived and your cognitive functions will decline. 

The following two method can be followed while adapting to the uberman sleep cycle:

Method one : Ramping up

This method entails gradual adjusting to the uberman sleep schedule. With this method, the adverse effects of sleep deprivation may be lessened. You can also maintain a good level of functionality using this method. 

Gradually adapting , has the likelihood of the practice becoming more successful. However, this process may take a very long time. 

You can progress from monophasic to biphasic to triphasic and then to everyman sleeping schedule. After these steps, you can finally move on to the uberman sleeping schedule. 

Method two: Jumping in

Unlike method one, where you progress gradually, in this method, you quit the monophasic sleep and directly jump into the uberman sleep cycle.

 This process generally begins with you staying awake for at least 24-36 hours to completely change your existing sleeping pattern. This span of staying awake should be held until you experience a sudden surge of energy or, “the second wind”. 

After this, you can take a nap every 2 hours. This stage should be continued until you can take the naps with ease. This stage may last for 2-4 days. However, you should take your own time.

The final stage is where you have completely adjusted to this new schedule and are taking one 20 minute nap every 3 or 4 hours. 

The 3 hour interval adds up to a total of 8 naps throughout the day, whereas the 4 hour interval adds up to 6 naps in a day.


Is the Uberman sleep cycle real?

The Uberman cycle. This cycle consists of taking six 20-minute naps, evenly distributed, throughout your day. Continue indefinitely. According to the Polyphasic Society, you can adjust the system in a non-equidistant way to fit your needs.

Is polyphasic sleep good for students?

Studies have shown the positive effects of napping and sleep patterns to brain function and health. Using a polyphasic sleep pattern, students would be able to increase their cognitive ability as well as improve their alertness in the classroom.

Is it better to sleep in 4 hour increments?

For most people, 4 hours of sleep per night isn’t enough to wake up feeling rested and mentally alert, no matter how well they sleep. There’s a common myth that you can adapt to chronically restricted sleep, but there’s no evidence that the body functionally adapts to sleep deprivation

What sleep pattern is best?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that most adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night and that older adults over 65 years of age get between 7 and 8 hours. The rapid growth and development of youth means that children need additional hours of sleep, with specific recommendations varying by age

Why is polyphasic sleep bad?

Polyphasic sleep side effects and risks

Polyphasic sleep schedules that reduce your overall number of hours spent asleep can lead to the same health risks as other forms of sleep deprivation. Chronic sleep deprivation puts you at risk of developing: anxiety. high blood pressure