The Uberman Sleeping System - Or how to have 22 hours of awakeness and be LESS tired

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Sawaa

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Anyone have any experience with the Uberman Sleeping Schedule?

For those that don't know, the USS is a technique of sleeping whereby you have a nap lasting only twenty minutes, every four hours. Some of you may recall this popularized - with disastrous results - in an episode of Seinfeld. While alot of what happened in that episode is dramatised, the one thing you do need to keep an eye out for is extreme boredom. There's not enough TV for 22 hours in a day, and even with the internet, study and a part time job, it can still be pretty brutal to find stuff to fill the time. Of course, you get to be awesomely productive, so if you're studying you can pretty much nail everything without any scheduling problems XD

What's not a concern is the health side of things. In-fact, under this schedule, you actually get MORE of the sleep you NEED for mental and physical recovery. This sort of sleep is known as Stage IV REM Sleep, and the average person only gets about 90 minutes of this per good nights sleep; because usually this takes hours to achieve. However, in the adjustment period of USS, your brain realises that you've getting regular sleep afterall, it's just not for very long - so adaptation takes place and you fall asleep like a light and enter Stage IV REM immediately. 20 minutes each time, six times per day? 120 minutes means two full hours of Stage IV REM. Yup. You're getting a BETTER sleep out of this schedule. And you NEVER feel tired until about a minute before nap time when your brain is telling you it's time. A new body clock takes over and you tend to not even need an alarm clock to nap/wake up.

Obviously there are downsides; work for example would mean having a nap before you start at say..9am, and then having one in your lunch break and another when you get home; but that's only two of your six 'segments' of the day taken up. Because you're not then losing eight hours of sleep, it feels like you work and then have a full day off before your next day of work. Some people have mentioned needing to 'name' these in-between days to keep a track of it :3

I'm considering trying it out, seriously! I've got a pretty clear schedule at the moment to go with the frankly hellish two-week adjustment period (of which the first three days is pretty much entirely sleepless), but I reckon the benefits would be great. Especially given I have such a terrible sleeping pattern as it is~
 

IncompleteDude

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I've heard of this many times before, and it is not good for your health. You also need deep stage 4 sleep, and you get none of that with this method. I've never heard of anyone lasting more than a few months with this method.

On the other hand, biphasic sleep does give you what you need. Basically, you go to bed very early and get up late, combined with a mid-day nap. In the middle of the night, you will wake up for a few hours in a very peaceful prolactin induced state. It works, because each time you sleep it's for a good 3 or 4 hours, enough time to reach stage 4. In mideval times, this sleep pattern occured naturally, due to the long winter nights and lack of artificial lighting.
 

Sawaa

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Actually, you do get Stage 4 REM Sleep with Uberman; which is the founding ideal of how it works. You force your brain to initiate Stage 4 REM immediately :3
 

DotDotDot

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I had to do something similar to this a few times. For about 6 months, I had to stay awake for 48-72 hours at a time living only on 20 minute and 3 hour naps.

Having done this, I would have energy but I could feel that my body and mind were physically exhausted. Usually every friday I would sleep for 12-14 hours.
 
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I am teh UBERSCHLEEPER?

Medic is win?

Sounds like a bad idea, my parents don't even let me stay up to 12 now that I have to play sports to get them to STFU, I doubt sleeping 20 mins every 2 hrs would be any good.
 

Customizer

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That sleeping method is very interesting. It is a technique drug dealers and hustlers use so that they can work around the clock more often. It's called "cat-napping."

I do not think the system would be healthy or work for me because it takes me 20 minutes to settle down and become relaxed enough to sleep and I never fall asleep for more than a minute in public places for fear of being robbed or pick pocketed.

If I get four or fewer hours of sleep for 2 or more days, my whole body aches in pain because I am not sleeping long enough for it to regenerate enough tissue and cells. A lack of sleep is usually the result of drinking caffeinated pop.

I can only last like this for five days tops. After that my body starts slowly collapsing and I fall asleep very easily via naps. It is dangerous for me to drive a car while tired.

I generally get eight hours a night, but ten is bliss and eleven is heaven.

If I need a nap to make up for lack of sleep and it lasts fewer than four hours, it is a waste of time and does not recover enough energy for me to stop the body ache.

EDIT: Two-hundredth post.
 
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The only problem with this I would have if having to find a place to sleep every four hours. What if you are out and about with some friends? Would you really be like, "Sorry guys, I'm going to have to go take a nap for 20 minutes"... it'd be kinda of awkward.

Other than that, I'm sure it's not so healthy. Just get your recommend 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
 

Dawes

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I've heard of that before, Sawaa, and while I don't discredit its effectiveness, there seem to be a few points of interest that I'd like to bring up. Mind you, I'm not much educated in sleep, but I've read some articles here and there regarding its importance.

It seems like that plan might be effective for some time, but have side-effects in the long run. There are several benefits that long, consecutive hours of sleep allow us, the least of which are:

1) Rest of the body, or physical rest;
2) Rest of the mind, or mental rest;
3) Replenishment of lost energy;
4) A cleansweep of the mind's mental cache, if you will.

It's been proven that sleep not only does all of this, but it allows your mind to process situations (such as highly those emotional, traumatic, stressful, and exhausting) out of your mind. Dreams are an important part of this mental cleansweeping -- much of the time, we visualize only a small percent of the thoughts that we dream about, and though some parts of our brain are at rest while we sleep, others are in full swing. It's proven that everyone dreams, and if it's a brain's natural function, disallowing it the ability to do so ... that seems dangerous.

Think of it like Wal-Mart. If it's open only 18 hours out of the day, any heavy cleaning -- maintenance, repairs, painting, cleaning or replacement of carpet, etcetera -- can be done in the six hours between its closing time and its opening time. If it's open 24/7, though, there need to be considerate changes made in the way that it is run, everywhere from its economical processes to its maintenance processes, to accomodate that change. It can be done, of course, but a lot needs to be shuffled around to do so.

I also believe that this proposed type of rest requires a certain form of lifestyle. If you work a job that requires heavy physical labor, it must be remembered that proper amounts of rest are received for you to 1) replenish your body, 2) be safe at work, 3) provide a safe environment for your co-workers. Saying, "I'm trying out a new sleeping regiment, and that's why I zonked really quick on the front-end loader," when four of your co-workers are dead because you nodded off after not getting more than 20 minutes of rest really won't do the trick for you. The same with over-stimulating mental work -- being a detective, being a telephone support agent, whatever. There are just too many risks that you could put on yourself.

As well, consider the changes in metabolism and physical timing that are going to come as a result of this. Your body constructs a specific schedule of three things: eating, voiding, and sleeping. Doing this is going to throw a huge wrench into all of that and make you more immediately subject to sickness. I can almost guarantee you that, at the beginning, a practitioner of this sleep-style will suddenly find themselves more prone to colds and flus -- at the beginning, at least, until the body finds new ways to replenish natural "shields". Also, you'd probably notice a significant loss or a significant increase in weight. All bodies metabolize at different rates at different times, and sleep has something-or-other to do with the processing of food, energy, and calories in you.

What if you get sick? Sickness requires sleep. Sickness requires a lot of sleep; a lot of "resetting," if you will, of the body's faculties.

I'm not saying this is a bad idea, or an impossible one... but I definitely think that it would require a significant amount of self-study to accomplish. The way I see it is this:

1) If it was natural and beneficial to sleep 20 minutes every four hours, then that would be part of our natural scheduling, but it's not.

2) Billions of people adhere to relatively normal sleep schedules. Is there much of a reason out there to stray from that? The world functions in so many ways based around that late-night sleeping idea.

If you give it a shot, let us know how it goes -- just please be safe with your mind and body in the process!
 
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mizzycub

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I've heard of it, and similar ones. From what I have heard, most sleep patterns based on this are great for a few weeks at most. After that you really start to suffer from tiredness. I would only use it if I had something I had to put a lot of work into and not enough time. Otherwise I would just do what I do normally which is about 4-6 hours sleep and a nap when I get home if I am feeling tired.
 

d4l

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I actually heard about this awhile ago with along the same pitch line you proposed. Personally don't like missing large amounts of sleep and will get it the old fashioned way.

P.S. Who gave it the completely irreverent tag?
 

Darkfinn

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Wasn't it Da Vinci that first came up with this system? I seem to remember hearing that somewhere before.

Personally... I like my natural rythm the way it is. My job is very physically oriented and I am typically quite tired and sore by the time I get home. If I don't get my 6-8 hours of sleep every night and a good deal of R&R on the weekend I will become quite grumpy.

The human world is based upon the cycle of night. Most people get up in the mornings at between 6 and 8... and are typically back in bed by 10 to 12. Personally I believe that if there was something better or more natural our bodies would have shifted to it by now.

I personally subscribe to the "Early to bed, early to rise..." sort of thing. Now I don't take it as far as the Amish... living in the city things don't even begin to mellow out and quiet down until 11 or 12... and you still get some people that don't ever seem to shut up. Thus is one of the joys of being in a house compared to an apartment. If my neighbors decide to stay up late and have the TV and music cranked up... I can't hear a thing. :D
 

BluTack

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As a night-shifter, I can pretty much do this.

There are times where I'm waiting around doing sod all. I can sleep for 20 minutes or less (from boredom) and wake up feeling fresh even in the nosiest places.

It takes practice but you can do that.
 

Fire2box

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I got to try this out.. The common person sleeps years of their life away, or so bill Murray said in "Lost In Translation".
 

Jaiden

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Sleep is wonderful though!

Settling down into bed, wrapping yourself up warm in the covers with a good book at the end of a long day and slowly drifting off to a good, lengthy sleep...Mmm, I'm feeling all snug and cozy just thinking about it. I wouldn't want to remove that part of the day.

Also, never being able to go more than four hours without stopping and finding somewhere to fall asleep can't be very practical for most people.
 

Sawaa

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The thing is - when people say they love sleeping..how do you know? I mean, you have no memory of the ACTUAL sleep. Just waking up XD Well..you can have that 'just woken up' feeling six times a day!
 

IncompleteDude

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Actually, you do get Stage 4 REM Sleep with Uberman; which is the founding ideal of how it works. You force your brain to initiate Stage 4 REM immediately :3
Stage 4 sleep (aka slow wave sleep) is not REM sleep, and is important to the processing and retention of certain types of memory. You do not get this with polyphasic sleep systems like Uberman, and you will be cognitively impaired by it.
Sleep - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This study is particulairly relavent:
Born, J., Rasch, J., & Gais, S. (2006). Sleep to remember. Neuroscientist, 12, 410


The issue is also discussed in this article from Scientific American Mind:
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=how-snoozing-makes-you-smarter
It was not until one of us (Stickgold) revisited this question in 2000 that it became clear that sleep could, in fact, be necessary for this improvement to occur. Using the same rapid visual discrimination task, we found that only with more than six hours of sleep did people’s performance improve over the 24 hours following the learning session. And REM sleep was not the only important component: slow-wave sleep was equally crucial. In other words, sleep—in all its phases—does something to improve memory that being awake does not do.
 

the0silent0alchemist

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i feel hugely embarrased that i cant really comment on this effectively... im supposed to be the scientist
 

Kip

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All I know is that if I have less than eight hours of sleep a night, I feel like sh*t for the rest of the day.
 
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