Mind-Body Connection: The Essential Link for Polyphasic Sleep
I stumbled into success with polyphasic sleep. When I read about how many people have tried and failed to adapt to the various schedules, I realized my luck in finding a couple of practices that set my mind and body up for success. To my knowledge, this has not been written about anywhere else. If you want to try polyphasic sleep, I highly suggest you practice these two disciplines first.
Intermittent fasting. When my friend Tony told me about the Warrior Diet and how much he enjoyed it, my first reaction was a solid, “Good for you!” I was not attracted to the idea of foregoing fresh fruit, a scrambled egg now and again, and other savory items for breakfast. Not only did my friend skip breakfast, he passed on lunch, too. How could you possibly have enough energy to sustain yourself until 4 or 5 PM? I heard about it from him on and off for almost a year before I was convinced to try it—for a day. The promises of increased energy lured me in. He experienced benefits beyond this, but he knew me well and positioned this as the main benefit. The only negative ramifications he experienced were on the social side of things. I figured I could deal with that since I ate most of my lunches alone at my desk or in the café.
The morning of my first day, I had a strong intention not to eat until 2 PM that day. I said it out loud and mustered as much intention as I could behind the words. Much to my surprise, I did not experience hunger, nor did I miss breakfast that day. I did this day after day for a year. I continue to be amazed at how effective this diet is for changing one’s relationship to food (you don’t need it constantly to have energy) and giving your body time to detox and slow down outside of sleeping hours. When I later learned the role of metabolism and sleep, I realized I was lucky that I had obtained some control over this voluntarily. This was the first powerful experience I had of the mind influencing the body for positive effect.
Cold-adaptation therapy. One Monday afternoon, two friends and I shared a moment of extreme synchronicity. We were walking and talking during lunch (as we all were practicing the Warrior Diet at this time) when one of us mentioned an interesting new practice they had read about over the weekend called the Wim Hof method. I can’t remember who shared first, whether it was me, Nick or Tony. However, the strange thing was that all three of us had read about this method for the first time that weekend. This got my attention, as do all glitch-in-the-Matrix type moments. I started the program that night and completed it in 10 weeks. When I first started jumping into my pool that was 50 degrees Fahrenheit, I would shiver uncontrollably. By the end of the program and to this day, I can jump in and feel my internal core temperature raise. I don’t shiver anymore.
Metabolism and internal core temperature are strongly linked to your circadian rhythm. Thus, I believe cold-adaptation therapy and the Warrior Diet are essential upgrades prior to commencing an aspirational polyphasic schedule. If you are just going for a single nap-based schedule, such as 6 hours of core plus a 2 PM nap, you won’t need these hacks. However, for anything more challenging than this, I can’t recommend you begin without doing these bio-hacks first for at least 3 months. You will enjoy the superpower of not being cold and not requiring food for energy—so what are you waiting for?