If I were to start a coaching practice for executives or other professionals who want to learn polyphasic sleep, I would require an application as a prerequisite. There are many things I would need to know to customize the program for them, but whether I would accept them as clients would depend on one question: why. To be a successful polyphasic sleeper, one must have a compelling reason.
I have known for some time that I wanted to write a novel. I also knew that I wanted to start my own business at some point. Yet I also knew that I am a family man who would not work crazy hours at the expense of relationships with my two kids and lovely wife. The promise of the polyphasic sleep schedule called the “Everyman” was that I could do those things that were buried deep within me without sacrificing my normal life as a father, husband and friend. With the enrollment of a deeper part of ourself, we can achieve a new means to navigate our time on this planet. However, with a shallow goal, that deeper part of us will not rally to the cause. I believe this is the fundamental reason more people do not succeed when they try polyphasic sleep.
My wife used to love asking this question to figure out what someone was really passionate about: What would you stay up in the early hours of the next day to do? For me, that question was even more to the point: What would cause you to set your alarm for 1:30 AM after only 3.5 hours of sleep, get up, and then jump into a 50℉ pool? Wow. I look back on that schedule that I maintained for 8 months in 2016 and shake my head in disbelief. The willpower it must have taken to do that for so long…well, it seems almost unbelievable to me, and I was the one who did it! By 2 AM, I was wide awake and able to focus for 4 hours before my first 20-minute nap. Those hours were completely free, unfettered by any demands on my time by family or work. In those hours I started my first company and wrote my first novel. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
The Everyman schedule calls for 3.5 hour core sleep followed by 3 20-minute naps evenly spaced throughout the day. I will share a much better schedule that I now use later in the series. But for the thought experiment, imagine you had to do what I did everyday for one month. What would motivate you at the deepest level of your being to get up 4 hours earlier than normal, day after day for 30 days? Are you an inspiring writer? Do you dream of starting a company? Those are only two of an infinite number of answers that could pass my litmus test. If someone told me they were passionate about learning and wanted more hours to read about a particular subject, I would be intrigued and want to know more. What would they do with this learning? What would it lead to? If it leads to a new career that they’ve always dreamed about, then I would coach that person. If it is just for knowledge’s sake, hmmm, I might have to pass. I’m not sure that will be sufficient to plow through the adaptation period that can take up to 30 days before the routine feels routine.
If you have read any of my other blogs on lucid dreaming, especially the one about how I came up with the origin of the blog title, you will know that I believe we have a deeper Self inside of us. This Self comes to us in the shadows and speaks to us in whispers. This Self reveals itself symbolically through dreams and more literally in slips of the tongue. Perhaps it is this Self that led you to my blog and fans into flame your interest in polyphasic sleep. If you can enroll that Self in your vision for a new life, then you have the intelligence on your side that goes beyond reason and is responsible for keeping seven billion hearts beating on the planet. It is the same intelligence that can turn a piece of food you have eaten, be it meat or fruit or vegetable, into “you” hours later. Stop a moment and think of the mysterious alchemy of that process we take for granted at least three times a day. We do this Self a great disservice by calling it “un” or “sub” to what we value so highly, our waking consciousness. Look deep within and ask yourself—what moves me? What will move me so fundamentally that Life itself will grant me 25% more waking time in a day? When you have that answer, you are truly ready to become a polyphasic sleeper.