I did not believe polyphasic sleeping was healthy or even possible until I met a practitioner in person. Tom is a polymath and is a polyphasic sleeper. Don’t take my word for it, though: check out his personal resume here. He explained to me the polyphasic sleep schedule he developed during college that enabled him to take this many courses, graduate with nearly ten masters degrees and a PhD, all while doing research and working as an engineer to pay for school. Things like this shouldn’t be possible, but they are. Tom is living proof of it.
For you to be successful in your efforts, you must believe it can be done. Besides reading this blog or meeting polyphasic sleepers in person, how else can you generate belief?
Reflect back on your accomplishments so far in your life. Are any of them remarkable to you now? Perhaps, perhaps not. However, what if you could go back and tell your eleven-year-old self you would do them? Would that self have been impressed or surprised? We can do much more than we think because what we think at any given moment is limited to our brain state in that moment, including all the biases that make it function so efficiently. Recency bias, for example, is a common algorithm our brain runs to help us navigate the world. This is quite helpful in making snap judgements about unimportant matters, such as the best way to drive to work during traffic. Based on our experience the last few times with traffic, we can quickly make decisions that will likely give us a good path to work (of course we have Google Maps now for this, too). However, recency bias is not helpful in bolstering our confidence for achieving a new endeavor—unless we are coming off a recent success. How do we hack this bias? We create some low-hanging fruit to go after.
For me, I developed several important routines prior to becoming a polyphasic sleeper. I’ll write about them in more detail next time as they are critical components in the preparation phase; however, in this context I will share them as aids to bolstering my belief that our body and mind can do things seemingly impossible when properly linked. I heard about the warrior diet (intermittent fasting) from a friend for about a year before I tried it. Who would want to limit their food intake to specific hours of the day? Not me, especially when I’m around free food throughout the day. Yet over time, I decided to give it a try. Just one day, I thought. I did a fast from 8 PM to 2 PM the next day for nearly a year. I felt energized and was completely surprised how I did not get hungry in the AM and did not need a breakfast meal “to start the day right.” I had energy and focus, yet I was only eating between 2 PM and 8 PM. I wouldn’t have believed it until I experienced it for myself.
When I saw how my daily intention (I’m not going to eat until 2 PM) affected my experience of hunger and improved my energy and focus, it gave me a baseline of confidence to build on.
What baseline of confidence have you already established? If there is nothing recent, what goal can you set that will boost your confidence that you can do something that seems nearly impossible at first glance? Perhaps it is polyphasic sleep itself. If so, then stay tuned for the next post because I will turn you into an intermittent faster yet.