Building a Sleep Discipline schedule can be easy and fun. It involves balancing many factors including the amount of extra time you would like to have, how many naps you can fit in per day, how strict you expect to be with the schedule, and how much sleep deprivation you’re willing to deal with in the beginning. Below you will find a chart of these factors and a step-by-step guide to developing a Sleep Discipline schedule that is right for you.
Review this chart to help you determine the best Sleep Discipline for you. Notice that the more naps you take during the day, the less sleep you will need at night. Conversely, the shorter your core sleep, the more strictly you will need to follow your schedule. The less Total Sleep you get, the more severe the sleep deprivation in the adjustment phase will be, however the more sever the sleep dep., the quicker your body will adjust to the Discipline.
# 20 min Naps Core Sleep (hrs) Total Sleep (hrs) Net Benefit (vs 8 hrs) Nap Sched. Flexibility Nickname 0 8 8 0 n/a Monophasic 1 6 6.3 1.7 +/-3 hr Siesta 2 4.5 5.2 2.8 +/-2 hr Everyman 3 3 4 4 +/-1 hr Everyman 4 or 5 1.5 2.8 5.2 +/-30 min Everyman 6 0 2 6 +/-30 min Uberman
How to make a Sleep Discipline schedule:
- Find 30 minute time blocks where you can quietly slip away and take a 20 minute nap every day. Ideally space the naps 3-6 hrs apart.
- (What worked for me: My job allows for a flexible schedule so I can take naps at work whenever I’m not too busy to do so. I target – 11:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m., and 11:00 p.m.)
- Find a location you can go to lie down uninterrupted during that time. Sleeping pads/bags, pillows, and earplugs make this task much easier – you will become a nap expert in short order, so you can get creative.
- (What worked for me: I use a sleeping bag to take naps on our office lounge couch, or on a backpacking sleeping pad in our conference room. If I’m at home I’ll crash on my bed. Otherwise I nap wherever I happen to be (i.e. cars, airports/airplanes, floors, other peoples’ couches/beds, etc.)
- Using your step 1 results and the chart above, determine the number of naps you want in your schedule and find the appropriate core sleep length. Then pick a time slot for your core sleep and choose the best nap times that will space out your rest throughout the day.
- (What worked for me: I wanted to be in to work by 7:00 a.m. every day so I set my core to 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. My best times for naps are: 11:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m., and 11:00 p.m)
- Pick a series of days (at least three) to commit to the adjustment phase knowing there’s a possibility of sleep deprivation. Try to avoid long drives, important business meetings, performing surgery, or any extremely important events. If something comes up, at any time you can switch back to monophasic, get a good night’s sleep and be right back to normal.
- (Ideally (assuming a M-F work week) start the schedule on Thursday by lying down for the scheduled naps. Get your core sleep in Thursday night so that way even if you get 0 benefit from your naps, you will have still had some sleep the night before. Then you have Saturday and Sunday allocated for potentially the most tiring days of the adjustment period – if attempting the Uberman Schedule, expect this “most difficult” period to last a week. The tiredness and fatigue from sleep deprivation will hopefully be reduced to only early-morning / late-night tiredness by day 4, and will disappear after full adjustment (1 month or more).
- Recommendation: If possible, choose a starting date that will give you 4 weeks to stick closely to the schedule (no vacations, trips, or prolonged times where you will not be able to get your naps). This is not absolutely necessary – especially as many of us are too busy to ever have a lull in activity for that long – however the closer you stick to the schedule for this time period, the more adapted you will be and the more you will get out of your time. As long as you make your Sleep Discipline a priority, you will adjust right quick.