The Uberman Sleep Cycle – a sleep cycle used by Leonardo da Vinci and Nikola Tesla

Do you consider sleep to be your much-anticipated sacred nightly ritual? Or do you consider it wasted time like Leonardo da Vinci or Nikola Tesla did. Not everyone could stick to a sleep schedule so aggressive that makes you exhausted just by thinking about it.

Sleep is in fact very important.

Yes, it is a fact that sleep is important and there’s nothing controversial in stating this. If you are sleep deprived you tend to eat more, you drive like a drunk person, you cannot study etc. It just seems like it’s eating your brain. Sleep is very important but no one ever said we need to do it in one sitting- or one laying.

Mid-day sleep is not a new concept, even though napping stations are the new ”thing” in those trendy work spaces you see on the internet. Common people in the pre-Indrustrial age used to break up their night’s sleep into two segments: “first sleep” and “second sleep”. But as we mentioned some of history’s greatest thinkers were taking this a bit further.

The Uberman cycle- an impossible routine? Or a great one?

While the pre-Industrial people had segmented sleep In a biphasic routine( sleeping twice a day), Tesla and da Vinci allegedly stuck to an almost impossible sleep routine. This is by far the most intense example of polyphasic sleeping (sleeping more than three times a day). And this routine was called “The Uberman cycle”. Sounds fun right?

The Uberman cycle according to the Polyphasic society can be adjusted in a way to fit your needs. It is consisted of six 20-minute naps which are evenly distributed throughout the day. It doesn’t sound that fun anymore does it?

It is claimed that da Vinci used this cycle in Claudio Stampi’s book written in 1992 called “Why We Nap”. He has written about this unique sleep formula of da Vinci which consisted of 15 minutes sleep in every four hours for a total of 1.5 hours of sleep a day. This way he gained 6 extra productive hours a day. And if he had followed this regimen he should have “gained” an additional 20 years of productivity in his 67 years of life.

The Smithsonian magazine reports that Tesla’s professors were also worried about his working and sleeping habits so much that they warned his father about it. They believe that his sleeping habits could have been a reason causing his mental breakdown at age of 25. He allegedly never slept for more than 2 hours a day. That sounds hard to believe, and even harder to do.

It is obvious why someone could submit himself to these short naps in odd hours. More time spent sleeping means less time for productivity. A study in Work and Stress published in 1989 found that these strategies of polyphasic sleep improve prolonged sustained performance. Meaning not only do you have more time to do stuff, but it is probable that you will get even better results when you do them. So if you ever feel like you want to try this Uberman cycle don’t go to Tesla-like extremes and be more moderate about it.

If you are truly interested in trying out polyphasic sleep check out the book: ” Ubersleep: Nap-Based Sleep Schedules and the Polyphasic Lifestyle”


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