I had a recent conversation with a friend about polyphasic sleep. Here’s my followup email to him about this
…It was my impression that you believed polyphasic sleeping couldn’t be done because people just aren’t capable of doing it for more than a short period of time (IE like the breatharian argument – no one is a breatharian for more than a few weeks because they die).
Morgan Engel presented at the September 2009 5 Minutes of Fame “A Primer on Polyphasic Sleeping”.
http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/2180170 25 minutes into the video. At 29:00 he says (paraphrased ) “I did it for 6 months and it was great. I taught myself many things with the extra time. I had to stop because my girlfriend thought it was weird”. But also … “it’s really hard to do because to have to live a regimented lifestyle.” That is a popular refrain I’ve seen from others.
If this page (http://trypolyphasic.com/map) is any indication, there are maybe 100-1000 people in the world who say they have successfully done polyphasic sleep.
There’s lots of resources and community around it… this is a good starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphasic_sleep
That said, I think a good simple summary would be:
Polyphasic sleep is certainly possible. However, it takes at least as much personal effort as going to a gym regularly. The awkward social aspects add to the difficulty.
Since I’ve never been able to make it to a gym on a regular basis despite trying and knowing that there are many personal benefits (having more energy, improved physical strength, needing less sleep), and I don’t feel a serious desire to attempt this, I’m not going to. At least not right now… ;-)