Project Resullts

The goal of this project was to improve personal performance levels by hacking my sleep. I wanted to give my brain a reset after I worked for fours hours. My system was somewhat effective, but overall I wasn’t getting enough total sleep.

It did seem like my days were very productive when I followed this sleeping system. That could have been a placebo effect though.

One of the outcomes of this project was to limit the number of hours in bed to a maximum of 8.

Also, sleeping for 4.5 hours + 1.5 hours gave some interesting results.  One issue encountered was that slow wave sleep seemed to be quite low.

Future Experiments:

  • Try eating ice cream before core sleep to see if it increases slow wave sleep (anecdotal evidence)
  • Try 4.5 hours + 3 hours sleep


#1 Too much time spent sleeping
#2 4 hours of creative work each day saps my energy

Desired Results

  • Reduce time sleeping
  • Improve mental performance after creative work is completed
  • Have more time to do non-work activities

Day-to-Day Maintenance

Sleep 5.5 hours at night and take a 1.5 hour nap each day.


Week 1 (Oct 25 – 31 )

  • Oct 25, 2017. Slept 12:15 AM – 5 AM. REM: 10m, Deep: 32m. I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be, but was quite tired. The first 3.5 hours of the first block went well. Then brain started being a bit slow for the last bit.  Just had 100 minute nap. Used earplugs. I woke up fine. Near the end of my nap, I was in a semi-dream state. Did practice right after nap. Brain was dull. Workout was fine. Evening was bad. Felt pretty low.  My mind totally turned against me.
  • Oct 26, 2017. Slept for 8 hours last night. REM: 1h14, Deep: 1h18. I underestimated how much my mind would turn against me once I got tired. I got thinking, why am I doing this? This doesn’t make any sense. What is the benefit?  Unless the sleep changes come with an improvement in my life, this isn’t sustainable. To deal with this issue I created a free days strategy. I redefined my problems and desired results for this project.
  • Oct 27, 2017. Went to sleep at 10 PM, woke up at 2:30 AM. REM: 1h2, Deep: 8m. Tired upon waking. Work session went well. It helps to have interesting work. Excited for the day now. For my nap, I probably got 45 minutes of sleep and 45 minutes of tossing and turning. Woke up a little irritable but with livable energy.
  • Oct 28, 2017. Slept 10 PM – 2:30 AM. REM: 24m, Deep 42m. More tired today than yesterday. Work session was positive. Slept the whole 90 minute nap today. Quite tired by evening, dark circles under eyes.
  • Oct 29, 2017. Slept 10 PM -2:30 AM. REM: 1h19, Deep: 48m. Woke up a few minutes before alarm. Wide awake, but still some yawns. REM and Deep sleep numbers are the same as I normally get with 7-8 hours of sleep. And my nap will likely have more REM sleep later. Slept 90 minutes, woke up without alarm. Was fairly tired upon waking. Had been dreaming.
  • Oct 30, 2017. Slept 10-2:30. REM: 41m, Deep: 27m. Quite tired upon waking and a little nauseous. It is a little odd, because I was highly productive today despite being tired. My level of focus is high. I also had a 20 minute nap in addition to normal 90 minute nap.
  • Oct 31, 2017.  (5th sleep) Slept 10-2:30. REM 42m, Deep: 54m. Woke  up fairly easy. I yawned a lot when I got up, but I was much less tired than yesterday. I also had a 20 minute nap around 3 PM in addition to normal 90 minute nap.

Week 2 + (Nov 1 – Nov 6)

  • Nov 1, 2017. Slept 10 – 2:30. REM 47m, Deep 37m. Woke up pretty much exhausted. Difficult for me to focus and to stay awake. Seemed to improve after 2 hours of being awake.  After the nap, my energy was good until about 5 PM (just after I ate). I was exhausted in the evening.
  • Nov 2, 2017 – Slept 10 – 2:30. REM 46m, Deep 1h 1m. Was quite tired waking up this morning. Tried to take a 20 minute nap in the afternoon, but couldn’t get to sleep.
  • Nov 3, 2017 – 10-2:30. REM: 39m, Deep 20m. Was quite tired again. I was constantly yawning for a long time. Tonight I am going to try sleeping an extra hour in the core sleep.
  • Nov 4, 2017 – 10 – 3:30. REM 41. Deep 23m. I was much more awake when I woke up than previous days. I am still going to do the 90 minute nap at the same time, but later I am going to test moving the 90 minute back when possible. For now, I am going to stick with the 5.5 hour core and see how I feel and perform. Had a lucid dream on my nap, but it was a low consciousness of lucid dreaming. I knew I was lucid dreaming but I wasn’t doing anything crazy.
  • Nov 5, 2017 – 9:35-6:38. REM 1h35m, Deep 1h21m. I woke up when I was supposed to then decided to go back to sleep. I would say it is a question of motivation. I have just been working more on the same projects after my nap. Even today after my long sleep, my mind doesn’t seem to be operating much differently. And I feel a little tired. My initial thought is to keep doing 5.5 hrs + nap.  And for the nap, do 1.5hrs to 3hrs as needed.  Spend the majority of days using that system, but there has to be a bit of flexibility in it.
  • Nov 6, 2017 – 9:30-5:35. REM 1h5m, Deep 39m. I was going to do a 4.5 +3 last night. I set my alarm, but I woke up at 10:30 and thought that I hadn’t been to sleep yet. And so I thought I better not do it tonight because I couldn’t get to sleep. So I turned off the alarms. I am curious to try rotating a 4.5 + 3 with a normal monophasic sleep to see what happens.

Mental Game

Philosophy: Sleep resets the brain.

Motivation:  The sleep schedule frees me up. I have free days now.  My body cannot adapt unless I introduce difficulty.

Fallback Plan

Old: 4.5 hours with 100 minute nap.

Current: 5.5 hours with 100 minute nap.

Fallback 1: 6 hours with 20 minute naps as needed

Fallback 2: sleep as long as I like

The Circle + 80/20

  • The Food Project gives me a strong foundation
  • Can nap at office.
  • Doing creative work at home works well.


Sleep 10 – 3:30. Work 4 – 7. Nap 7 – 8:30.

Can take 15-20 minute naps as needed after 90 minute nap is completed. But not within 30 minutes of 90 minute nap.

Traveling: If someone else is staying with me, work in the conference center.

90-100 minute nap 6-8 hours after waking


Sleep offloads portions of your brain and makes it so you can learn more. It also re-organizes information.

People perform better on a visual texture-distinguishing task after a night of sleep than they do immediately after learning it. People performed just as well on the test after a 60- to 90-minute nap as they did after a full night of slumber.

“What’s amazing is that in a 90-minute nap, you can get the same [learning] benefits as an eight-hour sleep period,” Mednick says. “And actually, the nap is having an additive benefit on top of a good night of sleep.”

While caffeine enhances alertness and attention, naps boost those abilities in addition to enhancing some forms of memory consolidation, Mednick notes.

Even in well-rested people, naps can improve performance in areas such as reaction time, logical reasoning and symbol recognition. They can also be good for one’s mood.

After waking from a 60-minute midday nap, people were less impulsive and had greater tolerance for frustration.

The hippocampus benefits from a nap.  Colleagues recruited volunteers to tax their associative memories by learning a long list of name-face pairings.
Half the participants then took 90-minute midday naps. That evening, the participants were given a new round of learning exercises with novel pairings. Those who hadn’t napped didn’t perform as well on the evening test as they had in the morning. But the nappers did better on the later test, suggesting the sleep had boosted their capacity for learning.