From Polyphasic Sleep Wiki


Standard Dymaxion

Dymaxion (often referred to as Dymax), is the first and original polyphasic schedule in the "-maxion" family. It was created by Buckminster Fuller, in the 1930s, who reportedly slept on this schedule for most of the time between 1932 and 1933. Dymaxion stands for ‘dynamic maximum tension’ and Fuller applied this word to many other inventions of his, including a house, a car, and a map. Fuller reported that "2 hours of sleep per day is plenty", which may insinuate at his sky-high motivation to live a life of an inventor who is willing to spend as little time on sleep as possible.

With Dymaxion being one of the most advanced polyphasic schedules that shape the definition, usage and legend of polyphasic sleep practice, together with Uberman, it also attracts several attempts over the course of decades. Recently, its formation also spurred the inspiration for 2 "-maxion" schedules (Bimaxion and Trimaxion) that take on the mantle of the original 30m naps in Dymaxion and posing as easier equivalents. The 30m naps are also sometimes referred to as "Dymaxion naps" due to how intense they are for a polyphasic adaptation.

Dymaxion vs Uberman

Most things that apply to Uberman also apply to Dymaxion. Because it is a nap-only schedule with a total of 2h of sleep time, it has a lot of similarities to Uberman, including the extremely high difficulty, miniscule success rate, insane adaptation, and basically no flexibility. Like with Uberman all of the SWS and REM must come from naps on this schedule, so the amount of SWS and REM in proportion to light sleep is very high. Dymaxion still tends to be less popular than Uberman.

Difficulty-wise Dymaxion is harder than Uberman. Because of the larger gap between naps (5h30m compared to 3h40m) the wakefulness-sustaining capacity of naps is going to falter. The length of the naps is during adaptation, however, the hardest part of the schedule.

SWS will usually begin at around the 25 minute mark even when the SWS pressure is low. After the first day or two every nap is going to end in SWS because the nap is long enough to cross this SWS boundary. In contrast to this, with a 20 minute nap-only schedule like Uberman the naps will contain SWS only after the SWS pressure hits a peak or when the sleep cycle is compressed enough that the naps are able to have the SWS start earlier. This means that nap-only schedules with 20m naps don’t get SWS wakes until some time has passed on the schedule.

Even in the beginning of adaptation the naps on Dymaxion are harder to wake from than the naps on Uberman, because they all have SWS wakes. SWS wakes are associated with grogginess after wake up (sleep inertia), so waking up from every nap is going to be difficult until the body gets used to the nap length and performs wake time programming. They are also associated with a difficulty of hearing alarms, which means that even those with a high willpower are going to have a really hard time actually waking up from the naps. Finally, in SWS wakes you are very prone to immediately falling back asleep unless you stand up. Naps that end in SWS also have the disadvantage of forgetting or not having dreams when you wake up.


Currently there are 2 methods to adapt to Dymaxion. Each of them has pros and cons, but successful adaptations remain very rare.

Gradual adaptation


The idea behind this gradual transition is to start an adaptation to either Trimaxion or Bimaxion first, and then remove a core sleep one step at a time to finally reach Dymaxion. The distribution of sleeps from these 2 schedules resemble Dymaxion's sleep placement. Starting from Bimaxion, one core is shortened to 30m after adapting to the previous schedule until every sleep block is 30m long. This approach suffers from the same issues as the gradual adaptation to Uberman. However, both of these schedules are already known to be very difficult to adapt to, and it can take a very long period of time to reach Dymaxion, and the Dymaxion adaptation can still fail.

Cold turkey

So far all successful Dymaxion attempts stem from this method. For mutant sleepers or insomniacs, they can dive into Dymaxion directly. The level of sleep compression on Dymaxion will start to manifest after a couple of days, and as usual, intense sleep deprivation will ensue and need to be overcome.

Regardless of the methods, it is necessary, if not required, to have a human supervision to ensure there is no oversleep during this adaptation. Any oversleeps will greatly set back the adaptation process, effectively resetting the whole nap architecture built up to that point.

Alternate Variants

Dymaxion-6 (D6)

Dymaxion with Uberman distribution

Dymaxion 6 is often mislabeled as Uberman, because it resembles the structure of Uberman a lot, the only difference being 30m naps instead of 20m ones. So what practically makes a difference is that the naps on Dymaxion-6 have much worse wakes than the naps on Uberman during adaptation, due to their length. At most a handful of people have been able to adapt to this variation, and it suffers from the same problems as Uberman, namely the inconvenient scheduling. It also has the same problems as other nap-only schedules, like extreme rigidity and questionable health impacts. Therefore, this schedule also can’t really be recommended for people to do long term.

Lifestyle Considerations

Compared to Uberman, Dymaxion can have an edge in scheduling longer activities thanks to the longer wake gap between each nap. The 2 daytime naps can fit into regular jobs, if there is a permissible nap window (e.g, noon break, or lunch break). The other nap can be scheduled after work hours. Unlike its easier "-maxion" counterparts, Dymaxion's nap around midnight does not suffer as much from the hindrance of social activity because the nap is much shorter and can start at midnight. For a nap-only schedule, Dymaxion has a solid standing as long as the necessary sleep requirements are present to adapt to it. For this reason, it is preferred to Uberman sometimes, even though the adaptation is no less insane than any other sleep-restrictive schedules.

It is so far impossible to flex any naps on Dymaxion even after the adaptation is complete. Regular alarms still have to be used to wake up, because of the very low total sleep. However, one successful case has shown the possibility of some form of moderate exercises (e.g, light lifting or calisthenics) on Dymaxion. While this is an impressive feat, said Dymaxion sleeper also admitted to more frequent muscle soreness and a noticeably slowed recovery rate after each exercise session. Same as other nap-only schedules, there can be long-term health risk of Dymaxion (e.g, glymphatic system), increased cortisol, or certain memory loss/imbalance. Average sleepers are strongly discouraged from attempting Dymaxion.