|Total sleep||2 hours|
|Proposed by||Buckminster Fuller|
|Specification||4 30-minute naps equidistantly placed throughout the day|
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.
Currently there are 2 methods to adapt to Dymaxion. Each of them has pros and cons, but successful adaptations remain very rare.
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 30 m after adapting to the previous schedule until every sleep block is 30 m 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.
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.
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.
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.
Dymaxion 6 is often mislabeled as Uberman, because it resembles the structure of Uberman a lot, the only difference being 30 m naps instead of 20 m 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. This distribution of sleep also grants 2 extra opportunities to wake in SWS (2 extra naps compared to the standard Dymaxion). 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.
Introduction & Context
As of currently, there has only been one single-case study on Dymaxion sleep. This was conducted by the sleep researcher Claudio Stampi himself. Francesco Jost was the volunteer for the study. He did participate in another study prior to this one, which also inspired the idea of an attempt to adapt to Dymaxion-6 (The scheduling variant in the study at is the exact same times as the proposed Dymaxion-6 in this page). Jost is a normal monophasic sleeper (8h baseline), in good health conditions and did not have any polyphasic sleeping experience before the series of these 2 studies. It is possible that he has an average of ~90m REM and ~90m SWS requirements per day.
Since he experimented with Uberman in the first study and the study only lasted for 19 days, it was not enough to carry on much relevant information compared to this second study in discussion, and won't be included in the Uberman page because of some minor oversleeping during adaptation, and the adaptation duration was clearly far from enough. This time the study lasted for 48 days, however, he only spent 34 days (~5 weeks) adapting to the structure of Dymaxion-6, discounting some transition days from gradual sleep reduction. This study duration was also similar to the one in the Uberman page. It is called The Second Study: Forty-Eight Days with 3 Hours Polyphasic Sleep per Day (Chapter 12, Why We Nap).
Since the idea of the study is built on the first one, no EEG recordings were obtained for the second study. Instead, multiple cognitive and performance tests were carried out before (monophasic baseline), during and after adaptation (following a day where he was allowed to sleep as much as possible). These tests are as follows:
- DST (Descending Subtraction Test)
- MAST (Memory & Search Test)
Some assumptions may be put forth regarding the sleep stages that went into the naps based on the first study, but in the grand scheme of things, this is not a reliable way to make absolute deductions.
- MAST performance showed a slight decrement relative to baseline throughout days 3-21, followed by an improvement above baseline Ievels thereafter.
- DST performance showed a modest but more prolonged decrement throughout days 3-33, followed by a sharp increase in performance above baseline Ievels immediately after the ad lib sleep day.
- During the ad lib sleep day, he slept for a total of 10 hours.
- None of these values were significantly different from baseline Ievels. The only significant difference was for DST toward the end of the experiment to be better than the previous weeks, but mostly because of the 10h "recovery" duration.
Analysis based on the polyphasic community standpoint
- An equivalent of 5 weeks sticking to the schedule like Jost did may be sufficient to be successfully adapted to a polyphasic schedule.
- The total sleep of Dymaxion-6 (3h) is below the minimum threshold for an average, normal 8h monophasic sleeper like him. The 10h baseline after the duration on the schedule suggested that he was still possibly missing out on a certain amount of vital sleep (SWS and/or REM baselines), even though a 10h sleep duration is unexpectedly short as one would expect this duration to be much longer.
- While the MAST results can be considered satisfactory, the DST performance still suffered and was still decreasing by day 33. The statistically significant stat is the DST performance, which was said to worsen and only improved after the 10h sleep duration.
- Stampi noted that "it is difficult to interpret the improvement in MAST performance after day 21 and prior to improvements observed in DST performance; this may be indicative of FJ's adaptation to the ultrashort sleep schedule, and may also further confirm that the DST is a test particularly sensitive to sleep-deprivation and sleep-inertia effects". This suggests that DST should be incorporated into a cognitive check model for adapted sleepers in the community.
- For an average sleeper to attempt Dymaxion sleep, Jost held out quite well. Even though objectively speaking he was likely in Stage 4 of the adaptation, rather than a truly successful adaptation as Stampi claimed it was. It is unknown if Jost would continue to improve should the study be prolonged for a couple extra weeks to see real improvements in DST, but one thing for certain, is that it may be possible to him to be stuck in Stage 3/4 if DST continued the downward trend.
- A sleep mutant would likely be able to adapt to this schedule, given the right environment, setup and personal motivation.
- The results further support the community-based observation that a nap-only schedule is most likely not sustainable for normal sleepers long-term, while being "adapted" or "close to being adapted" is a possible outcome in a short period of time. Dymaxion, regardless of variants (4 or 6 naps) remains a remarkably hostile polyphasic schedule from the nap-based lifestyles, which is deemed beyond the realm of possible adaptability for most humans. Inexperienced sleepers without laboratory-based conditions or extensive adaptation and lifestyle preparations should not attempt to adapt to the Dymaxion naps.
- Time (1943). Dymaxion Sleep. Retrieved 18-12-2020.