|Total sleep||2 hours|
|Proposed by||Buckminster Fuller|
|Specification||4 30-minute naps equidistantly placed throughout the day|
Dymaxion was created by Buckminster Fuller in the 1930s who slept this way in 1932 and 1933. "Dymaxion" is a made up from ‘dynamic', 'maximum' and 'tension', which was also applied to many other inventions of his. Fuller stated that "2 hours of sleep per day is plenty", claiming no ill effect from such an intense schedule.
Dymaxion is a widely known polyphasic schedule, second only to Uberman. As such, it has attracted many attempts over the years.
As with other schedules, there are a few different adaptation methods. However, adaptation to this schedule is extremely hostile, likely greater than even Uberman due to its longer gaps. The difficulties in adapting to Uberman are also present in Dymaxion, and it is advised that beginners do not attempt the schedule.
One way to gradually adapt to Dymaxion is to start an adaptation to either Trimaxion or Bimaxion first, and then change a core sleep to a nap one at a time to finally reach Dymaxion. Sleep timings of these two schedules resemble Dymaxion. 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, Bimaxion has since been considered one of the most difficult schedules to adapt to, and Trimaxion has so far seen no successful adaptations. As with gradually adapting to Uberman, it would take a very long period of time to reach Dymaxion, and the final adaptation can still fail.
So far all successful Dymaxion attempts have been achieved through this method. A few days after starting, intense sleep deprivation will become ensue, which needs to be overcome.
As with Uberman, it is strongly recommended to have human supervision to avoid oversleeps. Any oversleeps will greatly set back the adaptation process, effectively resetting the whole nap architecture built up to that point.
Dymaxion shares a lot of similarities to Uberman, including extreme difficulty and very low 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 likely harder than Uberman. Because of the larger gap between naps (5h30m compared to 3h40m), sustaining wakefulness will be more difficult than on Uberman. Since SWS usually begins by the 25-minute mark, naps will contain SWS right from the start, which may cause SWS wakes as soon early on. However, this matters little overall, as overcoming the SWS rebound is necessary in order to adapt to either schedule.
SWS wakes in naps may cause difficulty hearing alarms, which may directly cause oversleeps, even without consciously deciding to. It is also much more tempting to go back to sleep after an SWS wake, even if you do wake up. Naps ending in SWS are less likely to produce dream recall, which may be unsatisfying to some.
Compared to Uberman, Dymaxion allows for a wider range of daily activities with its longer wake gaps. The 1-2 daytime naps can fit into normal jobs as long as it is possible to nap at work. For a nap-only schedule, Dymaxion is an excellent choice as long as the necessary sleep requirements are met. In this aspect, it is preferable to Uberman, even though the adaptation may be even more difficult.
It is virtually impossible to flex naps on Dymaxion, even after the adaptation. Regular alarms may still be needed to wake up, because of the high sleep pressure. However, one successful case has shown the possibility of moderate exercise (light lifting and calisthenics) on Dymaxion. However, said Dymaxion sleeper also experienced more frequent muscle soreness and noticeably slowed recovery after each exercise session.
As with other nap-only schedules, there are long-term health risks of Dymaxion, such as the implications of inhibited glymphatic system and long term sleep deprivation). Average sleepers are discouraged from attempting Dymaxion.
Dymaxion 6 resembles the structure of Uberman, with the difference being its 30-minute naps instead of 20-minute ones. As with regular Dymaxion, these naps can lead to SWS wakes and may introduce difficulties early in the adaptation, though likely not an issue by the middle of the adaptation. A few people have been able to adapt to this variation, and it suffers the same inconvenient scheduling as Uberman. Though it has substantially more total sleep than regular Uberman or Dymaxion, it is still a difficult schedule. It has the same problems as other nap-only schedules, like extreme rigidity and potential negative health impacts.
There has been one single-case study on Dymaxion-6 conducted by Claudio Stampi. Francesco Jost was the volunteer for the study. He participated in another study prior to this one, which inspired this idea. Jost was a normal monophasic sleeper (8h baseline), in good health conditions and did not have any polyphasic sleeping experience before these two attempts. It is possible that he has average REM and SWS baselines.
The study lasted for 48 days, of which 34 days were used to adapt to the schedule, discounting some transition days in which he gradually reduced sleep. On day 34 and after the end of the experiment, he was allowed to sleep ad lib, that is, as much as desired.
No EEG recordings were obtained for this study. Nonetheless, multiple cognitive and performance tests were before, during adaptation, and after recovery. These tests include a DST (Descending Subtraction Test) and an MAST (Memory & Search Test).
- MAST performance showed a slight decrease relative to baseline throughout days 3-21, followed by an improvement above baseline levels thereafter.
- DST performance showed a modest but more prolonged decrease throughout days 3-33, followed by a sharp increase in performance above baseline levels immediately after recovery on day 34.
- During the ad lib sleep on day 34, he slept for a total of 10 hours.
- None of these values showed a statistically significant difference from baseline levels.
- 5 weeks on the schedule like Jost did may be sufficient be considered adapted to the schedule.
- The total sleep of Dymaxion-6 (3 hours) is below the minimum threshold for an average sleeper. As such, the 10-hour baseline afterwards suggest that he was still possibly missing out on vital sleep (SWS and/or REM), though 10 hours is a small amount of sleep for such a scenario.
- While the MAST performance stayed relatively high, the DST performance suffered and was still decreasing by day 33. This may be a sign of cognitive deficit on the schedule.
- Stampi noted "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 may be incorporated into a cognitive check model for adapted sleepers in the community.
- For an average sleeper attempting Dymaxion, Jost held out quite well, though he likely only reached Stage 4 of the adaptation, rather than a complete 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.
- A short sleeper with lower SWS and REM baselines 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, even though being adapted or close to being adapted may be possible short-term. Dymaxion, even with 6 naps, remains hostile and is deemed unadaptable for most. Inexperienced sleepers without laboratory-based conditions or extensive adaptation and lifestyle preparations should not attempt to adapt to Dymaxion.