|Total sleep||1 hour 20 minutes|
|Proposed by||Sharif Olorin|
|Specification||4 20-minute naps equidistantly placed throughout the day|
Tesla is an extreme schedule designed by forum user Sharif Olorin in 2009 that combines parts of Uberman and Dymaxion. It consists of four equidistant 20-minute naps (one nap every 6 hours) and no cores, allowing for a total of 1 hour and 20 minutes of sleep per day, the smallest amount for any recognised schedule. It can also be considered as a variant of Uberman, though with only 4 naps, hence it is also known as U4.
Though Nikola Tesla was documented to sleep very little, he did not actually follow this schedule.
A friend of mine has recently switched from Dymaxion to the pattern I’m following. Now that I know of more than one success story with this pattern, I thought I’d better name it. So I give you the Tesla pattern. Because a) Tesla’s awesome and b) Tesla’s one of the few people known to sleep almost as little as we polyphasers.— Sharif Olorin, Blog post (2009)
As with all other nap only schedules, all or most REM and SWS requirements must be gained from the naps. At only 1 hour and 20 minutes of total sleep, the compression needed to achieve an adaptation to this schedule is expected to be far more intense than even that of Uberman and Dymaxion.
Olorin and his friend only stayed adapted on Tesla for only for short period of time. Feeling of restfulness on nap-only schedules can be misleading due to intense swings between restfulness and extreme tiredness on these schedules. It is therefore unclear if they have truly been adapted to the schedule according to current standards.
Other than the cold turkey approach, it may be possible to gradually adapt to Tesla, after one has completed an adaptation to Uberman, by cutting out 2 naps and slightly rotate the remaining 4 naps. However, no one has succeeded with this gradual adaptation method either.
Tesla is considered to be the single most difficult schedule out of the listed ones. Other than Olorin and his friend's possible adaptation, there has been no documented success with this schedule. Attempting this schedule with the goal of adaptation is therefore not recommended, especially for beginners.
With only 4 naps, the scheduling viability of Tesla is the same as that of Dymaxion. However, with 20-minute naps instead of 30-minute ones, it may be marginally easier to fit in one's daily schehdules. However, as with Dymaxion, it is considered to be almost entirely inflexible, which may cause conflicts.
It is also subjected to the same health concerns as other nap-only schedules, arguably more so due to its even lower total sleep. The lack of cores sleeps, coupled with the insufficient amount of total sleep, may result in an inability for the glymphatic system to fully function, which may affect brain functions over time. The schedule is also expected to be unforgiving for even small mistakes after adapting, and may not be sustainable long term.
Due to the lack of general success on this schedule, it is difficult to predict how/if modified versions would work. Possible variations of this schedule include non-equidistant scheduling of naps, slightly extending one or all the naps to ~25 minute, but none of these variations has seen any success.
In a 1993 study, 10 participants were put on the Tesla schedule to evaluate the effects of sleep inertia. Their cognitive performance after wake was compared to other 10 participant who stayed awake during the same 64 hours. They found that those taking naps during the 64-hour period fared worse in cognitive tests compared to those who stayed awake throughout, due to the severe sleep inertia that resulted from the naps.
The average 20-minute nap was found to contain about 6.5 minutes of SWS, and, for the naps containing REM, there was an average of 7.8 minutes of REM. It was also noted in the study that naps at circadian temperature minimum in the morning are particularly difficult to wake from. This suggests that REM sleep debt may play a role in sleep inertia.
The study also suggested that staying on the Tesla schedule for a few days may be even more difficult than simply staying awake. Two out of the 15 subjects in the nap group felt ill, and four of them quit because of the ghastly sleep inertia, but all 10 subjects in the no-nap group remained for the full 64-hour period.
- "Neurohack". Retrieved 2020-11-23.