« Seeing With His Ears | Main | IEC Fusion for Dummies »

Add Six Hours to Your Day

Breaking news from 64 years ago, compliments of DIGG Science. The key to adding six hours to your day is simple -- stop wasting so much time sleeping:

Sleep is just a bad habit. So said Socrates and Samuel Johnson, and so for years has thought grey-haired Richard Buckminster Fuller, futurific inventor of the Dymaxion* house (TIME, Aug. 22, 1932), the Dymaxion car and the Dymaxion globe. Fuller made a deliberate attempt to break the sleep habit, with excellent results. Last week he announced his Dymaxion system of sleeping. Two hours of sleep a day, he said firmly, is plenty.

Fuller reasoned that man has a primary store of energy, quickly replenished, and a secondary reserve (second wind) that takes longer to restore. Therefore, he thought, a man should be able to cut his rest periods shorter by relaxing as soon as he has used up his primary energy. Fuller trained himself to take a nap at the first sign of fatigue (Le., when his attention to his work began to wander). These intervals came about every six hours; after a half-hour's nap he was completely refreshed.

So the trick here is that you get two hours of sleep per day, but not all at once. Can a series of half-hour catnaps really provide the same benefits as going an 8-hour stretch? It almost sounds too good to be true, but there appears to be some evidence backing it up. Interesting to note, however, that even Buckminster Fuller had to give up the catnap lifestyle due to job pressures.

I wonder whether research in the intervening years has contradicted or confirmed his ideas about sleep?


TrackBack URL for this entry:


I once heard that Winston Churchill slept very little during WWII.

Aparently he'd catnap for about thirty minutes in the early afternoon and awake refreshed. He was almost squeezing two days into one for awhile.

Galileo used to do the same thing, fifteen minute cat naps every four hours. Compared to him, Fuller was a slacker. ;)

This was popularized by Gurdjieff/Ouspensky in the 20s and 30.

They talk about primary and secondary accumulators.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)