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The Da Vinci sleep schedule, also known as the "sleep of genius" or polyphasic sleep, is a type of sleep pattern which involves sleeping not more than 5 hours a day. Some experts are more strict, arguing that to follow the Da Vinci sleep schedule, a person must become accustomed to sleeping an average of two hours a day, which is how much Leonardo Da Vinci himself slept; others take the term more loosely, allowing practicants to sleep a few hours a night.
The Da Vinci sleep schedule is better suited to people who can control their daily schedules. Basically, the system requires followers to sleep in several 10-minute bursts, for a total of two hours a day. A variation of the Da Vinci sleep schedule requires people to sleep 20 minutes for every four hours that they are awake. This technique, known as "power napping" or the "Uberman's sleep schedule" is actually in use in many corporations as a way to up production of their employees.
People who try the Da Vinci sleep schedule often go through a very difficult adjustment period. Experts agree that the first two weeks can be extremely difficult and can lead to lack of coordination, low energy levels, and drop in their alertness level. Others experience nausea, headaches, or lost of appetite. All the symptoms go away on their own after 10-14 days, and the body goes back to reacting normally.
The main benefits of the Da Vinci sleep schedule include free time, more vivid dreams, and a strict control over your body. Proponents of the method is so effective that a lot of people throughout history are said to have used during their most intense times, including poet Lord Byron, Thomas Jefferson, and Napoleon. The main drawbacks of the Da Vinci sleep schedule are the difficulty of the system. Because it requires repeated naps throughout the day, it is unlikely that it can be used by people working a regular schedule. It is also not a good option for people with low blood sugar or certain medical conditions, since the additional stress on the body can lead to medical problems.