The Leonardo da Vinci Method: How To Get Enough Sleep In Just Four Hour

Polyphasic sleep is often associated with the name of that most famous artistic genius and inventor of the Renaissance era, Leonardo da Vinci. Of course, he needed a lot of time to develop his ideas — time which he often didn’t have. Being a resourceful person, however, da Vinci sought to extract this time from his daily does of sleep.

This plan involved breaking up his normal period of nighttime rest into several parts — making it ’polyphasic,’ which refers to the practice of sleeping multiple times in a 24-hour period. Da Vinci thus slept for 15 minutes in every four hours. As a result, da Vinci generally limited how much he slept to just one and a half hours a day. The time he saved on resting he began to use for his creative work. Da Vinci is said to have used this method for many years of his life, without ever feeling tired.

It is well known that in physiological terms, the most productive time for work and creativity is following a period of sleep. This is when a person’s capacity for work is particularly high. Interrupting one’s waking time every four hours with a short rest period leads to a sharp increase in the amount of time a day that a person has a high capacity for work, as a direct consequence of this rest.

Years of practising and experimentation by those who came after da Vinci has allowed us to pick out several of the most effective variations of polyphasic sleep:

  • Sleep for 30 minutes ever 6 six hours (the dymaxion method);
  • Sleep for 20 minutes every 4 hours (the uberman method);
  • Sleep at night for 1.5 — 3 hours and then three times during the day for 20 minutes (theeveryman method);
  • Sleep at night for 2 hours and then once in the middle of the afternoon for 20 minutes (the tesla method);
  • Sleep at night for 5 hours and then for 1.5 hours in one go in the middle of the afternoon (the siesta method).

All of them work effectively!

It is worth remembering, however, that everyone’s body is different, and as a consequence the various types of polyphasic sleep might not suit everyone. If you would like to make the transition to this kind of rest-work schedule, it’s recommended that you refrain from driving a car and from taking very important decisions until you’re absolutely sure that cutting down on your sleep hasn’t had any adverse effects.


Based on material from: Prakticheskaya psikhologiya