I’ve been reading up about Ellen Macarthur, the round-the-world yachtswoman, and how she has worked with Dr Claudio Stampi to train herself to sleep less. While she’s racing, she gets about 4 hours sleep in 24, taken in short naps. It’s called polyphasic sleep as opposed to the usual monophasic. It’s also known as the Uberman Sleep Schedule.

Apparently Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill all thrived on napping (although Winston Churchill also allegedly thrived on two bottles of champagne a day, and I don’t propose following his example in that respect.)

I’m keen to experiment with it – in the lead-up to the transatlantic row, having a few extra hours in the day would be seriously useful. And once the race starts, it would be handy if I can sleep less and keep lookout more – a big disadvantage of being a solo rower is that while I’m asleep, there’s nobody looking out for big ships looming on the horizon.

There are quite a lot of weblogs by people who have tried it out – mostly nerdy male computer programmers in the American Midwest. Whether it’s going to be compatible with my lifestyle is debatable, but it’s worth a try!

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