Well, it’s been a long time now I tried to go Uberman schedule, it’s going to be quick…
… I “failed”, well it lasted 2 days…
Sleeping less than 2 hours per day, I can say now it is something possible, but there is always a “but”. First when I was in adaptation week, I could manage to sleep 3h/day and keep working on the bike (at low intensity). Then I tried to my first attempt, which failed directly at day 1 by a good oversleep, so came a second and a third …
It took me 4 attempts to pass the first day, and it do give me a good feel, then I failed at second night, trying to old with just 20 minutes nap and keep working.
After my last attempt I tried to think about pros and cons using Uberman during a race like the Transcontinental Race. I really insist about the ultra distance use, and i should add unsupported race.
The biggest problem was to wake up, the more sleep depraved you are, the harder it is to wake up. That mean every time you go nap (5-6 times per day) you take the risk to oversleep, this is for sure a big problem, you can easily lost 6 hours because you didn’t heard your alarm. When I had to woke up, my brain was like “look bruh ! the gravity is so strong, you can’t stand up” You need to be really strong mentally to be over you body pain, and this is even worst when you are on an intense day.
If we were in the case of short race like Paris Brest Paris, it is more simple to have a good sleep before the race and have small nap during the race.
In case of a supported race like Race across America (RAAM), it is a big difference. If you have help from a crew who could help you to not oversleep, you sure can hold way much more easily.
How did it affected me physically ? For sure I was slower on the bike (about 3km/h), I was just rolling and switching the gears for an easy pedal style, spinning the leg. I couldn’t go on big gears, not that much, I was really going easy for the legs.
Mentally ? Less concentration, it is really much more complicated to think, it may be very dangerous on the road, especially on busy road, small street, curves, I think during a race it would be easy to mis a turn on GPS or something like that.
So after all that, I think going Uberman is not something essentiel, I rather prefer to keep sleeping regularly 3-4 hours than only nap. It is too much risk for -I think- marginal gain. But maybe if i could old more days I would have a different sight about all that. Managing alone to go uberman is really a tough challenge for anyone.
Stay safe !