Most people go to sleep in a monophasic sleep cycle for six-to-eight hours each night. Polyphasic sleep cycles consist of sleeping several times in a 24-hour period that total between two-to-four hours. Some cycles are more challenging than others, but all of them will give you additional time once your body takes around a week to adjust.
Brain hack weblog High Existence reports that the shorter more frequent periods of sleep experienced with polyphasic cycles trick the body into entering Stage 5 REM sleep immediately instead of the 45-75 minutes it normally takes. This is why you can sleep less overall and function without problem.
There are many polyphasic sleep cycles; two of which are illustrated in the image above. The source link below goes into detail of four of them -- out of the four I think the Everyman Cycle would be the easiest to adapt as you'd get a 3-hour nap at night and three 20-minute naps spaced throughout the day. That way I could go to bed with my wife and get up a few hours later to get some work done.
Have you ever tried polyphasic sleep? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Alternate Sleep Cycles: You Don't Really Need 6-8 Hours! [High Existence via Reddit]