One of the ways to force your brain into REM sleep and skip the other phases is to make it feel exhausted. If you’ve gone 24 hours without sleep, you might notice that you drift away into dreams straight from being awake. This because your body goes instantly into REM sleep as a protection mechanism. The way to hack yourself into entering REM sleep without being exhausted is to trick your body into thinking you’re going to get a tiny amount of sleep. You can train it to enter REM for short periods of time throughout the day in 20-minute naps rather than in one lump at night. This is how polyphasic sleep works.
There are actually six good methods to choose from; the first one, monophasic sleep, is the way you’ve probably slept your whole life. The five others are quite a bit more interesting.
With regards to actually getting some sleep, I’ve always wanted to try a polyphasic sleep technique, where you have lots of little naps during the day to maximise your REM sleep, and minimise your “wasted” sleep.
You apparently feel more refreshed, and can stay “normal” for a longer period of time with less and less sleep – how’s 2 hours of sleep (broken up into 6x 20-minute naps) a day sound?
Only problems I see is that my current lifestyle doesn’t permit me to have such a sleep schedule – when you’re doing 6x 20 min naps a day and you miss even one by 30 mins, your whole schedule gets out of whack and you feel like crap for the next couple of weeks, even if you stick to your schedule over that time…
That being said, it does require a lot of time to get into (several weeks) – but I think it’d be awesome to survive on 2 hours sleep a day! Imagine how much more work you could get done!
Personally, I’d love to try it one day. If I’m ever in the position where I can do what I like for an extended period of time (6 months or more), I’d give it a crack