Polyphasic sleep. Basically every four hours, you sleep for 15 minutes or some variation on that. You can bring your sleep down to 2 hours a day or 22 waking hours.
I stumbled upon something similar last year. I used a mind machine to get 90 minutes of deeper-than-NREM-IV sleep, twice a day. 90 minutes extreme delta brainwaves, then 10.5 hours waking. After about 5 days hellish adjustment, I became a totally unself-conscious, primal, raw-fueled ultra-genius. The problem with this? I lost my ability to focus, because I wasn't getting any REM.
Polyphasic sleep is the opposite--it's *just* REM. Your head hits the pillow, you get 20 minutes of REM, you're good to go for another 4 hours. This basically means you have to eat really healthy and get a full day's/week's rest every couple months or so.
I know, I know, you're saying, "Brian, this is dangerous and will have deleterious effects on your mind and body."
To this, I say, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Buckminster Fuller used this *exact* technique. Other great minds likewise used polyphasic sleep less extremely to their advantage including Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Napoleon, and Winston Churchhill.
Naps are the key to direct Theta brainwave access. Theta brainwaves are the brainwaves of the Ultra Genius. The more theta you have during your waking hours, the more creatively intelligent you are--it's really that simple.
But wouldn't this have negative effects on thinking ability? Apparently not, as a sleep scientist in the 1992 book called "Why We Nap" studied the phenomenon and showed that tests of intellectual ability actually go up.
But wouldn't this have negative effects on energy level? The qualitative description of those who succeed in acclimating to the sleep schedule describe themselves as feeling more energetic than they can remember. (My sleep experience concurs with both these energy and intelligence claims, except I lost my ability to focus, because I wasn't getting any REM.)
Race Boat people use this technique to race perpetually. Astronauts use this technique during insoluable crises. Military men, especially marines, also use this technique in training.
The book determined that polyphasic sleep works, but when prolonged past two months, showed negative health effects on some. He wrote that you can go up to a year on the system and one of the links above is written by someone who religiously did this for 6 months with zero negative feedback and full praise.
By a strange coincidence, Leonardo DaVinci and Buckminster Fuller are the two people I admire most in this world. I have always felt that they had reached perfection as much as any one person could reach perfection--even more than holymen like Jesus or Buddha. They were abjectly selfless contributors, BUT they lived also for progress. The Renaissance Man is the perfect combination of the natural and humanistic ideals of both East and West.
So... if my two greatest heroes were BOTH polyphasic sleepers ... "hmmm". I'd be in good company, don't you think? As far as longevity, Fuller lived to 102. DaVinci into his 80's. --Both lived over DOUBLE the average life expectancy of the men of their time.
If you'd like to get a tad bit of background on Bucky Fuller's catharsis, check out: http://www.doctorg.com/buckyfuller.htm
He is, quite incidentally, the greatest man who has ever lived. :-) (I'm sure Paul Scheele would agree too!)