Polyphasic sleep, that is, the act of sleeping more than twice in a day has caught on as a concept among the youth and promises more waking hours to the person. So, what is it and how did it come into being?
Polyphasic sleep does not imply any definite sleep schedule, on the contrary, a person following this kind of schedule can survive on as little as three hours of sleep. It is a variation of the multiphasic sleep schedule as opposed to the monophasic or biphasic sleep schedule which is largely followed.
It typically consists of a 4 hour sleep time at night followed by two 20 minute naps and one 40 minute nap during the day, bringing the total sleep time to a little more than 5 hours in a day.
The Everyman schedule (a slightly modified version) – with one major 2 hour nap at night, and four other equally spaced twenty minute ‘power naps’, is a more intensified version of the polyphasic schedule.
Across the internet, polyphasic sleepers have boasted about their decreased need for sleep and increased productivity, but the reality is far from this.
First, there is a lot of problem for such sleepers to adjust to the conventional schedule unless they work from home or are freelancers. Besides professional life, you should also be mentally and socially ready for such a schedule, as you don’t sleep as much as you nap, and most of these naps are during your breaks. Thus, your relationships with both your friends and family may get affected.
Also, you would need to be mentally prepared, because the critical part of a nap is reaching the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle of sleep, which comes after the deep sleep cycle.
Thus, it is really difficult to follow a polyphasic sleep schedule and the long term effects of the same are extreme, inspite of its glorification.
However, if you are at a critical point in your life and could really use the extra time, go ahead and try t out. You may feel like a zombie in the forst few days but your body adapts to the cycle after a few weeks. Some insights for a polyphasic sleep schedule:
- Select your nap times carefully
- As mentioned, the first couple of weeks will be tough on you.
- A good pillow and well made bed will make the transition easy
- Do not attempt to pull all nighters during this schedule
- Your social life takes a toll
- You will become more punctual
- You’re going to spend a lot of time alone
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