Thursday, July 19, 2007

Polyphasic Sleep

Wish you had an extra 5 hours a day to get things done?

What if you could sleep just 2 hours a day and have the same level of energy and alertness as sleeping 8 hours a night?

It is possible with polyphasic sleep.

Steve Pavlina explains:

Polyphasic sleep involves taking multiple short sleep periods throughout the day instead of getting all your sleep in one long chunk. A popular form of polyphasic sleep, the Uberman sleep schedule, suggests that you sleep 20-30 minutes six times per day, with equally spaced naps every 4 hours around the clock. This means you’re only sleeping 2-3 hours per day. I’d previously heard of polyphasic sleep, but until now I hadn’t come across practical schedules that people seem to be reporting interesting results with.

A normal sleep cycle is 90 minutes, and REM sleep occurs late in this cycle. REM is the most important phase of sleep, the one in which you experience dreams, and when deprived of REM for too long, you suffer serious negative consequences. Polyphasic sleep conditions your body to learn to enter REM sleep immediately when you begin sleeping instead of much later in the sleep cycle. So during the first week you experience sleep deprivation as your body learns to adapt to shorter sleep cycles, but after the adaptation you’ll feel fine, maybe even better than before.
He blogs about his experiment with it. Really interesting reading with good recaps of his experience on Day 60 and 90. He also explains why he eventually returned to monophasic sleeping.

I am intrigued, but it is quite a commitment to make the change.

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