While some people claim that sleeping is essential and priceless, others say that it is overrated and that we invest too much time in it. We all had those days when we were chasing deadlines and drinking too much coffee to stay awake, but could we learn how to function with less sleep if we get used to it? Are we wasting our time while sleeping?
Some days it seems that 24 hours per day are just not enough, we are always in a rush, and no matter how fast we live, we always need a bit more time to do something. The recommended 8 hours of sleep make one-third of our day, so we invest a lot of time into our sleep. When we think about the things we usually waste our time on, it could be anything, from a lame tv show to video games, but did you ever considered sleeping as a waste of time? And can we indeed be more productive with less sleep, or is it just another silly sleep myth?
What is Polyphasic Sleep All About?
Polyphasic sleep can be considered a sleep pattern which relies on several short sleep breaks, utterly different from the one the vast majority uses, which is the biphasic sleep. We are used to the traditional sleep pattern; we sleep for 7 or 8 hours in one take and usually do not feel the need to nap during the day. This type of sleep pattern works perfectly for people who have regular 9 to 5 jobs, and work during the daytime.
However, contemporary demands for productivity, working with different time zones or shift work, showed that there is a need for modification of traditional sleep schedule. By doing so, total sleep time is reduced in order to increase productivity. But, no matter how well you adjust to it, it seems impossible to avoid its main drawback – sleep deprivation – since many people who use modified sleep patterns claim to feel slightly sleep-deprived.
Different Types of Polyphasic Sleep Schedules
Polyphasic sleep means having a few shorter sleep periods, instead of one long, and there are various ways in which these short sleep takes can be scheduled.
- Uberman schedule. This approach is an extreme one, but the rumor is that even Leonardo da Vinci used it, so let’s see how it works. Instead of one night of sleep, you will have six 20-minute long naps, in 24 hours. You can have one nap after every four hours, for example, you start at 2 AM, then the next one is at 6 AM, 10 AM, 2 PM, etc. In total, you will get only two hours of shut-eye over the course of 24 hours.
- Dymaxion schedule. With this schedule, you are also getting only two hours of sleep, but the naps are a bit longer. There are four 30-minutes long naps, one on every six hours, and it is recommended to start at 6 AM, then 12 PM, 6 PM, etc.
- Everyman schedule. This could be the mildest one, and also the most popular type of polyphasic sleep since it allows you to sleep significantly more than other types. There are three types of Everyman sleep schedule:
- E2 includes between 4.5 to 6 hours of core sleep and two 20-minute long naps.
- E3 type has between 3 and 4 hours of core sleep and three 20-minute naps.
- E4 offers between 1.5 to 2.5 hours of sleep, and four naps, each 20 minutes long.
Pros and Cons
Before you jump into conclusions, check the advantages and disadvantages of modified sleep schedule, and see if it is something you are ready to commit to.
- You will have more time to work
- If you usually need less sleep, this could meet your sleep needs
- You will enjoy working in quiet surroundings while others are sleeping
- Due to higher levels of adenosine, your mental clarity will be enhanced
- You will not feel energized and productive during the first several days
- You may struggle with your social life
- Long-term effects are still unknown since there was not enough research
- Expect some side effects such as mood swings, appetite changes, eye strain, constipation, and of course, symptoms of sleep deprivation.
Does Polyphasic Sleep Work?
It is recommended to have three regular meals per day, but again not everyone follows that schedule since it does not work for them, and the same is with sleeping. The polyphasic sleep schedules are proof that we can function and still be productive even with less sleep, but in the long run, the symptoms of sleep deprivation will probably catch you. Hence, it is essential to take your physical and mental health into consideration and not push yourself over the limit.
Rebecca Smith is an editor at Countingsheep.net. She loves writing article related to healthy lifestyle. Most of her articles are about the proper sleeping position, nutrition, and good hygiene practices. When she is not busy, she dabbles in charcoal and oil paint.