Is polyphasic sleep possible?

The idea that we sleep approx. 1/3 of the 24 hours that we have (thus sleeping 1/3 of our life) has lingered in my mind for a long while. Firstly, it´s a fact that I find disturbing but secondly very fascinating. So I decided to look into it.

Yes, by effectively structuring my free-time I have been able to loosen up hours that I didn’t think I had, or to put it frankly, that was used for zombie-like activities like watching TV with out a plan. I have been doing that and it has worked wonders. When you embark on a journey you want to keep on discovering and the fact that we only have about about 6 hours a day to use as free-time tickles me to try to find a way to maximize these hours (which I have done but I can get a lot better, like figuring out the minimal effective dose popularized by Tim Ferris. To read more about minimal effective dose, google it or visit Tim Ferris blog, it´s fascinating! I have ordered his book the four hour body which I am looking forward to. It actually has a chapter about polyphasic sleep which I´m looking forward to read.)

The question that I have asked myself recently is: Is there a way that you can reduce your sleeping time and thus release more time and on the same time remain healthy and mentally clear? Well, at first it seemed ludicrous to even think that it was possible but the thought seemed intriguing so I started to do some searches on the Internet on sleep and thus finding the term polyphasic sleep AKA uberman sleep.

The sleep pattern that most of us are adapted to and that seems (given sunset and sunrise) the most practical socially is named monophasic sleep. This means that we sleep as the word says MONO; usually 8 hours straight. Polyphasic sleep means that you have more than just one sleep cycle. Instead of sleeping 8 hours you sleep 2 hours total in 24 hours but sleeping only 20-30 minutes at a time spread on 6 different times.

This, to put is shortly, will give your body the same rest as 8 hours. (Well, that´s what they say). There is obviously an period of adaptation (approx. a week) for the body to get used to the new cycle and then the body is forced (because it notices that it´s only getting 20-30 minutes of rest at the time) to enter directly into the REM sleep which is paradoxically known to be the time when we receive the most rest despite the vivid dream period.

I´m not planning to try this out anytime soon but I thought is was fascinating to find out that there is actually a way to maximize your time by doing something drastic as restructuring your sleep. I have not yet found (I haven’t really looked that hard but not as far as I can see, not on the Internet anyways.) any direct research about it; how does it effect the body in the long haul? What about the psychological aspects? Even if it does work what about the social aspects (having to sleep 30 minutes every four hours; seems a bit unpractical to me 🙂 ).

I did find a quite interesting website were a man for 5 months slept polyphasic and, as far as I can tell by reading his daily blog posts, he found the experience doable (allthough the shift was hard) and very enlightening. I´m going to keep reading his saved blog posts to see the end result.

Image: winnond /


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