Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Polyphasic Sleeping

I've decided to try polyphasic sleeping. The difference between polyphasic and monophasic sleeping, which is what most people do, is that polyphasic sleeping consists of multiple sleeping periods, where monophasic consists of only one.

So for example if you are a monophasic sleeper you probably sleep 8 hours in a night, give or take a bit.

Polyphasic sleeping, on the other hand, happens 4 times throughout the day, 30 minutes per cycle. Usually the sleeping periods (or naps) are spread evenly apart throughout the day. So for example, my current schedule is to sleep for 30 minutes at 10am, 4pm, 10pm, and 4am.

The idea is that your body adjusts from having 90 minute sleep cycles, of which you typically spend 20-30 in REM, to having 30 minute sleep cycles, of which you typically spend 30 in REM.

Though you end up only sleeping a total of 2 hours, those full two hours are in REM sleep, which is the equivalent of getting 6 hours of unbroken sleep in a night.

I see two major benefits: 1) getting unbroken sleep with a 2 year old is nearly impossible, so 30 minute cycles make it much more likely to get the right amount of sleep, and 2) I get an additional 4 hours of time to do things like write a blog post, go to the gym, etc.

I'm trying this method of sleeping for 1 month, then I'll determine whether I'd like to continue or go back to monophasic sleeping.

I must say, convincing myself to get out of bed after 30 minutes at night is the toughest part. Other than that, as of today (end of day 2, start of day 3) I feel pretty good in terms of energy level and wakefulness.

I can also already tell that my body is starting to adjust as I am experience REM sleep which feels longer, so I think I'm somewhere around 15-20 minutes of REM compared with 10 minutes or so when I started.

Is it difficult? So far.
Unpleasant? Only at night.
Potentially awesome? I still think so. We'll see how I feel in a few days :-)

Biggest drawback is seeing LuAnne sleeping peacefully in our bed and having to leave. But with starting a business and soon expecting a newborn, I think this style of sleeping has the potential to have a huge and beneficial impact on my quality of life.

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