I know, sounds like I am selling snake oil here but before judging hear me out.
First off I am NOT and I mean not AT ALL a morning person whatsoever, I love to stay under the covers and sleep in so some days can be somewhat unproductive during the day..
Therefore at the end of last year a friend of mine mentioned to me about a sleeping schedule where one sleeps 3.5h every night and then take 3 x 20min naps at set intervals throughout the day. Effectively halving the average recommended amount of sleep (if you are like me who enjoys the 8h+ cycles).
This is referred to as a polyphasic sleeping cycle.
Side note: I also never knew that there are a number of other sleeping cycles and patterns all with different names.
Anyway I decided to try this because lately I have been running out of time in the day to do all the other things that aren’t my number 1 priority.
Here are my personal takeaways from my 1 month trail:
- It works if you are committed to it and truly make time in your schedule to take the naps. It is very important to stick to the set sleeping and wake-up times.
- This method does not work if you have a very unpredictable social and work life (I guess this is connected to the first point)
- You should not follow this if you are sick (the body needs rest and it will tell you to do so)
- This method worked for me well with medium daily workouts (i’m guessing if you are a professional athlete or something similar your body might need more time to recover)
- The first week or so where you go through a few intermediary sleep cycles to adjust you to the main one, you will feel quite tired. Don’t give up even if you feel like you want to give up. It gets better.
- The 3 weeks that I was actively doing the main method I saved 4h in a day and I felt very energetic. It is a great feeling to wake up after a 20 min nap and feel like you’ve slept a full night!
So if you are up for a change and really think you can use some extra hours in the day, then I definitely recommend trying this. It is also very interesting to challenge for what at least was for me a kind of unquestionable rule about sleeping. I felt like I was embarking on something that contradicts the law of nature. Felt a bit like a rebel..
All this said, I will definitely try it again if I get moments where I know that I will have a stable routine for more than 2 months. For now with all the unpredictable traveling, social life and work it seems somewhat impossible. But very glad I gave it a shot nonetheless!
I have included some links that will guide anyone who is interested to explore more about the subject. There is quite the community and science behind this all.
http://www.smartsleepteam.com/ (they have developed an app (only iOS for now) which helps you to adjust to this sleeping cycle.