OK, so it’s 3.30am and I just got up after 3 hours sleep. Why you ask? Am I suffering Insomnia? Did I really need to go to the loo? Am I crazy? Well maybe a little of the last one, but I’ve actually finally decided to give polyphasic sleeping a try.
For the uninitiated, polyphasic sleeping involves sleeping or napping several times throughout a 24 hour period, as opposed to monophasic sleeping which is the usual single block of sleep per day, or biphasic sleeping which usually involves monophasic sleeping coupled with an afternoon nap. ‘Pure’ polyphasic sleeping usually involves 6 naps per day spaced out evenly every 4 hours. It requires enormous self discipline and a VERY flexible schedule, as the nap times need to be adhered to religiously (at least during the adaptation period while your body catches up to the new sleeping schedule) otherwise you can be left feeling exhausted for days. The polyphasic sleeping schedule I’ll be using is a little more forgiving, but still a strain on the body in the initial stages. I’ll be using a model commonly referred to as the ‘core sleep’ polyphasic schedule, which involves one main block of sleep followed by several naps throughout the day depending on how long the core sleep period is. Sounds like a lot of work huh? What’s in it for me? Well the payoff from a polyphasic sleeping schedule comes from the fact that you can get by perfectly well with as little as 2 hours sleep per day, as opposed to the 8 or so hours sleep it is recommended we have each night. Say what!? That’s right, a pure polyphasic sleepers scheduled naps will generally only be 20 minutes each, so 6 of those in a 24 hour period means they are only having 2 hours sleep total. This works by training the body to fall into REM sleep, which many specialists consider to be the most important stage of sleep for mental and physical recovery, much faster than during the usual sleep cycle. To get to that stage though involves an adaptation period of around 2 weeks, during which you train your body to fall into REM sleep almost instantly. Polyphasic sleeping is often used by solo sailors on long voyages as they need to be at the helm for most of the journey to ensure they don’t get into trouble. Since I’ll be using the core sleep method, I’ll be getting about 4 hours sleep a day ( 1 x 3 hour core sleep block, and 3 x 20 minute naps throughout the day), since I currently have around 8-9 hours sleep a night, I’ll be gaining an extra 4-5 hours waking time per day, which adds up to a whopping 2-2 extra months of waking time per year! Imagine what you could do with all that extra free time
Due to my current zombie like state, this is probably a very bad explanation, so if the previous paragraph was absolute gibberish, check this out for a better explanation;
So why do this? Well, I work from home running my business, and don’t really find a lot of free time for my hobbies, of which I have lots, and so I’m really looking forward to all the extra free time. But apart from that I just want to try something that is an alternative to the ‘norm’, as I want to experience my life as much as I can and try new things when I get the opportunity. I looked into doing this about a year ago, but my work situation wasn’t really going to work with all the regular napping, now of course I can nap when I want so the timing is perfect to check this one off the list.
OK, so back to now. I only really decided to give this a gnuine go last night (or was it the night before that? I’m already suffering!) and so I just got up from my first core sleep cycle and later today I will be having my first 20 minute naps. I decided I would write about my experiences here for anyone who’s interested as well as for my own records so I can gauge my progress. I’ll try and update it daily, at least throughout the adaptation stage (I’ve got plenty of time!)so you can read all about the ups and downs.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free
Enjoy the journey!