Polyphasic sleep refers to dividing periods of sleeping into naps alongside a less-than-eight-hour window of deep sleep at night. It is common in babies aged 0-3 months; however, it is a growing trend among adults. The purported benefits of polyphasic sleep include cognitive improvement and better productivity. So, is polyphasic sleep better? Let’s learn more.

What Is Polyphasic Sleep?

Unlike monophasic sleep, polyphasic sleep involves three or more sleep segments throughout 24 hours. People who prefer polyphasic sleep not only swear by its health benefits but also claim that it helps them manage their day better. Polyphasic sleep comprises four categories of sleep patterns or schedules based on the number of hours.

  • 2-hour window or the Dymaxion sleep schedule is the most extreme type of polyphasic sleep schedule. It was developed by the famous American architect Buckminster Fuller. It consists of only two hours of daily sleep divided into 30-minute naps every six hours.

  • 3-hour sleep window or the Uberman sleep schedule is Credited to Marie Staver. It was developed in the 1990s and includes 30-minute naps every four hours, making for three hours of sleep every day.

  • 4-hour sleep window or the Everyman sleep schedule involves a 3-hour deep sleep window at night and three 20-minute naps during the day.

  • 5-hour sleep window or the Triphasic sleep sleep schedule allows you to sleep the maximum number of hours. For triphasic sleep, you sleep thrice a day, sometime before dawn, in the afternoon, and after dusk.

Is Polyphasic Sleep Cycle Healthy For the Brain?

The benefits of polyphasic sleep are based on anecdotal reports; therefore, research is required to understand the greater benefits of these sleep patterns. Nonetheless, those who follow a polyphasic sleep pattern underline its following advantages.

More Productivity – Individually reported information says polyphasic sleep may help increase productivity, allowing you to get more work done every day. However, when you only sleep for a maximum of 5 hours a day, you have 19 hours to spare for other tasks. So it translates to completing more tasks in a day.

Aligns With Rotational Work Shifts – Polyphasic sleep schedules may work well for people with irregular work schedules. Lack of sleep affects the clarity of thought and increases the chances of accidents. In such cases, polyphasic sleep may be helpful. For example, a 2015 study on college students found that napping allows students to replenish lost nighttime sleep and deal with drowsiness during the day (Ye, 2015).

Improved Lucid Dreaming – A study underlined that waking up frequently during the night resulted in more reports of lucid dreaming. It means being aware that you are dreaming. If you want to try lucid dreaming, consider following a polyphasic sleep schedule.

Should You Try Polyphasic Sleep?

There is no one answer to this question. Healthy individuals may try polyphasic sleep. However, stop following a polyphasic sleep schedule if you experience any adverse effects. Possible side effects of polyphasic sleep include accidents because of drowsiness, circadian rhythm disruption, decreased immunity, and increased susceptibility to physical, mental, and neurological disorders. Follow some tips for better sleep if you experience sleep deprivation because of polyphasic sleep.

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