If you’re having trouble securing quality sleep, adopting a polyphasic sleep routine may offer a sound solution. The majority of people follow a monophasic sleep pattern, which is continuous sleep for 7-8 hours. In our article ‘What is Sleep and Why does it Matter’ we explained that polyphasic sleep is a routine wherein a typical 7-8-hour slumber is segmented into multiple cycles over a 24-hour period.
But while you may think that this alternative sleep pattern is a new-age method that has gone mainstream to help folks rest and recharge better, polyphasic sleep has been practiced in the past by some of the greatest minds in human history. Geniuses Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison are all said to have been polyphasic sleepers. This pattern of sleeping is said to potentially add up to 11 years of useful time. Did yesteryears’ geniuses unlock how to maximize neurological activity? Is there a link between polyphasic sleep and boosting one’s brainpower?
Learn More and Think Clearly
The average person can feel the benefits of polyphasic sleep by systematically increasing naps within a time period. Polyphasic Society underlines that adhering to the tenets of the polyphasic system is beneficial for mainly two important stages of sleep. First is the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage where dreams can be intense and feel very real. This is the point in your sleep cycle where mental clarity is restored. The second stage is Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), which is the deepest portion of your sleep cycle. This is when neurological processes take place for the benefit of your hormones and over-all immunity. These all play a vital role in how you process experiences the moment you wake up. So, by napping more, you actually prime your brain for significantly restorative biological and behavioral habits that can make you a better learner and thinker.
Rest Better and Think Sharper
Through breaking your monophasic sleep via polyphasic patterns, you also allow your brain to restart and reset on a more regular basis. Zoomtens notes that this method not only rests your body, but since it primarily involves the REM stage, you are mentally refreshed every time you go for a nap. This also serves as an opportunity to better handle stresses within your day.
Do More and Be Wiser
There are many traditional variations of polyphasic sleep you can choose from. Leesa claims that The Everyman Method entails a core sleep that’s at least three hours long, which is then followed by three 20-minute naps scheduled throughout the day. On the other hand, there is the Uberman sleep pattern that utilizes six 20-minute naps at exact intervals fitted in a daily itinerary. While it may seem difficult to execute, these forms of sleep scheduling leaves room for so much more activity. Business Insider discussed that polyphasic practitioners found that this alternative sleep set-up allowed them to do more within a workday as they intentionally allotted tasks to a strict and specific timetable. The result: tasks were crossed off their to-do lists and they begin thinking more systematically.
It is clear that in theory, polyphasic sleep can help practitioners increase their productivity and boost their mental output. However, for people with regular work hours the practicality of such a sleep pattern is not realistic. As polyphasic sleep requires short bursts of sleep throughout the day, most people wouldn’t be able to fit it into their schedule. For those who work at home or have a more open schedule, then experimenting with polyphasic sleep could be beneficial.