Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Experience On a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

I've been struggling with sleep issues and insomnia (undiagnosed) for years. I've always had trouble going to bed at a normal hour, falling asleep at one or 2am, sometimes even four or five. I also felt as though sleeping was a waste of time. When I saw the Buzzfeed video, "I Cut My Sleep To 5 Hours Using This Weird Method," it was a wake-up call for me (no pun intended). It was almost a description of my regular sleep schedule. The only exception was, sometimes I didn't take an afternoon nap. Upon further inspection, I realized I was more tired on the days when I didn't nap. So I looked up "polyphasic sleeping," the method demonstrated in the video, and found Polyphasic Society. I committed to a biphasic sleep pattern.
I get 5-6 hours of sleep at night, with a 20 to 90 minute nap. (x)
Polyphasic sleeping is sleeping in naps or shorter periods of time, but more often. The total amount of sleep is usually less than it would be on a normal sleeping schedule. The purpose is to give yourself more waking hours in a day without being tired. More specifically, a biphasic sleeping schedule is sleeping in two shifts per day, with variations in timing. If you're interested in a polyphasic sleep schedule, visit Polyphasic Society to see which one is best for you.

I've been on it for three weeks (since the day the Buzzfeed experiment came out) and here's what I noticed.
  • I'm less tired now with the daily naps, and I waste less time trying to fall asleep at night, staring at the ceiling.
  • I'm more productive in the evening, and I have more time to get things done. For example, if I have an essay due tomorrow, I can just stay up later and get less sleep.
  • I take naps when I'm tired, around 3:30 pm soon after I get home from school. Usually my naps take forty minutes, on average. I get four to six hours of sleep per night. My sleep schedule isn't as extreme as classic biphasic sleeping, since I get around six to seven hours of sleep per night in total, but it does add at least one to three hours to my day.
  • On weekends or vacation breaks from school, I revert to a normal sleep schedule. This is easy to transition into (I sleep in rather than going to bed earlier), but hard to transition out of. It's hard to go from nine hours of sleep to five or six. But usually by the second week I'm back to biphasic sleeping.
  • My reflexes are slower. You know how when it's rainy out and you're kinda sleepy and maybe it's a Sunday, you just feel slow and lethargic all day? That's me pretty much all the time. I'd like to think it's just my new demeanor, but most likely it's because of the new sleep schedule.
  • I've noticed some weight gain and muscle soreness lasting longer after a workout, but that may be placebo and have different causes.
So will I continue my biphasic sleep pattern? Yes, but I will try to take shorter naps and get more sleep at night. I have not consulted a doctor regarding this sleep pattern.

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