I have been reading quite a bit about alternative sleep cycles recently and I’ve read a lot of positives as well as negatives about it. For those who aren’t aware, sleep is basically of two types – monophasic (1 period of sleep in a day) and polyphasic (2 or more periods of sleep in a day). Under polyphasic sleep, there are many different types of cycles that you can follow such as the Everyman Cycle, Uberman Cycle and the Dymaxion Cycle. Each of these cycles have a very different way of partitioning the sleep periods and also result in variation of total length of time spent sleeping.
Firstly, lets address a very simple question. Why do we need to move from one sleep cycle to the other? Well the main reason the motivates most people including me is that you can save a lot of time. A monophasic sleeper spends an average of 7 hours sleeping (although it can be reduced further to about 51/2 hours, continuous periods of less sleep results in sleep deprivation causing exhaustion, fatigue, slow thinking and other such negative effects). Polyphasic sleep however guarantees lesser amount of sleep (following the everyman sleep cycle for example reduces sleep time to about 41/2 hours and its the least stressful of the 3 sleep cycles mentioned) with none of the ill effects that are associated with sleep deprivation. How true this claim is can be debated, but this is what I want to test through experimentation and the lab rat is me. Students dream of days being 30 hours long instead of 24 and time is always against us. Those few hours everyday are very precious and could make all the difference. If you want to know more of the science behind it, here’s a link.
I will be aiming to follow the Everyman Cycle, because it’s the easiest to adapt to and also fits best with my school schedule. I have been advised not to do this by my parents after I began trying it out for a few days, but I think I am going to be a bit rebellious for once and see how this plays out. I will be chronicling my experiences on a weekly basis to tell you how things are going and how well I am adapting. My health is pretty important to me, so if i feel the health effects are getting to me, then I will be calling it off. There is a science behind, lets see if I can use it to my advantage.
It’s very difficult to change from one sleep cycle to another. You are going to invariably face exhaustion and fatigue for a minimum of 1 week if you decide to follow a new cycle. I have been fiddling around with this type of sleep for some time and the one thing I can say for sure is that it’s not easy to shift to the new sleep times. The Polyphasic Society suggests two ways of doing this (for the Everyman Cycle) – by depriving yourself of sleep for 1 whole day and then partitioning your sleep the next day or by slowly breaking your sleep cycle over a period of time into the sleep cycle of your choice. Frankly, the 1st option seems a bit too extreme for me and the 2nd method …….. lets just say I want to jump straight to it.
Do you want to shift to a polyphasic sleep cycle? i recommend going through the Polyphasic Society webpage and read about it from some other trusted resources. If you do find some interesting links, please share it in the comments.
Sources of Information