PsychologySelf-EsteemTime Management

Polyphasic sleep: what types and how to do it

Polyphasic sleep is an alternative sleep pattern in which sleep time is divided into several naps of about 20 minutes throughout the day, reducing rest time to 2 hours a day, without causing harm to health.

The fatigue caused by the 8 hours of work including round trips can compromise well-being, interpersonal relationships, or even leisure activities due to lack of time. Polyphasic sleep is considered by some people as an alternative to monophasic sleep, in which sleep occurs during the night and all at once, making it possible to satisfy the need for sleep and ensure productivity during the day.

Does this method really work?

Monophasic sleep, normally practiced by all people, goes through several stages, starting with light sleep, followed by deep sleep, and finally, REM sleep, which is responsible for learning and consolidating memories. This cycle repeats itself throughout the night, each of them taking about 90 to 110 minutes.

In people who adopt polyphasic sleep, these sleep phases seem to be shortened, as a survival strategy of the brain itself, and it is possible to go through the REM phase even during naps that last only 20 minutes.

It is believed that with just 2 hours a day, all sleep patterns are satisfied, and better performance can even be achieved compared to monophasic sleep, being possible to wake up from a nap from a completely renewed polyphasic sleep, as if you had slept one night. entire.

How to do polyphasic sleep?

Polyphasic sleep consists of dividing the amount of sleep time into several naps, and can be done in different ways:

  • Uberman: This is the most rigid and also the best-known method, in which sleep is divided into 6 equidistant naps of 20 minutes each. Although the intervals between naps should be the same, this method works best if you don’t do it at rigid times, but when you feel the need to sleep. The nap should not last longer than 20 minutes, so there is no risk of falling into a deep sleep and making it more difficult to wake up. However, it is very difficult to maintain in most people’s way of life.
  • Everyman: In this method, the person sleeps a longer block of sleep, of about 3 hours, and during the remaining hours they take 3 naps of 20 minutes each, equidistant from each other. This could be an initial method of adapting to Uberman or even an easier method of fitting into your current lifestyle.
  • Dymaxion: In this method, sleep is broken down into blocks of 30-minute naps every 6 hours.

What benefits can be expected?

It is believed that one of the advantages of polyphasic sleep is to enter the so-called REM phase of sleep faster, which is a fundamental phase for restoring cognitive functions and consolidating memories.

In addition, people who practice this type of sleep can also have more time to do other activities and minimize the stress caused by time pressure and meeting deadlines.

Some studies also report better performance in relation to monophasic sleep, in which it is possible to wake up from a nap from a completely renewed polyphasic sleep as if you had slept a whole night.

Is polyphasic sleep bad?

It is not known for sure what the risks of this method are and although some studies have shown that polyphasic sleep is not harmful to health, some recent findings suggest that it may not be advisable to remain in this sleep pattern for too long.

To enjoy the benefits of polyphasic sleep, an adaptation time of about 2 to 3 weeks is necessary, so that the symptoms of lack of sleep are overcome and it is also necessary that the current lifestyle is compatible with the demands of this method.

In addition, little sleep ages the brain alters the body’s circadian rhythm, and causes greater production of adrenaline and cortisol, which are hormones that help maintain wakefulness, which can therefore increase stress and anxiety and weaken the system.