Written by Jordan Lejuwaan
Most people only think that there is one way to sleep: Go to sleep at night for 6-8 hours, wake up in the morning, stay awake for 16-18 hours and then repeat. Actually, that is called a monophasic sleep cycle, which is only 1 of 5 major sleep cycles that have been used successfully throughout history.
The other 4 are considered polyphasic sleep cycles due to the multiple number of naps they require each day. How is this possible? How is this healthy? Well the most important of every sleep cycle is the Stage 4 REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which has been shown to provide the benefits of sleep to the brain above all other stages of sleep.
When changing over to a polyphasic cycle, the lack of sleep tricks the body into entering REM sleep immediately instead of 45 to 75 minutes into sleep like in the monophasic sleep. This way, you still get the benefits of 8 hours of sleep without wasting all of the time it takes to get to REM cycles, resulting in a much more efficient sleep cycle. Here are polyphasic cycles:
So which cycle is right for you?
That completely depends on your lifestyle. Keep in mind that if you decide to switch to either the Dymaxion or Uberman cycles, you will be a zombie from day 3 to around day 10 until your body fully adjusts to the cycle. Here are some other tips I have gathered from reading other people’s accounts:
- Eat healthy, avoid fatty foods and the adjustment will be much easier
- Make sure you have a project to work on during all of your new awake hours as it makes the time go by faster
- Also make sure you have two or three weeks of freedom to adjust to the cycle so that you don’t go to work or school completely dead from sleep deprivation
- Hang in there. Each of the cycles will get exponentially easier all of the sudden after the first 2 weeks or so. Just be patient and diligent! Don’t skip naps or change your nap times around or you will basically have to start your adjustment period over
- Use natural cues for being waking up from naps like sunlight and loud music, while using darkness and silence for sleep (obviously)
If you are seriously considering making the switch over the a polyphasic sleep cycle, a really enjoyable and informative read is Steve Pavlina’s extremely in-depth report of his experience with the Uberman cycle, available here.
Also be aware that it might not work for everyone.
Author: Jordan Lejuwaan – creator of HighExistence. He loves inspiring others to follow their bliss, which in turn fulfills his own. He lives for traveling, late-night conversations and moments of intense clarity or intoxication
Originally published at High Existence