A good night's sleep is one of the most important factors in your general health. Being well-rested is the key to a healthy and productive lifestyle. There are many myths surrounding the idea of sleep and everyone wants to know how they can improve their sleep and be more alert during the workday. Biphasic sleep has become popular as more and more people search for ways to find a sleep model that improves their productivity and leaves them feeling well-rested and healthy all day long. What is biphasic sleep and how can it improve your productivity?
What is Biphasic sleep?
Biphasic sleep, or segmented sleep, is a pattern that divides your sleep into two smaller segments of sleep throughout the day. Biphasic sleep allows people to split their sleeping throughout the day and is often done in two ways. The first form of biphasic sleep includes a short sleeping session through the nighttime and a smaller nap-like sleeping session around midday. The other form of biphasic sleep splits sleep into two smaller sessions of around four hours each throughout the night. In the second form of segmented sleep, a person may sleep for 4 hours, wake for a few hours in the middle of the night, and then return to sleep for another four hours before waking for the rest of the day.
How does biphasic sleep differ from traditional sleeping patterns?
Traditional sleep patterns or monophasic sleep incorporate a single sleep session. This single sleep session often lasts from 5-10 hours and is uninterrupted sleep. During a monophasic sleep pattern, a person will fluctuate in and out of deep sleep and may experience a few hours of light sleeping and a few hours of deep sleeping.
Unlike a monophasic sleep pattern, biphasic sleep is divided into two smaller sessions. These two sleep sessions are divided by a few hours of awake time. During each of the sleeping sessions in biphasic sleep, a person may experience a single cycle of rem sleep with a small amount of light sleep and a few hours of deep sleep.
How can you achieve biphasic sleep?
Biphasic sleep takes advantage of your sleep stages and works to help you fall asleep fast, get a night of deep sleep, and wake up feeling alert. Sleep is broken down into cycles that include REM sleep and deep sleep. The average sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes to 2 hours. The first two cycles of sleep do the most to restore your energy and give your brain rest. The longer you sleep, the less time you spend in deep sleep.
Therefore, biphasic sleep allows you to sleep for the exact amount of time it takes to get two sleep cycles of highly restorative sleep. You then awake alert because you are not waking out of deep sleep. When you fall asleep for your second sleep, you will experience the first two restorative cycles again.
Biphasic sleep can be achieved in two ways depending on your daily schedule and how you want to separate your sleep throughout the day. Whichever model you choose for your new sleep pattern, experts still suggest getting a total of 8 hours of sleep within 24 hours.
First Sleep and Second Sleep is a sleep pattern that separates sleep into two phases during the nighttime. In this model, you go to sleep at your normal time, around 8 or 9 o clocks. You sleep until around midnight, and then you wake up for an hour or so. You then return to sleep from around 1 am until it is time to get up in the morning to start your day. This pattern of biphasic sleep can help you take control of your sleep cycle and utilize a sleep pattern that was designed to help the preindustrial human be more productive.
Nighttime Sleep and Daytime Nap
This biphasic sleep model is made to give you a boost of energy throughout the workday. In this model, you sleep through the night for anywhere between 4 to 7 hours. You then make up the remainder of your required sleep during a nap in the midafternoon. This allows you to get much-needed rest in the middle of the day when you need it most and continue to be productive through the late afternoon and evening.
What are the benefits of biphasic sleep?
Increase Energy Levels
Biphasic sleep can help you take advantage of the REM cycle to get more deep sleep and to awake more alert. The deeper sleep you get during your sleep sessions, the more energy you will have throughout the day. Whether you choose to sleep in two sessions at night or in one session at night and a nap during the day, two sleep sessions can help you stay refreshed throughout the day. In a monophasic sleep pattern, most people experience a dip in energy between noon and 3 pm. A biphasic sleep pattern can help you overcome this with a restful nap when you need it most.
Increased Cognitive Functioning
When you sleep, your brain has the chance to form new pathways that can help improve your cognitive functioning. Studies have shown that biphasic sleep can improve long-term memory, problem-solving, and the ability to learn new things. Two sleep sessions per day can give your brain more opportunities to commit new information to long-term knowledge. It also can help keep your brain refreshed so it is ready to work on learning new things and solving problems.
More Productivity throughout the day
Biphasic sleep can keep you feeling alert all day long. When you are alert you may be able to get more work done. Biphasic sleep also can keep you refreshed so you can work for more hours within 24 hours.
Biphasic sleep could help you establish a schedule where you have more time for work when others are sleeping. If you sleep in two segments at night, the few hours in between your sleeping segments can be used to get work done.
Minimize the Negative Effects of a Bad Night’s Sleep
If you do not get a good night’s sleep, your day is going to suffer. You may have to drink an extra coffee to be alert enough to get anything done. Biphasic sleep can help you cut down on the negative effects of having bad sleep. If your first sleeping session does not go to plan, your second session can give you another opportunity to catch up on sleep.
Many adults awake during the night regularly. In a traditional sleep pattern, you may lie in bed awake stressing about falling back to sleep or about how tired you will feel the next day. In biphasic sleep, you wake up for a short time and get a few things accomplished, then you go back to sleep when you are feeling tired again. You then wake to begin your day. This allows you to still get the recommended 8 hours of sleep while still embracing your body’s natural inclination to awake in the night.
Does Biphasic sleep have any risks?
The major risks of trying biphasic sleep are the same as the side effects of a poor night's sleep. You may awake feeling tired and fatigued and you may have a difficult time finding energy throughout the day. You may experience feelings of irritability due to a lack of deep restorative sleep.
Productivity levels may decrease if you are not consistent with your sleep pattern. Consistency will help you reach deep sleep during each of your sleep sessions getting you all the restorative sleep you need. If you do not reach deep sleep during both of your sleep sessions, you may be less sharp throughout the day which could lead to lower productivity levels.
If you experience negative side effects or worsening feelings of sleepiness throughout the day after trying biphasic sleep, it may be a good idea to return to a monophasic sleep pattern. You should give yourself a two-week trial period to adjust to the new pattern, but if you are still feeling sleepy and unproductive after two weeks, biphasic sleep may not be right for you.
Is biphasic sleep the right plan for you?
Choosing a sleep plan can be difficult as everyone reacts differently to a change in sleep pattern. Trying out biphasic sleep for around two weeks can give you a good idea of how your body might react to the new sleep pattern. The first few days will have you feeling sleepy, but once your body gets used to the change, you may begin to see the benefits.
Biphasic sleep could be a way for you to increase your energy throughout the day so that you can be more productive. If your schedule allows for you to try biphasic sleep, try it for yourself and see just how much more productive you can be with a new sleep pattern.