According to the National Institute of Health, on average, we spend about 33% of our lives sleeping, or about 26 years, based on the average 78 years life expectancy in the United States. Sleep is essential to maintain a healthy and strong mind and body. Sleep is certainly an important habit for all entities – it helps to recharge ourselves physically and mentally, assists in retaining memories, and even clears toxins from our brains.
Many of us are familiar with the usual norm of sleep schedules – sleeping once per 24 hour period for about seven to nine hours throughout the night, also recognized as a monophasic sleep schedule. Some of us may even be more of what’s known as biphasic sleepers, averaging about five to seven hours per night, but like to add in a 30 to 90-minute power nap during the day.
Biphasic sleep schedules are quite common for the average college student, as well as in Latin American countries, which is commonly referred to as a siesta. A siesta has become a cultural tradition in Latin American countries and is usually taken in the early afternoon after the midday meal.
The third type of sleep schedule is known as polyphasic. A polyphasic sleep schedule is the practice of sleeping multiple times, usually more than twice, in a single 24 hour period. This term was first used in the 20th century by psychologist, SJ Szymanski, who studied fluctuation in human’s daily activities and behaviors. There are various types of polyphasic sleep schedules, including the Uberman sleep schedule and the Everyman sleep schedule.
Uberman sleep involves a series of 20-minute naps throughout the day, traditionally a total of six naps or two hours of total sleep time. The Everyman schedule originally started as a three-hour nap, followed by a series of three 20-minute naps throughout the day. Today, it is more commonly recognized as a three and a half hour nap, followed by the three 20-minute naps.
Though it is difficult to train the mind and body to get into the swing of this type of sleep cycle, polyphasic sleep is said to offer a number of benefits, both physical and mental. Many anecdotal rumors claim polyphasic sleep contributed to the great successes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. Not only is polyphasic sleep supported by a number of individuals, but there’s evidence that evolution favors polyphasic sleep schedules; humans were supposedly intended to evolve to carry on this type of sleep.Think about it, most mammals and other animals are sleeping on a polyphasic schedule.
Some benefits of polyphasic sleep schedules include enhanced brain activity, more efficient time management, and increased feelings of happiness and euphoria among many others.
10. Maximize the Frequency of Your Waking Activities
Some of us really enjoy starting that to-do list right after we wake up. For those of you who look forward to that first-of-the-day task or activity, such as running an errand, taking a walk, some coffee, a good phone conversation, etc., a polyphasic sleep schedule may be for you. With a polyphasic schedule, you’ll be able to experience not just one first-of-the-day activity, but at least three. You’ll be able to fit in those errands, your walk, coffee, and phone conversation all in one single 24-hour span.