The world is fast developing. The things which someone has to take care of every day is increasing exponentially. Everyone complains of the lack of time and how they need more than a day to complete a day’s work. Some people believe that shortening the sleep duration is the only way they can accommodate their duties in a single day. Here’s how to sleep 8 hours in 4 hours.
In fact, researches have been done on sleep and its patterns from a long time. It is believed that Leonardo da Vinci was an exponent of sleep experiments. Urban legends say that he used to sleep very little and could work on a painting from dawn to dust without food or drink. Some historians argue that he had an effective sleeping method. He used to get enough rest with only a few hours of sleep.
How to sleep 8 hours in 4 hours?
Sleep is a highly complex phenomenon. Even after decades of research, experts are not able to fully comprehend its significance. It would not be wise to meddle with a natural instinct that we do not fully understand.
Nevertheless, there are some who believe they have cracked the sleep pattern and can shorten the time they spend sleeping without much harm to their physical and mental health. Polyphasic or Biphasic methods are employed by them to achieve this.
Bifurcated sleep or Biphasic sleep is the method of sleeping in two periods in a day. The followers of this method argue that humans are wired to sleep in two spells rather than one at night. They believe the after noon time is used by our ancestors to sleep. Hence, we feel lethargic and less productive at the time.
Biphasic sleepers sleep for a few hours; the exact number depends on the person; which effectively reduces the hours of sleep needed at night. The advantage of this method is that you don’t have to spend 8 hours every day sleeping. Most biphasic sleepers say they feel content with 4 to 5 hours of sleep every day.
Like Biphasic sleep, polyphasic sleep is a method employed by some people to reduce their sleep timing. The difference from biphasic is that polyphasic method uses multiple spells of sleep rather than two. This method is also known as Uberman’s Sleep schedule.
Normally, Uberman’s sleep schedule aims at gaining more waking hours by sleeping in 6 spells distributed throughout the day. The total sleep time then comes to around 3 to 4 hours, unlike a normal sleep which is 8 hours long. The idea was launched around the year 2000 and it got worldwide attention. Many people tried and tested the method and testified to its good and bad effects in their daily life.
How to practice polyphasic sleeping?
Before you try polyphasic sleeping make sure that you are medically fit to do it. Though researchers do not recommend any test prior to practicing this method, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Dr. Claudio Stampi is a sleep researcher who has dedicated his life to studying polyphasic sleep. He has done numerous research on competitive sailors, studied sleep in detail for NASA and experimented with polyphasic sleep in laboratory conditions. Using devices such as activity monitors and EEG machines, he has arrived at some conclusions and devised the best method to sleep.
Dr. Stampi has concluded that polyphasic sleep can improve the cognitive performance of individuals who undergo sleep deprivation better than monophasic sleep. But he does not recommend this method of sleeping to those who are able to enjoy a full night of uninterrupted sleep. His method is suited for who are sleep deprived and cannot afford to sleep much.
Stampi's Sleep method
Stampi advocates a sleeping method in which the person sleeps every 4 hours. Each spell of sleep should not exceed 30 minutes. So the person effectively sleeps 6 times a day for 30 minutes which adds up to a total of 3 hours of sleep daily. Stampi has found out that those who sleep like this remained more alert and performed better than those who slept for 3 hours straight.
What is the mechanism of polyphasic sleep?
Those who are in search of methods to get 8 hours of rest in 4, should try to understand the mechanics associated with the methods.
Those who follow the sleep method are like those who are sleep deprived. When they sleep they enter Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) more easily than others. They bypass or compress the less important stages for achieving this. The Rapid Eye Movement stage (REM) which constitutes 20-25% of normal sleep is found to be compressed through the sleep control methods.
But many experts claim that it is not the REM cycle but other unimportant stages of the sleep are the ones getting reduced which helps the sleeper to go directly into REM and SWS. This they say is the economical use of sleep which provides necessary rejuvenation to a person.
Though circadian rhythm and homeostatic drive are the two forces which control our sleep, there is no evidence that it is best to follow the rhythms for neural rest needed. Compressing the sleep into short segments may be advantageous to the physiological parameters. But there is not much scientific evidence apart from some personal anecdotes to prove this.
Is it good to compress the sleep?
It is very difficult to say whether it is good or bad to practice compressed sleeping methods. There is not much evidence with those who oppose and support such methods to claim that their argument is right.
However, there are some famous people who employed these methods to maximize their productivity. Thomas Alva Edison was one of them. He believed the time spend sleeping is a waste and throughout his life, he tried to get around the ‘problem of sleep’. Though there are no historical data to prove that he was a polyphasic sleeper, his assistants remember him taking short naps in between his experiments. The nap cots that he used in the laboratory are still preserved in the Edison museums.
Apart from Edison, many prominent people like Winston Churchill, Napoleon, Nicola Tesla, Thomas Jefferson and so on have tried to sleep shortening methods. They each had their own methods which suited them. But as always, it is not advisable to follow the stunts performed by the experts.
Should you really try to squeeze in 8 hours of sleep in 4?
It totally depends on you whether you choose to follow monophasic, biphasic or polyphasic methods. But many medical experts warn against such experiments which can possibly harm your health.
Having said that, if you are a person who suffers from sleep deprivation due to long hours of work, shift work or some other reason, you can opt for polyphasic sleep. It may be the best alternative available if you can absolutely not afford to sleep normally at night. You can actually squeeze out the maximum benefit of sleep by following Uberman’s method.
But if you are trying to sleep 8 hours in 4 just because you want to stay awake to invest more time in your business, it can do more harm than good. Nothing can get your optimum level of performance like a good night’s sleep. The long term effects of such methods are still debated. It is hence wise to follow your natural sleep pattern than adopting something that has not been proven as foolproof.
What achievement in the world can give you so much peace that getting a good sleep at night?