If you're considering a switch from a monophasic to biphasic sleep routine, there are a few things you should know. This brief guide should answer most of the basic questions you might be asking yourself, as well as pointing you in the direction of several resources which cover this information in greater depth. What is Biphasic Sleeping?
Firstly, a definition. Biphasic sleep is nothing more complicated than sleeping twice each day. Typically this revolves around the belief that the length of an average sleep cycle is approximately 90 minutes (although this has been seen to reduce to as little as 75 minutes in long-term biphasic sleepers), and involves a 90 minute nap and 3/4.5 hours of core sleep. As an example, my own routine consists of :
75-80 minutes beginning at 19:30
4-4.5 hours beginning at 01:00
Whilst the length of the nap is usually maintained at a single cycle, both the separation (between nap and core sleep) and length of core sleep (always a multiple of the cycle length) should be adjusted to suit the individual.
What are the benefits of Biphasic Sleeping?
The main drawcard to both biphasic and polyphasic sleeping patterns often seems to be the time saving (and yes, a lot of time can be saved using either technique); though there are many other benefits. Biphasic sleeping can :
reduce the total number of hours you spend asleep (as noted above)
increase the quality of sleep during these periods
improve both clarity and frequency of dream recall
in addition to :
having a neutral impact on recovery from weight training What are the downsides of Biphasic Sleeping?
The main negative aspect with both biphasic and polyphasic routines is simply that they are uncommon. It may become difficult to interract with monophasic sleepers in a timely manner (although a polyphasic routine emphasises this distinction much more than a biphasic one does). In my case, taking a nap in the evening greatly reduces this negative aspect, as my dealing with the monophasic world can be carried out during standard business hours without concern.
Other than that, there is little that can be said against biphasic sleeping. As with any transition in your life, the first week or so will be a little more difficult than the rest - but only slightly. It is no worse than the jetlag you might experience following a long flight. Making the transition
As stated above, the first week will be the most difficult. You are likely to feel more tired than usual, so clear your plate as much as possible before you start. If you are coming into your exam period, it's coming up to the busiest time at work or there are other major changes in your life taking place; better to wait until things are back to normal.
Once you are ready to make the switch, set aside a time for you to try things out. 21 and 30 days are common, although any period over two weeks or so will do. During this time, make a concerted effort to stick to the routine. Of course, if there's a major change in your life during this period, don't feel bad about stopping. You can start again later.
During this trial period, try not to be too harsh on yourself. You WILL oversleep (I still do occasionally, after holding the routine for a couple of months), alter your starting times when there's something good on TV, have busy days at work during which you drink too much coffee or smoke too many cigarettes etc. The routine gradually gets easier, so don't punish yourself for sliding off the rails occasionally. Where can I go for help?
Keep in mind that several people have done this (many of whom seem to be on these forums) and that they always seem to be happy to answer questions on their experiences. A few resources are : Threads on this forum Biphasic long-term sleepers Eliminating sleep is closer than you think X-phasic sleep experiments: where do you sleep? Sleep learning? Post your polyphasic sleep logs here Polyphasic sleep How to get rid of sleep-o-holism Anyone successfully reduced sleep hours per night Remove the clock, sleep less Hybrid sleeping schedule Midday nap Biphasic sleep resources Getting back into a regular sleep schedule Anybody have this sleeping problem? Weird sleeping schedule Bodybuilding and polyphasic sleep Speak while sleep Pzizz Free running sleep How to sleep early Biphasic sleep - need help Elsewhere
I maintain a list of biphasic sleep resources on my site (at Straight to the Bar: Biphasic sleep resources
). Contributions to this list are more than welcome.
If you have anything to add to this list, please let me know. The same applies to any comments or suggestions on the above material.