Switching to Biphasic Sleeping? Start here.
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?
Post your polyphasic sleep logs here
How to get rid of sleep-o-holism
Anyone successfully reduced sleep hours per night
Remove the clock, sleep less
Hybrid sleeping schedule
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
Free running sleep
How to sleep early
Biphasic sleep - need help
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.
Excellent summary, Scott! I can't believe I didn't think to post something like this myself. Think we could get a moderator to sticky this?
Cheers Dave. I was going to include a list of biphasic sleepers, but wanted to check with people individually first. Can I put your name down?
Definitely! (As long as it's as "David" and not "Dave"--no offense taken or given, but "Dave" has just never sounded right to my ear). You may want to note which of us are still adapting to biphasic (still in the first 30 days) and which of us are successfully adapted (past 30 days). I'm obviously still in the former category, though I fully expect success.
Should we use this thread for general biphasic discussion? If not I'll delete this post and post it wherever is more applicable.
Anyways, I decided to go biphasic a week ago, did it for two days, went to my parent's place for Thanksgiving, got sick, and broke it. However, I'm starting it back up again starting yesterday.
The schedule I'm going for is a 90 minute nap from 7-8:30, and 3 hours of core sleep from 2-5 (two cycles), reducing my sleep to 4.5 hours. I haven't had any trouble with tiredness, aside from 15-30 minutes before my nap (like right now!). I've found that my naps seem to work freakishly well- yesterday, I just couldn't get to sleep, I'm currently living in the dorms so it was pretty loud. I decided to go over and put one of my favorite CDs to fall asleep to (Sigur Ros' Takk, brilliant album, brilliant band), went back, and I can't remember hearing the second song on the album. Next thing I know, my alarm song is going off on my computer. Look at the clock, hour and a half has passed and I'm completely awake, refreshed, and ready to go- though I didn't feel like I slept at all. It seems that as long as you nail the 90 minutes you wake up completely refreshed- just watch out if you go two hours.
Not all is perfect, though, my alarm didn't go off this morning so I slept in an extra 3 hours :( I'm pretty sure I just didn't set it right, so that shouldn't be a problem from now on. It all seems to be working great so far though, I'd love to hear other peoples' experiences.
Sure, that'd be great. David has a separate thread for the logs themselves, but general discussion certainly belongs in this one.
As for the alarm not going off and oversleeping a bit, don't be too harsh on yourself. I still oversleep occasionally after doing this for a couple of months, and it doesn't seem to affect anything. The next day it's straight back into the routine, without a problem.
Out of interest, what was your routine like when you were monophasic? How many hours were you getting, between what times and were you retiring/rising at set times each day?
In my case, I went from 7.5 -> 6 hours per day in the switch, and that time is gradually reducing automatically as the sleep cycles shorten. Currently the cycles are about 75-80 minutes.
As prior sleep pattern, I was already getting up at 4:45-5:30, go to sleep anywhere from 8:30 to midnight, occasionally up to two in the morning. This, plus I would take pzziz naps on occasion for 30 minutes to an hour, so I suppose that was a bit biphasic there even though it wasn't scheduled or conscious. I guess, in the end, I was getting from 5-8 hours a night, probably about 6 most nights. Funny thing is, I feel MUCH more awake off of 4.5 hours, when I sleep in I'm groggy, takes forever to get going, I'm always on the ball the second I get out of bed as long as I nail the 90 minute increments.
Is there a reason you're going for 6 hours? It's less than a lot of people, and a big improvement on 8, but it doesn't seem to be that significant of a time savings compared to 4.5, especially considering how the nap is a bit of a hassle to remember and employ regularly. How much time to you think you can shave off 6 hourse by the sleep cycles shortening? Also, as an aside, how do you tell when the sleep cycles are shortening? When you start becoming more groggy upon waking do you just fiddle around and see when you tend to wake up less groggily?
like you, I feel much more refreshed after a day/night of biphasic sleep than I did after monophasic sleep. I initially put this through a 30 day trial (summary) out of curiosity, but one of the main reasons for keeping the routine was the improved sleep quality.
I arrived at the 1.5/4.5 hour split after a bit of trial and error : 1.5/3 wasn't quite enough, and neither was alternating between 1.5/3 and 1.5/4.5 . In the end I decided to stick with the 1.5/4.5 split.
The fact that there is only a small (1.5 hours per day) saving for me to do this (from 7.5 hours per night when I was monophasic) is enhanced by the fact that I'm now more refreshed after sleep, and my productivity has increased accordingly. I'm now faced with the wonderful situation of not only being able to get more things done, but of having more time in which to do them. Superb.
I don't find the nap a hassle to employ, any more than watching your favourite TV show at a given time. It's just a part of my routine. In fact, it'd seem odd if I didn't take a nap.
The sleep cycles do gradually shorten, though not all that much. Glen Rhodes found that his had shortened to around 75 minutes at some point in the first couple of years; mine have shortened to 75-80 minutes after a little over two months. You can tell by the time you'll naturally wake up - perhaps after a couple of weeks you'll begin waking up a couple of minutes before the alarm goes off (still set it though, just in case). This 'automatic waking' will gradually occur earlier and earlier; at least on some nights.
As for grogginess - yes, just trying different things is the answer. Try adjusting the start time of the nap, the gap between the nap and core sleep, the length of the core sleep, switching the gap and core sleep (3 hours in the evening, followed by 90 minutes in the early morning), and breaking up the nap into smaller chunks. Experiment, enjoy and be sure to post your findings (don\'t forget the polyphasic sleep logs thread).
Also, this improved sleep efficiency (meaning energy and feeling rested / hours slept) is with a comparison between 71/2 to 8 hrs (then) and 6hrs (now) per 24. Before splitting the sleep cycles, if I had to or tried to go on 6 hrs a night, I'd feel sleep deprived in just a few days. So the efficiency, for me seems more important than the actual hours.
All best, and welcome, copla!
ha ha, have a look here
...my 5:32AM post there....all that good feeling is coming from only 5/16 = 31% of time in proper biphasic sleep mode! Go figure :D
(OK David, let's see if that works...re the programming language...and if it does, how to get to the url of a post previous to the most recent post? Glad somebody went to tech school :rolleyes: ......y'all sorry for the cross topic here but I'm getting a quick lesson on making things happen here :) )
cross topic, sorry...:), David? What happened here???
David-- (Help :eek: :eek: :eek: )
I tried to follow these instructions (from your 11/17 on polyphasic thread):
------what you wrote 11/17----
"I think I know what you're asking, though I'm not completely certain...
I can't just type this out because the forum software will interpret it as a link. But I can give you the step-by-step:
1. Type out "LINK TEXT" in the text editor (no quotes). You can replace LINK TEXT with whatever you want the link to say.
2. Immediately after "LINK TEXT", type "[/url]" (no quotes, no spaces between "LINK TEXT" and "[/url]").
3. Immediately before "LINK TEXT", type "[url=LINK]", replacing LINK with the address of the page (no quotes, no spaces between "" and "LINK TEXT" ).
--I wanted to say "ha ha, have a look here" (with "here" as LINK TEXT above). So I typed " here ", and immediately before "here", I copy/pasted the url from the URL bar in the server at the most recent polyphasic sleep log thread post....where'd I go wrong ???
thanks :) :)
:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:
shhhhhhhh.....i'd better just sit real quietly here before i blow the place up.......
:o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o
OK, my daughter looked at this and told me what to do, looks like I forgot a bracket there.....:) hmmm....tech school would have been a lot of fun methinks!
I'll learn more..now, on with our sleep lab!!
How old is your daughter? Are you bringing her up with biphasic sleeping habits?
Okay, well I'm your typical college student, stay up late sleep in late.
I goto bed anywhere from 1-3am and wake up 8ish on weekdays DEAD until after my shower and breakfast. Weekends I sleep in as late as possible. Well I LOVE sleep. It's just so del.icio.us and wonderfull. But I also hate it because I waist so much time! Ugh.
So reading this thread has really got me interested. The fact you can get more from less is great! I always heard the more sleep the better. Also doing weight training and gaining weight I want to be sure to get enough recovery.
I could just go off and figure it on my own, but maybe you guys can help me off in the right direction. What should I do to start? How long should I try a configuration before trying something else? Alarm clocks or internal clock? Same bedtime and naptime everynight? What happens if I become dependent on the schedual and I can't keep it? (same thing I suppose as what happens mono)
Getting started doesn't have to be terribly complicated - try starting with a 1.5/4.5 hour split. Once your body's happy with that (it'll probably take a week or so to get used to it) it's easy to adjust it if you need to. The best times for me are :
90 minute nap starting around 7pm
4.5 hour core sleep starting around 2am
and this works well, but it just depends on your schedule.
Try and stick to whatever schedule you set for yourself, but don't beat yourself up if you oversleep or change the nap time one day because you're out somewhere. Keeping to a regular schedule just makes it a little bit easier for your body to get used to the change.
If you can, keep a note of the basic things (times, how tired/refreshed you felt afterward etc) and jot it down in the polyphasic sleep logs thread. For questions on the routine or just biphasic sleeping in general, head back here.
Good luck. I'm keen to see how you find it.
As a sidenote, I have to say, this forum is amazing- it's such an incredible opportunity to be able to discuss things like biphasic sleep on a forum dedicated to personal development, with topics abounding about everything from life philosophy to finances to lucid dreaming. Just mind-boggling to think of all the events that had to transpire to bring about this, from the technology underpinning the internet, to all the events in Steve's life that lead him to his path of personal development, and eventually founding this forum, and then in the lives of all us to lead us here.
Thanks for the reply Scott.
When first starting, should I continue weightlifting and a lot of excersizing? I'm pretty much active mon-sat and it takes a lot of energy. I play volleyball and know when I'm tiered I suck really bad.
How did you handle it your first week or so?
I couldn't agree more. It's incredible how much stuff I get done late at night, which was previously taken up by TV, internet surfing etc. The napping really helps productivity in a few ways.
Oh, on the forum thing, it's fantastic. As well as being able to talk to other biphasic sleepers - a rare treat indeed - it's possible to keep up with a number of less well-known but equally wonderful topics. I love it.
After this week-and-a-half, it was back into it as usual. There didn't seem to be any difference in recovery, DOMS, ability to gain weight or anything else related to the weights.
Out of interest, what sort of weightlifting/exercising do you do?
I just goto the gym, do weighted core/abs monday, upperbody weds, and lower friday. I use as many free weights as possible. I'm getting pretty big from a year ago, it's exciting. Though it's weird: I've gotten bigger and stronger, yet haven't gained any weight. Maybe fat -> muscle? I wasn't really fat though, oh well.
Anyways I really want to get started on this, but I'm going to be flying back to the east coast in a few weeks and I know it's going to be crazy sleeping. So I think it would be best to wait until I get back to start so things will be at a much more stable schedule. That's about a month and a half away though, but I think it's better than trying something totaly new beforehand and mess it all up. If that's possible?
Another question: it takes me over an hour to get to sleep, any recomendations? I don't want to set the alarm clock for 4.5 hours after I goto bed because I'd end up getting like 3-4 hours instead.
Andrew, if you've got a few weeks until you fly out, you might as well start now. You'll be used to it well before then, and a couple of days' change won't hurt anything long-term. You can't really mess anything up.
On the getting to sleep thing, I used to be the same. In my case the answer was just to write a to-do list (with everything that was on my mind) each night before bed. Beside each item there'd be a quick note of the action I was intending to take - even that was 'unknown'. I was able to stop thinking about everything then, knowing it had been taken care of until the next day.
Something else to look at is your diet; I'm sure you're not having several cups of coffee or anything just before trying to sleep, but there may be something else. A large meal of something which takes a long time to digest for example.
With the weights, what's your main goal? Strength, hypertrophy, training for a particular sport etc? It's definitely strength in my case, and the hypertrophy is just a nice benefit :)
Great stuff here as usual !
I think one gets closer and closer to really listening to individual physiology here. It may be that you naturally are good at 3/1.5, or that you'll need more.. I'd think if you need more, your body would tell you so. AND I think that no matter how many actual hours you need, that may be totally unconnected to how much you actually accomplish in a day....or any other practical aspects that might be gained here. Feeling good and well rested is the biggee, methinks..
I'm also traveling, in about 10 days...lots of us will probably have all kinds of situational changes with the holidays coming up..and I'm just going to zero in on the 90 minute thing and let the rest of the time go as it does. We'll see how that works!
Jus' kidding.. that works for me for just the reason that you mention, gets things off my head. (also makes me sleepy...)
Sorry I haven't been very present on this thread since its start; I hadn't realized it was growing so quickly! I'll add this to my list of threads to check regularly.
I'm beginning to sound like I'm selling something; I'll stop here.
I don't ever drink cafiene, so I don't know what it is. My mind is just too busy thinking etc. I might try that list.
Now if I start this, do I have to keep the same times exactly, or as long as I keep the same lengths, or what's rules? Or is it just kind of weaning your way into it, not like 'cold turkey' right into it.
As for the 'cold turkey' approach, personally I prefer this method to others for most things; but not everyone is the same. When it comes to the biphasic sleeping though, there isn't really a way of working up to it - you just change from sleeping once per day to sleeping twice.
Hi Andrew! Welcome to the effort here :) It's such an interesting thing and somehow it seems we are able to actually help each other explore this..
If you've a mind to, would you consider posting some sort of a log on this thread?
It's really interesting to see what others' experiences are and you might find that it helps you to stay on track. I have, for sure.
I agree with Scott Bird, just get a start on it by splitting your sleeping time into two sections. Also it seems pretty central to this process to think in terms of 90 minute sections. You'll see a lot about that and links to all sorts of research and other literature.
So, perhaps a 90 minute nap and then some multiple of 90 minutes for night sleep. Then go from there. A lot of people seem to find that their sleep cycles shorten to less than 90 minutes. But if you set an alarm at 90 minutes and then get up if you wake up shortly before, then you'll probably allow your sleep cycles to "train you", that way.
So welcome and let's hear from you!
See, my biggest problem is that falling asleep for me is such a huge variable. Anywhere from 20-80 minutes, depending on how tired I am. So setting my alarmclock for 90 minutes etc is really hard. Do any of you use your internal clock?
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