What would you do if you could find an extra couple of hours every day? What if it cost you sleeping time to find those hours? What if you could have those same hours AND more energy?
Yeah, I was sceptical too!
Yet as I read more and more accounts of people who are trying this method for themselves I felt that there was a good chance that it was worth a try so as of yesterday, I’ll be testing this method for you for the next 30 days.
What is it I’m talking about? This is a modified sleep pattern called “Biphasic Sleeping”.
Whilst I don’t pretend to understand all the science behind this technique, the facts as they pertain to me is that I can’t really lose.
Let me explain…
What is Biphasic Sleeping?
Biphasic sleeping differs from our normal sleep pattern of going to bed at night and getting up 8 hours later in the morning – otherwise called monophasic sleeping. With biphasic, the idea is to have two blocks of sleep in a 24 hour period, where each block is of a defined duration. If this is done properly, we can apparently function with less sleep than normal and in most people, biphasic sleep patterns tend to actually give better quality sleep and ultimately deliver more energy during the day.
The trick is to understand how our body works when we sleep. There’s something fancy called Circadian Rhythms which refer to the cycle that our bodies go through when we sleep. Studies have found that we drift in and out of deep sleep on a fairly regular pattern. With the majority of people, it takes around 90 minutes to slip into a deep sleep and cycle back up to a point of light sleep. If we can time our sleep patterns to fit around these natural rhythms, we’ll tend to wake up at times when our body is ready to rise without that groggy feeling that we often face when the alarm goes off!
As I understand it, by including a short sleep period of 90 minutes in this pattern, we prevent our bodies from getting over-tired and allow a kind of “trickle charge” to bump our energy levels back up. When we then go to bed at night, we can limit our sleeping time to just 4.5 hours (3 cycles) and wake up the next morning feeling fresh and full of energy. That’s a total of only 6 hours sleep, delivering better quality and more energy than regular, monophasic sleep.
How I’m Doing This
To be honest, I’ve been getting little more than about 6 hours sleep most nights for the past few weeks and have been suffering from low energy levels and constant tiredness, so this experiment can’t possible make things worse!
I find that I naturally feel tired in the early evening and in the past, have simply pushed this aside and carried on working. This typically meant that I went to bed way too late and far too tired for my own good and made getting up the next morning really tough. However, I still had to get up the next morning so simply suffered with the lack of sleep.
Using biphasic sleep patterns, I’ll simply take my 90 minute nap in the evening, then get up and get back to whatever I need to do in the evening, be that work, socialising or simply relaxing with my wife. Ideally, I’ll be looking to take this nap starting some time between 5.30 and 6.30.
Next, I need my 4.5 hours sleep during the night. I love to achieve something prior to my day really starting so getting up at 6am would enable me to do this. This means that I need to go to bed at 1.30am. I’ll see how this goes and might shift this sleep period to 12.30-5 instead if that works.
I’ve read on other sites that most people struggle with biphasic sleeping for around a week, then start reaping massive benefits once they’re used to it. We’ll see how this is in my case.
As I said earlier, I started this experiment last night. I’m away on business this week and returned to my hotel just before 6pm. I was already quite tired but before sleeping, I wanted to speak to my wife as I hadn’t heard her angelic voice since early that morning! I then went to bed at 6.30 and slept really well until 8pm. I then got up as soon as the alarm went off and felt great! I ordered a light meal from room service then proceeded to spend the evening working until around 1am. This gave me a little time to wind down and switch off before going back to bed at 1.30.
I have to say, when the alarm went off at 6am this morning, the idea of jumping out of bed still felt a little weird but I can honestly say that I don’t feel any worse than I have done any other day this week. However, I didn’t sleep as well last night as I spent the night dreaming about sleeping through the alarm or not sleeping at all….!
I don’t plan on blogging about this on a daily basis – I can’t imagine that anyone would be interested in THAT level of detail! I will however, post regular updates so that you can see how I get on.
In the meantime, why not check out the post on Steve Pavlina’s blog that inspired me to embark on this experiment.
Finally, if you could find an extra couple of hours every day, what would you do with them? Let me know in the comments below.
Learn more about segmented sleep patterns
It turns out that a pre-requisite for Biphasic Sleep Patterns is a comfortable bed! Lacking this at home means that being able to fall asleep quickly is next to impossible, which makes timing the sleep impractical. With this in mind, I’m putting the experiment on hold until such time as we replace our bed.