Recently, I got back on the biphasic sleep cycle (traditionally 5 hours of sleep + 1.5 hour nap) after a good several months of the more traditional monophasic sleep cycle (7-8 hours a day). While the monophasic sleep cycle is the more generally accepted sleep cycle, my body works infinitely better with a smaller “sleep” and an extended nap during the day. I’ve seen it said that humans are naturally polyphasic sleepers (sleep more than once during the day), although I’m not sure one could make the argument in this day and age.
This was a big problem for me when I was younger (in middle and high school), because I always overloaded with coffee in the middle of the day, not realizing that my body just works functionally better with a nap in between. When I got to college, I started napping more after class and my sleep cycle at night grew smaller and smaller. At one point, I found myself sleeping in a triphasic sleep cycle (3 chunks of sleep “episodes” in a day), which I found very, very difficult to maintain.
A while ago, I saw some blogs talk about the uberman sleep cycle (links are references to the uberman sleep cycle, although you can find plenty of results on your own). I think methods like this are interesting for decreasing the overall amount of sleep that someone has, but in my opinion, it conflicts too much with (1) leading a normal life and (2) treating sleep as a joy and not a process. Let me explain.
When people ask about my biphasic sleep cycle, they assume I use it because I am an efficient worker and I like sleeping less to work more. After all, polyphasic sleepers generally get less sleep while still hitting critical sleep phases. However, that’s not the case. If it were, I would be shooting for more intense levels of polyphasic sleep (such as the everyman or uberman sleep cycle) to increase my productivity (and, I suppose, decrease my sleep). But I don’t, because I thoroughly enjoy sleeps and naps. I like waking up on my own time (which coincidentally follows the biphasic sleep cycle), and I don’t want to have to plan how I want to sleep to make myself a more productive individual.
I thoroughly enjoy biphasic sleep. I think it not only makes me a more productive person during the day (not in terms of more time, but alertness and energy), but it lets me look forward to a readily deserved nap during the afternoon. If you haven’t had the chance to try it out, I highly encourage it.