What is Polyphasic Sleep?


Find Sleep Clinics & Specialists »

Polyphasic Sleep is a type of sleep pattern in which the sleeper will have several naps throughout the day, and this is their sleep. They do not sleep for a large period during the night. If you want to begin to adopt this sleep cycle, you have to work your body into a routine, take naps of up to an hour at different times of the day. However, the time asleep is also reduced from around 8 hours to around 2 – 5 hours a day. Evidentally, this will take a lot of adjusting to, and it is important you stick to a regime during the day, staying awake and sleeping at certain times, in order for you body to become adjusted to this sleep method.

Many people who adopt this style of sleeping note an increased alertness and motivation once their body has adjusted to this type of sleep. They also suggest that they do not gain the aches and pains that some of us may experience after a long night’s sleep and their days are considerably longer than ours!

Negatives to this sleeping pattern are often thought to lie in the lack of REM sleep one would presume would be experienced. Our bodies may take the hour that they nap to even begin REM sleep, so the polyphasic sleeper may miss out on REM sleep. However, polyphasic sleepers do argue that the body adjusts to the mode of sleeping and will become more efficient in providing the body with the stages of sleep it needs, instead of ‘wasting’ many hours getting to the stages. It is also a concern that polyphasic sleepers will develop depression, especially as it is difficult to maintain the nap schedule in a busy lifestyle. If naps are missed it does take its toll and disrupts the sleeping pattern.

If you are considering trying this method of sleeping, it would be recommended that you fully research it and analyse whether it is the right sleeping pattern for you before embarking on the arduous task of changing your body clock!

Read more in the Sleep Disorders & Sleep Problems Information Guide


« Are Sleeping Pills Addictive? What is Sleep Deprivation? »