I recently shared some surprising nformation about sleep: In a recent study on sleep and longevity, those who slept between 6.5 and 7.5 hours per night lived the longest.
Writing this post really got me thinking; I sure could use a few extra hours in the day! So how much sleep do we really need to get by?
Doing a little internet research turned up a lot of information on ‘polyphasic‘ sleep – Here’s the concept in a nutshell:
Essentially, we have five phases of sleep, with R.E.M. phase being the deepest. This is the stage we need the most – where most regenerative effects occur, etc. The average person apparently only gets about 1.5 – 2 hours a night of REM sleep – so the theory is that much of our normal 7-8 hours of sleep is wasted.
In polyphasic sleep, you train your body to very quickly reach the REM cycle (by sleep depriving yourself in the short term) and get all of your sleep during six 20 minute naps over a 24 hour period.
This is the most ‘hardcore’ version of polyphasic sleep – there are also more ‘mild’ versions (that also accommodate a little better to a normal person’s schedule) where you take one longer ‘core nap’ (ranging from 3-6 hours) with 20 minute naps mixed in during the day.
This sounds like a great concept – how much more time you would have! However, first hand accounts don’t sound entirely convincing. I think the idea of shortening sleep time and opting for one or two short naps might be a little more doable myself. Also, there isn’t really any long term research on the topic at all, which is a little concerning – your health is probably not the best thing to be experimenting with.
Anyone interested in trying it out? Here are a couple links for more info on the topic:
Good luck – let us know how you do!