Friday, September 28, 2012

Biphasic Sleep Cycle

Note: this blog has been migrated to Medium, with the articles here available to preserve permalinks Please see this post at https://medium.com/@ianrbuck/biphasic-sleep-cycle-1885dbc9ceda

Last weekend I stayed up until about 3 in the morning two nights in a row (not entirely on purpose). Because we have Cross Country at 9 in the morning on weekends, I wasn't able to sleep in so I ended up collapsing for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

I recalled that my friend Snuffy had tried to get himself into a polyphasic sleep cycle last year, and I wondered if what I had ended up doing was close at all. I found this lovely Wikipedia article on the subject and one section popped out in particular:


According to that chart I was very close already to being on a biphasic sleep cycle with 6 hours of sleep a day. So I decided to keep it up; with my weekly schedule it makes the most sense to sleep from 2 or 2:30 to 7 in the morning, and 1.5 hours right before or after Cross Country practice, which goes from 4 to about 6 on weekdays.

So far it hasn't worked out too badly. I feel awake and alert for most of the day except for right before and right after my sleep times. My body is definitely still expecting to be getting more sleep at once because I always feel groggy right after I wake up. I have been pretty strict about maintaining the schedule because I know that I will lapse back into 8 hours a night if I let myself.

I think I will experiment a bit with different lengths of sleep (maybe a little more sleep during the major sleep block and less during the nap?) and see what feels the most natural. For example, I will get an extra hour of sleep tonight because we have a Cross Country meet tomorrow.

In a week I will let you know if I have successfully adjusted to biphasic sleeping; if it still doesn't feel natural by that time I will go back to my normal sleep cycle. I'm in college, I'm supposed to try out new things, right?