Have you ever considered just how much time you spend asleep? Most people are shocked when they hear that 26 years, roughly one third of your life will be spent under the covers, dreaming.
In today’s fast-pace society, we are all chasing time. After all, who wouldn’t like more time? When you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or working at the frontier of science, you’ll hardly even have time to eat! Many of these folks have come up with some very creative ways of clawing their time back from their sleeping hours in an effort to get more done.
This sleep routine isn’t too out of the ordinary. College students all over the world follow this routine without recognizing it. Biphasic sleep involves sleeping at night for about 4.5 hours, followed by a 90-minute nap later that day. Most notably, Winston Churchill slept this way in order to keep up with the demands of war.
There have been countless studies done on sleep and sleep deprivation. One of the biggest discoveries was that a 20-minute nap is just as effective as 90 minutes of sleep, provided you enter a state of deep sleep known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. When taking many naps sleeping in this fashion, you train your body to enter REM sleep immediately, allowing you to rise fully refreshed after twenty short minutes. This finding has led to sleeping cycles such as the Everyman cycle, where 3 hours of sleep at night is supplemented by 3-4 naps during the day.
The Uberman Cycle
The Uberman cycle is the pinnacle of polyphasic sleep. This sleeping routine is surprisingly common, considering just how tough it is those first two weeks. Some people really are so busy they cannot sleep. One interesting way around this is to never sleep, instead taking a 20-minute nap every four hours. With only three hours of sleep a day, time will never again be a problem. Many people have been able to make this work for them, such as blogger Steve Pavlina.
Let’s take the Uberman cycle one step further. . .
After all, why sleep three hours a day when you can get by on two? When following the Uberman cycle, there is a small problem of having to take so many breaks from work. A scientist on the verge of a breakthrough discovery doesn’t have time for that. Buckminster Fullerene, a brilliant scientist praised for the amazing things he did with carbon, only took a nap every six hours!
It is surprising just how many people have used these crazy sleep methods to great effect. Many bloggers have fascinated their readers by doing so. Even more surprising is that they live a fully functional life—with no loss in energy, concentration, or health—and their lives remain largely the same. Who knows, as the world moves at a faster pace, we could all end up sleeping this way!