Going biphasic...why?

Ever since I first read about polyphasic sleep schedules, the idea has fascinated me.  If you have no idea what I talking about, here is a fairly understandable Wikipedia article and a handy diagram...

Essentially by dividing up your sleeping times and spreading them across the day, the result is that you spend less time overall asleep.  Now as someone who spends around 8 hours a day sleeping and still feels exhausted most of the time, it certainly seems like an attractive idea to sleep less and not feel the difference.  But to me, extreme polyphasic schedules like the Dymaxion or Uberman illustrations above seem at best inachievable and at worst very unhealthy.

I vividly recall learning about Jouvet's sleep deprivation experiments on cats during my A-level Psychology lessons.  Basically he put the cats on an upturned flowerpot in a pool of water.  When the cats entered the REM phase of sleep, their muscles would relax - and splash! - soggy (and awake) kitty.  I am ashamed to admit that there is something about the idea of enraged soggy flowerpots cats that I find totally hilarious.  Sorry cats, and yes I do know that animal experimentation is wrong.  But there is a serious motto to the tale, because sleep deprivation kills. 

So despite the fact that various people claim to have adopted a polyphasic sleep schedule with varying degrees of success (if they manage to break through the initial zombie phase!), I don't think it is for me.  Apart from not wanting to end up like a flowerpot cat (dead), it is not really compatible with a full-time job or a vaguely social lifestyle.  I also love my bed and I love sleeping, and lets be honest, 30 minute naps just don't compare to spending hours snuggled up with someone you love.  Even if my current sleeping partner is a lazy brown dog!

And yet, the idea of being able to claw back some more precious hours in this life is oh so appealing.  So I have decided to give biphasic sleeping a go.  Now this is obviously a healthy and achievable method - just look at the entire population of Spain if you want an example!  As you only take one nap per day it is a much more flexible method and more compatible with a "normal" life schedule.  I always assumed that people who lived in siesta-taking countries actually slept more, that they had siesta plus a full amount of sleep at night, or at the very least the same total sleeping time.  

The downside to biphasic compared to other polyphasic methods is that you spend only around 2 hours less sleeping per day, whereas you gain 6 hours per day by adopting a Dymaxion pattern. But still, 2 hours a day is 14 hours a week and 728 hours a year.  That's 1 month extra awake time per year.  A whole month!  Just think of what you could do with that time... I think that sounds like a good deal to me.

And so...I am going to give it a one month trial.

Wish me luck!

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