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Alternative Sleeping Patterns – Polyphasic and Biphasic

Forget Insomnia – Try a New Way of Sleeping

If normal (monophasic) sleeping doesn’t work, you may be interested in trying an alternative sleeping pattern.

biphasic sleep

Blifaloo Trivia: Q. What do Leonardo da Vinci , P. Diddy, Bill Clinton, and Lord Byron all have in common?

A. Answer at bottom of page

In this article we will explain 2 common alternative sleeping patterns (Polyphasic and Biphasic), including the good, bad and how-tos.

Polyphasic Sleep

This system of sleeping (aka Da Vinci sleep or Uberman sleep) uses short naps to reduce total sleep time to 2-5 hours a day.

This is achieved by implementing many 20-30 minute naps throughout the day. Advocates say that polyphasic sleep allows for more productive awake hours.

Though there are many variations of this form of sleep, a common schedule would be: 30 minute naps every fourth hour.

Biphasic Sleep

Biphasic is accomplished by splitting sleep into 2 sections. By doing this advocates claim you can function well on about 4.5 hours of sleep a day. Generally the Biphasic sleeping pattern is 3 hours (core sleep) at night and a 90 minute nap sometime during the day.

There are also hybrid sleep systems.

Pros and Cons

The reason many folks who attempt to follow one of these alternate sleeping patters, is to increase their total waking hours. By decreasing sleep to only a few hours a day, these schedules do achieve that goal. In a year a Poly or Biphasic sleeper could gain an extra 45 days!

The main cons to adapting an alternate sleep pattern includes: being out of sync with the rest of the world, and difficulties maintaining such a rigid schedule.

Further Reading

This article is intended to be a short primer into what Polyphasic and Biphasic sleep is about, to learn more please check out the following resources.

Steve Pavilna relates his personal experience using a Polyphasic sleep schedule in his blog.

Polyphasic Sleep – Wikipedia Entry

Insomnia – How to Sleep Better – Overview of insomnia, plus my tips on getting more sleep.

Books on Polyphasic / Biphasic Sleeping

Links point to, where you can read full reviews for each book.


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Trivia Answer: They are all known (or rumored) as being biphasic, polyphasic or having alternative sleeping habits.

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