If you’re like me, you’ve found yourself laying sleeplessly in bed at 2am on a Tuesday night. You’ve tossed and turned for hours, but your eyes just won’t close. I’ve been there, my friend. We all have. In fact, it’s estimated that roughly 60 million Americans experience some sort of sleeping disorder. That’s why I decided to take matters into my own hands and research what other sleep schedules are out there: ones that don’t require the majority of the population to spend their time staring at the ceiling at night! I’ve found quite a few options with varying degrees of flexibility and structure, so let’s dive right in:
The Everyman is an alternative sleep schedule that was designed to improve your sleep quality and make up for lost sleep. It’s a sleeping cycle that is split into two parts; A 90-minute nap in the early afternoon, which will keep you feeling energized throughout the day and an 8-hour block of nighttime sleep, starting at 10pm until 6am the next morning.
If you’re an architect and are looking for a more efficient sleep schedule, Dymaxion may be the solution for you. Buckminster Fuller was the inventor of this 20-hour sleep cycle, which is a combination of both the Uberman and the Biphasic schedules. The Dymaxion cycle has four phases; Phase 1—two hours of deep sleep where you reach REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM stages II and III respectively, Phase 2—four hours in which your body alternates between light stages N1/N2 and N3/N2 respectively and Phase 3—another two hours of deep sleep where your body reaches REM again. With this amount of time spent in REM, it’s likely that you’ll remember your dreams more often than in standard cycles where phase 3 is shorter (the average phase 3 lasts about 45 minutes if you’re on a monophasic schedule). These dreams will be especially vivid because they occur during non-REM stages II or III when your brain waves are synchronized with those experienced during dreaming . This means that any thoughts or worries from your day will come back to haunt or inspire you while sleeping!
A biphasic sleep schedule is a sleep cycle that is broken into two parts. The first part is a long period of sleep (at least four hours), and the second part consists of a nap (20-60 minutes) or short night sleep. The most common version of this cycle involves taking two naps during the day instead of one. The idea behind biphasic sleeping is that we are supposed to have an extended period of REM dreaming at night, which takes up about 2/3rds of our total sleep time, then a shorter period for REM during our afternoon siesta. This would help us get through more work with less stress and physical fatigue from all the extra waking time spent in bed each day than monophasic sleepers need to accommodate their longer nighttime periods where they don’t dream at all.
Here’s a cycle that allows you to get the most out of your sleep. It consists of 20 minutes of sleep, followed by 20 minutes of rest. You do this for up to three days, and then you should have enough energy to go back to a normal sleeping schedule. This cycle is best used when you are sick or need a boost in energy after a long period without sleep (like if your flight gets delayed). It is important not to work on anything that requires concentration during these naps because it will be hard for you to stay awake afterwards!
With that, I’ll leave you to explore. As a final thought, though, I’d like to mention that this is an ongoing debate in the scientific community. There have been studies done showing some benefits of polyphasic sleep; there have also been studies denigrating it. There are doctors and researchers who swear by polyphasic sleep; there are others who insist that it’s not worth trying at all. Anecdotal evidence exists both for and against polyphasic sleep; while it may work well for some people, those same results won’t necessarily hold true across the board. As with any lifestyle change or medical decision, be sure to do your own research and make the choice that works best for you—and don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about what you find! Don’t let anyone else tell you what will or will not work for your body or brain; just because it hasn’t worked for them doesn’t mean it can’t work for you!