5

votes

How do you bring about segmented/bi-modal sleep.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 23, 2012 at 6:54 PM

I don't generally have a segmented sleeping pattern. Instead, I fall fast asleep most nights and don't get up until my alarm goes off the next morning, about seven hours later. If I'm feeling really run down, I'll sleep between eight and ten hours on the weekends.

Research suggests that a bo-modal sleeping pattern is more natural, and I'm wondering how to help bring this type of pattern about. For those who do have a segmented sleeping pattern, do you have any tips? How much have blue-light filters and going to bed earlier helped? Or, is it more a matter of forming the habit (i.e. set an alarm in the middle of the night to break up your sleep)?

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on October 29, 2012
at 05:04 AM

It occurs naturally if you have a sufficient amount of hours of darkness, and thus a longer sleep period in total. So id day, less light, more sleep, should do it. It may be healthier, or not, but most of us these days dont have time for the more optimal ten+ hours. Although I do try and make sure I get at least 9.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on September 03, 2012
at 07:03 PM

I so envy you. Count your blessings in the sleep department.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 24, 2012
at 10:03 PM

I guess I should have specified, about not turning on the bright overhead lights. A tiny nightlight on the warm end of the light spectrum is helpful to have on in the bathroom.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:56 PM

Here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/99822/so-not-8-hours-of-sleep

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:56 PM

My answer was to another biphasic post, you can probably find it easiley via search.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:55 PM

Also, I read years ago that REM comes in 90-minute waves, ie. if you sleep 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5 etc hours you'll wake up refreshed. It works with 1.5, 6 and 7.5 hours for me at least.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:54 PM

Check if your Zinc or Magnesium has calcium in it - it's often there. Calcium prevents one or the other from absorbing. I use ZMA (patented) which doesn't have calcium in it.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:50 PM

You CAN sit on the toilet, even if you're a man. Just saying.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:49 PM

If it doesn't have an adverse effect on your life, what's there to solve?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:48 PM

That's a rather dogmatic and dismissive post from Robb. He seems to dismiss the idea of biphasic sleep just because we have different stressors and social rhythm in today's society, and doesn't even entertain the idea that biphasic sleep IS still an option, and works for some people (at least in the medium-term, see my separate answer).

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 24, 2012
at 01:13 PM

I second this. I have bi-modal sleep but I don't like it. I don't believe it is natural and am always trying to "solve it".

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 24, 2012
at 01:09 PM

You try peeing in the dark! ;)

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 24, 2012
at 01:00 PM

Sorry I just read your question again and realise that your question was that you DON'T have segmented sleep. Apologies, but I will leave this here as it may be useful for someone. Though you could try the water technique as some people have mentioned. That and I personally take Zinc + Magnesium before bed, which may help you too.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 24, 2012
at 12:40 PM

There is an urban legend that Native Americans used to all drink the same amount of water the night before a battle so they would all wake up together. Just Googled and can't actually find if this is true or not.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 24, 2012
at 10:13 AM

Good point, yellow, orange, and red light don't wake me up either. One of the presents I give parents with new babies is a night light with a red light bulb so they can pace around in the wee hours without disturbing their sleep patterns too much.

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on February 24, 2012
at 04:21 AM

I used to have a wood pellet stove with a window at my old place. Yellow fire-light seems fine for falling back asleep.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:48 AM

If you only have 7 hours between falling asleep and your alarm going off you don't have a good situation for segmented sleep. I've been getting sleepy around 8 pm so I don't fight it. I wake between midnight and 1 am for a while then fall back to sleep and wake up at "gray light" (as opposed to "yellow light.") If I stay up late, though, then I sleep until sunrise.

03bb06ced2ae02a265909342d4cf3e75

(793)

on February 23, 2012
at 10:49 PM

Agreed, a lot of people would kill to be getting 7-10 hours a night of solid sleep. I always take talk of bi-modal sleep to just be a comfort for people who do wake up in the middle of the night (which would be me a lot of nights), but not something necessary for good health.

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on February 23, 2012
at 10:16 PM

Just caught that from Robb's Twitter feed. He makes an excellent point. That said, I'd still be interested in people's experiences with bo-modal sleep. That is, if you have it, under what conditions does it happen (hours of darkness, hours in bed, no computer/TV use x hours before bedtime, etc). If those conditions can be duplicated and bi-modal sleep induced, is it arguably healthier? Or, does a solid eight-hour block due to a chronic lifestyle come close to being as regenerative as a more "natural" sleep pattern?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 23, 2012
at 09:37 PM

I accidentally caused my sleep to be broken up by taking GABA as a sleep aid for a while. About 4 hours after taking it, I'd be wide awake. Not a positive because I was on swing shift at the time, and dawn would come all too early one way or the other.

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 23, 2012
at 09:00 PM

Ding ding ding. If sleeping 7-10 hours straight is working for you, don't mess with it.

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13 Answers

12
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on February 23, 2012
at 08:36 PM

There's definitely no reason to wake yourself up in the middle of the night on purpose. I earnestly advise against setting an alarm clock for 1am just so you can get segmented sleep.

It can occur naturally if you are getting a good amount (read 8-10) hours of sleep time in a dark environment. Turning off TV and other electronics an hour before bed helps too.

Don't force it assuming it's required.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on February 24, 2012
at 01:13 PM

I second this. I have bi-modal sleep but I don't like it. I don't believe it is natural and am always trying to "solve it".

03bb06ced2ae02a265909342d4cf3e75

(793)

on February 23, 2012
at 10:49 PM

Agreed, a lot of people would kill to be getting 7-10 hours a night of solid sleep. I always take talk of bi-modal sleep to just be a comfort for people who do wake up in the middle of the night (which would be me a lot of nights), but not something necessary for good health.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:49 PM

If it doesn't have an adverse effect on your life, what's there to solve?

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on February 23, 2012
at 09:00 PM

Ding ding ding. If sleeping 7-10 hours straight is working for you, don't mess with it.

2
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 23, 2012
at 09:43 PM

If you want to really play with it, it will come naturally if you give up lighting your house and watching tv/staring at a computer after dark. You'll fall asleep really early, and then will wake naturally for a few hours in the middle of the night, and then get sleepy and finish the night out.

Do not under any circumstances turn lights on in the middle of the night though if you are doing this or your circadian rhythms will get all sorts of whacked out and your brain will say, "Good morning!" That time is for pondering life, staring at the stars, and enjoying your bed mate if they happen to be awake too.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 24, 2012
at 10:13 AM

Good point, yellow, orange, and red light don't wake me up either. One of the presents I give parents with new babies is a night light with a red light bulb so they can pace around in the wee hours without disturbing their sleep patterns too much.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:50 PM

You CAN sit on the toilet, even if you're a man. Just saying.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 24, 2012
at 10:03 PM

I guess I should have specified, about not turning on the bright overhead lights. A tiny nightlight on the warm end of the light spectrum is helpful to have on in the bathroom.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 24, 2012
at 01:09 PM

You try peeing in the dark! ;)

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on February 24, 2012
at 04:21 AM

I used to have a wood pellet stove with a window at my old place. Yellow fire-light seems fine for falling back asleep.

1
5304d75cfe3ab75fc3828ae3a5b2cbbf

on September 03, 2012
at 02:29 PM

I've been a segmented sleeper my whole life, and there are a few things I do differently than most people. For one, I've never had much tolerance for heavy curtains and unnaturally dark rooms. I have "light-filtering" mini blinds and sheer curtains that give me privacy, but don't block much light. While it was never a conscious choice, I feel like the natural light has done a lot to keep my circadian rhythms tuned to a more evolutionary normal.

Another thing is that I don't fight it. I go to bed when I'm sleepy. When I wake up in the middle of the night I don't panic - I know I'll be comfortably out again in a couple of hours and I'm not going to wake up tired. I spend my wakeful time doing relaxing, pleasant things.

To give you an idea of my regular sleep schedule, I'm typically ready to zonk out by 10, and I'm asleep within just a few minutes of my head hitting the pillow. I usually wake up from my first sleep around 2, get up, go to the bathroom, maybe have a glass of water or an apple, and settle back into bed to read a book, check the news, or just relax and think about my day. Second sleep usually comes around 3 or 4 (recognize when you get sleepy again and don't fight it), and from there I sleep until around 7. I'm never tired, even when getting less than 8 hours of sleep. It's really all about listening to your body and trusting it to do what it needs.

1
Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 24, 2012
at 12:57 PM

2 weeks ago after looking at the Zeo Sleep Age page: http://www.myzeo.com/sleep/sleepage I guessed that perhaps I was automatically waking up after my last REM.

Generally I feel terrible every morning when I get out of bed around 7:30 woken by my alarm, and after dozing off after automatically waking up around 6:00. So I set my alarm for 6:30 and like magic I not only wake up a few minutes before my alarm but I now get out of bed feeling refreshed.

This is awesome since basically I think I have just learnt to do what the Zeo Sleep Manager would have told me/helped me to do. That is to wake up after the earliest sensible last REM cycle and thus not slip into my next REM cycle, only to have it broken by the alarm leaving me feeling very groggy. Saved me $150.00!

So basically if you are someone who wakes up automatically between the hours of 4:00 and 07:00 then I would say note what time you wake and then set your alarm to go off just after that time. You may be waking just after your REM; and having your alarm go off after rather than during and breaking the following REM cycle may make you feel a lot more refreshed.

I would say getting up before 4:00 may not feel so great if you go to bed around 23:00. I am still playing with this all but I can honestly say I have been surprised by simply just getting up when my body wakes me up at 6:00, rather then heading back into a dream.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:54 PM

Check if your Zinc or Magnesium has calcium in it - it's often there. Calcium prevents one or the other from absorbing. I use ZMA (patented) which doesn't have calcium in it.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 24, 2012
at 01:00 PM

Sorry I just read your question again and realise that your question was that you DON'T have segmented sleep. Apologies, but I will leave this here as it may be useful for someone. Though you could try the water technique as some people have mentioned. That and I personally take Zinc + Magnesium before bed, which may help you too.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:55 PM

Also, I read years ago that REM comes in 90-minute waves, ie. if you sleep 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5 etc hours you'll wake up refreshed. It works with 1.5, 6 and 7.5 hours for me at least.

1
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on February 23, 2012
at 09:47 PM

Read this about how you really should interpret the bi-modal sleep results from the research:

http://www.robbwolf.com/2012/02/23/sleep-sleep-sleep-how-artificial-lighting-and-cortisol-impact-zzzs/

Da8e709acde269e8b8bfbc09d1737841

(1906)

on February 23, 2012
at 10:16 PM

Just caught that from Robb's Twitter feed. He makes an excellent point. That said, I'd still be interested in people's experiences with bo-modal sleep. That is, if you have it, under what conditions does it happen (hours of darkness, hours in bed, no computer/TV use x hours before bedtime, etc). If those conditions can be duplicated and bi-modal sleep induced, is it arguably healthier? Or, does a solid eight-hour block due to a chronic lifestyle come close to being as regenerative as a more "natural" sleep pattern?

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:56 PM

Here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/99822/so-not-8-hours-of-sleep

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:56 PM

My answer was to another biphasic post, you can probably find it easiley via search.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 24, 2012
at 03:48 PM

That's a rather dogmatic and dismissive post from Robb. He seems to dismiss the idea of biphasic sleep just because we have different stressors and social rhythm in today's society, and doesn't even entertain the idea that biphasic sleep IS still an option, and works for some people (at least in the medium-term, see my separate answer).

1
F8882a340f4b8e18196dd35339ea1b44

on February 23, 2012
at 09:00 PM

Drink a lot of water right before bed and you will have to get up. Works for me, I wake around 1am to go to the bathroom.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on February 24, 2012
at 12:40 PM

There is an urban legend that Native Americans used to all drink the same amount of water the night before a battle so they would all wake up together. Just Googled and can't actually find if this is true or not.

0
1faa23995a38f68a772519343ef427b7

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

Hi Everyone ! Since I eat super healthy and have become a lean bean hehe I usually have a 2phase sleeping pattern and I LOVE IT . I go to bed usually before 10 pm , wake up at 3:30 am , going to bed again at 5 am and sleep until 7 am .

I absolutely embrace it . I talk to my mum , think about my dreams or write down some ideas I get as I am working on printing out some books now.

If I had a partner I would perhaps have a sex with him during this time.

It's natural.

it's for longevity .

I wake up fresher , feeling younger , can push harder during my workout in a day . I think it also means you detox and therefore waking up .strong text

0
5f6a0b8249bd5fce4143f7bc4d45e7ee

on May 06, 2013
at 01:55 AM

I graduated high school this past summer and while i was in school i slept in segments. I came home mostly at 3:30pm then grabbed something to eat, watched tv or hoped online and went straight to sleep usually between 6-7pm cuz that when i felt tired. i didnt want to fight thru tiredness with any stimulants since ive been raised to do what i felt was right and using coffee to stay awake i thought was dumb since you are fighting a losing battle by doing something like that. When a car needs gas, you dont put oil in the tank kno what i mean.

i would sleep from 7pm until 12am-1am. No alarm clock needed. So from 12am up until about 3am i would be doing homework. I was very familiar with the moon and its different shapes during these times. After the homwork was complete i would just play with itunes then jump straight to bed and wake up at 7:00am to prepare for school like eat breakfest, brush & bath. Honestly i had true peace of mind during these times, i was fully awake and had extraordinary confidence and optimism for all challenges the next day brought. Plus theres no distractions at 2am on a business day. And my sleep segments were completely voluntary, i could have had a shot of 5hr energy but i did what was truly natural. oh and i never even heard of sleep segments and these regimes while i was doing it.

And reading some of these stories on the thread it looks like the segmented sleepers are forced into it and thats really the wrong way to go. It needs to happen the way your body naturally wants it, everyone is different what works for you will not work for someone else. i kno people that thrive on 5 hours sleep per day and some the conventional 8 hours. Its not magic theres always somthing that works well for you and not someone else. Just experiment around and find what works. That may not be possible for everyone but really only you control your life. Dont make excuses for a healthier life

0
Aece5617a8dd993145117e2048ed565b

on November 05, 2012
at 03:04 AM

currently i have been getting segmented sleep occurring naturally to me, and it has been a nightmare.

i am currently in a job working long hours with a small break and finishing late at night, the divided sleep pattern just isn't providing the same amount of energy as a solid 6-7 hour sleep would and after a week of this pattern setting in a have been know to wake up still very sleepy and am unable to function normally after around 3pm.

Have become increasingly sensitive physically and emotionally and as a person am quite "fragile" which is very unlike me. There doesn't seem to be anyway for me to break this sleep cycle and the fatigue has been compounding over the last 3 weeks.

0
193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

on September 03, 2012
at 03:42 PM

Have kids. My infants have made my sleep extremely segmented. I don't recommend it; it's not any fun.

0
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on February 24, 2012
at 02:42 PM

Nice to see that biphasic (or segmented) sleep has hit mainstream news: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783

My husband & I found ourselves naturally doing this. We wake up around the same time to pee & then cuddle & talk for an hour or so. We've had some really great discussions at 3am!

I agree that if you sleep through the night, there is no need to wake yourself up!

I wonder if this is a natural pattern for older folk (I'm 49 & my husband is 55). I used to sleep through the night when I was younger, simply because I didn't get up to pee...

0
34cf7065a6c94062c711eb16c0f6adc3

on February 24, 2012
at 06:51 AM

The sleep pattern requires about 10 hours sleeping time. This would be ideally from 7-8pm to 5-6am, with a 1-2 hours break in between. Obviously nothing would be forced. You just prepare yourself for bed with no lighting at 7pm, and go with the flow.

Question is can you leave aside so much time for sleep. You could do some light reading during the break hours. But it cannot be something that is engrossing, so not really productive work. It should make you more productive during work hours though.

0
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on February 23, 2012
at 11:19 PM

What's 'natural' for you, is how you tend to sleep when you are getting enough hours of sleep in good conditions (dark quiet room, no tv right before bed, etc).

I usually wake often during the night for less than 10 minutes, but I've never been a bi-modal sleeper. Even when my parents forced me to lie in a dark room, sleeping or not, from 7pm or 8pm onward, every night (they were very strict about it until I was 11 or 12) - never did I wake up during the middle of the night for an extended period of time. I don't tend to be an easy waker in general; I sleep through violent storms and any number of crazy noises, and have to force myself up in stages in the morning. On the other hand my ex-BF has woken up for an hour or two between 2 and 5 his whole life. He is also a very easy/natural waker and easily startled. Maybe this has something to do with sleep style, who knows.

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