How 'Paleo' is polyphasic sleep?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 03, 2012 at 4:06 PM

I just brought home my twin infants from the hospital's NICU )they were born at 32-and-some-change weeks). Everyone is healthy and doing well, but this waking up every 3-4 hours is pretty draining. I expect that polyphasic sleep is not particularly paleo (as I can see no evolutionary advantage for humans to be out-and-about during night, when our vision is severely diminished), but I figured why not look for a silver lining, right? Are my babies making my wife and I more paleo?

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5 Answers



on August 03, 2012
at 04:33 PM

Many hunter gatherers actually wake up in the middle of the night and then sleep again (bi-phasic). I recall a journalist who stayed with the !Kung (or maybe it was Hadza) who went with the men for a middle of the night baboon hunt by moonlight. It was quite successful.

Other HGs make use of naps whenever they feel like it. I guess that's the advantage of not having a 9-5 job!


on August 03, 2012
at 06:11 PM

Oh yes! You are experiencing how much you can adapt to environmental changes! Slepp will return to normal eventually but for awhile it will be polyphasic. Good luck!!! It really does get much better!!!



on August 03, 2012
at 04:30 PM

Welcome to parenthood. They will eventually sleep better and so will you. I doubt paleo infants slept any differently than modern infants. I recommend keeping your life as simple as possible, with you and Mom tagging in while the other rests. Congratulations!



on August 03, 2012
at 05:59 PM

bi-phasic is common among humans (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/biphasic-sleep/) but it has to be natural for it to be beneficial. Get the sleep while you can, in 6-98 weeks you will be past this stage!



on August 03, 2012
at 04:47 PM

I think it may have been selected for in certain environments.

But for babies, well the womb is comfortable and they weren't even lonely because they were in there together. Then they ended up in the hospital- uncomfortable, and artificially lit. You'll just have to wait for them to get used to things.

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