Inducing biphasic sleep pattern?

Answered on March 26, 2012
Created March 26, 2012 at 5:17 AM

Sleeping in two distinct phases seems like a good idea to me but I dont know how to go about doing it. I am usually in bed between 9:30 and 10:15 and up at 6:30. I always sleep through the night. On the rare occasions I wake up at 2 or 3 to pee I am surprisingly awake and like to read for a little bit. How can I make that a habit without setting an alarm? I feel that wouldn't be as "natural" as my body waking itself up. Or, hell, maybe I should just be happy I sleep through the whole night without issues.



on March 26, 2012
at 07:18 AM

Now I've seen it all! Someone who sleeps through the night who wants to wake up and hang out in the middle of the night? Are you kidding? Hey, if your body is sleeping, that's what it wants to do. Why the heck would you want to mess with that?

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on March 26, 2012
at 09:46 AM

It seems likely that biphasic sleep is our natural pattern, especially when nights are long, but we don't usually sleep that way because of artificial light.

I think your best bet is to turn all lights off at dusk and leave them off till sunrise. Create natural conditions in which biphasic sleep is likely to occur and wait and see what happens. Give your body a chance to respond fully to the sun like it's designed to do.

However, if you live in the northern hemisphere, this may be a bad time of year to try this experiment. At least one study suggests that biphasic sleep is more likely to occur when nights are long. It may be the case that summer nights are too short at your latitude for biphasic sleep to emerge.

I agree with you that alarm clocks should be avoided. If biphasic sleep occurs naturally under natural conditions, fine. But why force it?

Somebody is probably going to reply, "But our paleolithic ancestors had fire. It wasn't always dark for them at night." True, but most of our ancestors weren't paleolithic humans. The vast majority weren't even primates. Evolution didn't begin at the start of the Paleolithic.

Reference: Wehr, TA. In short photoperiods, human sleep is biphasic.



on March 26, 2012
at 09:59 AM

I think it occurs naturally when you go to bed really freakin' early, like 7 or 8 pm either by choice or simply because there isn't anything else to do.

It is probably healthier to keep it in one lump if you are doing the normal 10-6:30 thing because it is a pretty short window for being up and having time to wind down again without being anxious about getting up on time in the morning.

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