Kelvinwright's Blog

postmodern thoughts

Sleep Cycles


I’ve been investigating different sleep patterns for a while now. It’s been a long time since I slept the traditional monophasic cycle (one solid sleep of between 7 and 9 hours and then wake up in the morning and do the hard slog at work). I found myself constantly tired with this “traditional” method, especially towards the end of the week, then some years ago I switched to a byphasic cycle (sleep for 6 hours: midnight to 6.00am, then a 15 minute siesta after work). It isn’t perfect, because the siesta would work better at around 3.00pm, but I did find benefits: I found the siesta helped recharge my energy levels as well as increasing my productivity during the evening. According to an article I found, * in regards to health, there is now solid scientific research to show that the byphasic cycle is not only better for our health but it can also lead to better moods, a decrease in stress, and an increase in our overall productivity, making us more alert. Maybe companies could investigate the benefit of chill out rooms!


The article * also described briefly other sleep cycles. However, traditional 9 to 6 jobs would not allow them, or would at least require much more flexibility and careful implementation to enable them to work.


The Everyman cycle is a schedule consisting of one 3 and a half hour sleep, and 3 x 20 minute siestas. The cycle is designed to offset the natural drops in alertness that happen with the traditional monophasic cycle. Instead of grapping Coke or attacking the Nespresso, we could lie down and recharge batteries. A solution to those demanding, “More hours in the day”.


The Dymaxion cycle consists of 4 x 30 minute sleeps during the day, totalling just 2 hours. This would require a weeks of readjustment, and massive discipline on the part of the individual, and understand on the part of companies. This cycle is said to be the most difficult, because not everybody can attain it.


The Uberman cycle is a sleep pattern consisting entirely of between 6 and 8 x 20 minute siestas totalling under 3 hours of sleep per day. Each siesta is spaced equally throughout the day and night. Understandably, missing one or more siestas on this cycle can result in feeling very tired, so keeping to the schedule is important.


For anything but the monosphasic or biphasic cycles to work, companies would need to take a vested interest in assisting their employees. And people would need to be willing to break the mould that they have known their whole lives. It would require adaptation, discipline, and understanding.


I’d be interested in hearing from people who have successfully adapted their sleep cycles to become more productive, or from anybody who has bought an osterich pillow to allow them to do this at work. I’d also be very interested in hearing from HR Professionals who have launched workplace initiatives based around different sleep cycles.


* Original article:

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October 26, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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