Alaska Sleep Education Center

Great Minds Think Alike...But, How Do They Sleep?

Posted by Colossal Sleep on Jul 7, 2019 2:00:00 PM

Polyphasic sleep pattern has become a real sensation on the Internet, ever since there have been researches that implied that most celebrated minds of mankind use to sleep in several chunks. But what is polyphasic sleep? What effects does it have? Did Tesla and Da Vinci really sleep in such a manner?

Today we're answering all those questions.


What is Polyphasic Sleep?

Polyphasic is a sleeping pattern where a person sleeps multiple times throughout the day. These chunks of sleep are usually brief and can occur from 4 to 6 times a day. Don't get confused, polyphasic sleeping has nothing to do with oversleeping or sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy or hypersomnia.

With those sleeping disturbances, one sleeps excessively throughout the day and at night as well. In polyphasic sleep, a person would actually sleep for a total of 3 or 4 hours throughout the day but will divide that time into several intervals.


There are a lot of polyphasic sleep advocates that claim this way of sleeping has multiple benefits for us, especially on our cognitive level. On the other hand, there are other people that believe that not sleeping in a monophasic, regular way may lead to potential health risks.

While the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, it is interesting to know what are the things that made us link polyphasic sleep to some of the greatest minds that ever existed in human history.

Acclaimed Benefits of Polyphasic Sleep

According to people who practice polyphasic sleep, sleeping this way will:

  • Make you more alert.
  • Let you achieve a better mind clarity.
  • Make your days longer since you won't be "losing" 8 hours on sleep daily.
  • You might feel more rested.


*Note: It is not scientifically proven that you will feel more rested in the long run. However, due to a shorter sleep with a more condensed power of regeneration (a sleep-deprived brain would fall immediately to the REM phase, skipping the inefficient recovery phases of sleep), you might feel more rested after 40 min of sleep than after an 8-hour long sleep.


Some even claim that polyphasic sleep even reduced their sleep disorders such as nightmares, sleepwalking, or muscle soreness. We would call these too optimistic presumptions since we still need a proper amount of sleep in order to function properly (especially during the growth period kids go through).


However, you would surely see the benefits of such a way of sleeping after some time. Your body and brain would need a couple of weeks to get used to it, and the real effects of the polyphasic sleep should be seen only then.

The problem arises if your organism needs more sleep than usual. In that case, it might not be wise to experiment with this way of sleeping. Instead, it is better if you do a check-up and see if there's something causing your excessive sleepiness.


If you're completely healthy and are really interested in finding out how polyphasic sleep would affect you, do your research and pick the type of polyphasic sleep that suits you best. In the end, if most animals (dogs and cats included) sleep in polyphasic patterns and still manage to have some rest, there might be a slight chance that polyphasic sleep is a good fit for you too.


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