Everyone wants more time. For most of us, life is too short with all of the obligations that we have to meet at one time. It’s enticing to think about we could all get a few more hours in the day, but the earth’s rotation seems to be set and our hardwiring along with it. For many, the only viable option is to delve into the third of life that is reserved for sleep.
Many Americans are already notoriously sleep-deprived. But, in the race to add more time to the day, many continue to stack up a sleep debt and barrel onward in spite of groggy mornings. They do their best to catch up on their sleep debt during the weekend. Others take a harder look at their lives and decide that six to eight hours isn’t going to work and try to adapt polyphasic sleep, more commonly known as the Uberman Sleep Schedule.
But, before you decide on whether or not the Uberman Sleep Schedule and adapting polyphasic sleep is for you, you should take into consideration the possible risks associated with it.
Risks of Polyphasic Sleep Schedule
1. Polyphasic sleep isn’t normal: You’ve probably noticed that newborns tend to nap throughout the day. As they age, their sleep patterns naturally take on monophasic patterns or sleeping in one long block. Polyphasic sleep is not naturally a part of being human, and to override it will require suppressing natural chemistry.
2. Effects of sleep derivation: You may be thinking that once you’re on a polyphasic sleep schedule that you’ll be moving gracefully throughout your day. But, considering that the Uberman sleep schedule can never fully override evolution, even if you manage to get on a napping schedule, will you be able to survive the inevitable sleep deprivation until your new lifestyle kicks in? Possible risks of sleep deprivation are:
- Weight Gain
- Slow Reaction Time
- Pre Mature Aging
- Heart Disease
- Intestinal Malfunction
3. Polyphasic sleep will induce extreme drowsiness: You may be thinking that you can pull off the few weeks of time that it will take to adapt to the Uberman sleep schedule, but can you handle not being able to operate at full capacity? Even if you accept the risks of sleep deprivation, can your job? If you have a job that demands that you are fully aware of your surroundings then you will want to be aware of your failing alertness at the beginning stages of polyphasic sleep.
4. There have been no serious studies on Polyphasic Sleep in humans: There are numerous studies on the effects of polyphasic sleep in certain mammals but unlike them, human studies are not present and you’ll have to admit to yourself that the long term effects of your Uberman sleep schedule will be found in unmapped territory.
5. You won’t get in your full sleep time: Many people may like the idea of napping throughout the day, but they fail to calculate the time that it takes to fall asleep. While an hour nap may seem refreshing, you will need to understand that it may take a large chunk of that time to fall asleep, and if so, are you going to be disciplined enough to count that time towards your total nap time in an Uberman sleep schedule?
If you’re willing to take a leap into the unknown world of Polyphasic sleep then you should weigh the pros and cons and understand that you may not successfully adapt the Uberman schedule. But, if you can live with the risks, then you may come out hours ahead of everyone else.