Get 8 hours of sleep every night.
For most American adults, it’s a broken record. Every health magazine and doctor will tell you the average adult needs around 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep for optimum health. Unfortunately for the majority of Americans and Europeans, getting 8 hours of sleep is a pipe dream. Chores & family obligations make getting to bed early very difficult. And while the average person is putting in more and more hours at work each week, they’re waking earlier and earlier. Adopting a biphasic sleep schedule may just be the answer.
WHAT IS BIPHASIC SLEEP?
Also known as diphasic or bimodal, biphasic sleep is the practice of sleeping during 2 separate periods over 24 hours. While most of us are familiar with monophasic sleep where we get all of our sleep in a single shot, biphasic sleepers essentially split their sleep cycle throughout the day into 2 cycles.
Some areas of the world practice diphasic sleep (think Mexican siesta). In most parts of the world, however, people tend to towards a single cycle of sleep each day.
BIPHASIC SLEEP IN HISTORY
The idea that 8 hours of continuous sleep is a health requirement for all people ignores common variations in sleep patterns as well as historical precedent. It also causes stress and anxiety for those who can’t sleep in 8-hour chunks. Those individuals feel as if something is wrong with them when in fact, they’re completely normal.
Historical writings yield some insights. Some research indicates that prior to the age of the electric light, most people slept in two segments. Biphasic sleep may have been the norm.
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