Lifehacking: My biphasic sleep
I’m not a big fan of sleeping through the day. Another day lost from my life, which could have been spent on a beach, in a park, with family, or coding away. I’ve had different sleeping schedules during the past few years, much to the influence of university life, and a couple of weeks ago I started a biphasic sleeping schedule. Turns out, I’m not the only one who’s doing it this way.
In university, spending several evenings a week in a pub or at someone’s place was not unusual and the fact that most of our bunch lived within 10 minutes walk from the campus didn’t help much either. This kind of lifestyle distorted my sleeping schedule, if I can even call it so. I guess most people are familiar with this.
Working besides university and then full time made it impossible to sleep whenever and however long I wish. This resulted in considerably less time I could spend on my own stuff in a productive state of mind. Having a night out also got harder, and the day after was usually horrible in every way possible.
Two months ago, one day I messed up my alarm, and a power nap lasted four hours. I stayed up until I was too afraid to stay up any longer, and realized, that this works great. After a bit of consideration, I started experimenting with different sleeping schedules, and observed how they worked out. For the last 3 weeks I’ve been sleeping from 8 PM to 10 PM, and from 4 AM to 8.30, and it works surprisingly well.
The transitional phase was virtually non-existent. My morning boot-up time doubled in the first days, but eventually I managed to reduce it back to the regular. The benefits were obvious from the very beginning, and I haven’t yet experienced any real drawbacks.
I can easily have a night out and not be a zombie the day after (well, during the next period of sunlight). Staying longer at work occasionally also got easier, because I am productive longer. This also means that I can leave early some other time, so that I don’t have to piss off people who are following the standard schedule.
Missing out on an evening-sleep is not much of a trouble either. The next day I’m a bit dizzy, but caffeine helps a lot. 6 hours of continuous sleep can make up for the missed out evening-sleep, though. I’ve also had several nights out in a row, and it worked better than expected. During the weekend I make the second phase 8 or 10 hours, if possible, anyway.
Caffeine is a good thing during the day. One or two cappuccinos make work glorious. Black tea, green tea, or mate are also great boosters, and I actually prefer these over coffee: if I hold a tea-day, I drink roughly 1l of tea. During the night, I try to avoid drinking much caffeine, but then again, I’m drinking mate right now.
I’ll see how far I can get with this experiment, and for how long I’ll able to sustain this routine, but so far I haven’t had any serious issues with biphasic sleep. It was much easier to adapt than I thought it would be, and missing out a sleep can be exchanged for a longer monophasic sleep whenever I wish, which makes it easy to plan ahead. The beers tomorrow, for example, will be compensated for by a longer sleep. Totally worth it.