What exactly is biphasic sleep? People may not be familiar with the specific term, but most probably recognize the concept.
It refers to sleep patterns that involve sleeping in two segments each day. Biphasic translates to “two phases” and can also be referred to as segmented, divided, bimodal, or diphasic sleep, too.
This is different from what many of us consider “normal” sleep, which is monophasic—sleeping for one period each night. Another related sleep pattern people may hear about is polyphasic sleep, which generally refers to sleeping in more than two segments.
“Monophasic sleep is what today’s society would refer to as a ‘normal’ sleeping pattern,” Medical News Today explains. “A monophasic sleep pattern is when an individual sleeps once per day, typically for 8 or so hours a night.”
Someone who has a biphasic sleep pattern might take a daily nap, like the siestas that people take in many parts of the world. This could be a “power siesta” of about 20 minutes, or a longer, 90-minute nap. “Some people are naturally 20-minute nappers, and other are naturally 90-minute nappers, whilst some people are both,” the Polyphasic Society website explains.
It begs the question: Is one sleep pattern any healthier than the others? Not really. Sleep health truly depends on each individual person’s needs and schedule. What works best for one person might be a nightmare for another.
“No one person’s sleep requirements are exactly the same,” Medical News Daily reports. “Some require eight solid hours of sleep for optimal function. Someone else, however, may lead a productive and healthy life on five hours of sleep per night with a short nap or naps during the day.”
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For those who currently don’t nap during the day, but biphasic sleep appeals to them, we suggest giving it a go (provided people can fit a nap into their schedules, of course). Try to nap in a cool, dark, and quiet space if at all possible.
Those who find that napping doesn’t do much for thier energy levels, or stops them from getting enough sleep at night, should shift back to their regular sleep schedule.
[Editor’s Note: The information provided should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a sleep doctor or other medical expert if you have questions related to your own health.]
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