I am a natural night owl. Well, at least until 12-2am. But I also love the beauty and energy of early morning. I’m talking when the sun is already out not that pitch black morning crap. I only get up that early if there is a really sweet carrot in it for me. I’m talking 7ish. The tricky parts for me are late morning and early evening. I kept trying to coax myself into earlier nights just to get the mornings on track consistently rather than just for projects, but it always failed. Then I discovered polyphasic sleep. As the name implies it is sleeping in multiple stretches of time rather than just one long one.
I had found a video of someone who had tried it and gave a detailed account of his experience. I thought it was a really clear account and very encouraging (I'll post the link below). There are many polyphasic patterns you can choose like one long period with other shorter periods or just a series of short ones. Now this guy went in bold and immediately dropped his nighttime sleep amount to four hours and added two 25 minute naps during the day. Like he said, it is hard on the body and he walked around like a zombie for days.
I wasn’t on board with that. For me it made more sense to do a more gradual dip. Usually I would sleep between 7 and 8 hours at night unless I was ill or had a particularly demanding day. While I was thinking about trying this polyphasic sleep I found myself naturally moving into a 6 hour nighttime sleep period from 2/2:30am – 8/8:30am with one nap during the day in the early evening. It wasn’t hard because it wasn’t drastic, but the reboot feeling I got from the nap and the consistency of when I would sleep and when I would wake made me feel like I was getting two days in one. I know this is mainly psychological, but greater productivity, clear focus and satisfaction were what I was going for rather than just a huge time gain. Now, technically my schedule was biphasic sleep as I was sleeping in two periods of time not more, as in polyphasic. I just felt this naturally worked better for me. I tried moving the nap to late morning sometimes instead of early evening. I was just listening to my body and taking it when I needed it most depending on schedule demands.
Now how does tea factor into this, you might ask. Well, I had always been able to drink tea whenever I wanted to, even late at night, and I would still be able to sleep. I know that is not the case for everyone and it may have had to do with my constantly changing schedule. I felt that to be successful with this test it would be best if I stopped my tea drinking in the 5-7pm range. So, I would have my last cup of tea after my nap (if I took it in the evening). This kind of gave me the feeling of a second day even more. I found it worked so well that I started to wake up just before my alarm. That’s something the man in the video mentioned, that he had gotten to a place where he no longer needed an alarm.
He also continued to drop his nighttime sleep amount until he was only sleeping two hours per night along with his two daily naps. He said his productivity was amazing. I have not gotten that far. I am going to try to gradually reduce my nighttime sleep period to about four hours and see if that works for me. The time gain is attractive, just so long as I don’t feel deprived.
I am also curious to see if a tea done in a Bulletproof coffee style would give a more sustained caffeine release to make my mornings even more effective. For those who are unfamiliar, Bulletproof Coffee was designed by a man named Dave Asprey. He was inspired after being rejuvenated by Tibetan yak butter tea while in Tibet. The basic idea is adding high quality fats (like MCT oil derived from coconut oil and grass fed butter ) to the coffee which allow for a more effective use of the caffeine and slower release eliminating the crash and extending the brain boosting energy effects. I have tried some variations using tea and did find I enjoyed it. I will have to report back on how well it works with polyphasic sleep. I might even compare the Bulletproof Coffee effect against a tea-centric version.
Now there are some challenges to this kind of sleep pattern. As most of our society doesn’t function this way it is a bit of an isolating experience unless you are in a tight crew of people all taking this on together (which sounds brilliant!). The naps are key but it may take some planning to work them into your schedule. For 9-5ers a nap during lunch and/or a nap after work may suffice. Working around children’s schedules in addition to work schedules may make this a no go for some. Also, it is easy to fall off the pattern. All I needed was one day where I missed my nap and I got off. Also, if you get sick or have the occasional 16-20 hour workday, like us crazy creatives, it can shake the schedule. Still, I feel like I want to see how long and far I can go with this as it really felt right for me. It was like I finally found a sleep pattern that fit my life rather me trying to fit it.
There are many videos and articles out there but if you’d like to watch the video I referenced it is on Youtube. Interested in trying polyphasic sleep or do you think it sounds too radical? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook. Wishing you great sleep and great tea!
by Cassandra Vincent
This is not a sponsored post
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