Sleeping like a baby is a dream many people have. To be able to go a whole night without moving or waking up. This is the image that comes to mind when thinking about the phrase. In reality very few people can actually do this. When you think about it, babies almost never sleep the whole night. As many parents can attest to, including my own, babies sleep whenever the want.
Because babies take several naps throughout the day, they are actually in a different type of sleep. This type of sleep being called Polyphasic. While most people's sleep can be describe as Monophasic. Mono meaning “one” and phasic meaning “phase”. This means that most people sleep only one time a day. Usually at night.
We are taught that a “good” night's sleep is about eight hours. That's about from 10:00pm to 6:00am the next morning. By getting those eight hours of sleep we are able to take on the day with a rested body and a clear mind. This new energy we receive during sleep comes primarily from REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. Like the name suggests, when a person sleeps, their eyes will begin to move under their eyelids. It's at this time, during REM, that our bodies and brains get the rest they need for the day ahead. Also it's during REM that we dream. That means everyone dreams. The problem is that we can't always remember our dreams. Those who can remember have probably noticed that dreams tend to change spontaneously through out the night. That's because we have multiple dreams every night. All of them happening during the several REM cycles we go through every night we sleep. These REM cycles are the key to sleeping like a baby. The key to sleeping polyphasicly.
In monophasic sleep we experience four to six cycles of of REM. Equating to about 90 to 120 minutes of REM sleep. That leaves the body with about six hours of non-REM sleep. Currently it's not fully known what the exact purpose of those six hours are but many people, like Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci, have been able to live completely healthy lives without the extra hours. The way to get rid of those extra hours and, in turn, add extra hours to you day is by sleeping polyphasicly. Polyphasic meaning more than one phase.
The term was coined by psychologist J.S. Szymanski in the early twentieth century. Since then many people have experimented with polyphasic sleep by creating different schedules. The most famous being the Uberman cycle. This cycle forgoes a core sleep in favor of 6 twenty minute naps spread about four hours apart form each other.
This style allows the person to stay awake for about twenty-two hours, giving them a lot of time to finish the errands that have accumulated during the day. The downsides are that first, your schedule must be adjusted to fit within the fours hours that you are awake. Second, if you can't adjust your schedule and are forced to to skip a nap, this would throw off the schedule leading to oversleeping, in turn, throwing the schedule off even more.
Another, more practical schedule is known as the Everyman cycle. This schedule consists of three naps about 20 minutes long and one core sleep about three hours long. This schedule is more practical because it is more flexible. The three naps during the day can be moved around more freely to better fit a persons schedule.
It might seem difficult for the body to adjust to these kinds of schedules. As you can see from the first picture, it takes about an hour and a half to enter the first cycle of REM sleep. For poylphasic sleep to give any real benefits, the sleeper must be in REM sleep. That is difficult to do when the sleep schedules rarely allow more that twenty minutes of sleep. The way to solve this problem is by convincing the brain to enter REM sleep much faster. By depriving the body of restful sleep, the body will try get restful sleep whenever possible. Eventually the body will adjust to the schedule. It will have learned that if it wants restful REM sleep it will have to enter REM sleep faster. We all adjust our bodies and brains to new schedules when we experience jet lag. I had to do some serious adjusting when I moved from the east-coast of America to Japan.
These schedules, along with many others, are difficult to begin and are even harder to maintain. They require great determination and will power. If you manage to succeed, then you will have definitely earned the extra hours in the day that no one seems to have.