Experimental Sleep Schedule


You know that energetic feeling you get after a great night of sleep? That is the time I tend to be most productive. In fact, I didn’t realize this until recently… but during the busiest times of my college career, I was actually a biphasic sleeper. I would get 6-7 hours of sleep at night and grab a 20 minute nap sometime between lunch and dinner (the so called “siesta” time).

Studies have shown time and again that nappers are more efficient people. Some countries even have “house rules” where very few people call each other during the 3pm-5pm hours. However, the latter is most likely because those countries tend to eat the most during lunchtime, which inevitably causes a person to crash. But, if you just had a BIG lunch and you’re feeling tired right afterwards… why would you continue attempting to work? Why not sleep now, and pick it up later feeling refreshed?


Lately I’ve been really packing on the sleep pounds. I just graduated with my B.S. degree (about to head to graduate school in the fall), and this summer I’m doing freelance work. I love freelancing, but it doesn’t require a set sleep schedule. While I was going no more than 8 hours each day/night during the school year, I’ve been sleeping up 9-10 hours each night since summer started, while waking up slightly later each day. I suspect that if this keeps going, I’ll find myself sleeping 10pm to 7pm and completely miss daylight! Well, to avoid that… I’m going to implement a new sleep schedule that takes advantage of that midday siesta too!

Modus Operandi

Technically, it’s called a biphasic sleep schedule. The plan is to get 4.5 hours of sleep starting at around 12am (midnight), and another 90 minute nap sometime between lunch and dinner.

I’ve also heard (anecdotal evidence) that people who are vegetarian, or even vegan, tend to require less sleep. I can’t say for sure if this is true, but I’m attempting to make the transition to a biphasic schedule a little easier by eating less meat. I’m also completely eliminating fast food from my diet.

If I can change from sleeping 9-10 hours a night to this new schedule of 6 hours, imagine how much more time I will have for work and other things! Consider the average recommended amount of sleep (8 hours) vs what I’ll be getting (6 hours). That means, if I keep to the above schedule, I’ll be gaining 2 hours each day over the recommended value. That’s 730 extra hours per year, or 30 extra days per year. That means, I have a whole month of things to accomplish over the average person. Imagine what I can accomplish in one month!

Is it really possibly for me to go from 9 hours to 6 hours? I think so. I did it for whole semesters before. The 9 hours thing was simply out of a lack of structure of my day. I also noticed that I’ve been yawning much more after starting the 9 hours sleep gig versus when I was in school (perhaps I’ve been oversleeping). The only thing a person needs each day/night is ~4 complete sleep cycles and if a sleep cycle takes ~90 minutes to achieve, I’m meeting the requirement!


That’s all for now. I don’t suspect to have too much difficulty with this, but I’ll definitely give a weekly update.

If this goes really well, I may even try a polyphasic experiment in the future.

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3 Responses to “Experimental Sleep Schedule”

  1. Phillip Napieralski » Blog Archive » Biphasic Sleep Schedule – Week 1 Summary Says:

    […] Phillip Napieralski Programmer, Engineer, Researcher. « Experimental Sleep Schedule […]

  2. Jason Says:

    I’ve been a biphasic sleeper for years. It started in the dorms in college where everyone would stay up to 2:00am and then I’d have class at 8:00am. I’d usually come home from my part-time job at 5:00pm, eat, and then take a nap (because I was too tired to study) and wake up whenever I felt like it.

    After college, I’ve continued the trend (there were a few years where I was working out a lot and had a more normal sleep schedule, but my workouts recently have been few and far between). So, still being a single guy, I go home, crash for a couple hours, wake up, then goto bed around 1-2am. I still get a full 8 hours worth of sleep, it’s just broken up into two different parts.


  3. Phillip Napieralski Says:

    It seems that college is the best place for sleep experiments to happen (sometimes unintentionally) . That’s where it started for me too.