Getting proper rest overnight is very important, but sometimes there are nights when you toss and turn and can’t fall asleep no matter what you do. Even when you do fall asleep, you wake up groggy and tired, not being able to do your daily tasks. But, thanks to a new study, there is a method that will help you get enough rest and wake up energized that hasn’t been used for centuries.
Doctors recommend 8 hours of sleep overnight, but according to studies, we have been using our sleeping time completely wrong. Almost everyone on Earth is sleep deprived, which is the reason why we need at least 20 minutes to fall asleep and try our best to not wake up overnight. In simpler terms, we’re not getting enough rest.
A psychologist named Thomas Wehr conducted a study in 1992 in which a group of people were put into complete darkness for 14 hours every day for a month. Darkness was normal for people before electricity was invented. It took a while, but the subjects eventually settled into a distinct sleeping pattern – they slept for 4 hours, then woke up for an hour or two before falling asleep for another 4 hours.
The history of biphasic sleeping
Roger Ekirch, a historian from Virginia Tech revealed that there’s enough historical evidence that humans in the past slept in 2 phases overnight. He discovered over 500 indications of segmented sleeping found in medical literature and court archives. From the 17thcentury till the 1920s, people slept in two 4-hour segments. This is called biphasic sleep, which was abandoned with the invention of street lights and domestic electricity. The increase in coffee consumption is another reason why biphasic sleeping is in recess. Sleeping time and productivity are related – sleeping in two phases will definitely improve your focus and calmness, which will in turn result in increased productivity. People in Mexico and Thailand use biphasic sleep commonly, but they subject to an afternoon rest instead of getting up in the middle of the night.
The benefits of biphasic sleeping
During biphasic sleeping, the body releases prolactin, a hormone that reduces stress and anxiety when you wake up in the middle of the night. A third of all Americans wake up at night, and reading, meditating or working at this time of the night will reduce your stress and keep you well rested. The main benefit of biphasic sleeping is going to bed earlier. We have electricity available before the sun goes down, which leaves us without sleep until the late-night hours. Switching off the TV and electronic devices when the night comes is definitely beneficial for a proper sleeping pattern. According to one psychologist, waking up between 2-4 AM will help you get back to sleep and wake up refreshed.
Polyphasic sleep occurs when there are 2 or more phases of sleep overnight, and is surely a big factor for insomnia. However, many people have been able to treat their insomnia with a biphasic sleep pattern. Some psychiatrists have discovered that if people stop finding their sleeping pattern as problematic, their condition will improve. “If they perceive interrupted sleep as normal, they experience less distress when they wake at night, and fall back to sleep more easily,” a study says.
Doctors recommend napping for children and adults alike. Don’t think that you’re lazy if you take naps during the day – taking 30-minute to 2 hour naps in the middle of the day is healthier than drinking coffee or eating energy bars.
Proper rest is vital for your health, but before you try sleeping pills to cure your insomnia, try biphasic sleeping and we’re sure you’ll get better results.