This is my how-to guide for mastering biphasic sleep and achieving more with less sleep. I recently wrote about my biphasic sleep schedule and why I adopted it. This is the in-depth guide to how I hacked sleep and woke up on the other side feeling more refreshed and energized.
Often imitated, rarely duplicated, people who have mastered a biphasic sleep schedule are sleeping less and being more productive. However, the journey isn’t easy. I failed twice before. This is what I’ve learned.
Offset Your Nap – Do not nap halfway through your day. The first time I failed I tried sleeping after lunch. This only works if you prefer to wake up super early and go to bed early. You want to take your nap roughly four to five hours before your core sleep, not halfway through your day.
Less Is More – Biphasic sleep is not 8 hours just chopped up, it is only 6.5 hours total. The second time I failed, I was sleeping 1.5 hours at my nap. This is the average time for a full REM cycle so I assumed it was a good idea, I was wrong. In order to adopt a biphasic sleep cycle you must train your body to go directly into a deep sleep. Limit yourself to no more than 20 minutes of sleep at your nap.
Fall Asleep – Find a method for falling asleep quickly. I used to imagine that listening to the same song every night would induce sleep. I was right. Unfortunately, the earplugs are annoying. Now I count backwards from 100. I find the more I focus the quicker I fall asleep.
Eat Before Bed – The tired feeling you feel in the mornings is often not tiredness at all, it is hunger. Your body hasn’t eaten in six hours; it is dehydrated and low on glycogen. Eat a meal that is high in good fats, low GI carbs, and glycogen from sugar. My go to meal just before bed is a piece of toast with melted cheese and applesauce on it. I also drink a glass of water. This helps me wake up because my body is still fueled.
Fill The Void – Find something to do with your new time or you’ll just spend it sleeping. I write my blog. As I write it is 12:32 am. I am in a Yerbe Mate and Wine infused mellow groove. While most people would be tired and eager for bed, I’m having fun and enjoying my newfound time thanks to mastering biphasic sleep.
Here is my current schedule:
Wake at 7:30 am – This works because I must be at work by 8am. I planned this so I wouldn’t be able to sleep in during the break-in period, which lasts about two weeks.
Nap at 8:30 pm, sometimes closer to 9 pm – I take my nap when my son goes to sleep. To help him fall asleep I like to be quiet. Twenty minutes of sleep is perfect. I like to down a glass of Yerbe Mate before hitting the sack. It helps to keep me from wanting to oversleep.
8:50 pm – I’m up but not working. I like to do something fun for a little while. This is often time with my wife.
10 pm – 11 pm – This is when I typically begin blogging or go for a run. I also like to fill the void by working out if I missed the day’s session.
1:30am – Bedtime. I used the counting trick again. The more I do it, the more effective it becomes.
Mastering biphasic sleep is no easy task. The first couple of weeks are exhausting as your body becomes accustomed to the new schedule. However, this list and my previous post should help you to master biphasic sleep and become a sleep ninja.
What could you do with an extra hour and a half per day?