Introduction To Segmented Sleep
The majority of us sleep in the same manner. Collapse into bed late at night, then spend the next 8 hours dreaming and snoring till the alarm goes off, if we’re lucky. However, this isn’t how everyone does it. Some people sleep in two or more shifts at a time. It’s known as segmented sleep, and it’s becoming increasingly popular in today’s fast-paced society.
But, before you dig in and start planning some late-night duties, consider whether it’s truly suited to your lifestyle. Also, look for symptoms that your new sleep schedule is causing you to feel down.
How Did It All Begin?
Although segmented sleep may appear to be a new concept, it is not. According to historian Roger Ekirch, author of At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past, it was common to practice in pre-industrial times (and before electricity) to get up for a couple of hours. People used their spare time to pray, smoke, have sex, or even visit their neighbors before returning to bed in the morning.
We might be hardwired to sleep in two stages. The National Institute of Mental Health studied how people slept while exposed to 10 hours of light each day, which is roughly equivalent to a winter day. According to the researchers, the participants got their shut-eye in two chunks, with a few hours awake in between. That’s also more akin to how animals sleep.
Some people still use that split schedule today, using the awake time in the middle of the night to ponder, read, meditate, or work.
“There are people for whom it appears to be a productive way of life and suits them just well,” says Brown University sleep researcher Mary Carskadon, Ph.D. “However, it’s difficult to do when you have a family and a job to go to every day.”
Limiting your total sleep time
Some people, known as polyphasic sleepers, divide their sleep into a schedule of naps around the clock. It’s usually made to allow you to get by with less total rest.
Adults require at least 7 hours of sleep every 24 hours, according to Kushida. If you cut back, he warns, there could be severe consequences. When you don’t get enough sleep, it might lead to:
Alter your metabolic rate
Increase the production of hormones that cause you to consume more and acquire weight.
Have an impact on your learning and memory
Enhance the probability of being involved in an accident.
It also won’t help you get more work done. “You might doing more damage than good by expecting your performance to improve,” Kushida warns.
Signs to Look Out For
Focus on how you feel if you wish to try a different sleeping routine. Keep an eye out for signs that it isn’t working. According to Carskadon, you don’t want to put yourself or others in danger by trying to stay up when your body tells you it’s time to sleep.
Keep an eye out for the following warning signs
- Struggle to concentrate
- Have a quick wit?
- Take risks you wouldn’t usually take and feel drowsy
- It isn’t easy to wake up when you fall asleep at the wrong time, such as in class or while driving.