Biphasic Sleep – Makes You Smarter!

The Light Bulb Is Credited for Creating Insomnia

In my hub titled, “Why Can't I Sleep? What Is Normal Sleep? Segmented Sleep Patterns,” I wrote about the history of human sleep patterns and how segmented or biphasic sleep had been normal and natural for 18 centuries – and then the light bulb was invented.

After the light bulb became common, people started forcing themselves, or trying to force themselves, to sleep in 8-hour stretches. Some people have been more successful at that endeavor than others.

Most notably, an entire new industry was created over time to respond to all the people who could not, and cannot conform to the new monophasic 8-hour sleep pattern, and who are now often labeled as having sleep disorders!

Recent Brain Research Shows Advantages To Biphasic Sleep Pattern

According to Psychology Today magazine, research from the University of California at Berkeley shows that people who get just an hour nap in the afternoon, or after being awake for several hours, increase their brainpower, refresh their minds, and increase alertness. In fact, taking naps makes a person smarter. Smarter, meaning that people who nap improve their ability to learn new things and understand directions or new concepts.

By the same token, the longer people are awake, the more sluggish their minds become. Staying awake for very long periods, such as college students might do to cram for an exam, actually diminishes the brain’s ability to learn by a whopping 40%!!

In fact studying for 45 minutes to an hour and then having a short nap has been shown to benefit both learning and retention of new material.

Society Invents New Social Patterns Over Time

Modern humans want to think that the 8-hour monophasic sleep pattern is normal and that biphasic sleep patterns are not, mainly because no one alive today can remember when everyone’s sleep patterns were biphasic for centuries.

What will happen in a couple of generations when no one can remember anyone who could write in cursive because our schools have stopped teaching cursive writing? In a couple of generations will anyone remember that people used to be able to do basic math with a pencil and paper using their own brain instead of a calculator?

Even now, more and more people are refusing to learn how to do the simplest things, like cooking and sewing.

The above examples are presented in order to show how things that were once considered basic skills are being lost, and that as technology improves and changes modern lifestyles, humans are losing as much as they are gaining.

Our Lifestyles Have Changed But Our Bodies Have Not

Sleep therapist, Dr. Rubin Naiman writes, “In fact, napping can provide amazing health benefits. It lowers diastolic blood pressure, improves mood, improves work and school performance (bosses and educators take note_ and helps readjust our nighttime sleep patterns back to the way our ancestors slept before the Industrial Age and, according to some experts, the way our bodies were designed to sleep at night.”

It would seem that technology, while improving our lives in many ways, is adding stress to our lives in many other ways. While we may appreciate and enjoy the improvements, the disadvantages that are adding stress to our lives are killing us. Our minds are enjoying the pluses, but our bodies are crying out for relief because they cannot adjust so quickly.

In fact, the light bulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879, about 133 years ago. Many people born several years since then have bodies that still seem not to be able to modify themselves to the change in lifestyle that the light bulb ushered in. Could it be that the necessary sleep patterns are hardwired into humans and that trying to change them will only bring health problems and a shorter lifespan? Would it make more sense to make technology adapt to us rather than us forcing ourselves to adapt to it?

Sources:

Veracity, Dani. “Sleep therapist Dr. Rubin Naiman explains the true causes of sleep disorders, caffeine cravings and sleep hormone imbalances.” NaturalNews.Com. 16 January 2006. n. page. Online. Internet March 18, 2012. Available http://www.naturalnews.com/016768.html

Williams, Ray B. “Wired For Success.” Psychology Today. 14 March 2010. n.page. Online. Internet March 18, 2012. Available http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201003/how-biphasic-sleep-schedule-can-make-you-smarter

Winkler, Kirsten. “Segmented Sleep or How Society invents Social Patterns.” 2 March 2012. n. page. Online. Internet March 18, 2012. Available http://www.kirstenwinkler.com/segmented-sleep-or-how-society-invents-social-patterns/

More by this Author


Comments 56 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 13 months ago from North Texas Author

Rochelle Frank, thank you for commenting! Yes, Franklin was very practical in his health and living habits as he was in most things he did.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 14 months ago from North Texas Author

Peggy W., thank you for sharing, pinning, and tweeting this article and for sharing your thoughts! I think a nap time everyday would be very beneficial. It's also a shame that cursive is no longer to be taught in school. But then math with paper and pencil isn't taught either. People are becoming more and more dependent on machines that break down. Not a good thing IMHO.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 14 months ago from California Gold Country

Interesting information. And since you mentioned Thomas Edison, did you know he only slept 4 to 5 hours a night? He was also a short-nap taker. Ironic that his invention changed sleep patterns.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 14 months ago from Houston, Texas

In some other countries they make time for a "siesta" or nap. In the U.S. this is not done. It would seem that they are ahead of the curve on this compared to us according to your article. As to the effect of technology changing our lives...that is a certainty! I now type when writing letters or emails and my cursive handwriting is surely suffering the effects of little practice. Sharing this article of yours and pinning & tweeting.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 20 months ago from North Texas Author

Patricia (pstraubie48), thank you for reading and commenting on this article. Naps are good, but they say not to overdo them lest they mess up your nighttime sleep. I just sleep whenever I can because if I don't, I may not get any sleep at all!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 20 months ago from sunny Florida

I personally know that if I can get a nap I am more mentally alert and ready to exchange ideas or complete more complex tasks.

This certainly makes a lot of sense.

thanks for sharing, Au Fait Angels are on the way to you

voted up++ ps


Au fait profile image

Au fait 22 months ago from North Texas Author

DeborahDian, thank you for reading and commenting on this article, and for the votes and share! I recommend you read the first article I wrote on the subject of sleep -- "Is It Insomnia or Just Your Body Trying to Act Naturally? Segmented Sleep Patterns." Most people don't do well with biphasic sleep as described in this article because they only get a few minutes of sleep a day and there is no room for adjusting when they must sleep. However the article I recommend will help (I hope) relieve a lot of the stress that comes (for many people) with not being able to sleep through the night.


DeborahDian profile image

DeborahDian 22 months ago from Orange County, California

What interesting information! I have heard more people complain about having trouble sleeping through the night ... but perhaps they are better off! I need to let my friends know about this. Voted up and shared.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you for coming by Dantext. I have also written about polyphasic sleep patterns and that is a difficult pattern to maintain.


Danext profile image

Danext 2 years ago from Tanzania

I also did a research about a similar thing, and find Polyphasic Sleep Schedule A.K.A Uber-Man Sleeping schedule, it involves sleeping in a pattern of 4 hours gaps while sleeping in 2 hours only....according to research, it enables us to reach full REM Sleep which traditional sleeping takes time to reach....this kind of sleeping is good for our mind and body growth...i'm planning to write an article about it sometime in the near future....your article is very subjective and insightful, it reminded me of the topic, well done Au fait......voted up, interesting and shared....


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas Author

Moonlake, thank you for voting on, commenting, and sharing this article. I maintain a biphasic sleep schedule and it seems to work pretty well for me most of the time.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 2 years ago from America

I like to power nap. I take a power nap about 3:00 pm. Interesting hub voted up and shared.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

Sorry I hope you are not frustrated that I don't have any answers its just something that I have never been able to figure out why.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Well, I was talking about your dreams, not how you feel now consciously. Your brain will use things in your dreams as symbols of other things, and if a werewolf was once a symbol of something that you feared would be watching you and at some point pouncing on you, it stands to reason that it still symbolizes that in your subconscious.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

Thank you Au Fait. I really don't know but when I finish that article maybe that will help explain it because my fear of werewolves actually became fascination later on. It could have just been a typical childhood fear of monsters I just don't have an answer.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Apparently your dreams (subconscious) have (has) other ideas. Presumably the werewolf in your dreams still represents your original fears about it, and that is the reason I ask you what you are doing that you may not feel all together confident about. Perhaps you're trying something new? Perhaps something in your life is or has changed and you're not yet settled in your mind that it's for the best or what you really want to do?


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

I am not doing or trying to do anything really and besides I only felt that way when I was a kid I haven't felt that way since but I still can't figure out why it had that kind of impact on me I really don't know why I felt that way when I was a kid maybe it was just a typical fear of monsters that a lot of kids feel. I think I am going to go ahead and write that article about it and why it impacted me I don't know if that will help or not but I will see


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Sam, from what you've written, it almost seems like the werewolf represents something beyond your control watching you. What are you doing of late that makes you worry that somebody may be watching and waiting to pounce?

Many children are afraid of the very same things you listed. It's quite common and I would say normal. Not that it's common to imagine oneself has become a werewolf, but to be afraid of the dark or any place that is dark, etc.

I suggest that there is someone or something that you fear will cause you trouble with something you are doing now. Someone or something is watching you and waiting for the opportunity to mess up what you are doing or trying to do.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

I have been thinking about writing an article about it and the impact its had on me.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

Thank you for responding Au Fait. Well as a kid it scared me so much that I use to be afraid to sleep by myself, I use to be afraid to sleep on the top buck that my brothers and I use to have, I use to be afraid of the dark, I use to be afraid of going into closets at night I even use to be afraid to go into the basement at night all because I was afraid the werewolf was watching me waiting to strike. Today I see werewolves in general as symbols of the primal unrestrained animalistic side of human nature and I have even read that there is a mental disorder called lycanthropy which makes people believe they have actually become werewolves by dreaming about them or by delusions or by excessive hair on the body etc.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you, Sam, for stopping by this article.

Ask yourself what meaning the werewolf used to have for you symbolically. Whatever it meant to you initially is most likely what it still means to you even if you are no longer afraid of it. What did it represent in the movie and what did it represent to you? It still represents that same thing. Something you are fearful of? Something that worries you? Something you feel unable to manage or control?

Think about what it used to represent and maybe in a way, it still represents that same thing even if the werewolf itself no longer scares you -- the thing it represents may still scare you.


samowhamo profile image

samowhamo 3 years ago

Hi Au Fait I wanted to ask you question and since it is sleep related I thought I would ask it here. Every now and than I keep having this dream about a werewolf movie that I have seen. It was a goosebumps movie and as a kid the movie use to scare me but as I got older it didn't scare me anymore but I still dream about it every now and than and I have for years. But every time I dream about it something about it something about it is different for example the werewolf might look different, the location might be different, the setting might be different or the story might change a slightly. I dreamt about it again last night. I am not scared of it I just want to know why I keep having it. Do you know why I keep having this dream or do you have any guesses.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you KenWu, for commenting on this hub. Naps can help people process and retain new information, but merely napping now and then or even regularly, does not equal a biphasic sleep pattern.

Really, a biphasic pattern is a little more involved/complicated than merely taking a nap once in a while. Biphasic refers to dividing your sleep into 2 segments, usually 3-5 hours each. Read the entire hub and see for yourself. ;)


KenWu profile image

KenWu 3 years ago from Malaysia

Heard that taking naps are good but with today working environment ,that could hardly happens unless during lunch hour which is quite short.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you rasta1 for reading and commenting on this hub. Bipahsic sleep doesn't take more sleep than monophasic sleep, it's just broken into more shifts.


rasta1 profile image

rasta1 3 years ago from Jamaica

I am new to this biphasic sleep pattern concept. I may adopt it, if it does not requires additional hours of sleep.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

So true! Thank you Millionaire Tips for stopping by and reading/commenting on this hub!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

I really like to sleep, and a nap sounds like a wonderful way to process what we have learned so far and refresh our minds for the rest of the day. Voted up.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you shara63 for reading and commenting on my hub. You are correct, and I have found that it's easier and more convenient to sleep in shifts.


shara63 profile image

shara63 4 years ago from Delhi

sometimes, somehow I steal a nap around 2-3 pm in my workplace..now i can seek an excuse from my boss bcoz your wonderful hub has given me a genuine point for it!...Thankyou Au fait!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Nicole S for reading and commenting on my hub! Naps are especially helpful after studying new concepts, etc.


Nicole S profile image

Nicole S 4 years ago from Minnesota

Very interesting! A reason to take naps! :)


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Might Mom for reading and commenting on my hub. I hope if nothing else, knowing that your body is acting normally will help get rid of any stress you may have worrying about not sleeping and maybe just grab a nap when you can to fill in. Sleep comes easier when a person doesn't worry about not getting enough sleep.


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 4 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Talk about the lightbulb going off! Now that you've brought this to my attention, it makes perfect sense! I suspect watching TV at 11PM while also being on the computer are probably not the best for sleep, either.

I always love it when things I sense intuitively turn out to have studies to back up my theories. So thank you for providing the ammunition I need to justify naptime:-)!

Excellent hub! MM


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Victoria Lynn for stopping by an reading/commenting on my hub. Very much appreciate your doing that.

I think just knowing that people were never intended to sleep for 8 hours straight helps relieve the stress a lot of people feel because that monophasic sleep pattern just isn't working for them. I've been sleeping biphaisic for a couple of years now and it works much better for me. Yes, Daughter of Maat said it is helping her too, and I'm so glad when people benefit from my hubs.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Very interesting! I was led over here from Daughter of Maat. Thanks, I enjoyed this! Voted up and useful and interesting!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Biphasic sleep is more than just taking a nap. It means dividing your sleep into large blocks of time, usually 4 hours or more at a time with at least 90 minutes to 2 hours in between those blocks. Sometimes more.

Thank you stessily, for your comments!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

CMHypno: Agree with you. We are not all the same and we need to decide for ourselves what works best for us. Thank you for your comments, they are much appreciated!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Sneha Sunny: Thank you for your comments. You are right in that students who cram all night long actually hinder their chances of doing well on the exam rather than improving them as they are trying to do. Getting enough sleep is essential to good memory and clear thinking.


stessily 4 years ago

Au fait: It's one of those amazing ironies that Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb (which has disrupted our natural sleep patterns), was a serious napper and attributed his insights to regular recharging through napping! Napping is refreshing.

Well presented; well done.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Trish_M: Thank you for reading and making a comment! It IS and interesting topic and something I've been doing for a couple of years now. Knowing that it's normal lowers the stress level considerably.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Interesting hub. Personally I'm not a good napper, as I wake up feeling very groggy and ill if I only sleep for a short time. But I have several friends who are very successful nappers, and one of them can set her alarm for a 40 minute sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. Like most things, I think that we all have to work out our personal needs and rhythms.


Sneha Sunny profile image

Sneha Sunny 4 years ago from India

Its was an interesting read. While sleeping our mind revise things we did the whole day. So taking proper sleeps, especially to students, is advisable. Thank you.:-)


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi :)

Very enjoyable hub!

This is a very interesting topic.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Thank you Shyron, for commenting on my hub. Naps are good for lots of things, including retaining information you may be studying for an exam.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

I just had a couple of hours nap. It sure helps when you have a headache.

voted up


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Angel: Thank you for your comments. What might seem like a surprising number of people are learning that their sleep patterns are actually normal and that what most people are trying to force themselves to do -- sleep 8 hours nonstop -- is NOT normal. When you learn that people were commonly sleeping in segments (biphasic or 2 segmented sleep) until the light bulb was invented, you begin to realize how what passes for progress can mess you up. I think it would lower a person's stress to find out one is 'normal' after all. Glad this hub is helping you!


Angel Mehsinjer profile image

Angel Mehsinjer 4 years ago from United States

This is great! This info is so helpful. Just knowing that my sleep schedule isn't so weird after all makes me feel better. I guess that lowers my stress. Thank you so much for writing about this subject. Will you have any more hubs about this?


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

I have the same problem Shyron. I often take a nap from 11AM to 1 PM between work shifts, and as a result, I'm always sleepy then, even when I have to work. I already have a biphasic sleep pattern.

Thank you for your comments!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Bob: Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them very much!

Yes, it does seem at times as though humans will do anything to make things hard on themselves. Very true, that nothing raises the spirits and improves one's outlook quite like a good restful sleep.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago

Au fait, it seems the more I sleep the more I want to sleep. And if I take a nap, then I get sleepy at the same exact time the next day. Great hub, voted up.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

EinderDarkwolf: Thank you for reading and commenting! That along with sharing is much appreciated.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

People in many countries take an afternoon siesta.

I now know why I am so smart becaue I nap after breakfast, after lunch and after dinner...in happier days I used to nap after sex, too.

I like your hub: it's amazing how humans have girded-up to fight anything beneficial and natural in their lives.

Can't beat a refreshing sleep.

Bob


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas Author

Daughter Of Maat: Yes, and lots of us wake up just a few hours, 3-4, after going to sleep and can't get back to sleep. Even a 10-15 minute nap can make a big difference in getting through the day.

Thanks so much for you comments. They're much appreciated!


EinderDarkwolf profile image

EinderDarkwolf 4 years ago from Tempe, A.Z.

Definitely interesting. Thanks for sharing this info. Shared with followers and socially, and voted up.


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

This kind of explains why the majority of us become exhausted around 2:30pm to 3:00pm in the afternoon. We feel like we could take a nap because our bodies are telling us we need a nap! I have always wondered why humans don't nap but all other animals take naps constantly. Cats are a great example.

I have never really thought about what our sleeping patterns may have been like in the past. I've done plenty of research into the history of our diet, but sleep habits never occurred to me. Thank you so much for this hub, you may have just given me the last piece to my puzzle!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working