By Jacon Berrier | Staff Writer
An age-old secret that many great minds have adopted throughout history can prove very useful to students’ time and efficiency. Polyphasic sleep is a sleep schedule that can add an average of six more waking hours to one’s day.
According to the National Institutes of Health, normal people spends about a third of their life (about 26 years) in their bed. Most people sleep on a monophasic sleep schedule, where one sleeps continuously for about eight hours during the night. The Polyphasic sleeping schedule reduces the overall amount of sleep by taking 30 minute naps throughout the day, but without losing any alertness.
This phenomenon is due to the fact that people enter into multiple cycles of rapid eye movement sleep throughout their sleep, but the polyphasic cycle tricks the brain to enter into this REM period quicker, giving one a short and very rejuvinating nap. This immediate transition to the REM period is called “repartitioning.”
Philosopher Buckminster Fuller, when experimenting back in the mid 1900s, said he gained “enormous success with his unusual sleeping habits, and his ability to fall asleep within 30 seconds wowed people.”
A 2007 report from the Journal of Sleep Research found that the majority of animals sleep on polyphasic schedules, and they believe that humans probably didn’t evolve much differently. Now, the elaborate human brain has different needs than most animals.
“There could be non-measurable effects, chronic or long-term problems developing,” said Matt Bianchi, director of the Sleep Division at the Massachusetts General Hospital.
The advantages that would come with such an open day brings interest in many young people, including high school and college students.
“It would be awesome to be able to have so much more time to catch up on school work and be able to have time for all of the things I love to do,” junior Zoe Samaniego said.
The thought of having a 22-hour day is to many students, as well as teachers, a constant wish. “I would have a lot more time to accomplish daily goals,” freshman Alec Shea said. “My productivity would go way up.”
These feelings are not completely widespread among the students at Pearce. “All of the extra time wouldn’t be beneficial to high school students because it’s not like they already make the best decisions with their free time,” sophomore Justin Melton said. “We don’t need that much more time, especially during the night hours.”
Others feel like they could use their time more wisely. “I would maybe pick up a hobby, take longer showers, and spend more time with my friends,” Alec said.
Either argument one may have, the idea of obtaining a polyphasic schedule during a school year is unfeasible For this to work, someone would need a very flexible schedule along with a period of time in which they could cope with a zombie-like transition from monophasic to polyphasic sleep.
This still seems to be a popular wish among students, but until perfected into a more reasonable schedule, they will just have to get by like the rest of the human race.