If your little one isn’t sleeping because of itching, pain, discomfort, or other issues, chances are you aren’t either. As parents, getting enough sleep is just as important for our health and wellness as it is for our kids’ development – so how to we find balance? If your child isn’t giving you enough down time to get the rest you need, polyphasic sleeping may be one solution. This sleeping rhythm gives you short bursts of deep rest at timed intervals throughout the day so that you can match nap times and function on as little as just two hours of sleep in total every day. Today, we’re going to look at some of the basics of using polyphasic sleep when eczema is a problem in your home, and hear from a parent who found it to be a real help.
What Is Polyphasic Sleep?
The idea behind the polyphasic sleep cycle is to give the body and mind several short sleep sessions over a 24 hour period instead of one long one. As the name implies, polyphasic means ‘many phases’, and it’s the rhythm of these phases that makes this a really beneficial sleep pattern for many people.
While there is room for personalization, most polyphasic patterns look like this…
- Sleep for 20 minutes
- Wake and stay active for 5 hours 40 minutes
- Sleep for another 20 minutes
- Wake and stay active for another 5 hours 40 minutes
- And repeat.
In a 24 hour period, you’ll end up with four 20 minute rests totaling just 2 hours of sleep and 22 hours of wakefulness!
This may sound like the worst day ever, but many people swear that it’s the best way to stay alert, energized, calm, and clear.
From A Parent…
Nearly 3 years ago when my son was born I tried something really crazy. I did 14 months of polyphasic sleeping where I took 20 minute naps every 4 hours (i.e. only 2 hours sleep every 24.
To do this you have to be super-disciplined with exactly when you take those naps but I soon got into the routine.
Bizarrely I felt more alive than I’ve ever felt before. I started cleaning up after myself, picking up underwear off the bathroom floor, cooking and I felt amazing knowing that time was no longer something I was having to fight against. I’d be first at the gym in the morning, I’d read 6-10 books a week and I was running marathons and taking care of my son too.
I started to appreciate that nearly everybody is sleep-deprived but they just don’t realize it. Instead they assume that not having vitality all day is just a sign of getting old, or being stressed. Everybody knows they should be getting 8 hours sleep each night but I bet hardly anybody ever does.
I’m considering returning to polyphasic sleep again next year (our second baby is due in June) as I really miss the lifestyle, Until then I genuinely do try to get 8 hours sleep each night. If I don’t then I take a mid-day siesta.The idea is that you’re training your body to sleep immediately once you close your eyes.
During that first week if you have one occasion where you haven’t fallen asleep quickly you’ll wake up tired and by the next nap you’ll have no trouble falling asleep at the first opportunity. After a few days it gets a lot easier.
The hard part is forcing yourself awake, not getting to sleep.
As you can see, the polyphasic rhythm requires dedication and lots of will. Most parents find that they have to work really hard at it in the beginning, and after a few weeks the body and mind catch on and the pattern becomes as second nature as winding down for a late-night bedtime.
Have you tried polyphasic sleeping? If so, please share your experience with us in the comments below!