Biphasic Sleep Experiment

Living in Germany, I never really understood the concept of a Siesta. My entire life, I slept in one phase: usually around 6-7,5 hours at a time. When I got less than 6 hours of sleep, I typically felt sleepy and had a short nap (10-20 minutes) whenever possible. But overall, with proper sleep and a proper diet, my energy was continuously high throughout the day without the need for a nap.

Now, after living in Tenerife for three months, I naturally introduced short naps at noon time. Without eating a large meal, I feel sleepy around 12PM and 2PM – even though I sleep around 7 hours every night.

Now, Siesta totally make sense to me. It is the most natural way to live in a warmer climate. Instead of working throughout the hottest midday hours, you rest. You make up for these ‘missing’ Siesta hours by using the time when the temperatures and the sun are less exhausting. Thus, you naturally work and live during the late night, early morning, or both.

What doesn’t work for me is to follow a standard monophasic sleep schedule of sleeping 8-hours from 10PM to 6AM every night.

First, living in Spain, it is impossible to be in bed by 10PM. Most days, I finish my martial arts training at 9PM, after which I have dinner and socialize. With some time to unwind and read, I’m in bed earliest at 11PM.

Second, by being in bed after 11PM, I usually wake up around 7 AM. Thus, I lose valuable morning hours in which I can work deeply on my tasks.

Here comes my experiment: Instead of sleeping 7 to 8 hours in one chunk, I sleep 5 hours at night plus an additional 90-minute Siesta somewhere between 12PM and 4PM. In total: 6.5 hours of sleep.

With this biphasic sleep schedule, I may get the best out of both worlds: waking up early, going to bed late, and bridging the unproductive and tired midday low with a long nap.

So, what’s my plan? I aim to be up at 4.30 AM and at the desk at around 5AM. Work for 2-hours productively, have a short break in the morning sun, and then keep working until I feel exhausted somewhere around noon and early afternoon.

I then have a 2 to 3 hour Siesta in which I have a 90-minute nap, get some sun and maybe go for a short swim in the ocean.

Thereafter, I work for another 3 to 5 hours, after which I have a hard workout.

After the workout, I have a large dinner (usually OMAD) and still some time to socialize, read, and plan the next day.

Let’s see how it goes!

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