Sleep

Could “dormant sleep” be the secret to increased productivity?

Could “dormant sleep” be the secret to increased productivity?

Do you wake up at night? (Picture: Getty)

Having a solid eight hour rest session isn’t how humans have always slept – it’s actually a relatively recent phenomenon in our history.

There is a body of evidence that suggests people used to sleep in two ‘shifts’, as first proposed by historian Roger Ekirch in 2001 – called ‘dorveille sleep’.

Between these sleep sessions, people would be free to spend the time however they wished – from sex to recreation.

References to segmented shifts and “first” and “second” sleeps can even be found in the literature (in the writings of Charles Dickens), as well as in health and medical records. A Nigerian tribe called Tiv is also believed to practice this phenomenon.

Some experts think it might be a more natural way to sleep.

So, could this sleeping style benefit us today?

In Colson Whitehead’s recent novel, Harlem Shuffle, the main character discovers doze sleeping (although it’s intentionally misspelled as “dorvay” in the book) and adopts it in order to be more productive.

James Wilson, a sleep expert working with the CBD brand TOOtells us that this is one of the main benefits of adopting this sleeping style.

“Individuals report that they’ve found it made them more productive and calmer throughout the day,” he says, “particularly if segmented sleep fits in with the rest of their life’s schedule.”

He adds, “Most people seem to be aiming for around four hours each session.

“That usually gives you most of your deep sleep and some of your REM sleep, the sleep that’s important for physical and mental health, so that looks like a good minimum amount to aim for in the initial segment.”

The waking period between the two tends to be one to two hours, although this can be tailored to the individual.

James warns, however: “In recent years, segmented sleep has become synonymous with grind culture – seen as a way to get the most out of your day, often while sleeping less.

But note that this shouldn’t decrease your total sleep time.


How long does it take to adjust your sleep pattern?

Colin Aston-James, inventor of SleepHubsays, “Studies differ on this, but the majority say you should try a new sleep regimen for at least seven days, but ideally ten to give the body time to adjust to the new sleep patterns.

“It’s also important to be consistent so that the new sleep habit sets in as quickly as possible.”

How does this biphasic sleep affect your health?

Making such a change in your sleep schedule can have negative effects on your health, both mental and physical.

Colin says: ‘If you have – to your knowledge – always been a monophasic sleeper in your adult life, switching to a biphasic sleep schedule may initially have adverse effects, especially if it leads to sleep deprivation which could lead to serious problems. health.

Testimonials from people who switch from monophasic to biphasic sleep often report that they feel jet lagged and have trouble concentrating at certain times of the day for the first few days as the body gets used to the new diet.

They also report having significantly more energy at certain times of the day when they were previously sleepier.

Some found it odd to be wide awake and energized at night when most other people in their environment were sound asleep.

Biphasic sleep can be more difficult to fit into a daily work and living schedule if the majority of co-workers and family are monophasic sleepers.

Historically, sleep shifts were embraced by most people, so it wasn’t such a solitary activity – it would be a big difference if we tried it today.

Our modern equivalent could be thought of as a nap, which experts say can be great for boosting energy and memory.

But just as the ideal nap should come in at 90 minutes — enough to have a sleep cycle without feeling groggy afterward — you also need to do the sleep segments well.

How can you switch to Dorveille sleep?

If you want to make the change, you have to be careful considering how drastic the change is.

Colin suggests, “Try to take a nap of at least 20 to 30 minutes each afternoon for at least fourteen days before switching from a monophasic to a biphasic sleep pattern.

“Pay close attention to how energy patterns change during the day and night.

“New periods of drowsiness and peak energy will appear as the body adapts, so adjust the time you eat meals to reflect these new periods.

“Biphasic sleep patterns aren’t for everyone, and you may find that you never fully adjust to this new sleeping pattern and feel more comfortable going back to a monophasic pattern. “

This might be more suitable for shift workers or people with interrupted sleep patterns, as it can provide structure and regulation that might otherwise be lacking.


What can you do during the standby period?

James says: “In the beginning, during the intervals between segments, I would encourage people to do relaxing things rather than stimulating activities like working, drinking caffeine or overdoing it, which is associated with the ‘awakening.

“People who relax when awake between sleep segments appear to benefit most from this approach.

“You have to be careful of deprivation.”

If mastered, you can reap the benefits of having a few extra hours in the night to spend as you wish – but you’ll need to make sure your first shift is early enough so you don’t lack sleep.

Being productive and having more time for hobbies is never worth your health.

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