What is Biphasic Sleep?

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Andreas Meistad
Jan 9, 20235 min read

What is Biphasic Sleep?

Biphasic sleep is a sleep pattern that involves dividing the night into two sleep periods, rather than the traditional monophasic pattern of sleeping for a single, uninterrupted block of time. This sleep pattern is believed to be more in line with the natural sleep patterns of our ancestors, as well as with the sleep patterns of many animals.

The two sleep periods in a biphasic sleep pattern are typically referred to as "core sleep" and the "supplemental sleep." The core sleep is the longer of the two periods, usually comprising about three-quarters of the total sleep time. The supplemental sleep is shorter, usually lasting only a few hours.

Biphasic sleep patterns are not uncommon, and they have been documented in many cultures around the world. In fact, it is believed that the traditional monophasic sleep pattern is a relatively recent development, and that biphasic sleep was the norm for much of human history.

Benefits of Biphasic Sleep

There are several potential benefits to following a biphasic sleep pattern. Some of the most notable include:

  • Improved sleep quality: Many people find that they sleep more deeply and wake up feeling more refreshed after following a biphasic sleep pattern. This may be because the shorter, supplemental sleep period allows for more time in the deeper stages of sleep, which are believed to be the most restorative.
  • Increased productivity: Some people find that they are more productive during the day after following a biphasic sleep pattern. This may be because the shorter sleep periods allow for more time to be awake and alert, and because the body's natural circadian rhythms are better aligned with the biphasic sleep pattern.
  • Greater flexibility: Biphasic sleep patterns can be easier to fit into a busy schedule, as they allow for more time to be awake and productive during the day. This can be especially beneficial for people who need to get up early in the morning or who have irregular work schedules.

Drawbacks of Biphasic Sleep

There are also some potential drawbacks to following a biphasic sleep pattern. Some of the most common include:

  • Difficulty adjusting: It can be difficult to adjust to a biphasic sleep pattern, especially for people who are used to sleeping for a single, uninterrupted block of time. It may take some time to get used to the shorter sleep periods and to find a schedule that works well.
  • Social isolation: Biphasic sleep patterns can sometimes be difficult to maintain in a society that is accustomed to a monophasic sleep pattern. This can lead to social isolation and a lack of opportunities to connect with others.
  • Health concerns: Some people have raised concerns about the potential health effects of biphasic sleep, although there is limited research on this topic. Some experts believe that biphasic sleep may disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle and lead to a number of health problems, including insomnia, fatigue, and even depression.

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Biphasic sleep is a pattern of sleep that involves two periods of sleep per day. It has been practiced by many cultures throughout history and has been shown to have potential benefits such as increased productivity and improved sleep quality. However, it is not for everyone and it is important to consider whether it is a good fit for your lifestyle and schedule before making a change.

CBT-I: A Long-Term Sleep Fix

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a natural, side effect-free sleep treatment. It involves relearning your sleep habits and addressing issues that are getting in the way of quality sleep. Studies show that CBT-I works as well as or better than sleep medications and that its effects last after the treatment is done.1

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Andreas Meistad@s profile picture
Andreas Meistad

Therapist specializing in applying CBT principles for the treatment of insomnia.

It’s time to stop blaming the night monsters.

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