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What is segmented sleep?

Most of us sleep the same way. Lay in bed late at night, then spend the next 8 hours – if we’re lucky – dreaming and snoring until the alarm goes off. But not everyone does. Some people divide their sleep into two or more shifts. It’s called segmented sleep, and in today’s fast-paced world, there’s a lot of buzz that it’s the way to go.

But before you dive in and make some middle-of-the-road chores, think carefully about whether it really fits your lifestyle. And watch for warning signs that this alternating sleep schedule can throw you into fear.

How it all started

Segmented sleep sounds like It’s trendy, but it’s not a new idea. According to historian Roger Ekirch, author of At Day’s Close, in the pre-industrial era (and before electricity) it was normal to get up for a few hours in the middle of the night The: past nights. People pray, smoke, have sex or even visit their neighbors in their free time, then go back to sleep until morning.

We may be born with two periods of sleep. A study by the National Institute of Mental Health looked at how well people slept when they had 10 hours of light a day—about as much light as in winter. The researchers found that these people slept in two parts, with a few hours of waking in between. It’s also closer to the way animals sleep.

Some people today follow this split schedule – using the waking hours in the middle of the night as creative time to think, read, meditate, or work.

“For some people, this seems like a productive lifestyle, and it’s a good fit for them,” said Brown University sleep researcher Dr. Mary Carskadon. “But if you have a family and a job that you have to go to every day, it’s hard to do.”

Sleep in two shifts

Valerie Robin, then a graduate student in Atlanta, tried segmented sleep for a few weeks in 2014 after reading its history. She goes to bed when it gets dark, then gets up in the middle of the night to read, write in a journal, or talk on the phone with friends in other time zones. As soon as the sun rose, she woke up by herself.

“I’m calm,” Robin said. “All day, even at night. I’ve read that it’s like a natural meditative state at night, but I’m also like that during the day.”

Although she feels rested, even extra of energy, Robin got tired of missing parties and appointments and went back to a more traditional schedule. “If everyone sleeps like this, I’d rather sleep like this,” she said.

Is it healthy?

There are different opinions about whether segmented sleep is safe or not. Because there isn’t much research on the health effects of shift sleep, it’s best to avoid shift sleep unless there’s a reason to do so, said Clte Kushida, MD, director of medicine at Stanford University. Sleep Medicine Center.

“There are a lot of unknowns,” he said. “Is [it] safe long-term? Does it vary from person to person? How does age, medical conditions or sleep disorders affect it?”

But Carskadon said She’s unaware of the evidence that two laps at night can cause health problems, so it’s okay if you sleep that way naturally. “I don’t think they should worry if they feel healthy and happy and content,” she said.

If you try segmented sleep, keep one thing in mind. Artificial light in the middle of the night may affect your circadian rhythm — the internal clock that controls your body’s processes.

So keep it dimly lit at night, advises Carskadon. If you can, stay away from blue-looking light—like LED light bulbs—as it has the biggest impact on circadian rhythms.

Reduce total sleep

Some people divide their sleep into a circadian nap schedule , sometimes called polyphasic sleep. It’s usually designed to give you less rest.

This is a bad idea, Kushida says, because adults need at least seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. If you cut spending, there could be major consequences, he said. When you’re sleep deprived, it can:

    Change Your Metabolism Boosts hormones so you eat more and gain weight

  • affects your learning and memory
  • Increase the risk of an accident

It also won’t help you get more work done. Kushida said: “Thinking that your performance will improve, you may do more harm than good.”

Warning signs

If you want to try another sleep schedule, please pay attention to how you feel. Watch out for signals that it doesn’t work. You don’t want to put yourself and others at risk by not getting enough sleep, and trying to stay awake when your body says it’s time to close your eyes, Carskadon said.

Watch out for these signs of trouble:

  • Try to focus
  • Grumpy Take risks or you won’t take

  • Feeling extremely sleepy
  • Sleeping at the wrong time, like in class or driving



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