Most of us sleep the same way. We all collapse into bed at night and spend the next eight hours on it, dreaming and snoring until the alarm goes off. But, not everyone sleeps in the same way. Some individuals break up their slumber into two shifts or more. This is called segmented sleep. Let’s check out all about segmented sleep.
In This Article:
- What Is Segmented Sleep?
- Is Interrupted Sleep Bad for You?
- Is Segmented Sleep Good for My Health?
- What Is the Healthiest Sleeping Pattern?
Segmented Sleep: Is It Good? or Just a Myth?
What Is Segmented Sleep?
Before getting deeper into the pros and cons of segmented sleep, let’s first determine what precisely segmented sleep is. Polyphasic sleep is also known as segmented sleep. Instead of sleeping soundly in one session (monophasic), you rest in two or more sessions.
For instance, people with this type of sleep tend to go to bed very early, at 7 or 8 p.m. They have their first initial sleep; then, around midnight, they wake up for a couple of hours, then they fall back asleep until the morning. This is only a two-phased segmented sleep called bimodal or biphasic. Depending on the person, they can divide their sleep into three, four, or even more phases in 24 hours.
While deemed unhealthy by many people, this type of sleep is the way our ancestors slept until the late 19th century.
Is Interrupted Sleep Bad for You?
For most people, sleeping in stops and starts doesn’t feel as good and as refreshing as sleeping soundly for the whole session. Research has shown that there is a correlation between sleep continuity and sleep quality. Fragmented or interrupted sleep can lead to sleep deprivation, insomnia, daytime sleepiness, and other numerous potential consequences of insufficient sleep.
Besides, disrupted sleep is entirely different from a short sleep as these two concepts are easily misunderstood and mistaken for one another. While they’re both used to describe a person’s short periodical sleep, they have some differences. Disrupted sleep has a more significant impact on one’s mood and even causes anxiety and depression, while short sleep is a condition that can be adaptable.
Is Segmented Sleep Good for My Health?
While there have been many reports with positive personal experiences with segmented sleep, the research of whether there are actual health benefits has come out with mixed results.
On the one hand, an article from 2016 on segmented sleep patterns shows that the global favor it over the monophasic sleep pattern. The article also argued that the advent of the modern workday, along with artificial lighting technologies, has led the majority of societies in the developed world to 8-hour single-phase sleep patterns at night. Before the industrial period, it was argued that biphasic and even polyphasic trends were not uncommon.
To support this point, let’s glance at the result of the 2010 research on this matter. It points out the benefits of short naps and their cultural prevalence.
Brief naps of around five to fifteen minutes were investigated as helpful and correlated with improved cognitive performance, as were naps longer than 30 minutes. However, the analysis acknowledged that further research was required at a deeper stage.
On the other hand, the studies in 2014 and 2012 have shown that napping may not be the best for cognitive development and rest quality, particularly in young children. And napping for adults can lead to an increased probability of sleep deprivation and poor sleep patterns. Chronic sleep deprivation will likely to increase the risk of:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive difficulties
What Is the Healthiest Sleeping Pattern?
There’s no such thing as the healthiest sleeping pattern, as this can vary from person to person due to differences in lifestyle and health condition. According to the CDC, adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night. Here is the average amount of sleep a person should follow by age:
Age Recommended hours of sleep
0–3 months 14–17
4–12 months 12–16
1–2 years 11–14
3–5 years 10–13
9–12 years 9–12
13–18 years 8–10
18–60 years at least 7 per night
61–64 years 7–9
65 years and older 7–8
Ideally, people should go to bed sooner and get up early in the morning. This pattern fits our biological propensity to conform our sleep pattern to that of the light. You might find that after sundown, you’re naturally sleepier.
Additionally, the optimal time to sleep at night is a window in which you will get the recommended sleep recommendation for your age group. By following the recommended amount of sleep, you can easily calculate when you need to go to bed. For instance, if you need to wake up by 7 a.m, you should rewind the clock before 11 p.m so that you can get 8 hours of healthy sleep.
A long sleep at night will give you enough energy when you get up in the morning and put you in a good mood to have a productive day. That’s why you must figure out what best suits you, whether it’s monophasic sleep or segmented sleep.
What time do you usually go to bed? Let us know your thoughts on segmented sleep in the comments below!
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