Most of us try to keep to a sleep schedule of at least six to seven hours. Medical Science suggests that a person needs at least seven hours of sleep a day. Geniuses would argue that sleep compromises success.
A successful, brilliant person tends to follow a strange sleep pattern or a polyphasic sleep schedule. It seems like we need to sacrifice sleep to meet our goals. But is it necessary?
Read on to find out how prominent people like Salvador Dali, Winston Churchill, and Nikola Tesla rearranged the sleeping patterns and became remarkably successful.
What Is a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule?
There are several types of sleep patterns. Monophasic sleep refers to sleeping once every 24 hours. Biphasic sleep has the prefix ‘bi’ in front because a person who sleeps this way does so twice a day.
Psychologist J. S. Szymanski first coined the term Polyphasic Sleep in the early 20th century. It doesn’t refer to any particular sleep schedule but highlights irregular sleep-wake habits. It’s common among nocturnal animals.
Polyphasic sleepers sleep multiple times a day, for short periods each time. In all, they get the 7 hours of sleep they need. Such sleep patterns include naps which are short periods of rest that accompany the usual nighttime sleep period. We may refer to it as segmented or divided sleep.
It interests people who want to try alternative sleep schedules so that they can stay awake for more hours a day. Experts believe that medical conditions like dementia, head trauma, and mental retardation cause polyphasic sleep.
Why Polyphasic Sleep Is Useful
The National Institute of Health states that we spend about 33% of our lives asleep. Sleep is essential for our well-being. It recharges our bodies and helps us develop our memories.
Polyphasic sleep involves next of about 20 minutes within a 24-hour period. It’s hard to get used to such a sleep cycle, but it has several advantages. First of all, polyphasic sleep helps us to do more of the things that we usually do when we are awake. We can pack more activities into a single day. Completing tasks and errands will become easier. Rising early and going to bed late will become second nature.
Furthermore, launching into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep will also become a breeze. REM sleep, unlike on-EEM sleep, rejuvenates you. Monophasic sleepers spend 65% of the time in non-REM sleep Moreover, your mind and body get to rest several times throughout the day. Most of all, you’ll improve the quality of your sleep.
9 Famous Geniuses with a Weird Sleep Schedule
Polyphasic sleep schedules seem to have improved the lives of many famous personalities. Many of them attribute their access to it.
1. Winston Churchill
First of all is Britain’s World War II icon, Sir Winston Churchill. You wouldn’t expect a world leader to have led a relaxed lifestyle. Naps were a non-negotiable part of his daily routine. He would have at least two solid hours of sleep in the middle of his busy day.
He answered letters and dictated to his secretaries while lying in bed. Churchill also had long dinners and got to work only at about 11 at night. He mentioned that being a night owl enabled him to get more work done than usual.
2. Napoleon Bonaparte
The famous Corsican general was a Duracell Bunny. He hopped from one place to another, thinking of battle strategies and looking at maps. He never slept entirely, but could do so as and when he wanted. The battle-hardened General could sleep even when there were cannons resounding because he was confident that he would win.
3. Thomas Edison
Also on this list is Thomas Edison, who proclaimed that he hated sleep. He mentioned how hard he worked, boasting that he could work for about 24 hours without sleeping. The secret to his success was daily napping. His assistant told friends that he napped a lot, though he didn’t sleep much.
4. Lyndon B Johnson
This man had a full plate when he assumed the American presidency. On his agenda was protecting civil rights, reducing taxes and improving Public Works.
Busy as he was, he had a surprisingly relaxed schedule. Johnson would rise early and work at the White House until 2 p.m. He would then exercise, shower, then settle down for a nap. Johnson would wake up later in the day and work until the wee hours.
5. Ronald Reagan
The American actor turned president had a notorious reputation for taking naps. Like Churchill, he made then non-negotiable. He would even take one before fancy White House dinners and even joked that his cabinet chair should carry the transcription “Ronald Regan Slept Here.”
6. Salvador Dali
Great creators are not unknown for being eccentric. Artist Salvador Dali commented that he owes his success to ‘ Slumber with a key.’ this was his afternoon nap which he took with a twist.
To do so, he slept in a chair while holding a key. He would sleep and allow the key to fall to the floor. The clang of the key would wake him up. Consequently, little sleep periods like these were the ‘keys’ to his success. He learned this trick from Capuchin monks.
7. Nikola Tesla
The name Nikola Tesla may not ring a bell, but he’s the father of many of the world’s inventions. The most famous of them is alternating current (A/C). It’s what powers many of our homes today. Tesla also figured out how to navigate electric current over 25 miles. He managed to do all this because he slept less than 2 hours each day. He did nap occasionally.
8. Leonardo da Vinci
Like Tesla, da Vinci slept for about 1 1/2 hours a day. His frequent naps gave him enough time to leave his mark on almost every creative form. He engineered weapons, built a flying machine and still found time to paint the Mona Lisa.
Everyone knows that da Vinci was a prolific inventor, but what few people know is how he managed to paint and invent as well as he did. He had a polyphasic sleep schedule, which involved sleeping for brief periods eg. 20 minutes each time. Da Vinci found this useful as he didn’t have to commit to a set pattern of inactivity. So there was seldom a lack of productivity.
9. Margaret Thatcher
The Iron Lady was another great politician who survived on only 4 hours of sleep. In fact, one of the reasons she got her name was because she maintained her steely exterior despite the lack. She set a high standard for John Major, her successor because the entire civil service got used to a prime minister who hardly slept.
How to Keep To A Polyphasic Sleep Schedule
A polyphasic sleep schedule will allow you to achieve as much as these famous people did. But how do you go about it?
First of all, choose a sleeping method that will fit into your schedule. Including naps with nighttime sleep is a good way to start. Then, create a personal polyphasic pattern. Balance your nighttime sleep schedule with a few daily naps. Always allow a few hours in between sleep times.
Another point to remember about polyphasic sleep is that you should move into your schedule slowly because you’ probably need to adjust it. Gradual progress will enable you to accommodate it.
A polyphasic sleep schedule that fits your needs will allow you to accomplish your goals.