A pattern is the repeated or regular way in which something happens or is done. Some sleep patterns mean a person will sleep once per day while others mean they sleep at intervals. However, the pattern that is most common in a population may or may not be the healthiest option for people. Sleep is a vital component of human health, and the amount of sleep a person needs changes with their age. And, as with other body functions, sleep has patterns.
Sleep pattern – how it works
Your pattern is like a timepiece which your body uses to understand when it is time to sleep and when it is time to wake. This works alongside your body’s need to sleep which is governed by 2 factors.
- How long you have been awake
- The regular timing of your sleep
Sleep pattern – The time of your sleep
The timing of your sleep is controlled by something called the circadian body clock located in the depths of your brain. Once your body clock has decided it is time to rest it works with other functions in the body to help prepare you for the night of sleep ahead, stopping the various bodily function associated with being awake. The same goes for when it is time to wake, where the reverse happens.
Sleep pattern – Sleep and wake cycle
You develop a sleep-wake cycle from birth; it is guided by a number of cues to decide if the time is right for sleep. These include daylight, mealtimes, and the regular timing of activities carried out at certain times of the day.
Our bodies naturally adjust our sleep-wake cycle to be in line with the day-night cycle. This is down to a hormone called melatonin which naturally secreted itself in darkness to promote sleepiness and suppresses itself during daylight to keep you awake.
Sleep pattern – 2 most common types
Monophasic – 1 Sleep Per Day – Monophasic sleep is essentially what most people would call a normal sleeping pattern. A person sleeps for around 8 hours per night. It is the most common sleeping pattern and the one most societies have adopted.
Biphasic – 2 Periods of sleep per day – Biphasic sleep is where a person sleeps twice a day. Basically, it consists of a long sleep during the night with a shorter rest during the day. Siesta is what most people call it, it is a period in the early afternoon after lunch where your body feels a bit more sleepy than usual and can nod off more easily. Siestas are usually not more than 30 minutes, any longer and you would go into a deeper stage of sleep which would be hard to wake up from. Siesta, or afternoon naps when done right provides deep refreshment, and can actually have the same effect of a few extra hours’ sleep.
Sleep pattern – Polyphasic – Multiple sleep per day
Polyphasic is a pattern that consists of multiple periods of sleep per day, generally from 4 to 6 periods of sleep per day. There are many different combinations of polyphasic sleep patterns, but the most well know are Everman, Uberman, and Dymaxion.
- Everman – Everman sleep pattern incorporates a core sleep, usually no longer than 3 hours, and this is followed by 20 minutes naps for refreshments during the day. Everman is considered to be the easiest, sustainable, and flexible polyphasic sleep patterns available.
- Uberman – Uberman sleep pattern makes use of 6 naps no longers than 30 minutes at regular intervals throughout the day. As a result, you get the sleep you need in just 3 hours. A typical Uberman sleep pattern is a 20-minute nap at 2 am, 6 am, 10 am, 2 pm, 6 pm, and 10 pm.
- Dymaxion – Here you take a 30-minute nap every 6 hours. That’s just 2 hours of sleep per night.
Sleep pattern -What is the best sleep pattern?
There are many advantages to both biphasic and polyphasic sleep patterns. These include:
- Reducing the number of hours spent asleep per day
- Increase the quality of sleep
- Improved dream recall
- More active throughout the day
Adjusting your pattern takes strong self-discipline. You will likely experience extreme sleep deprivation for a good few weeks while your body adjusts.
How can you improve your sleep with sleep gadgets?
Sleep does not have to be as challenging as it is, you can create your sleep hygiene along with some sleep gadgets, such as NodPod a weighted sleep mask to lessen your stress and give you better sleep. Sleep headphones are great as well, a combination of sleep mask and music during your sleep.
Sleep pattern – It takes one slight change to mess everything up
Sleep pattern is the key
The absolute key to all sleep patterns is predictability and regularity each and every day. Mess up your sleep schedule and your sleep pattern is as good as dead.