Recently, we've seen an increased interest in polyphasic sleep. Proponents claim to be able to extract extra hours out of the day, as well as other benefits. However, not as much interest has been paid to a more ancient and natural sleep pattern: Young Needy Offspring (YNO) phasic sleep.
Unlike polyphasic sleep, which may require additional equipment to be effective, YNO-phasic sleep simply requires one or more offspring. Typically more, younger offspring produce more dramatic results.
The charts below show sample 24-hour cycles for monophasic, polyphasic and YNO-phasic sleep:
8 hours of sleep followed by 16 hours of wakefulness
|Polyphasic (Biphasic TED) |
4 hours of sleep, 2 hours of wakefulness, 4 hours of sleep, 14 hours of wakefulness
~3 hours of sleep followed by random intervals of wakefulness and sleep-like wakefulness. At 6:15am, the offspring will awake for the day, fully rested and ready to play.
A preferred sleep cycle involves gentle transitions from sleep to wakefulness. The following chart shows a desirable monophasic sleep cycle.Note the gentle transitions from wakefulness down to sleeping and back up to wakefulness.
YNO-phasic sleep cycles are characterized by abrupt changes from sleeping to wakefulness. The return transition from wakefulness to sleeping does not happen again until the next evening.Abrupt changes to wakefulness are typically caused by offspring producing highly audible noises, foul odors and surprisingly strong slaps to the face 2. Not infrequently, changes to wakefulness also happen due to the discomfort caused by a spouse's hands lightly strangling the sleeper while moaning, "I can't take it anymore!" through clenched teeth.
Critics of YNO-phasic sleep3 claim that such sleep has no benefits, but it is obvious from research that this is unfounded. YNO-phasic sleep provides several benefits:
- Longer days
As shown above, a person following YNO-phasic sleep will have more wakeful hours during the day, sometimes eliminating sleep altogether for several days (especially when the initial transition is made from monophasic to YNO-phasic sleep). The implications for productivity are obvious.
- Reading time
Many people wish they had more time to read. YNO-phasic sleep offers ample opportunity for reading. Just last night, at 3am, I was able to spend 30 minutes repeatedly reading Goodnight Moon. The kittens end up on the chair, and the mouse ends up looking out the window.
- Improved Resistance
In addition to direct benefits of YNO-phasic sleep, people report many indirect benefits, such as:
- Increased chance of progeny
It has been proven that those who have offspring have a greater chance of having descendents than those who don't.
The first time the offspring emits laughter4 is very nice. Subsequent times are also nice.
After some time of enduring following YNO-phasic sleep, adherents frequently report astonishment and surprise at what their offspring can do (e.g. walking, talking, teasing, telling jokes, performing, etc...)
This article has been peer reviewed (I had a peer review it).
1 Studies have shown that adherents to YNO-phasic sleep who are shown monophasic sleep diagrams exhibit increased levels of sarcasm and violence.
3 Interestingly, the most ardent critics of YNO-phasic sleep are often the strictest adherents. The reason for this overlap has yet to be researched.
4 also, giggles, belly laughs, smiles, funny faces.