[No registration!] Is polyphasic sleep dangerous?

Cognitive performance changes

Cognitive Performance Changes


How could the cognitive performance of adapted polyphasic sleepers be used to show that polyphasic sleeping is dangerous? This ties into whether polyphasic sleepers are sleep deprived. When you’re sleep deprived, your cognitive performance will decrease. If you track your cognitive performance to see any changes after successfully adapting to a polyphasic schedule, you could determine if you’d actually still be sleep deprived.

Current situation

What are the results so far? The polyphasic sleep community is currently working on a mobile application to determine the cognitive performance of polyphasic sleepers before, during and after they have adapted to a polyphasic schedule.
These results will then be compared to the monophasic baseline to see how the values for the different cognitive performance tests change during the course of adaptation.

To clarify, during the adaptation period, people’s cognitive performance is going to suffer. This is because they will be getting less sleep than what they need on their monophasic baseline. The results become interesting when we compare the cognitive performance of people who have adapted to a polyphasic schedule.
As this app is still in the making at the time of filming, there aren’t any results to show you as of now.

There is actually a Bachelor’s thesis completed in this subject, called “Losing Sleep: A Preliminary Investigation of the Cognitive Effects that Arise from Polyphasic Sleep Cycles”, and it’s written by TAYLOR STEPHEN SMYTH in 2013. The results of this paper show that the subjects cognitive performance improved when they attempted a modified Uberman schedule, which is great news on this topic. But there are a few negative aspects to it. First, there was no baseline for how the cognitive performance was expected to be altered as time progressed and they became more used to the tests done with monophasic sleepers.
Second, the sample size was, with only one person tested, extremely small.
Third, there was one other result that was a bit worrying, namely how the weight of the subject changed as time progressed. During the experiment, he gained about 5 kilos of weight, though he did note that the experiment took place during the winter holidays.

The future

The goal is to finish the application that measures cognitive performance, which should provide good results on the question of whether polyphasic sleeping is dangerous.


Some concrete point that someone interested in showing that polyphasic sleeping is dangerous would need to find evidence for is:

  1. That the cognitive performance of adapted polyphasic sleepers has decreased.
  2. That the cognitive performance does not return to the same levels after an adapted polyphasic sleeper has returned to monophasic sleep.

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