Changing Up Your Circadian Rhythm

Have you ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed and felt like you couldn’t make it through the day? Do you find yourself struggling to stay awake and be alert throughout the day? Then it may be time to regulate or change your sleep cycle.

Many people do not recognize that our circadian rhythms dictate how well we can sleep, when we get our best sleep, and the different phases we have in our sleep.

The normal sleep cycle is a monophasic sleep cycle, meaning you sleep for a large block of time (six to eight hours) and operate the rest of the day without a need for naps or rest. The other kind of sleep cycle is the polyphasic sleep cycle, which has a smaller block of sleep, say three to four hours, along with naps planned throughout the day.

However, one must understand the benefits and changes required to transition from a monophasic to polyphasic sleep schedule.

Some benefits of transitioning to a different sleep cycle include more time awake to get work done, improved quality of sleep once you find your ideal sleep cycle, and increased performance and creativity through use of the power nap. Some people might have international business calls to answer at 2a.m. and need to be alert for the discussion, while others may be students looking to increase their study time in the morning. While these are some pretty good benefits, make sure that they outweigh the negative parts of the monopoly transition.

It can be difficult to adapt to a polyphasic sleep schedule, especially if you don’t feel like you’re getting enough sleep from your largest block of rest. There are multiple sleep cycles to choose from in the polyphasic realm, but none of them can simply be defined as “easy.”

Unconventional and rigid scheduling that is required at first to adapt to a new sleep cycle can cause exhaustion during the adjustment period. Your diet may need to change to not include sugars or caffeine, as they could also disrupt your circadian rhythm. Make sure you’re getting all of your vitamins because getting sick can end your sleep cycle and put you back into the monophasic form, requiring another adjustment period.


Written by: Diamante Hewitt

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