Sleep Polyphasic
     A site about people with alternate Sleep Schedules

Sleep Professionals and Polyphasic Sleep

Buttom line: Sleep professionals do not endorse polyphasic sleep. OK, then why do we have a whole page dedcated to what sleep professionals say! The reason is because that's not the end of the story. There are a lot of professionals, naturally, and each of them have a slightly different view of polyphasic sleep. In general they range from "Only a nutjob would ever even consider this, let alone try it" to "since there has hardly been any studies indicating that polyphasic sleep is good/safe/etc, I cannot recommend it". Obviously, that is a wide range.

1. The "Only a nutjob would ever consider this".
In general, these "experts" usually follow this sentiment up with something like, "it can't work", "it won't work", "you'll have less energy", "you won't be able to think straight", and the like. Of course, this is based only upon their lack of knowledge. To be fair, it is not completely their own fault. Many professionals, especially those that are older and have been in their field for a while, are very confident in what they know (one might say cocky, but cocky is often used to refer to a younger professional that is confident without valid reason, so we'll just say confident). This also applies to doctors, engineers, teachers, politicians, and the like. Of course, if you talk to any of them for only a matter of minutes, you could probably research their comments on-line and come up with an understanding that what they present as truth is definitly not fact. It may be the truth but it is at least partly theoretical and, therefore, not fact yet, only assumption and belief. As people age, they tend to become more an dmore close minded. They take up the belief that if they have not seen something be successful so far that it CANNOT be successful. Again, this is not an individual's fault really. It is the way we humans learn. We remember things in general and learn general rules of thumb. This is even worse for people who are experts in a specific field. Because of their knowledge on a subject, most experts tend to believe that they are not like "other people" who "don't know what they don't know". Suppose you are a medical doctor and someone comes in to your office. You run some tests and the results, in your mind, plainly show that the patient has 'X' disease which has a treatment of 'A' medicine. Then, the patient tells you that they looked on-line and believe that they have 'Y' disease which requires not 'A' but 'B'. How would you respond? A very few would actually even consider the patient's input. A few more might explain to the patient the differences between 'X' and 'Y' and why they really have 'X', but a large majority would just tell the patient they are wrong, still perscribe them 'A', and send them on their way. The same thing holds true for sleep experts. When someone on-line says polyphasic sleeping is great, they tell you it is made up, you need to listen to them, and send you on your way with their standard answers.

2. The "there's no proof" crowd
This actually makes sense. Sleep doctors are in business because people come to them for advice. It would be unwise for a sleep professional, just as with a doctor, lawyer, or other professional, to advise something that has not been proven without significant precautions. These precautions in general would mean telling their clients that it is experimental and may not work and not advising something that they have not seen proof of working in some cases or at least not being detrimental. Since there have not been a whole lot of professional studies on polyphasic sleep, the "there's no proof" response is to be expected. If a professional was to advise polyphasic sleep to a client and something happened to that client, then the sleep professional might be held legally liable.

So, how is this going to change. The only way that this changes is with data. Professionals, as a group, will change their minds over time when presented with cold hard facts. Our type 1 professional above might be a lost cause. But, usually, as noted, these professionals are increasing in years and will shortly be no longer practicing. The second type of professional listed would love to see studies done on polyphasic sleeping (well love might be an exageration). If presented with study after study showing that (a) polyphasic sleep does indeed work, (b) polyphasic sleep is indeed beneficial in certain circumstances, and (c) polyphasic sleep is not detrimental except in certain circumstances, then many sleep professionals would accept this information and add it to their repitoir of techniques and beliefs.

The belief of each sleep professional is somewhere on a continuum between our two theoretical professionals above. Naturally, the conversion of belief and understanding of professionals, as with the general public, will be slow but constant if presented with studies and FACTS. A lot of people do not listen when something is contrary to what they already have learned to be true, even if the facts are right there staring them in the face. But, some people will. I am proud to be part of that latter group on, I like to believe, every subject.