A Sleep Segment about Segmented Sleep.
BY GREEN BUTCHERY | 26 July 2021
For most people, getting to bed at a reasonable hour and putting in about seven or eight hours of solid sack time is the norm. This is just how it has always been for a lot of folks, and no one thinks to question it. Perhaps it is time to do just that. Do humans really need eight hours of sleep? What if there was a way to get in some quality sleep on a schedule that works for you? There is a new option, and it is called segmented sleep.
What is Segmented Sleep?
Segmented sleep involves getting that essential shut-eye in two shifts. For some, this may look like four hours of sleep in the middle of the night and another four in midafternoon. This is referred to as the “4 by 4 Sleep Routine”. In fact, most people will find that the family dog follows a similar sleep pattern. Instead of being awake all day and asleep all night, animals tend to get their rest in where it makes sense for them.
Segmented sleep is similar to how the animal kingdom does it. Those who work night shifts or are self-proclaimed night owls may benefit from four hours of sleep in the late evening and then again when their work shift is over.
Is Segmented Sleep Healthy?
Though most people try to get eight hours of sleep, many may wonder if they will get the same benefits if they break that sleep cycle into two shifts. This idea is not without a few shortcomings. The body’s natural circadian rhythm is tied to the sunrise and sunset. Sleeping during those times when humans need to get those essential rays may disrupt that cycle. The reason behind that is that as the sun goes down, the body releases melatonin. When it is time to wake, the body releases cortisol. Sleeping on a non-traditional sleep cycle means a disruption in those hormones and, therefore, poor quality sleep. If you try segmented sleep and find yourself to be rather drowsy when awake and struggling to fall asleep at a designated time, these hormone disruptions are the likely culprit, and you probably need 8 hours of sleep in a row.
Vitamin D levels may also be an issue for those trying a segmented sleep cycle. Sun rays help the body with Vitamin D metabolism, so it is essential to get the right amount of sunshine for optimal health.
Give it a Try!
Those who are intrigued are encouraged to try this new sleep cycle. If that means sleeping while the sun is still out, try using blackout curtains and a sleep mask. This will send a message to that pesky circadian rhythm that it is time for a snooze. Make sure that the sleep environment you choose is free of distractions so that the sleep you achieve is deep and restful.
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