sleep when you’re deadI started biphasic sleeping (essentially just getting two periods of sleep per day) in September last year, and noted a number of improvements following a rigorous 30-day trial. Thankfully, all of those improvements (including several health benefits) are still there; and show no signs of abating any time soon.

Both before and after the trial, I’ve attempted to give up caffeine. On both occasions this lasted for a few weeks, and then old habits began to creep back in. With this in mind, I’ve simply greatly reduced my consumption. That seems to be working well.

A few years ago – and up until last year – I was having approximately 8-10 cups of coffee per day. This was supplemented with the occasional sip of cola, and an even more occasional cup of black tea.

My current intake is approximately 4-5 cups per week, no carbonated beverages at all, and copious amounts of green tea. It’s the cold part of the year here after all.

How does this affect the biphasic sleeping? Firstly, a quick look at my usual routine :

  • 4.5 hours starting at approximately 2am
  • 80 minutes starting at approximately 7:30pm

or close enough to 6 hours per day. There are some people who favour a 3 hour/90 minute split; but the above times work well for me.

The impact of caffeine is interesting. On most days (no coffee, green tea only) I don’t consume enough caffeine to cause a problem; and the usual routine works just fine. I’m asleep within minutes, enjoy colourful dreams, and wake refreshed.

On the other days (approx. 2 cups of coffee, as well as 5-6 cups of green tea), I sleep monophasically. Trial and error has me adding 1 x sleep cycle (80 minutes in my case, but it varies from person to person) to the usual 6 hour daily total, for a 7.5 hour slumber. I realise I’m rounding up here, but I do actually take the full 7.5 hours.

The effects of not doing this – and attempting to stick to the usual biphasic routine – are :

  • it takes longer to get to sleep for the 7:30 nap, even if I consume the coffee at 8 or 9am
  • once I do get to sleep in the 7:30 nap, I roll around a lot, sweat and generally have a less refreshing sleep (very similar to having a fever)
  • I generally wake up after 20 minutes or so, and need another nap later in the evening

So it really isn’t worth doing. The 7.5 hour sleep is refreshing, and there is no sleep debt incurred as a result. If I can successfully combine the biphasic sleeping with a regular (although moderate) caffeine intake, I’ll be a happy, happy man.