[No registration!] Is polyphasic sleep dangerous?




The purpose of this section is to emphasize two pieces of peer-reviewed research articles. They talk about how life expectancy is going to change on sleep schedules with shorter amounts of sleep.

This information should not be directly applicable to polyphasic sleepers. This is because in previous videos in this series, adapted polyphasic sleepers should only reduce the light sleep stage; the baseline requirements of SWS and REM sleep will remain constant. Because of this, polyphasic sleepers should be on the safer side of the spectrum.

Two papers

The first paper is, “Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies”. Cappuccio et al. were the authors. This paper compares the sleep duration and life expectancy of people; the results are pretty interesting.

  • In conclusion, people who sleep less than 6 hours a night have a 12% higher chance to die prematurely than sleepers with between 7 and 8 hours a day.
  • However, people who slept over 9 hours a day actually had a 30% higher chance of dying prematurely. Thus, it is clearly worse for people to sleep more than less.

The next paper is, “Insomnia and mortality: A meta-analysis”. Lovato and Lack wrote this paper. This paper compared the mortality of insomniac people; these people have difficulty falling asleep and they get less sleep than what they actually need.

  • Result-wise, there is no statistical difference between the mortality-rates of these people; specifically, if we compare insomniac individuals with healthy individuals.

The future

Unfortunately, there has been no long-term studies to assess how much damage polyphasic sleep would produce. Therefore, we have to resort to studies on normal monophasic sleep to draw the conclusions.

In the future, there hopefully will be long-term studies. The premise would be to compare the mortality-rate of polyphasic sleepers to monophasic sleepers. This would give clear evidence whether polyphasic sleeping is dangerous.


In conclusion, to find evidence for the claim that polyphasic sleeping is dangerous, one would need to show:

  1. There is comprehensive peer-reviewed research that shows polyphasic sleepers suffer from a higher mortality rate.

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