[No registration!] Is polyphasic sleep dangerous?

Sleep onset latency outside regular sleep times

Sleep Onset Latency Outside Regular Sleep Times

The topic of this section is about sleep onset latency (SOL) outside the regular sleep times. SOL is just a fancy word for saying how long it takes to fall asleep. Thus, if you are laying in bed for an hour and cannot fall asleep, and finally fall asleep, your SOL is 1 hour.


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Adding a nap outside of scheduled Segmented sleep

If you are falling asleep fast outside your regular sleep times, that is a telling sign that you are actually sleep deprived. However, if you are living a very routine life with strict sleep times, you will fall asleep quickly at the usual sleep times.

Thus, you should not mix up these two situations. Even though you might be able to fall asleep quickly in your naps, that should not raise any red flags at all; you are familiar with these sleep hours because your body is entrained to them.

Testing the sleep onset latency

To test the sleep onset latency, try the following:

  • Sleep for 20 minutes at a good distance from your regular sleep times
  • Keep a metal spoon in your hand over a metal plate.
  • When you enter NREM2, you are going to drop the spoon.
  • This should make a loud sound and wake you up.

This process acts as a timer to demonstrate how long you have slept. If you fall asleep within 10 minutes, that shows some degrees of sleep deprivation.

Current situation

The community has been occasionally tracking how adapted people perform, but currently we do not have that large of a sample size. Regardless, the results are still decently interesting.

  • A large majority of people did not fall asleep at all for their extra nap.
  • On the other hand, SOL results ranged from 14 to 18 minutes; there is one odd exception of only 3 minutes.

Still, these tests remain in progress and it’s too early to draw any definite conclusions.


If you are looking to find evidence against polyphasic sleep, you would need to show:

  1. Adapted polyphasic sleepers who try to nap outside their regular sleep times would fall asleep very fast.

At this point in time, these the readings from SOL tests can definitely be skewed if the polyphasic sleeper in question is going through or has already completed a flexing adaptation.

A flexing adaptation basically refers to an adaptation that teaches the body to sleep within a specific interval; this is different from sleeping at a particularly precise minute or hour. This flexing adaptation usually follows a successful adaptation to a fixed schedule, but not before that.

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