Social

Introduction

It is important to factor in social time when deciding if it is a suitable time to start a polyphasic adaptation. Human assistance can be great for adaptations, as they can work as mental support and alarms. However, there are times when it is best to not attempt a polyphasic sleep schedule due to relationships with other people. This article details some of these situations.

Shaky relationship

Sleep deprivation during adaptation can cause people to be more socially irritable.

  • If you and your partner are going through a difficult period, adapting to a polyphasic sleeping schedule is not wise.
  • You will have mood swings, more challenging communication, and possible conflicts related to rigid nap times.

All of these things in combination will test the stability of any relationship, and already being in a shaky one has a big chance to ruin it. Having a supportive environment is also important. You don’t want people constantly interrupting your naps or forcing you to miss them. All in all, you should aim to have the people near you support your decision, or at least accept it.

Interspersing sleep with the waking world

Some schedules require extremely strict adherence for long-term maintenance. However, it is generally very difficult to avoid real-life interferences. Real-world examples of social interferences include:

  • Someone walking in on you sleeping at work and waking you up by accident, because you forgot to lock the door
  • Someone intentionally waking you up to check if you are okay, wondering why would you be sleeping at this odd time
  • Getting a phone call from a nuisance caller in the middle of sleep
  • The house cleaner deciding to make a huge amount of noise cleaning the house, at exactly the time you are trying to sleep
  • A housemate deciding to hold a very noisy impromptu party at the house without checking with you
  • A power cut in the middle of the night making staying awake difficult due to sheer boredom
  • An internet outage in the middle of the night with the same result
  • Alarm failing to go off
  • Method used to turn alarm off being too simple and easy to do without fully waking
  • Pavlok (an electric shock wristband used as an alarm) stops working due to phone doze mode, disconnected Bluetooth, dead battery, or a firmware error.
  • Lack of motivation to get out of bed for whatever reason
  • Depression
  • Pets waking you or taking your phone
  • Baby waking up

There may also be some social considerations for emergency circumstances occurring during a polyphasic sleep session.

  • Given the increased sleep depth, entering SWS could prove devastating if there is some sort of emergency. This includes a house fire, a burglary, etc.
  • It is plausible that you will not hear the alarm go off and fail to wake up.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy, especially the third trimester, you should not limit your sleep time. Or else, this will have serious effects on the child’s neural development, cognitive development, and even various anxiety disorders.

Severe sleep deprivation increases the mother’s risk of getting gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth, depression and anxiety disorder1.

New parent

If you’ve recently had a baby (under 1 year) and don’t have a partner to take care of the baby during your sleeping blocks, then adaptation will be very difficult. Interruptions will prove to be detrimental to your adaptation.

  • They cause your sleep quality to decrease drastically by replacing SWS and REM with light sleep. This will also make adaptation a lot harder.
  • Babies’ sleeping patterns can also change without warning. Therefore, you likely will have to skip your scheduled cores and naps.
  • Managing social time will be very challenging. It is important to avoid scheduling a lot of daytime sleep blocks. 
  • If you really want to do a polyphasic schedule with a newborn, try to hold off until they are not waking several times during the night. Additionally, try an extended schedule with ample total sleep time. Examples include, but not limited to, E1-extended, Siesta-extended.

Main author: Crimson

Page last updated: 24 December 2020

1.
Gulia KK, Kumar VM. Proper Sleep During Pregnancy for Mental Health of Newborn: An Evidence Based Appeal to Policy Makers. S. 2018;2(1):97-98. doi:10.1007/s41782-018-0038-9