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睡眠的学问

Published at Dec 5, 12am / Keywords:

Sleep最近很多 Blog 都在转载或讨论这篇文章。今天早些时候我还在某个网站看过翻译好的中文文章,不过还是感觉看看原文比较好。

虽然我不知道作者这个 1.5 小时的睡眠周期是从何得出的,但睡眠周期的理论我是很早就听说过的。仔细想想我每天大概是 0:40 – 1:20 之间会睡觉,第二天基本上要在 7:15 – 7:30 之间自然醒来一次(当然周日我一般会睡到8:30以后)。也就是说我每天晚上的睡眠是 6 个小时左右,恰好是 1.5 小时的倍数,确实很神奇。按照文章的理论,我应该是因为恰好完成n个睡眠周期才会自然醒来。而且作者也指出只有在完成睡眠周期后醒来,这一段睡眠才是有质量的,否则如果在沉睡中强行起来是达不到睡眠的效果的。这一点我比较有同感,为此我已经摔坏好几个床头的闹表了。

另外作者也提到了每天应该睡两次的问题。这点我似乎做的还不够。因为我每天午睡仅仅 20 分钟,有时甚至不睡。作者指出这是很不正确的。晚上多睡 3 个小时也无法弥补午睡的缺失。不过有一点我还是做的不错,就是睡眠要么控制在 20 分钟之内,否则就睡 n 个 90 分钟。我一向感觉午睡睡多了人会变懒,因此从高中时就把午睡控制在 20 min 以内了。

文章中另外提到了打盹的问题。至于理论部分有兴趣的人可以看看后附的原文。作者列举了很多名人打盹的例子,说明了打盹很有利于激发创意。不过迫于我的工作性质,还是不要打盹的好,否则会很危险的 -_-b。

附上原文:原文

The power of the Sleep Cycle PDF Print E-mail
Written by Glen Rhodes
Thursday, 01 September 2005

Ok, I’ve been talking to people for a long time about the fact that you can get by on 6 or even 4.5 hours of sleep per day without question. The secret is NOT the amount of sleep, but rather the number itself; a multiple of 90 minutes will change your life.

1.5 hours
3 hours
4.5 hours
6 hours
7.5 hours

Those are the sleep quantities that you should aim to get, and those are what your body will naturally take, removing the alarm clock. Guaranteed. Go to sleep without an alarm clock, and watch what times you naturally wake up at. It will be a multiple of 90 minutes from when you first went to bed. This 90 minutes is known as a sleep cycle, and it’s how I live my life.

Typically, I sleep 3 hours a night, and nap for 90 minutes in the evening. That’s a total of 4.5 hours, and I am always alert, always awake and always feel rested and refreshed. Read on for more details…

“A group of Harvard scientists trained volunteers to perform a visual task that required them to learn how to recognize certain patterns as they flashed quickly on the computer screen. When the subjects were tested 10 hours later, those who had taken a 90-minute nap did much better than those who didn’t nap. In fact, they did as well as people who got a full night’s sleep in a previous study” – http://www.sleepfoundation.org/Alert/030730.cfm

Here’s something from the Center for Applied Cognitive Studies (http://centacs.com)

“Studies show that the length of sleep is not what causes us to be refreshed upon waking. The key factor is the number of complete sleep cycles we enjoy. Each sleep cycle contains five distinct phases, which exhibit different brain- wave patterns. For our purposes, it suffices to say that one sleep cycle lasts an average of 90 minutes: 65 minutes of normal, or non-REM (rapid eye movement), sleep; 20 minutes of REM sleep (in which we dream); and a final 5 minutes of non-REM sleep. The REM sleep phases are shorter during earlier cycles (less than 20 minutes) and longer during later ones (more than 20 minutes). If we were to sleep completely naturally, with no alarm clocks or other sleep disturbances, we would wake up, on the average, after a multiple of 90 minutes–for example, after 4 1/2 hours, 6 hours, 7 1/2 hours, or 9 hours, but not after 7 or 8 hours, which are not multiples of 90 minutes. In the period between cycles we are not actually sleeping: it is a sort of twilight zone from which, if we are not disturbed (by light, cold, a full bladder, noise), we move into another 90-minute cycle. A person who sleeps only four cycles (6 hours) will feel more rested than someone who has slept for 8 to 10 hours but who has not been allowed to complete any one cycle because of being awakened before it was completed…. ”

It explains why, when I get 8 hours of sleep I feel tired and groggy, or when I get 4 hour of sleep, I can barely wake up. As human beings, we should know about this fact, as everyone always says “get your 8 hours”. Yet some people fare better than others. Why is that? Probably because the more rested people are actually getting closer to 7.5, or 9 hours, while the 8 hour folk feel constantly unrested.

It is said that many of the most productive people in history have understood and practiced this. Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Buckminster Fuller used this *exact* technique. Other great minds likewise used naps to their advantage including Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Napoleon, and Winston Churchhill.

Naps are the key to direct Theta brainwave access. Theta brainwaves are the brainwaves of hyper awareness. The more theta you have during your waking hours, the more creatively intelligent you are–it’s really that simple.

As far as longevity, Fuller lived to 87. DaVinci into his late 60’s. –Both lived over DOUBLE the average life expectancy of the men of their time.

Monophasic sleep is the “norm” for North American culture. We sleep at night, and work during the day. Polyphasic sleep consists of multiple sleep/ wake incidents scattered throughout the day. A sleep schedule with an afternoon nap is an example of polyphasic sleep. There is evidence to suggest that humans were originally suited to a polyphasic sleeping routine, rather than the arbitrary monophasic one that we are used to. For starters, almost all animals in nature conform to polyphasic behavior. In addition, polyphasic behavior is the predominant mode of sleeping for human infants, and even in the later years, children have to slowly be weaned from the afternoon nap. Furthermore, when people are isolated from the external environment – so that they cannot determine the actual time of the day from natural cues such as sunlight, or artificial cues such as clocks or television programs – they tend to exhibit more napping behavior instead of retaining the single monophasic sleep period during the “night.” Finally, it appears that naps – relatively brief sessions of sleep – are more effective in refreshing the mind, than longer periods of sleep. In a sense, we were taught to “unlearn” this natural way of sleeping, when we had to adjust to the arbitrary 9-to-5 schedule.

Oh, and on 3 hours of sleep a night, I have one cup of coffee at the most per day.

The sleep cycle is a beautiful thing.

Interesting Note: Your brain cells reset their sodium & potassium ratios when the brain is in Theta state. The sodium & potassium levels are involved in osmosis which is the chemical process that transports chemicals into and out of your brain cells. After an extended period in the Beta state the ratio between potassium and sodium is out of balance. This the main cause of what is known as “mental fatigue”. A brief period in Theta (about 5 – 15min) can restore the ratio to normal resulting in mental refreshment.

Update: I originally wrote this article in early 2003, it’s now late 2005, and my sleep patterns are regular, unwaveringly bi-phasic. I’m healthy, I don’t eat any sugar whatsoever, my cholesterol is low and my productivity is higher than it has ever been. Some people have wondered how they would transition into a sleeping pattern like this. The keys (from my experience only) are:

1.
Measure the length of your sleep cycle. 90 minutes is a good average, but for some people it is different. Mine has actually changed in the last few years from 90 to about 75. Now, if I hit the pillow at 7:00, I wake up for the first time at 8:15. Never, ever using an alarm clock. Because of the change in sleep cycle length, I now get 4 cycles per day. Usually three late at night, and one in the evening.
2.
The key thing is, it MUST be divided up into two distinct sleep sessions per day. It’s not enough to just get 4.5 hours and say “that’s my sleep done for today”. You’ll have a hell of a time staying awake for the remaining 19+ hours. You’ve got to divide it into two (or more) sleep sessions. The REM sleep you achieve has to be spaced throughout the day for it to have the proper “flushing” effect.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, I’m not a therapist, or anything of the sort. I’m just a guy who discovered this by accident, experienced it, then looked it up to see if there was any research into stuff like this. It started because I was getting less sleep at night, and was tired, so I started having naps after work (at first, accidentally on the couch), but found unexpectedly that it suddenly rejuvinated me the next day, and made everything else easily doable. The rest was history.

I’ve opened a thread on my forums for anyone who wants to have some discussion about this topic.

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