"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

How To Hack Your Sleep

In the late 1930’s, a wealthy amateur scientist named Alfred Lee Loomis and his colleagues watched an EEG monitor for brain electrical activity during sleep, and they made a pretty remarkable discovery: there are actually five main parts to each of several phases of sleep that occur during a normal night. One of these stages is called REM (rapid eye movement), and it is where most of the benefit of sleep comes from. Ironically, it is in REM sleep that the brain looks the least asleep. In fact, it looks awake. This is the phase where dreams occur.

It seems that all you really need to survive and feel rested is the REM phase, which is only a tiny portion of your actual sleep phases at night. You only spend 1-2 hours in REM sleep during any given night, and the rest is wasted on the other seemingly useless phases. This is where the opportunity to hack the brain presents itself. What if you could find a way to cut out the other phases and gain 4-5 more hours of productive wakeful time?


2 responses to “How To Hack Your Sleep

  1. Giovanni Dannato June 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I can’t help but wonder if the other parts of the sleep cycle are just as necessary.
    -The body heals, regenerates at an accelerated rate, a necessary phase. There’s all sorts of other processes that might be happening mainly during sleep.
    -Perhaps the REM phase just represents a spike in the neural restoration activity. So perhaps the best approach would be to find ways to extend the REM period.

    Many have noticed that our sleep period tends to correlate nicely with the night time in its length and is thus perhaps a way to keep us immobilized and conserving energy while there’s nothing productive we could be doing in an ancestral environment.

    Yes, I’ve heard of those people who no longer needed sleep after experiencing high fevers.
    But I was under the impression there were some adverse effects: the ‘victims’ wished they could go to sleep like they used to.

    Also, every story I’ve heard of someone trying out polyphasic sleep is the same: works for a little while but the crash eventually comes.

    I’ve definitely researched this before and tried out some of my own experiments on myself. But I don’t think anyone has found a truly effective way around this limitation.
    This tells me that we are not yet even working with, understanding all the right variables.

    After all, a true awake time extension that would be useful for most people would make a modern populace even more productive
    It would be an important first step in a mental industrial revolution.

  2. Pingback: Introsphere roundup: June 13 – June 30 | The Second Estate

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