I used to have such a wonderful relationship with sleep. I would get in bed at night, read for a bit, turn off the light and snooze blissfully until morning.
Not anymore! These days, I struggle to sleep through the night. I do the right things to prepare for a solid eight hours—no screen time before bed, no caffeine after 3:00 pm, a cool room, etc. And I do fall asleep…but three or four hours later, my eyelids snap open and I am wide awake. I try to fall back to sleep…but eventually I get up, read, perhaps watch TV and then return to bed and fall back to sleep. Not ideal, right?
For some of us, that actually may be ideal. According to Mary Carskadon, PhD, of Brown University, there’s a new trend called segmented sleep that consists of a normal bedtime…a few hours of sleep…a waking period during the night when you do something that lets you fade back into sleep…then more sleep till morning. Just acknowledging that we are segmented sleepers may help some of us resolve the anxiety caused by that period of wakefulness.
If you want to try segmented sleep, keep a few things in mind…
Most of us need seven to nine hours of sleep…and nighttime is the best time for sleeping. Reconcile yourself to sleeping away one-third of your life.
Segmented sleep is not a time hack. It won’t allow you to cheat biology—I’ll work on my novel for two hours each night and feel great in the morning. It means adding—not subtracting—hours to the period between bedtime and your morning alarm.
If you have to set a middle-of-the-night alarm, segmented sleep probably isn’t for you.
Whatever your sleep pattern, I wish you sweet dreams!