When you have lectures starting at 9:00 and seven problem sheets pending a week; when drop-in tutorials and library workshops occupy your sole lunch hour before a 3-hour laboratory session kicks in; when your last lecture ends at 18:00 just before your 2-hour French class or rehearsal for the Choir; and when your weekends are claimed by volunteering at schools or first aid training courses, you looking hard at the 11 entries under your Blackboard Course List, counting upward and downward, repeatedly, hoping you are just miscounting. No, you are not. You rub your eyes in disbelief when each of these 11 courses ?recommends? the reading of inch-thick textbooks. A glance at your calendar indicates an end-of-term exam next week. Welcome to Imperial.
University life has taken its toll on most of us when average learning hours occupied approximately 18 percent, a near 30 hour, per week*. How is that significant when we have an abundant 138 leftover hours? Let?s see.
Looking at the diagram One, we are now left with only a 2-digit figure to ourselves. Don?t underestimate those small casual things you do weekly like eating, travelling, internet, games, hygiene, gym workouts and parties because they all add up at the end of the day and rip a hundred hours off your week! It would seem that you are not in control of your time but the other way round. The remaining 37.5 hours is not enough when you need at least an hour?s background reading and an hour?s revision for every lecture on every course ? not counting tutorials, study group and laboratory sessions to prepare for. In reality, as a university student, you are expected to explore, research and read more on a lecture than what an hour can possibly promise you.
This is when a friend of mine suggested the idea about sleeping only 3 hours a day instead of 8. Insane. He admitted it too and dropped the idea on the spot. But this is when I picked it back up ? ?polyphasic sleep?. I may probably chip a few hours off my week by dining out every day instead of going grocery shopping, cooking or hanging out with friends, but an extra 10 to 12 hour per week is the limit. What if I could have an extra five active hours every day (35 hours per week!) without depleting my wallet and sacrificing my social life? Perfect.
I looked it up. Instead of monophasic sleep (one long stretch of 8-hour sleep and 16 awake hours), polyphasic sleep includes taking multiple naps of different durations on 24-hour basic.
Wouldn?t it be amazing to stay awake for 22 hours? I think life is just too short to sleep 8 hours away every day when we have so many things to do and so much to learn. (We already have 11 courses at hand!) Although there have been many experiments and doubts over whether a day of 22-hour alertness is qualitative rather than quantitative, I believe it is worth giving a try. And we are not alone! There are pools of ?poly-phasers? around the world who are trying out these different sleeping patterns and enjoying extra hours of their lives. Check them out at http://www.poly-phasers.com/recent.php and http://trypolyphasic.com/forum/. Let?s start Waking Our Weeks Out then!
* Calculations based on a first year EEE student. Variations expected.
** To be excluded if one dines out every meal, every day.
*** Not everyone lives in Beit Quad.
**** Expect to have more than 10 hours when you are a party going, fun loving individual.