Monophasic Sleep Pattern

mammalsHave you ever heard of monophasic and polyphasic sleepers? While 85 percent of all mammals are polyphasic sleepers, humans fall in the minority of monophasic sleepers. But it wasn’t always that way. There are several theories as to when humans went from being polyphasic sleepers to monophasic sleepers. One theory holds that it was back some time between 70,000 and 40,000 BC that Neanderthal man shifted from a polyphasic to a monophasic sleep pattern. Another theory holds that it was due to the long work hours incorporated during the Industrial Revolution. Regardless of when and why, monophasic sleep does not appear to be natural for humans, nor the best way to sleep.  In today’s sleep blog, your Livonia, MI dentist, Dr. James Stewart, discusses sleep patterns.

Monophasic vs Polyphasic

As monophasic sleepers human’s days are distinctly divided into two periods: day and night, one for sleep and one for being awake. Polyphasic sleepers, on the other hand, sleep for short periods of time, several times throughout a 24 hour period. Not all humans follow a monophasic sleep pattern. European countries like Spain follow a biphasic sleep pattern. Spain closes their shops in the middle of the day for lunch and a nap. They sleep 5 to 6 hours at night and then nap for 20 to 90 minutes each day during their siesta. This sleep pattern matches our circadian rhythm which tells us we need sleep in the afternoon when we become naturally drowsy. Scientists believe this is the healthier sleep pattern, as humans are more alert and productive after their nap. Not only babies and older people benefit from naps, many famous adults valued an afternoon nap including Napoleon, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush.

In contrast, monophasic sleepers sleep 7 to 9 hours per night and can become drowsy several times throughout their wakeful period reducing their productivity, and mental clarity.

About Dr. Stewart

James R. Stewart, Jr, DDS, PC and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. If you think you or a loved one is dealing with a sleep disorder, call our office today at (734) 425-4400, to schedule an appointment. At Dental sleep Medicine of Michigan, we are committed to forming trusting relationships with our patients so we can work together to achieve sound treatment and a future full of restful nights.