Normally, most people get all their sleep in one session. They get as much as they can that night and its the beginning of their new day. But there are those who prefer a rather odd type of sleep schedule. In fact, in extends the amount of time they have throughout their day.
Polyphasic sleeping is when instead of the one session of sleep, they sleep from 3 hours up to 6, and then take small naps spanning about 20 minutes each during the day. Depending on the person and how much time they need, they can get a total of 3 hours of sleep that has been spread out in intervals. Each nap would be 20 min and you wouldn’t be complete until you total 3 hours.
This type of sleep can pull out the maximum benefits of your REM sleep and keep you up and energetic, since it also uses a strict consistency of your body’s circadian rhythm. REM and your rhythm and the quality of your sleep decide whether you were properly rested. But to know if this method is safe or not, is entirely unknown.
Now, to get some things straight, yes it seems to be able to supply you with enough sleep to make you have a good amount of energy to feel good. But an issue is that it absolutely is not a schedule for athletes or anyone that exerts a lot of physical energy. Great minds like Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison had a polyphasic sleep schedule, but they were not the most athletic people. For athletes you need a full 8 hours of sleep, 9 maybe. There are so many muscles that need to recover from you working them so hard that you need a longer time for the body to repair itself. The human body is amazing and can do some insane stuff, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The polyphasic method is for people that are looking for a significantly extra amount of time to get things done, like research or doing work that doesn’t involve physical strain. Up to date, there is not enough data on the method to assume that it is completely safe, but at the same time its still not for everyone. Most people like their 8 hours of sleep and not having to stress themselves out about creating such a strict sleep schedule. So if you’re planning on trying it, make sure your diet is in check, and that you have time and appropriately address your fatigue and drowsiness when moving into such a schedule.