Many of us are familiar with the dreaded midterm and finals week. From mountains of notes and powerpoint slides to seas of textbook pages, it is these weeks that stress us students the most and call for maximum effort and sheer endurance to go through all the course material.
I was not an exception to the commonality — combining my somewhat laziness to my several club and community service commitments, I often found myself coming home well after 6 PM with tons of homework and an exam to prepare for the upcoming day. This unbearable load became evident in my junior year of high school, where I did as poorly as I ever did in the first quarter as I did in any quarter of my life. Seeing these alarming results and my body unable to keep up with the load, I knew I had to either sacrifice some of my extracurriculars or find a magical way to accomplish all my work.
Enter polyphasic sleep schedule. For many of you unfamiliar with the topic, it is the practice of adopting a cycle of sleeping that revolves around taking at least more than two periods of naps throughout the day rather than devoting one long period to sleep at night, as the majority of people do. I came across on a Buzzfeed video on Facebook and initially thought this practice was a fake. However, after doing more research and noting how I did not have many other options, I decided to do a Hail Mary and try it out.
Although my weekly schedule varied continuously, I made sure to devote at maximum five hours of sleep in several intervals. To accomplish this task, I slept at any possible moment. Whether it be the bus ride to school or during class with a substitute teacher, I needed to rest any place to get every last second of sleep. Another step I had to do was to set alarms. I knew myself to doze off to sleep unexpectedly, so by having the signal, it protected me from sleeping away.
Before I knew it, I found myself with essentially three more hours every day to do homework, study for tests, and commit to my extracurriculars. More importantly, the science behind polyphasic sleep worked, as I never felt very tired or sleep during this several week process. As such, I felt much more prepared, and my grades reflected that readiness in the next quarter.
No, I am not promoting for anyone to do what I did. No matter how I put it, the polyphasic sleep schedule still deprived me of the minimum of eight hours. It also made me endure an unhealthy period of my life and adjust many components of my life that used to be routine. However, next time you face a stretch of your life where time seems few and tasks seem endless, you can look at my experience as a testament to the potential polyphasic sleep schedule can have. Instead of being efficient with time, why not just add more time?