Why We Nap pp 137-179 | Cite as

The Effects of Polyphasic and Ultrashort Sleep Schedules



Despite the considerable research conducted in the last three decades on relatively regular shift-work systems, the problems associated with unusual schedules, especially during conditions of intensive work, have received very limited attention. But such quasi-continuous work situations are becoming increasingly common in industrialized societies. Some of these extended work scenarios involve performance of essential services in industries such as health care, transport, and nuclear electrical power, while others involve high-responsibility tasks in extreme situations, such as rescue operations, space missions, and defense efforts. In some situations the demands of continuous performance cannot easily be met simply by sharing work through conventional shift scheduling. In such situations of extreme demand the usual adult human monophasic sleep pattern (one 6–8 hr sleep episode per 24 hr) can rarely be maintained, resulting in an accumulated sleep debt. This debt can cause a serious decrease in performance effectiveness, and compromise decision-making capabilities during critical operations.


Sleep Stage Total Sleep Time Sleep Period Sleep Schedule Sleep Episode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

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