How to Thrive on Less Sleep

Obviously, we thrive better when we include prayer in our lives. We can over achieve as laymen in praying many “hours” using the Divine Office. But if we live crazy busy lives, what is one way we can fit these prayers into our day? Or rather, have our lives centered around these “hours”? #gottaKeepChristNumberOne

It can be difficult to pray all the Hours especially the old school Divine Office (Roman Breviary) as it has an extra hour (called Prime) that the current Divine Office (Liturgy of the Hours) does not have.

But if you want more, go with the old school Roman Breviary over the current Liturgy of the Hours. Not only do you have the extra Hour, but each of the Hours are longer than the current version. If you think that’s hard. It gets tougher (or better)

Traditionally, one of the Hours (named Matins) is prayed in the middle of the night at 3am. Matins traditionally means night prayer and it refers to the Office of the Readings. If you’re used to the current Divine Office, you hear compline referred to as night prayer. But traditionally, compline means the prayer completing the day rather than literally meaning night prayer even if it is at the end of the day.

Small distinctions but awesome differences. “The devil is in the details.”

So now we ask, “how can we have busy lives AND pray the longer Hours?

Well, you can sleep less! Gee, thanks, Mike (while rolling eyes 🙄) But listen here, listener. You can sleep less (and have the same energy) by incorporating polyphasic sleep! Maybe you parents of young ones are already doing this! Here’s a quick description of polyphasic: The more 20 minutes naps you can fit in, the less overall sleep you need in a day. For example, if you have no naps, you might need 8 hours of sleep a day. If you nap once, you’re total sleep time including the nap would be 6.3 hours. Let’s fast forward to 6 naps and your total sleep time would be 2 hours a day.

The popular (in the secular world) Tim Ferriss goes through this life hack in greater detail in his book The Four Hour Body. There are criteria for the 2 hour days of sleep such as: 1) separating the naps evenly every 4 hours (so if you work 8 hours, you could nap right before, on your lunch break, and right after work) 2) don’t sleep more than 20 minutes 3) don’t skip naps 4) get through the first couple weeks which will be difficult.

I’m sure there are tons of websites about this sleep hack but I’m a hardback book kind of guy so this was my source. But go to PhD doctor Google if you want to learn more rather ordering the book.

Back to prayer. Now it wouldn’t be just/fair to your employer to pray while on the job (if it’s not a church job), so my hack falls short for incorporating the day time prayers into your life. Unless you’re:

1) a stay at home parent (ouch, Mike, did you just say we don’t work?…no, listener, if your child is napping or studying or at practice, etc)

2) retired

3) a full time student

4) working a writing from home career

5) any other situation that provides the opportunity.

Let me know if you try this in the comments below. I’d love to hear how your experience was!

Going old school with more prayers and on less sleep,

Mike Panlilio

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