(May not actually contain wings.)
Thank you ;u;
Hi! There are three main reasons.
First: children and teenagers are shown to need more REM and slow-wave sleep than adults in order to function properly. This defeats the ‘trick’ of polyphasic.
Polyphasic sleep works by cutting out all sleep stages except for REM and slow-wave sleep. Adults need only about 3 hours of REM/slow-wave sleep, and they can get that during poly naps. But children and teenagers need much more! It’s thought to be related to the fact that children and teens’ brains are elastic and constantly changing and growing, so they need more time to ‘process’ things via REM/slow-wave sleep.
If they were to do polyphasic, they’d need longer and more frequent naps to avoid REM/slow-wave deprivation (this kind of sleep dep is really bad). That would pretty much defeat the purpose of polyphasic—getting more time in the day—while leaving them with the annoying downsides of having to take naps during inconvenient times. It wouldn’t be worth it.
Second, depriving children/teens of REM and slow-wave sleep, or even just seriously mucking with their sleep schedules, might permanently reduce their mental capacity later in life.
Childhood and teen years are when the brain is busy growing and developing. It’s an amazing process, and it’s the one chance the brain has to do this—there is no other time in a person’s life when their brain is this elastic or malleable. You really don’t want to risk screwing up that process in any way!
There have been no long-term studies studying the effects on polyphasic sleep or what it can do to the brains of people, much less children. People can’t just ‘redo’ childhood if they get it wrong. So I say: don’t risk messing it up for the sake of an edgy sleep schedule.
Third, until a person reaches the legal age of majority in their country (usually age 18), their guardians are legally responsible for their health. Once again, there are no studies about polyphasic’s long-term effects. That means, that if a kid does end up suffering ill effects from polyphasic, or even if the neighbors see this wacky sleep schedule and report it as abuse/neglect, the kid’s parents are the ones who will be held legally responsible for negligence. It doesn’t matter if it’s not their fault. This is serious, child-services, go-to-jail level stuff.
If someone wants to try polyphasic sleep, that’s great. But they should make sure that they will be the only ones affected by the consequences. It’s really horrible to legally endanger another person for the sake of a silly sleep hack.
So, to sum up: it’s biologically unfeasible for minors, possibly risky to a developing brain, and legally irresponsible. Polyphasic sleep is really, really cool! I wish everyone could do it. But until we learn more about it, it’s something that should only be done after the age of majority.
Sleep safe, teen readers.