How do sailors of 4,000-mile race sleep on their boats?


(WYTV) – Every other year since 1977, sailors from around the world have gathered in France for a special 4,000-mile race. Each sail alone in a small yacht from France to the island of Martinique in the Caribbean.

How do you sleep when you race for several weeks?

The journal “Nature and Science of Sleep” studied this and found that half of the 80 or so sailors in the race have a sleep strategy.

Some decide to bank their sleep; they try to do nothing but sleep a lot before the race.

Some try what’s called polyphasic sleep. That’s short catnaps through the day to get them through.

Others try to sleep less and less as the race goes on so they’re nearly sleep deprived, hoping they can hold out for the finish line.

In the end, it didn’t seem to make much difference what strategy the sailors used. There was no real difference in arrival times.

As for those who had no sleep plan, they’d sleep when they grew tired.

If you’re wondering, the sailors use autopilot to keep their vessels on track while they take a nap.

It’s a common idea that you can “bank” sleep in advance before some long event you must attend. Our sleep and wake cycles just don’t work that way.

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