We spend on average 24 years of our lives on sleep. That is a huge number. So, you definitely want to spend all these years well – to make your sleep as healthy and productive as possible. How do you do this?
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Need?
If you ask some of your friends and relatives: “How many hours do you need to sleep in order to stay awake during the day?” – their answer will most likely be like: “Of course you need 8 hours, which is known.” It is truly a common thought. However, some scientists do not agree.
Professor of Psychiatry Daniel Kripke, who conducted many studies of sleep, says:
“People, who sleep for 6.5 to 7.5 hours, live longer than others. They are more productive and happy. An excessive sleep may be harmful for your health. So, you will feel worse if you sleep for more than 8.5 hours, than if you have slept for 5 only.”
Try to experiment and reduce your sleep to 7.5 hours; carefully listen to your feelings and ask yourself, if you see a difference.
Of course, the duration of sleep is a personal thing. You cannot say that everyone needs, for example, 7 hours – no more, no less. You need to find you own best variant. That is why you should experiment. However, do it on weekends or holidays, so that you have had a time to restore your regime.
According to prof. Kripke, it is a good idea to reduce your sleep time for a half of an hour each night. Perhaps, what you think is the lack of sleep is actually a surplus.
By the way, there is a little lifehack on how to wake up faster without setting a dozen of alarms. You should plan to do something on the exact time. For example, take a shower at 8.00 and not a minute later.
Minimum Hours of Sleep
Considering mentioned in the first paragraph, you might have thought that if you sleep for five hours a day, you are all good. That is not true though. Remember how you have felt after had been sleeping for 8 hours in a row? We bet it feels much better than it does with five only.
What Food Can Help You Sleep Well
However, even if you have slept for 4 hours, you can remain as attentive as the man who have slept all 8. That is because the problem is not always in sleeping well. From time to time, your brain loses focus on the task. If you have slept well, it can immediately turn on again. If you have not, you are in trouble of feeling drowsiness.
As Professor Clifford Sapper of Harvard claims, the brain of a man who have not slept well works fine, but from time to time it is knocked out.
Biologically, when you lose focus and your attention is dissipated, your brain starts a process of reactivation (some parts do that). Without having a good amount of sleep, this activity is barely visible. However, the parts of the brain that affect fear are activated well, so that you get an adrenaline dose and do not fall asleep. Physically it is manifested by muscle tension, sweaty palms, rumbling in stomach, unstable emotional state.
Nevertheless, the problem is also that a sleepy person may not notice a drop in his/her productivity. There may be a false sense of security and correctness of actions, which sometimes has serious consequences.
That is why you should not drive at all if you have not had enough sleep.
So. Sleeping too much is bad; sleeping not much is even worse. That is why you need to find your ideal schedule.
Here are some advices to make it best:
- Have a little nap during work. 20 minutes should be enough, as your brain does not need more to refresh. Such naps will help you remain productive until the end of the day.
- Do something good before going to sleep (stroll for a half of an hour or take a warm bath). This will help you unwind yourself and forget about everyday routine.
- Get tired morally and physically. Do some sports as well as exercise your brain. You will find it hard to sleep, when you have not done anything productive the day before.
Now that we have considered the basic rules of a good sleep, let us find out how good are the exact hours.
8 Hours of Sleep
As it is the most common sleep time, considered the best, you should try it first. Perhaps, you will need more or less, but 8 hours are often just fine. It is absolutely ok to sleep like this every night, if it fits your regime. For most people, 8 hours are enough to rest after a hard day.
Are 7 Hours of Sleep Enough?
If you feel a bit drowsy after 8 hours of sleep, it may be too much for you. Then you should try 7 hours. It is still a proper amount for many people, so you will hardly feel a difference from the first try. Anyway, as we have mentioned, 7 or 7.5 hours of sleep are the best variants.
Are 6 Hours of Sleep Enough?
6 hours sleep is probably an edge. Some people may still find it the best amount, but for the others it might not be enough. Once again, it is just a personal thing. It also depends on how much time you spend on physical activities. If it is not much, 6 hours will most probably fit you. However, you will need to get used to it first.
5 Hours of Sleep
Some people claim that 5 hours of sleep are best for them. It can be true in certain situations, but you should know that sleeping for 5 hours only every day is harmful. For example, you can do it five days a week and rest with an 8 hours sleep on the weekend.
Are 4 Hours of Sleep Bad?
If you sleep for 4 hours every day, it is definitely not good. Eventually you will find yourself too drowsy to do something. That is a signal to change your regime. Even though 4 hours are enough for once, regularly it is harmful for health.
3 Hours of Sleep
Now we have reached the amount when you will probably ask yourself: “should I go to sleep at all this night”. Well, it depends on how you feel better. If you do go to sleep, waking up will be a very difficult process, even if you set a hundred of alarms. However, without any sleep at all your day will turn into a drowsy half-dream. Anyway, such amount of sleep is bad for your health and you should not sleep like that regularly.
How to Function on 2 Hours of Sleep?
If you have happened to sleep for 2 hours only, it will be very hard for you to do anything that day. The best thing is to do something urgent and go to sleep after that. Your regime might get disturbed, but with 2 hours of sleep, you will have no productiveness. If there is nothing urgent, try to go to sleep in the early evening. However, you will most probably sleep for more than 9 hours that night.
A nice and healthy sleep is one of the most important parts of our lives. Without it, some diseases or even mental disorders will occur sooner or later. That is why you need to find the best sleep time for yourself and try to stick to it. How many hours do you spend on sleeping and how do you feel about it? Tell us in the comment section!