Why You May Not Need 8 Hours of Sleep a Day

There is a common myth that everyone needs 8 hours of sleep. For years, I used to believe that I’m sleep-deprived because I didn’t get 8 hours of sleep. But I didn’t feel any negative effects of being sleep-deprived.

Asking how many hours of sleep someone requires is like asking how many cups of water you need to drink a day. Ask 10 different people, and you get 10 different answers. Saying everyone requires 8 hours of sleep is like saying all men are 5ft 10 (1.78 m). Is there a golden number of hours of sleep that is required?

You need to remember when we lay in bed, we don’t fall asleep right away nor do most people get out of bed right away. For you to get 8 hours of sleep, you need to be in bed for around 8 and a half hours.

There are many incidents of people who sleep well below the recommended 8-hour mark. It’s reported that many world leaders, successful CEOs, and people in the military sleep 6 hours or less. Amazingly, many claims to feel fine, nor do they need stimulants to stay awake.

Scientists identified a gene that causes people to naturally sleep less than six and a half hours each night without any apparent ill effects.

This shows the amount of sleep you need differs from person to person and is also affected by genetics

For me, there have been many times when I’ve slept around six hours and have felt fine during the day. But when I do sleep less than 6 hours at night, I need a quick 20-min power nap during the day.

The number of hours your body needs to sleep can be adjusted

You can adjust the amount of sleep your body needs. If your body can’t function without 8 hours of sleep, first reduce your sleep to 7hr 50 a night for a few weeks. This 10 minutes of reduction wouldn’t make much of a difference. If you follow this 10-minute reduction protocol, you can reduce another 10 minutes after a few weeks. This method will help you reduce the amount of sleep you need without any negative effects. If you require 8 hours of sleep, it’s possible to reduce it to 7 or fewer hours without any ill effects.

This ‘sleep adjustment’ is for those who need to find extra hours during the day. It’s especially useful for, students coming closer to exams or certain jobs requiring you to do night shifts.

The less you sleep, the easier it is for you to fall asleep

This may sound like common sense, but it took me years to realise. When I was younger, my sibling and I would go to bed and get up at the same time. While they would fall asleep instantly, at times I would spend hours in bed not being able to fall asleep. This was just a way of my body telling me that I don’t need the extra sleep.

When I slowly reduced the amount of time I spent in bed, the time it took to fall asleep dramatic decreased. Where it would take an hour to fall asleep, I could fall asleep within 10 minutes.

Conclusion

It’s a myth that everyone needs 8 hours of sleep

  • There are many recorded cases where people regularly sleep six hours and while claiming to feel fine during the day
  • The amount of sleep your body needs can be reduced to below eight hours a day
  • The less you sleep, the much easier for me to fall asleep

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