How Much Sleep Do You Actually Require?

How Much Sleep Do You Actually Require?

Supposedly all humans are supposed to get about eight hours of sleep per night, but the notion that we’re entirely the same is a little silly. Some people need more sleep than others, and improving the quality of your sleep is often far more important than the amount of time.

Photo by yeowatzup.

The Hindustan Times points to new research coming out of the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich that has found a gene responsible for allowing some people to operate on only four hours of sleep per night, and a brain chemical called Orexin-A is suspected of being the only thing we really need to feel awake during the day. As more findings come to light, it seems sleep isn’t as straightforward as resting for a finite period of time. We’d like to know how much sleep you feel you need each day, and how you arrived at that number.

Personally, the eight hour rule applies to me. While the quality of sleep definitely plays the biggest role, I find that I’m rarely tired if I get a full eight hours, eat well, and exercise. Generally I can function well on less sleep, and sometimes even no sleep, but I tend to become overly sensitive to everything (both good and bad), which is not a good thing when your job involves a significant amount of feedback from many sources at all times of the day. So I try to sleep as well as I can for as long as I can because it definitely makes a difference for me, but I’d gladly welcome the opportunity to cut that time in half if there were no downsides. How long do you sleep, and why do you think that number works for you?

Why even 4 hours of sleep is enough [Hindustan Times]


  • Isn’t a standard sleep cycle 90 mins? So wouldn’t optimal times be 6, 7.5, 9 hours? I usually need 9 hours. As it’s when I wake up with no alarm set. Much less or more and I feel groggy.

  • I find about 7 hours is the best for my.
    Any more or less than that and, like Ethan above me, I feel groggy.

    On Ethans theory I think you would also need to take into consideration the time it takes to fall asleep and perhaps start a new cycle. There are other factors that play on your sleep too; sound level and light level, amount eaten for dinner and time between that and lying down. and there are many many more.

  • It’s all about quality vs quantity. Cause of my constant dreaming I get literally zero deep sleep, so 12 hours sleeping for me is about as good as 3 hours for the average person. If I could fall into a deep sleep it would be a life changing thing for me…

  • I aim for 8 but usually end up with about 7 or 7.5

    I can also basically nap on command. If I could I would happily have a 15min powernap everyday (and when I studied I did) now days I might get one powernap per week, usually about 4pm on the drive home (with my fiance driving) but most days I do hit a supe tired point somewehere between 2pm and 4pm and have to struggle through it

    Anyone tried polyphasic sleep? I’d love to know about it – I’d love more time to work on my own projects (and play Skyrim)

    • I can nap on demand too – I used to do it in study breaks at school, and now it comes in very handy when travelling. I wonder why it is – are we so tired that our bodies just fall straight into sleep mode? I don’t feel tired during the day.

  • Sleep cycles change in length if my memory serves me correctly. I personally need around 7.5 hrs. I use a program on phone called Sleepbot (Android) to track my sleep and that seems to be the minimum I can average out to.

  • I don’t have a set amount of time to sleep in order to feel awake, but rather times to wake up. If I’m up before 5.30, I’m fine. If I’m up after 9.30, I’m fine. Anywhere in between and I feel terribly lethargic and it takes me a while to drag myself out of bed.

    It also depends whether I’ve been woken up by an alarm or naturally.

  • I’m a six hour sleeper.. once I eliminated all ambient noise (computer fans, stereo eletric humming and all the other sounds that are usually too low to hear most of the time) and all the ambient light (including reducing the brightness of the alarm clock so it is barely noticeable even in the darkest room), I’ve found that 6 hours is plenty.

    Every 90mins you actually wake up, if only for a split second, you don’t know you do.. but you do. If there is light and/or sound distracting you, it will interrupt your sleep cycles.. apparently.. I forget all the ins and outs of it.. but I remember “them” saying that if you had too much ambient light or sounds, it can reduce the amount of quality sleep you get.

  • I generally get 7.5 hrs but can work happily on 6
    Any less and it starts getting to me after a few days

    Has anyone tried polyphasic sleep?

    How did it go/how long did you keep it up for?
    Why did you stop?
    How did you deal with family/friends/work?

    I’m very interested in trying it out and want to know how it worked for others
    I love the idea but not sure how I would fit it in around my work

  • I’m apparently a sad case. I require 10 hours of sleep, really, to feel rested. It’s the time point at which I will wake up naturally if no alarm is set and I don’t go to bed thinking “OK, you have to be up by 8:30am.” Seriously, I will wake up within 5 or 10 minutes on one side or the other of 10 hours, reliably.

    That said, I don’t normally get to follow this sleep schedule. I normally make do with 6 or 7 during the week and 12+ on Friday and Saturday nights. Yes, I’m generally very tired by Thursday, let alone Friday, but I just cannot justify having THAT little time for my own pursuits in the evening after work, so I short-change my sleep instead.

    When I was working 90-100 hour weeks, my sleep schedule was often cut way back to 4-5 hours a night, and it wore me out. After 2 years of doing that, I spent a year following the 10 hours a night schedule religiously to get my health back.

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