Dear Lifehacker, How can I gain more hours in the day by sleeping less, without any hideous side-effects? Since I was a kid I’ve always felt that sleeping, thought necessary, was time that could be spent in more fulfilling ways. We exist for only a blink of an eye, and every moment counts, so I would rather spend those six hours a day on something else instead of inert in a bed. What can a person legally and safely do to massively reduce, or even eliminate, the need for sleep? Thanks, Sleep Skimper
Sleep picture from Shutterstock
Hi Sleep Skimper,
Bad news: you can’t. Sleep is vital to your health — a point we’ve made countless times here at Lifehacker. You won’t get more done by cutting back on sleep; you’ll get less done, because you’ll be exhausted. In this respect, you can’t fight biology.
The amount of sleep each individual needs varies, but you need regular sleep, ideally at the same time of day. If you want to maximise your efficiency, the best thing you can do is establish a really regular sleep routine and ensure you wake up naturally.
Trying to minimise sleep will be the ruin of you. If you want proof, check out Kotaku editor Mark Serrels’ polyphasic sleep experiment, which was trying to achieve exactly the goal you described, by sleeping as little as possible. Mark is as strong-willed an individual as you will ever hope to meet, and within a week he was a gibbering loon losing track of large chunks of his life. It simply doesn’t work.
Get the sleep you need, make the most of your waking hours, and realise that both matter. Otherwise that ‘blink of an eye’ that is your life is likely to be even shorter.
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