General Question

TheBot's avatar

Is it possible to train yourself to need less sleep?

Asked by TheBot (766points) February 23rd, 2010

I know it depends on the person. For me, I find that 8h to 9h of sleep per night give me enough rest. I can usually do ok with 7h. But drop my night to 6h, and I become a zombie for the rest of the day. It’s always been like this.

And then there’s my friend, who can sleep 4 or 5h and be fresh and ready to go in the morning, with enough energy for the entire day. Needless to say, it’s something that comes in handy for him during busy weeks. How does he do it (if he does anything)? And can I train myself to sleep less without damaging my health?

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33 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Probably not. Your body is designed to need a certain amount of sleep.

SuperMouse's avatar

I think it is possible to train yourself to get by on less sleep, but not to need less sleep.

filmfann's avatar

It is the difference in your metabolism, and your friends.
Figure out what works for you, and stick to it, and keep in mind it changes as you grow older.

ldeb's avatar

your body needs sleep!... training yourself to get by on less sleep sounds risky… speaking as a recovered insomniac – you don’t want to go there.

ldeb's avatar

+ your immune system weakens and you may be more irritable = not a happy person… so even if you could change your sleeping patterns… is it worth it?

TheBot's avatar

@ldeb I know, a year and a half ago I got out of a semester of TERRIBLE sleeping habits. (Picture waking up at 3 in the after on most days for 3 months, never going to sleep before 4 or 5 am) It made me miserable and took about half a year of oversleeping to recover from. I am now back on track with my sleep, I feel healthy. But I am also really cautious with my sleep now.

So what I am really asking I guess is not “can I cut my sleep in half to reach my friend’s typical night”, but more along the lines of, “Is there anything I can do to not have a useless day whenever I sleep 6h30 or 7 hours?” Because as a college student, I find that’s something that happens several times a week…

Cruiser's avatar

Yep have kids and 5 hours sleep will feel like you are sleeping in!

wundayatta's avatar

There are times when I can get by on nearly no sleep at all. I’m tired a lot of the time, but as soon as anything interesting and engaging and physical happens, I’m ready to go. Of course, doing this is really unhealthy for me. But that temptation to stay up all night is always there, even though I know I will feel much better if I go to sleep early. It takes enormous self-discipline for me to tear myself away from the computer and get into bed.

I wasn’t always like this. I used to want all kinds of sleep, and I rarely had trouble sending myself to bed. In fact, I could not imagine how anyone could get by on less than eight hours. How things change! Not always for the better. If you want my advice, you should be happy with eight hours as long as your body and mind want that. The minute you start wanting or getting by on much less, is the minute your disorder, whatever it is, starts rearing its head. That’s just my opinion. I know of no medical evidence to support that opinion.

BoBo1946's avatar

Trying sleeping with a CPAC device wrapped around your head! What sleep i get, thank you very much!

Trillian's avatar

I think that as you age your need for sleep diminishes a bit. I think, anyway. Somehow I have it in my head that older people sleep less, like 4 hours a night. Then again, I’m not a reliable source.

wundayatta's avatar

@BoBo1946 Are you having trouble with your CPAP? I got used to mine after about six months. Now I can twist and turn to my hearts content and I still don’t get tangled up. It’s a miracle!

BoBo1946's avatar

@wundayatta it is much better, but have a ways to go. loll..yeah, the tangling up deal…certainly understand that comment. Had the contraption for two years now..we are getting along much better…wow, been an ordeal Wundayatta!

BoBo1946's avatar

@ChazMaz agreed…the body gets what it needs! Some more, some less…

CMaz's avatar

@BoBo1946 – You got that right.

judochop's avatar

I sleep between 4 and 5 hours a night. Sometimes I only get 3 and others I’ll sleep for 8 or 9. Most of the time though it is between 4 and 5 hours. I function fine. I am generally healthy, I ride my bike daily and often times do light workouts. I think it is all what your body needs. I am 34 and this has not slowed down yet.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

@judochop You’re lucky! I’ve always needed at least 8 hours of sleep to function correctly, usually 9 or 10. I also have a tendency to get into reversed sleep schedules where I stay up all night and sleep through most of the day when left to my own devices.

As of now I get about 7 hours of sleep every night (or less) since I have to get up for classes at 7am every day and usually don’t go to bed until 12. I go through most of my classes half awake. Thankfully I’m still able to get decent grades!

ldeb's avatar

@judochop… according to the new york times people that get less than 6.5 hours of sleep don’t live as long

ChaosCross's avatar

It is actually quite easy to train your body to sleep less.

Needing less sleep however is quite hard and the health detriments are incredibly high.

nebule's avatar

I was going to ask this question a few weeks ago and never got round to it…so thank you xx

TheBot's avatar

@ldeb @judochop

And check this out for lack of sleep’s effect on cognitive function:

TheBot's avatar

“According to the report, each hour short of eight hours of sleep a night could knock one point off a person’s IQ. It would be easy to lose fifteen points in a week, resulting in a person with an IQ of 100 becoming “borderline retarded.”

How crazy is that?

ldeb's avatar

In interesting article…. I wonder if this research included other professions (besides police officers) what the results would be. like on call doctors? how much would their IQ change on a late shift?

TheBot's avatar

@ldeb I didn’t know it was only on police officers… Did you find the original study?

ldeb's avatar

I just read the article on the link you posted

TheBot's avatar

Last night was short so it’s probably taking its toll…but I don’t see a mention of the police anywhere! I’m confused…help me. :’(

ldeb's avatar

ahahhaha my mistake.. I read offices as officers….

TheBot's avatar

Oooh ok that makes sense lol (Sorry for putting you in the spotlight :-S)

ldeb's avatar

I’m not good with words

creative_artist's avatar

I’d think so..

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