Train Your Body To Sleep Less
Conditioning our bodies to sleepless can, of course, increase and improve productivity. However, sacrificing your shuteye and training yourself to sleep less isn’t something that happens overnight. With society today glamorizing the idea of rising early and staying up late, it poses a question on whether or not it’s healthy and if it actually improves sleeping hygiene. It’s safe to say that running on just a few hours of sleep each day will wreak havoc with your ability to function, however, reducing the amount of time you sleep by reasonable amounts is fine.
Before we get started, we should hit you with the cold hard facts so that you’re aware of exactly how much sleep you should be getting. In an ideal world, between seven to eight hours a night is recommended, with research suggesting that for more than 97% of the population, regularly getting any less than six hours per night will cause chaos in their daily life.
Granted, you might well know someone with the energy levels that resemble a Duracell bunny even on just a few hours sleep each night, but this doesn’t mean that approach will work for you. These people are so-called ‘short sleepers’, and they’re carriers of a mutated gene: hDEc2 which means their bodies can rest up for just a few hours each night. If that sounds as exhausting to you as it does to us, you can try and increase your daily productivity by reducing your sleep by an hour or so to start. It might be useful to get a sleep tracker, at least in the first phase. If you’re keen to increase your waking hours, but you’re not amongst the genetically predisposed few that can function on just 4 hours, here are five steps you can take to train your body to sleep less, safely.
- Firstly, you need to ensure your alarm clock is set for the same time every morning. Regardless of whether it’s a weekday or weekend. In order to successfully reduce your sleep, rising at the same time every day is essential.
- In week one of your sleep training, delay the time you go to bed by just 20 minutes per night.
- During the second week, delay your bedtime by 40 minutes from the original time.
- In the third week, go to bed one hour later than your original bedtime.
- Once you’ve successfully managed this, you will have shaved an hour off your sleeping time. However, it is safe to continue to cut it down in 20-minute increments so that you are sleeping for just six hours per night.
The five simple steps above are a result of the studies carried out by sleep neuroscientist, Professor Jim Horne at Loughborough University. His research shows that individuals can cut down their regular sleep to around six hours a night, along with a short nap during the day as long as it’s done gradually. In one study, Horne asked individuals who regularly slept seven to 8.5 hours per night to cut down to just six to 6.5 hours each night. At the end of the study, the subjects were able to function and get high-quality sleep. It’s worth noting that Horne also said that he would advise against this approach for those who feel like their sleep time is already constructed. The conclude Horne believes that people should strive for quality sleep over quantity. Although he’s not advocating less sleep, he’s encouraging people not to worry so much if they don’t get a certain amount of hours each night. When discussing the amount of sleep, the professor said not getting enough shouldn’t be a concern “especially if you’re not sleepy in the day and you’re having fulfilling wakefulness, then you’re getting enough sleep irrespective of how much you’re getting”.
With so much to do, so little time, you might look at sleep somewhat of a waste. However, in some cases, no matter how hard you might try to train your body to need less sleep, it just won’t work for everyone. As much as you’d like to have 20 hours every day to get stuff done, it’s crucial that you respect how vital sleep is for our brains and bodies to function at their peak. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can be difficult to retain information, hold conversations, engaged in complex thinking and stay focused. What’s more, sleep deprivation has also been linked to several physical health problems including high blood pressure and obesity.
With that said, before you go and slash the number of hours you sleep each night, be aware that your body will notice and it will take a long time to get accustomed to, even if you’re just sleeping for 60 minutes less every night.
To summarise, training your body to sleep less is possible, although it won’t work for everyone. If you want to attempt to increase your waking hours, following those five simple steps is the healthiest approach to do so. However, if you value your sleep too much, there are plenty of other lifestyle changes you can make to increase your productivity during waking hours, so, not all is lost.