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The Popular MYTH of 8-Hour Sleep…

9 November 2010 One Comment

Rest is for the weary; sleep is for the dead…
~ Doctor Who (of British Science Fiction)


black woman sleeping peacefulWhile I agree with the popular idea of how important sleep is (the link between sleep-deprivation and symptoms of ADD, etc.) I disagree with the idea that people, on average, literally need 8 hours of sleep.

Based on my own experience, I think the 8-hour-story is only a popular myth, and that most of us would do better if we stopped focusing on how many HOURS of sleep we got (the quantity) and started focusing on how well we slept in and of itself (quality).

Now I’m no doctor of course (and you should only seek advice on this from medical practitioners you trust), but I’m actually going to go against the social norm here and state that YOU PROBABLY DO NOT NEED TO GET 8 HOURS OF SLEEP EVERYDAY.

I know this sounds crazy, but I was put on to this by reading the book Powerful Sleep: Secrets of the Inner Sleep Clock by Kacper M. Postawski (also known as “How to Sleep Less & Have More Energy Then You Ever Had Before“).

powerful sleep secrets of the inner sleep clock sleep less more energyIn it, the author breaks down that it’s not how long you sleep that matters, but the type of sleep you’re getting instead. You do this by first understanding how sleep works on a deeper level.

Essentially, sleep is a cycle composed of 5 stages:

>> a “zoning out” period (or “alpha brain wave state”) that’s like the doorway to sleep,

>> a period where we experience something called “sleep spindles” and “K-complexes” (these suppress brain activity to keep you tranquil so you can actually fall asleep…you’re very wakable during this stage).

>> two periods (stages 3 & 4) of deep sleep (delta brain wave state). This is when you’re officially “knocked out”: respiration reaches it’s lowest point, blood is re-circulated through your body to help nourish and repair muscles, etc.

>> and the last period is called REM sleep, which stands for “Rapid-Eye-Movement.” This stage is also known as “dream sleep“, because it’s believed that most of our dreams happen during this time.

So the cycle goes 1, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2 REM, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2 REM, 2, 3, 4, 3, 2 REM, etc. etc., with each cycle taking about 60 to 100 minutes.

(click images to zoom in…)
sleep cycle graph REM sleep stages

The most important parts of this cycle are stages 3, 4 and REM. (Being deprived of deep sleep causes nausea, drowsiness, muscle aches and prevents your immune system from functioning, while being deprived of REM sleep mainly causes problems with concentration.)

———— Your Body’s Internal Clock ————

Now, your ability to properly go through this sleep cycle is determined by another cycle known as Circadian Rhythm or simply, “The Body Clock”.

You may have heard of this before…it’s basically your body’s temperature cycle:

circadian rhythm body clock cycle temperature

The book goes really in depth, but basically, because most of us have no idea of the body clock and its needs (and thus completely ignore it) it throws our sleep cycle out of control, and in that situation, NO amount of sleep will do you any good, because you’re not entering REM and deep sleep in the right way.

However, once you understand the sleep cycle and body clock, and learn how to integrate the two (nowhere near as complicated as it sounds) you’ll find that there’s no need to go through the sleep cycle 7 or 8 times just to feel rejuvenated.

In fact, once you set your lifestyle up to cater to those deeper physiological needs you’ll find that you feel even more rejuvenated, energized and awake, and you’ll have even MORE time to do the things you need and want to do

The days will start too feel so open that it’ll feel weird in a good way…almost like you’re cheating the system.

black couple outdoor love carrying queenSome basic parts of the Powerful Sleep Program are:

>> getting enough Sunlight (lots of it)

>> getting the right amount of exercise

>> taking power-naps that coordinate with your circadian rhythm

>> eating the right foods at the right time of day.

>> and some other cool things you can do…

I really do recommended you check this book out. It’s an easy, short read too: Click here to check out “How to Sleep Less & Have More Energy Then You Ever Had Before” (the first few chapters are FREE).

What do you think though??? I was interested in this technique because I knew it would help my productivity SOAR (which it did), but I actually feel more alert, awake and ON-POINT with this sleep system then at any other time in my life.

Leave a comment below letting me know if you’ll try it or not, or what kind of sleep works best for you. If you found this interesting, use the buttons below to share with your friends…


One Comment »

  • Abijah said:

    Through my own experiences, i can only agree with your views. On average i don’t sleep all that much until my body naturally wants to switch off, when i sleep for about 10-12 hours straight. I don’t know if that’s standard, but I definitely know its true in my world that its all about the quality & not the quantity.

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