Note: Many people have misinterpreted this post. While it is true that some people can sleep less than others, this post is not about sleeping only 2 hours a night. It is about finding your personal optimum sleep duration, which hopefully will be less hours of sleep than you normally do. Perhaps you start at sleeping 8 hours, but discover you feel better when you sleep 7.5 hours. 30 minutes a day can add up.
Could you imagine only getting 2 hours of sleep every night? It is impossible right? We have always been told that we need 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Many times we do not get that much, and we feel exhausted the next day. However, there are some people that can sleep only 2-4 hours a night a function the next day.
Do you know someone that only gets 2 hours a sleep a night? I do. I was sitting in a meeting the other day. As usual we were off topic discussing sleep. A colleague of mine said she only gets 2 hours of sleep a night! I was shocked when I heard her say that. I responded, “There is money there!” Think of the possibilities! You could get a lot accomplished.
After the meeting all I could think about was how can I get away with only 2 hours of sleep.
For the past month I have been attempting to discover my optimal sleep method. Not everyone will require the same amount of sleep, but everyone can use the same method to determine their required amount of sleep.
Note: To determine your necessary amount of sleep you will have to be dedicated. I have been working on my sleep method for a month now, and I still do not know my optimal sleep duration. You will need to be dedicated. The method consists of trial and error, and one trial may need to take one to two weeks to see if it works.
Important Rule: Never take a nap. If you ever feel tired throughout the day, discover the power of a walk.
Step 1: Write it down.
You should grab a new notebook or start a new word document and write down every way you attempt to sleep. Not only will you need to record how much you sleep, but how you sleep, when you begin to feel tired, your eating habits and fitness level. If you feel tired one day, write it down. But do not assume that you are tired because you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Eating less, doing more, and stress can change your fatigue level.
Step 2: Ask yourself some preliminary questions
- Are you a morning person? or a night owl?
- Do you exercise? (moderate exercising can reduce the amount of sleep you need. Although if you just started exercising, it will take a few weeks for you to see the effects.)
- Can you make quick and easy adjustments? Get a better pillow? Is it time for a new mattress?
- How many hours do you usually sleep?
- Do you feel fatigued during the day?
- Are you consistent? Do you go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday?
Step 3: When do you need to wake up?
10 minutes before class! Right? No! My first class starts at 9:30 am. Waking up at 7:30 gives me plenty of time to take a shower, eat breakfast, make my bed, and confirm my days schedule. You should give yourself plenty of time to wake up before your first class. Lectures are important. You can learn a lot. Being sluggish during the lecture will only require you to restudy what you could have solidified during the lecture.
When discovering your optimal sleep time, the time you wake up needs to be consistent. If you decide to wake up at 7:30 am, you need to wake up at 7:30 every day. No exceptions! It is important because you will be able to accurately identify what time at night you begin to get tired. Changing your wake up time will only make it difficult.
Step 4: Start with 7-8 hours of Sleep
Most people do not even have a regular sleep schedule. You need one. Like I said consistency is the key. Most will probably discover that 7-8 hours is the best sleep duration, so it is a good place to start. Before you begin adjusting your sleep time I would sleep for eight hours every night for two weeks.
Step 5: Adjusting the time
After you have a consistent sleep schedule you can begin to adjust your sleep duration. I recommend adjusting your sleep schedule 15-30 minutes and you should try the new duration for a full week or more. When you change the duration it is somewhat of a shock to your body. You may feel extra tired the day after adjusting the time.
Step 6: trial and Error
Start with 8 hours and attempt to sleep less and less. In the end, you may end up needing 8 hours of sleep, or you may actually need more than 8 hours. It is very important that you write down how you feel with the different time intervals. Properly doing this method will require several months, and you probably will not remember how you truly felt the first two weeks.
You Will Fail!
Unfortunately we are human and college students. There will be nights that you do not follow your sleep schedule, but the key to success is to forget about it, and the following night go to bed when you are supposed to.
If you Sleep More are You Missing Out?
I decided to do some quick research on the topic and I found a study(1) comparing elderly long sleepers and short sleepers. They discovered that there did was not a correlation between amount of sleep and success. It is more important to find your optimal sleep time than it is to only sleep two hours a day.
(1) Long Sleepers Sleep More and Short Sleepers Sleep Less: A Comparison of Older Adults Who Sleep Well
Behavioral Sleep Medicine; 2004, Vol. 2 Issue 1, p2-23, 22p, 4 charts
Database Used: Academic Search Premier