So many things, so little time. Does this sound familiar? Don’t you just wish you could survive with less sleep? Oh, how many things you would be able to accomplish, right? If only you could train yourself to sleep less?
We’ve all heard of the rich and famous celebrities, politicians, scientists or CEOs, who can get by on barely a few hours of sleep. Take Donal Trump as an example. According to www.sleepjunkies.com, he sleeps between three to four hours per night. No wonder he still has time to play golf while running the country at the same time.
There are many other people who have claimed they don’t need much sleep. Famous for her hard work Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady was known to sleep for as little as 4 hours.
The truth is, that most of us need a bit more to feel rested. 7 to 9 hours is what’s considered a good amount (according to www.sleepfoundation.org).
Why some people can get by just few hours of sleep?
Apparently, scientists discovered the gene mutation that is associated with a human short sleep phenotype. The study done by Ying-Hui Fu and her colleagues at the Univerisity of California, San Francisco, titled ‘The Transcriptional Repressor DEC2 Regulates Sleep Length in Mammals’ showed evidence that people with specific mutation needed shorter sleep. Lucky them, I guess.
What about all of us who are not so lucky to have this gene mutation. What can we do, if coffee isn’t enough?
Can you train yourself to sleep less?
Many parents of young children will probably feel like they’ve learned to sleep less. Waking up every few hours to serve demanding offspring is becoming a second nature. To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s us parents getting accustomed to lack of sleep, or maybe we fool ourselves to believe it, as we just don’t have any other choice.
The sad truth is, that you can’t train yourself to sleep less. You need to sleep as long as you do, for your body to rest and there is no compromise here. As for the parents of young kids, here is the hardly uplifting thought. According to the latest research, you will eventually be able to get back to good quality sleep again. Great! When, you ask? Brace yourself, partner, it might take up to 6 years after the birth of your child. Just thinking of this is perfect contraception…
How lack of sleep affects your health?
Research has shown that even short term sleep deprivation is dangerous and hours of lost sleep add up. Chronic sleep loss can cause many side effects. It seems to impact many systems in our body like cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems.
Sleep deprivation is associated with obesity. Interestingly enough, sleeping too much was also shown to be correlated with obesity, so don’t go into 15 hours sleeping routine in a chase for the perfect figure. It’s best to go to the gym to try to get that.
Lack of sleep is also associated with diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance, as well as feeling depressed, moody and anxious. There is literally no good comming out of sleep depravation.
Perhaps in the future, humans will evolve to need less sleep. There are many genetic variants that appeared only recently in human history, for example, those allowing adults to digest milk, so there is hope. For now, however, it seems that we might have to make peace with our not so perfect bodies. We might need to accept that our need for sleep is much greater than what we would have wished for.
Using the awake hours to the maximum should be the goal. In the end, life it’s not the number of breaths you take, but it’s the moments that take your breath away. Make your awake moments count.
We are curious, how many hours of sleep do you have per nigh? Let us know.