Is there a healthy way for me to reduce the time I spend sleeping?

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23 November
10:51
November
2016

Not really. The thing that is important, the key thing, is to sleep for the amount that you need. These days, the eight-hour myth is so prevalent that people are genuinely disappointed if they don’t get eight hours.

But the most important thing is to listen to what your body is telling you. Forget the apps. Listen to what your body is telling you. If you want to reduce the amount you sleep, do it in 15-minute chunks and see if you still feel good the following day. Set the alarm 15 minutes earlier, do that for two weeks and if at the end of two weeks you think you feel fine during the day, then fine – you’ve cut 15 minutes off.

“We go through our lives not feeling great during the day, and we seem to accept it. We’ve almost accepted feeling a bit rubbish.”

We seem to go through our lives not feeling great during the day and we seem to accept it. If I was to ask you on a scale of 1 to 10 how awake you were, and you answer 7 or 8, that’s not great is it? And you might say, “Well, I’ll have a coffee and take my multivitamins or go for a run…” but we’ve almost accepted feeling a bit rubbish.

So be honest with yourself. Do you actually feel good and awake and the best you can during the day? If not, you’re pretty much short changing yourself and wasting a lot of time and effort on all those things that supposedly make you feel good, like half a bottle of wine or whatever your poison is in that regard.

“What do you want this additional time for? There are so many benefits from a good night’s sleep that it seems crazy to exchange it for more time looking at Facebook.”

Most people want to live a happier, longer, healthier life – sleep is part of that. If you get good sleep you will be more effective in dieting. If you get more sleep you will be more effective in exercising. You’ll make wiser choices about what you eat. You won’t eat as much. There are so many benefits from getting a good night’s sleep that it seems absolutely crazy that anyone would want to exchange that for more time looking at Facebook.

What are people wanting this additional time for? That they are going to sacrifice sleep for? If they’re going to change the world, volunteer for soup kitchens and that, well, ok, maybe. But if all they want is more time to look at Facebook and watching Netflix, I would suggest they’ve got their priorities slightly wrong. Sleep is a non-negotiable.

Shouldn’t we be querying ourselves why are we all so busy? We fought 150 years ago for the eight-hour day. It was the great battle that the unions won – that we’d only have to work eight hours a day. Why don’t we go back to that? So what are we busier with? And if you can’t answer that convincingly, then you don’t need to cut back on your sleep.

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