“It’s likely you have no real clue how much sleep you got last night, or how sleep-deprived you are right now”, that’s how Oliver Burkeman (@oliverburkeman) begins his article (Sleep: How Much Do You Really Get?) about how much sleep we do have, published on www.theguardian.com on September 8th, 2017.
In his article, Burkeman highlights that sleep is a mystery in many ways. In one hand, he says that, in evolutionary terms, being unconscious for a third of every day is one of the most suicidal strategies imaginable and therefore, sleep must play an important role in our health, because otherwise, how could we explain the tradeoff of staying exposed to snakes and tigers all night long.
On the other hand, how much sleep do we need and how much sleep we are having is a complete uncertainty, as studies conducted so far aren’t conclusive about how many hours per day we need to sleep to be completely alert and rested next day (the proposed figures go from 6 to 8 hours/day) and it’s hard to certainly know how many hours do you need and if the hours you’ve slept you had the required rest, as another variable to take into account is the quality of our sleepy time.
Although many people show proudly their little sleeping hours as a sign of efficiency, they might not be as efficient as they think they are, while people who estimates they are having enough sleep hours, might in fact be overestimating it by an average 48 minutes.
I believe the sleep time we need may vary slightly with each of us, but after having periods where I slept only between 2 to 4 hours, or 6 to 6 ½ hours, or 8 hours/day, I can say that I think more clearly and am more efficient when I have several nights in a row, sleeping around 8 hours/night in a quite dark room.
In addition to affecting your performance on cognitive tasks, sleep deprivation increases inflammation and stress within other health issues. As Burkeman says in his article “Incremental sleep deprivation is like the water in the proverbial exercise of boiling a frog”.
My advice, based on my own experience, try to get yourself an environment and routine that helps you sleep the longest and the deepest. You’ll see the difference it makes in your life.
How many hours are you sleeping per day?
How long before going to bed do you disconnect from your electronic devices as your TV, smart phone or tablet?
How dark gets your bedroom once you switch the lights off?