How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

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Sleep and productivity go hand in hand. We need sleep to be productive, it’s just the way it is. The question now is how much of sleep do we need and how does this affect our productivity.

A number of us will quite agree that we need at least 8 hours of sleep to be productive, but it’s not always so. I recently discovered I actually don’t need 8 hours of sleep to be quite productive at work. Which is quite different from the mantra that I’ve been reciting most of my adult life.

Quite a number of famous investors only relied on less than 6hrs of sleep daily. Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon, and Leonardo Da Vinci were notorious for clocking in roughly four hours a night or day, as many of them relied on cat naps instead. And a number of business leaders also follow suit.

Now you may wonder, but it is said we need 8 hrs of sleep. The truth is most of us need at least 8 hours of sleep to be productive . “Most of the variation in human sleep time is between six and eight hours. Once the sleep time gets above nine or below seven there are problems,” says David Dinges, who heads the Sleep and Chronobiology laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. But the truth is not all of us need 8 hrs of sleep. If you feel you sleep for 6 hours and wake up refreshed and your productivity level is high you probably don’t need 8 hours. If you always get sleepy at work you most likely aren’t getting enough sleep

The number of hours we need to sleep depends on us individually. We all don’t have the same body system, so we need to understand what works for each one of us. These questions from sleepfoundation.org can help you understand what works for you.

 

  • Are you productive, healthy and happy on seven hours of sleep? Or does it take you nine hours of quality ZZZs to get you into high gear?
  • Do you have health issues such as being overweight? Are you at risk for any disease?
  • Are you experiencing sleep problems?
  • Do you depend on caffeine to get you through the day?
  • Do you feel sleepy when driving?

These are questions that must be asked before you can find the number that works for you

Always remember that sleep has to be part of your daily schedule, it has to be a routine. Consider this three points on how to make sleep enhance your productivity

1. Go to bed at the same time every night: Getting to bed at the same time every night allows the body’s circadian rhythm to become regulated, causing you to wake up feeling more refreshed.

2. Take Naps: More companies are now recognizing the benefits of allowing employees to nap on the job.

3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before going to bed: While alcohol may help put you to sleep, it can also cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Caffeine before bedtime can also impair your sleep.

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