Sleep is for the Weak


| 5 Comments

sleep.jpg

Over Thanksgiving break, I have been sleeping for almost 12 hours a night. I have actually done more sleeping than anything else. The universally "accepted" hours of sleep for proper function the next day is known to be 8 hours. I've noticed that when I sleep for more than 8 hours a night, I tend to be sluggish and unmotivated the next day. I've also noticed that when I sleep for 8 hours in any given night I tend to feel exactly the same, sluggish and unmotivated. But, the crazy thing is, I feel more awake and focused when I get less than 8 hours of sleep. Either I am programmed differently than everyone else in this world or this magic number of "8 hours" cannot be correct. This made me extremely curious about the subject so I tried to dig a little bit deeper.

 

According to the <a href="http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/howsleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need">National Sleep Foundation</a> the number of hours of sleep necessary for someone can vary. Various factors including, exercising, eating habits, and sleep consistency can all affect the amount of hours necessary for someone to sleep. This number of hours that an individual needs to sleep per night is completely variable depending on any number of these factors. This chart posted by the <a href="http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-muchsleep-do-we-really-need">National Sleep Foundation</a> shows the estimated amount of sleep time necessary separated by age group. So it looks like this 8 hours of sleep per night "mumbo jumbo" has come to be known as a thing of the past.

 

If one's sleep schedule can be variable, do we actually require sleep? Can we survive without sleeping if our body says "keep going?" I personally think that if we accepted tiredness as a state of mind rather than a necessity, we could sleep for shorter hours of time per night and could be way more productive as a society. Imagine the feats we could accomplish if we, as a world, cut down the amount hours of sleep per night by 5 hours. Those five hours could be used to think, generate ideas, and innovate society. It could incidentally, propel us into the future of technology.

 

Now, when I express the idea of decreasing the amount of sleep per night by 5 hours I am being completely hypothetical. Sleep is essential for brain function during the day along with several other key functions of living. The good thing about sleep, is that you can always make up for lost sleep. According to <a href="http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleeping.htm">many studies concerning sleep and brain function</a>, if you struggle with sleeping during the week, sleeping more on the weekends can reenergize your brain allowing you to have more brain capacity come Monday morning. And more brain-power on Mondays, equals happy college students.

 

In short, yes we do need to sleep to live. It is a basic human function. <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-long-can-humans-stay">The Scientific American</a> claims that any given human being can live without sleep for around 8-10 days. But, eyesight would suffer and hallucinations would begin to occur. So yes, technically we cannot go on without sleeping at least a little bit each night. But my theory is that if everyone decreased the number of hours they sleep per night by just a little, we could accomplish many things.


Works Cited: 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-long-can-humans-stay

http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleeping.htm

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/how-sleep-works/how-muchsleep-do-we-really-need


5 Comments

This post was interesting because it analyzed a question that I had as I listened to the recent SC 200 lecture on "What is Sleep?". That question was whether or not "sleeping in" past the recommended amount of sleep could actually have negative effects on. To an extent, I always thought that the more sleep someone got, the more energy they'd have the day. However, when I look at my personal experiences, it seems like every time I sleep for more than 10 hours, I feel lazier during the day. I also tend to feel groggy for bigger portion of the day than if I had gotten the recommended amount of sleep.

Another thing a lot of people swear by are "power-naps", or sleeping for around 20 minutes during the day to rejuvenate yourself. Web MD has a very thorough article about it at the URL below:

http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/the-secret-and-surprising-power-of-naps

Hi Tyler! I would completely agree with you that we would be able to get much more accomplished in our everyday lives if we just cut back on our sleep a little bit, or did not require sleep at all. I say to my friends so often that it would be incredible if we did not have to sleep, it would almost be as if we were living twice as long. As a high school student I would sleep much more and did not understand how long I could function on little amounts of sleep, where as now that I am in college I find myself more and more able to make it through the day successfully on four hours of sleep. I like to live by the quote "sleep is for those who are broke" said by 50 cent, and often use this quote as motivation to preserver through my tiredness and complete the task at hand.

I think this is on a lot of people's minds at this time of the year, and I've had quiet a few conversations about this in the past week (I was awake 40 hours continuously through monday and tuesday).

One of the factors that I've always found to vary between other students I've spoken with is how quickly it takes for every individual to fall asleep. In my situation, I am a heavy sleeper, but at the same time it generally takes longer for me to actually fall asleep. Other friends of mine have issues with accidentally falling asleep without even noticing, and this has never happened to me despite pulling so many over-nighters. This, I think, has a drastic effect on what an individual is capable of over longer periods of having little sleep, and what choices they have to make (such as whether or not they can drive a car without falling asleep at the wheel).

This sort of difference is especially apparent when I speak with older family members. The article below speaks about this a bit, and extrapolates upon what was mentioned in class.

http://voices.yahoo.com/a-comparison-sleeping-habits-between-young-and-6639924.html

I also blogged about sleep as well, and how much is necessary. I read that both too much & too little sleep can be bad for your health. Also, I read how you said, "the number of hours of sleep necessary for someone can vary. Various factors including, exercising, eating habits, and sleep consistency can all affect the amount of hours necessary for someone to sleep." However, i also read that oversleeping has been associated with some serious health issues. These health issues include kidney & liver disease, depression & dementia.
http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/05/health/upwave-sleep-too-much/

I think this is a good topic, especially since we are all a little more educated on it after yesterdays lecture. I am the same way as you, when I sleep 10+ hours I feel like I am more tired than other days when I sleep a normal amount. I don't know if this has to do with the sleep cycles or whether it is a matter of being used to sleeping less. I would be interested to know if I could sleep 10 hours a night for the rest of my life if I could get to a point where I have more energy than when I sleep a normal amount. I also find it weird that we sleep so much when our bodies are sick and when we wake up we still feel just as tired.

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