Can You Train Yourself to Sleep Less?

The basic answer is no. You perform better in life the better (and basically the longer) you sleep at night. So forget Monster and other wakefulness juices/concoctions. You need your rest.

Regardless of what you think of his politics, Winston Churchill was so much enamored of his sleep time that he often would stay in bed through the morning, even receiving visitors while in bed.

Most of us, of course, can’t afford such a luxury, but we can indeed try to sleep better and longer.

You can, however, bank sleep, but again it’s not a very practical thing to do. Researchers at the Walter Reed Army Hospital had volunteers go to bed two hours earlier for a week and found that they could later — for a while anyway — sleep less and not be deprived and be fully functioning.

Another test found that a mother and daughter with the mutative gene hDEC2 could get by on less sleep than normal human beings, but then again, this was because of a mutation. The rest of us need our sleep, eight hours of it usually. These two women were among the “sleepless elite” whom University of California, San Francisco researcher Ying-Hui Fu  discovered and studied.

Many claims about sleeping less and achieving more are just that — claims. Napoleon reportedly claimed to have rarely slept, but this is just urban legend. He in fact slept soundly, and a lot.

How many hours do we need? This varies, but whatever it is, it cannot be messed with. As Jim Horne writes in Sleepfaring, 80 percent of us manage between six and nine hours a night; the other 20 percent sleep more or less than this.

Whatever your category of sleep hours, sleeping soundly is essential for sound daily living. If you’re tired and unfocused in the daytime, you need to get help with your sleeping habits. You can start by examining your own sleep hygiene, but beyond that it’s important to seek professional help. Don’t shortchange your daily life by your nighttime problems. Get help today!

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