• Question: Can you gradually sleep less, so you get used to it and don't get tired?

    Asked by Anonymous to Stewart, Miriam, Marton, Laura, Kathryn, David on 13 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: David Ho

      David Ho answered on 13 Nov 2018:

      I would love for this to be the case! But unfortunately it looks like research shows that you can’t http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130320-can-you-get-by-on-less-sleep
      I’m not an expert, but it seems like different people need different amounts of sleep, and for adults it averages to about 8 hours a night, but some people need more or less. I know that I can’t function very well at all if I get much less than 8 hours sleep, so I try to get that as often as possible

    • Photo: Stewart Martin-Haugh

      Stewart Martin-Haugh answered on 13 Nov 2018:

      You can get used to sleeping less, but you still get tired. Sleep is good for you, so it’s probably not worth it. Working too much is similar – you can get a little bit more done, but you’re likely to make mistakes and it’s less fun.

      I like sleep at least partly because it breaks the day up and gives it structure. I think it would be quite strange to be continuously conscious – when I’ve stayed up all night I find it confusing remembering what happened and when.

    • Photo: Miriam Hogg

      Miriam Hogg answered on 13 Nov 2018:

      Humans need to sleep a certain amount a day, we use a lot of energy being conscious and moving around and thinking. Every individual person will have an optimum amount of sleep they should get to keep their body in good working order. Its about 5-8 hours for adults, and normally more for growing children and teens ~7-12 hours (toddlers often sleep 7pm-7am for example). You can train your body to get less sleep but it does take a toll on you body and you get what is called ‘sleep debt’ where you aren’t getting the amount of sleep your body needs and this can make you tired, affect your mood and even make you ill if you do it a lot.

      So, unfortunately we can’t force our bodies to get less sleep unless you want to be tired.