In 2002, Dr Kripke asked in his study whether how long you slept related to lifespan (1982 data from a cancer risk survey). He found out that those who slept 6-7 hours tend to actually live longer than people who slept 8 hours or more. This is consistent with research from Dr. Park, who has found that if you sleep too little or to much, later in your life you’ll have a higher chance of developing depression and/or heart disease.
The 8 Hour Sleep Myth
Regardless of these studies, there has long been a myth that you have to sleep 8 hours every day. Furthermore, some people believe that there is a sleep debt. In other words, anything less than 8 hours of sleep becomes debt you have to repay later. For example, if you sleep 6 hours, the next night (or over the course of the week) you’ll have to repay two hours. Now the debt part is generally correct, and it makes sense, but 8 hours doesn’t have to be your starting point.
The 8 hour sleep myth applies to people who live a mediocre lifestyle, doing a few unhealthy things each day, and missing some important simple steps that can result in a requirement for less sleep. Again, the sleep debt still applies, but you subtract from a 6-7 hour starting point like I talk about in my free report.
A number of new reports actually have proven that 7 hours, with the right preparation, is relative to the best health as well as longevity. In addition, sleeping significantly more than 7 hours is actually associated with more health problems than sleeping for an amount of time shorter than 7 hours. This relationship applies not only to heart problems and depression, but also to cancer, diabetes, cholesterol, and mortality rates.
Also interesting about the 8 hour sleep myth:
Up to one third of American adults are regularly woken up during the night. Of these awakenings, half are unable to fall back asleep after waking up. This is diagnosed by doctors as a sleeping disorder referred to as “middle-of-the-night insomnia,” for which prescription is medicated.
Historians have actually discovered that before the introduction of electricity and unnatural lighting, sleep cycles were quite different; unaffected by virtual inputs like televisions, this was the natural course of sleep. “The dominant pattern of sleep, arguably since time immemorial, was biphasic,” says Roger Ekirch, a sleep historian at Virginia Tech University. “Humans slept in two four-hour blocks, which were separated by a period of wakefulness in the middle of the night lasting an hour or more. During this time some might stay in bed, pray, think about their dreams, or talk with their spouses. Others might get up and do tasks or even visit neighbors before going back to sleep.” More importantly, with this routine, many slept less than 8 hours. After all, they had no one constantly telling them this was the correct amount of hours to sleep. Rather, they did what came naturally. And, this further demystifies the 8 hour sleep myth.
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About MeHey there, I'm Chris! I used to be a college student that suffered from “too much to do, and not enough time to do it” syndrome. At some point... [Read More]
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