how important is sleep?

Sleep is something i look forward to, yet never seem to get enough of. I could down tools and go to bed now, but i’ve said before that night time is when i feel i’m at my most creative. So if i went to sleep now, i feel i’d be missing out or ‘wasting’ that creative time.

Mina and Calvin
Creative Commons License photo credit: dolescum

My girlfriend is the complete opposite – she hates ‘wasting’ the day away by getting up late, but that actually benefits me because it means i’m up early 7 days a week from now until May and in a routine. Up at 6.50am Mon-Friday. Sleep around 1am.

At weekends, up at around 10am, bed at around 1am. So i get more sleep at weekends, even though i’m still shattered getting up. If i were left to sleep and wake naturally, i’d probably go to bed at around 4am and wake up at around 1pm. I don’t see anything wrong with that, provided it doesn’t impact on my ability to think or work.

Reading the wikipedia page on sleep is fascinating. It says between 7-9 hours sleep is optimum. Anything under that is linked with health problems & double the risk of death from heart problems. But so too is anything over that.

It also mentions our biological clock and how (in an ideal world) we’d basically sleep when it gets dark, get up when it gets bright. Of course that’s not reality for most people. Especially in winter months as it would mean we should sleep more in winter than summer.

A sort of ‘get rich quick’ scheme (in sleeping terms) is called Polyphasic sleep. That basically says you can sleep for as little as 2 hours per day, but it has to be at multiple times – each nap can last no longer than about 45 minutes. So if you train yourself to sleep for 6 x 30 minute naps every few hours throughout the 24 hour day, it’s as good as an 8 hour ‘block’ of sleep (despite the fact it only adds up to 3 hours).

So in a nutshell, if you follow those rules, you can gain more time in your day without losing energy or feeling tired. The biggest problem with sleep though is not your sleeping patterns… it’s other people’s.

Doorbells, phones, work, school, college, shop opening hours… until we live in a world that’s open 24/7 for everything, our sleep patterns are still largely dictated by business opening hours in my opinion. So when it boils down to it, the time we sleep and rise at is all down to money. All down to working, selling or buying whether we like it or not.

2 thoughts on “how important is sleep?”

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