Sorry, night owls, no amount of aromatherapy or hypnosis will make you fall asleep at 9 p.m. And early birds, it doesn’t matter how much coffee you drink–you don’t do your best work at night.
You’re born with one tendency or the other, so you might as well work it as best as you can.
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Although it is recommended that healthy adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep, everyone is different. There are people who need just three to four hours to stay alert.
If you’re not sure how many hours of sleep you need on a daily basis, experimentation is the best way to go. Try waking up without an alarm and figure out what your natural wake-up time is. Observe how adding or subtracting one hour of sleep impacts your productivity.
The harm of bingeing on sleep on Saturday and Sunday is that it makes it hard to get a full and well-constructed night of sleep on Sunday night, which then sends us off into the workweek on the wrong foot.
If you don’t try to wake up at a similar time at the weekend, it is similar to giving yourself jet lag every weekend.
When you’re consistently not getting enough sleep, you get used to feeling tired, and your body adapts to function on that amount of sleep. But this doesn’t mean that you’re performing at your best on this amount of sleep.
Even when you don’t feel physically tired–your brain might think otherwise. If you find yourself unable to remember things or can’t seem to be nice to your coworkers, for example, you might be running a sleep debt.
Sleeping five hours or less consistently increases your risk greatly for adverse health consequences. These included cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, and shorter life expectancy.
Everyone should aim for a consistent seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
To really find out what your individual sleep needs are, do the following experiment for at least two weeks:
You may sleep longer during the first few days, but over the course of a few weeks, a pattern will emerge of how much sleep your body needs each night.