1 Million People Agree – Sleeping for 5 Hours is Better Than 8

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You know how everyone says that 8 hours is the amount of sleep you need every night? Well, there was a study at UCSD that showed that as far as health benefits are concerned, 8 hours isn’t the ideal; it’s actually 6.5. The study looked at 1.1 million people’s sleep over the course of 6 years and the relationship between the amount of sleep and patients’ longevity. The study found that sleeping as little as 5 hours per night is better for you than sleeping 8, and it even determined that insomnia is better for you, long-term health wise, than taking sleeping pills.

Have you been stressing about getting more sleep? It turns out that, statistically speaking, if you sleep 5 hours each night, you’re better off than if you’d have slept 8. According to the study, 6.5 hours is the sweet spot for lowering your risk of cancer.

In an amazing study, a UCSD professor of psychiatry specializing in sleep research and aging has determined that there is no statistical health-related reason to sleep longer than 6.5 hours per night.

It’s hard to argue with him. He is using sleep data from the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPSII) of theSleep_mortality_-_men American Cancer Society. In fact, that data shows that sleeping 5 hours per night (as I’ve done for the last 18 months) is slightly *safer* than sleeping 8 hours per night, at least if you define safe as “not dying.” Check out the charts:


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By Dave Asprey

  • Lexi

    When I first came across this blog, I couldn’t actually think of what I would do with more time if I had it . . . and now, I’m looking forward to hacking my sleep so I have more time to do all the things I’m excited about! (and not feel overwhelmed about it!)

  • Dave Asprey

    Thanks Lexi! Comments like that make me motivated to keep writing. When you can shed the “I am too tired to do that” excuse, you can – and will – try all sorts of things you’d never have considered. Like climbing very tall mountains, getting advanced degrees, learning languages, or doing something really hard like figuring out how to train cats.

  • Chris Yeh

    What approach are you taking to getting by with less sleep? Polyphasic? Enquiring minds want to know.

    • Adam Barr

      Those of us who are employed in the oil fields are used to minute sleep. Countless 24 – 48 hour shifts. I have been doing it for years. And just when i get a management job, I have a kid. hahaha. I average 5 hours a sleep the past 2 years.

  • Dave Asprey

    I tried polyphasic sleep a long time ago – I don’t think it’s sustainable hormonally or socially unless you’re a hermit. The sleep hacking series here has some tricks, and more coming. But the number one thing you can do to sleep less is to have more energy. You might ask, “I thought you slept more to have more energy…what?” <o:p></o:p> The truth is that if your mitochondria is working at optimal capacity – which happens from nutrition (high healthy fat,  especially MCT, and cutting carbs etc.) – and your sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are in sync (which happens from meditation or from using some cool tech I’m about to post on the site…) you just need less sleep. I also optimize my REM and delta stages of sleep by using a variety of entrainment technologies. This helps, but is not necessary.<o:p></o:p> In fact, a VC friend who went on a higher fat grass-fed butter and MCT oil diet just commented, “I didn’t notice a huge boost in energy because I already feel really energetic. The biggest thing I noticed is that I need about an hour less sleep.” And he hadn’t even done any work on his nervous system optimization.<o:p></o:p> My final sleep hacking post, which includes mostly electronics, is nearly ready to go. <o:p></o:p>

  • Ben Zealley

    Does it not seem more likely that healthier people need less sleep, rather than that less sleep makes you healthier? That seems by far the more likely of the two possible causations implied by this admittedly very well-demonstrated correlation.

    • Dirk

      This was the first thing I thought when I read this.

    • SweKiwi

      Bidirectional problem says you might be right.

    • Jon Wise

      Exactly. So many people misinterpret studies and make false assumptions.
      It’s the same statistics as with e.g. visiting hospitals. It would be
      ridiculous to claim that more visits to a dermatologist will give you
      more skin problems. People usually visit a doctor, because they have a
      problem, not the other way around. It’s the same statistics as with
      sleep. There are NO studies that show that oversleeping is even
      possible. You have to not read sleep literature at all to claim it.I
      bought a book from Dr. William Dement, a pioneer of sleep research after
      listening to his talk for Google. They spend years conducting
      experiments and studying sleep debt in Stanford. In one of the study
      none of 10 volunteers were able to accumulate sleep debt by sleeping
      just 5 hours. They all accumulated sleep debt by sleeping so little.
      Sleep debt declines performance, especially mental performance.

      for oversleeping there were studies done that showed that it’s
      impossible to oversleep (e.g. sleep 10+ hours), if you don’t have sleep
      debt. I’ll mention the hardcore one. It was done over 5 decades ago at
      the United Naval Hospital in Bethesda Maryland. People were put alone
      inside silent, dark cubicles. “The cubicles were insulated against sound
      and maintained at a constant temperature and humidity. The subjects
      wore thick gloves to minimize their sense of touch, and they took liquid
      nutrients through a straw. They were not able to move about; they could
      only lie awake and fall asleep” Their brainwaves were monitored. The
      first day many people slept 16 hours or so (some people slept even 20).
      In the final day the subjects were only able to sleep on average of 8
      hours. Just as a reminder, there’s was nothing else to do, but to sleep.
      They were not able to sleep more than they “needed” and they felt
      great. I’m lazy to write about another studies, but the main theme is
      that removal of sleep debt improves performance (even physical
      performance of professional athletes). You can find more in books like
      “The promise of sleep”, “Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine” or
      by looking at Dr. William Dement’s talk for Google where he gives a
      quick overview.

      • whatajoke

        Lol at your 50 year old studies. “Sleep debt” is a myth

        • Jon Wise

          Even 3000 year old studies are better than no studies or speculation, which is what you’re doing right now. Show me your newer studies that contradict the sleep debt hypothesis. It’s very common in the self-development community to claim something without any objective empirical evidence. I’ll say the same things as I say to anybody else, who tries to sell me some idea. Show me the data. There’s data in the William Dements talk including the performance data, so taking into account his credentials (that he studies sleep for decades) and his data, I’m inclined to believe his hypothesis more than your speculation.

          That being said, brain performance it’s not hard to measure. If somebody has data from any brain games as a function of sleep debt, I would love to see it. IMO a great way to do it would be to use “memorization master” software than measures how fast you can remember chains of numbers using mnemonics. It also has statistics in it. I don’t use it anymore and I don’t have any data of my own, but if somebody is really curious about the effects of sleep debt, then he can learn number mnemonics and use the speed and accuracy of memorization as measurements of brain performance. I can tell you from experience that mnemonics are very sensitive to brain performance. E.g. if you sit and try to memorize 100 two digit numbers in 5-6 minutes each day (which is ~3-4 seconds per one number), then pretty much anything brain related will effect your results. But you’ll have to know mnemonic techniques to use that test, because without them most people can’t even remember 5 numbers in a row. So the easier way for somebody who doesn’t know mnemonic techniques might be to use generic brain games like the ones on Lumosity.

        • The ‘Good’ Hitler

          I wish you had a female body, excellent comment!

          I don’t know anything about sleep from a scientific stand point. I just liked your attitude, plus your insight, plus the practical advice. Thank you.

          I came on here to find if it would be okay for me to just sleep 6 hours a day because I could get heaps done that way. But I want to be healthy. I never have problems sleeping at all. I actually go to bed around 2 to 3am every night… but it never matters when I choose to sleep (even when I slept at 10:30pm) I just command myself to sleep and within 5 minutes i’m asleep…. I found I’d naturally wake up after 5 hours, but had a 30 second option to continue to sleep or not…

          Any advice on where to look at others research… but I will do my own (with your suggestions)

        • Savas Vedova

          Check this article: it claims that you may be sleep deprived if you fell asleep within 5 minutes of going bed.


        • BritCrit

          Then all my life I’ve been sleep deprived according to this article. I believe I have an ability to shut my brain off at choice. Ie getting into bed and sleeping in my side. My brain and body knows to go to sleep. I sleep 5-6 hours now (in my late 50’s) and function well during the day and evening. My last job was stressful and I was being boss bullied and I found I had problems getting to sleep and/or back to sleep. Going straight to sleep for me equals no worries

        • Omid Feghahati

          Well said.

        • OLD PIZZA

          You cannot “make up” lost sleep. You’re stuck in the wrong century, Guido.

        • Brayden Mech

          I like you fam.

        • TruthGamer

          I agree sleep debt was debunked a long time ago.

        • Brayden Mech

          Can I down vote you any harder?

      • dubious

        My concern here is that the sensory deprived environment in this study would interfere tremendously with interpreting any results that would apply in the real world. Given the psychological, physiological and environmental factors that would ALWAYS be present in a true sleep environment, the study introduces more extraneous factors than it removes! If I were a part of this study I would be so affected by the ‘non’ environment they create that it would render any interpretation of my results as unreliable.
        I don’t necessarily contend with your comment re oversleeping, but I would never base it on this study.
        Personally, when I reached about 45 years old I simple started sleeping less. I can no longer sleep eight hours even if I try, unless I am in a very rare period of extremely strenuous and lengthy deprivation (e.g. a 17 hours shift into the middle of the night w/o forewarning a few years back). FYI – I haven’t used an alarm clock since I was in my 20’s. I wake after 6 hours (occasionally 6.5 – 7 hours) and that’s it. I’m done.

      • Fiddlestick


        Sleeping too much degrades mental performance. As does too little. Optimum found was 7 hours, but then again they didn’t measure hours in half hour time periods. Wouldnt be surprised if optimum was around 6.5. Off course correlation does not imply causality, still a lot of people seem to agree with this, like feeling groggy after too much sleep, yet having more energy after 6-6.5 hours sleep.

        • Jon Wise

          Here is the presentation from William Dement, the pioneer in sleep research, https://youtu.be/8hAw1z8GdE8?t=27m37s

          He references a couple of studies there, some of which are done long ago by Thomas Wehr (TA Wehr), so they are not easily findable. Some of the studies are done recently by Stanford, so there they can be found more easily, here is one of them:

          The study you referenced does not examine in any way effects of sleep deprivation or extension on individuals. Individuals do not extend or deprive their sleep time there. They just report their average sleep duration. I still think the hospital metaphor mentioned previously perfectly describes why those studies provide zero useful information on how sleep deprivation or sleep extension effects people.

          Unless you show me studies which try to extend sleep duration in individuals and then examine changes in their individual performance, I’m not going to consider them seriously. Statistics is only useful if it’s used appropriately. Because in the similar fashion , e.g., you can correlate spending on science, space and technology with suicides by hanging, strangulation and suffocation (http://www.tylervigen.com/). And back to my hospital metaphor you can correlate visiting hospitals or sleeping more with being sick. That’s not how serious scientific experiments are made.

        • Brayden Mech

          Dude, I need to learn to post like this. I post to angry and with a lot of fluff.
          Right good job you did.

      • OLD PIZZA

        The longer you sleep, the more carbon dioxide builds up in your blood steam. This causes you to feel more tired, resulting in the desire for more sleep. It can lead to a vicious cycle. I’ve gotten by very well on about 5 hours a night for about 60+ years.

        • Seth A. Yellin

          Thanks for that heads up!¡ Bless. Italian!¡ ????????.

      • OLD PIZZA

        Sleep debt was debunked years ago. Try to keep up.

    • Morgan Freeman

      Idk I mean I sleep 10 hours a day and I’m under my sleep amount im suppose to sleep. Aparently only adults need eight hours but younger you need eleven.

      • Alo

        I have found deep meditation to work wonders. And in that space of time, letting go and committing my mind to think of less sleep and more energy. Finding a u tube video with hypnosis stating that and mediating upon it

        • Pls pls answer!:)

          Hi I’m intrigued! What is your daily lifestyle like? Do you have energy for grounded creative thought? (Ungrounded creative thought is highly important too)

        • Shh

          kid just said he was eleven, though, that was a year ago, so now hes twelve

        • Seth A. Yellin

          Great observation. ???

      • Rong See

        I am someone who needs 10 hours to be optimally functional, but have lived with just 5 hours of sleep a day for over 10 years, when I had commitments like schooling and work that require me to get up early. I am just unable to fall asleep before 2am no matter what. While it’s not too functional and I tend to doze off in class a lot (but managed to scrap through by putting in double the effort for both school and work), it’s survivable, just not pleasant. Now that I am jobless and still waiting for school to start, I just revert to my natural 10 hours schedule (sleeping around 2/3am to 12/1pm).

      • rakan alem

        I’d like to look at this from a religious prospective… As we study some of the prophet’s biographies, it’s clear that it is recommended to wake up the last third of the night to pray and meditate. So for example, if it gets dark around 8:00 and first lights come up around 6:00 depending on where you live… That is about 10 hours of complete darkness. If we subtract a third of that; we should get roughly 6.5 hours of sleep per night…
        However, it was reported that an afternoon power nap was also the standard.
        In one of the holy books, it is clearly stated to wake up for a third of the night and that the people who do that are stronger physically, mentally and are healthier.
        You can find reference to this in the Quran as well as the Sunna of prophet mohammad PBUH.
        It is interesting for me to connect scientific research studies with things that were stated in the holy book more than a thousand years ago… And there are many examples…
        I hope you enjoy this different angle.

    • Jäeger

      Correlation don’t equal causation.

      • Timothy

        No kidding. Everyone who ever has eaten food has died… Does that mean food kills you? Hahahahahahaha… No.

        • dubious

          Actually, I’ve eaten food and I’m still here…
          I read once that there are more people alive today than have died in the history of the human race. I don’t know if it’s true (& re the dead – when do you start counting from?) but if so then one might argue that the odds are better than 50% that I will never die!
          Kidding of course, but my initial statement still stands. I really have eaten food and I really am still here!

        • George MacCleave

          dude you are paranoid

        • Dubious

          (this is actually ‘dubious’ but I can’t find my PW!)

          What an odd reaction… please explain. I see nothing in my comment that is even remotely paranoid.

          Timothy said, incorrectly, that everyone who has ever eaten food has died. I corrected him (though I am guessing that he too has eaten food, and was certainly alive when he posted.)

          I jokingly implied that I’ll live forever. That’s rather optimistic don’t you think? Am I paranoid because I admitted I was kidding and fully expect to die some day? What?

        • OLD PIZZA

          But you WILL die. That food will eventually get you!!

        • Brayden Mech


        • Effervescent Fluffer

          Wrong, buddy. Ten times more people have died than are alive today. Google this: how many humans have ever ever lived

    • birdie123

      Excellent point! My husband sleeps 10+ hours per night, and he’s a perfectly healthy triathlete under 30 except for the fact that he’s in remission from cancer. Before cancer? 8. After cancer? 10+.

    • Cody G

      I agree with your point 100%! Anyone who has lived through periods of health and periods of sickness can attest to your point. I sleep more in the winter and less in the summer. I attribute this to my bed being more comfortable in the colder days, fewer hours of light and possibly mild depression. I sleep fewer hrs when I am healthy than sick. I attribute this to my body requiring less down time to get back to 100% operating capacity. It is really simple, and for a healthy person to say that nobody needs 8 hrs of sleep is simply naive. I do agree that as a society ( I live in the US ) we tend to over – sleep and can probably operate on quite a bit less sleep than we often do. I do not agree that you can accurately apply this theory of 5 hrs/day to every one in the general population.

      • Ray

        It seems as if everyone in the US under sleeps if anything. Since high school it seems like the majority of the people I’m around, including myself, complain about being tired and staying up late. It’s a rarity to meet someone that actually has normal, healthy sleeping habits. Everyone talks about how we should sleep 8 hours but almost no one gets it. Some people even pride themselves on not sleeping. The whole “I’ll sleep when I die” mentality is alive and well. I can’t possibly see how we tend to oversleep.

    • TruthGamer

      I think we need to be able to add factors into the debate without the intent of debilitating an existing argument. I agree with the article and it’s possible what you are saying is true as well. However I am more inclined to think you are not correct as I have been sleeping 2 – 5 hours a night for about 10 years in good shape and other times not so good shape and I can tell you. I get sick less than all the people in my home who sleep 8 some of which are 20 years younger than me.

    • ysera39

      I’m personally not healthy and will feel like absolute crap on 5-6 hours of sleep. I definitely need 8 to feel even remotely normal.

      • Queenofyuri

        It’s mainly because you need more nutrients in your body you might not be eating or taking and your body demand more sleep.

  • Dave Asprey

    @Ben – Most people think that more sleep makes you healthier. It certainly does make you recover more quickly, but the important idea here is that more efficient sleep can do the same thing. It’s also very much true that healthy people need less sleep, which is why, as I’ve hacked my health, I’ve been able to get less sleep. On top of that, there are the tricks – environmental, chemical, biological, and electrical – outlined in my sleep hacking posts that can safely reduce the already shrinking amount of sleep you need as you get healthier. That said, I haven’t found a way (yet) to be able to do a heavy workout, then thrive on less than 5 hours of sleep consistently. Staying focused, healthy, lean and muscular on 5 hours is easy. Rapidly gaining muscle mass on 5 hours isn’t so easy without drugs. L<o:p></o:p>

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  • Lars

    No offense, but even the linked PR article states:
    “Although the data indicated the highest mortality rates with long-duration sleep, the study could not explain the causes or reasons for this association.”

    More likely that sleep is affect hazard rates is actually lifestyle etc.

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  • Howard

    I would hesitate to put much faith in observational studies, for the reason mentioned by Mr. Zealley. Observational studies tend to miss confounding variables, and are way too easy to cherry-pick (**cough** Keys & Campbell **cough**). Correlation does NOT equal causation.

    I have needed different amounts of sleep at different times in my life, and it’s a subject near and dear to me, since I have had severe obstructive sleep apnea since a couple of decades before the mainstream ‘medical’ community ‘discovered’ it and gave it a name.

    Different people need different amounts of sleep. I would be very interested in knowing why — but not particularly interested in reading speculations on the subject. I’m also very curious about the long-term effects of modafinil (I have used the non-prescription adrafinil at low dosage with very good effect, but it seems to raise blood pressure).

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  • I reckon there’s only one way to determine how much sleep you personally need, which is to allow yourself to wake up without an alarm clock – your brain will take care of the rest.

    • Kaitlin

      I totally agree with this…our bodies tell us what we need. People get so fixated on reading what other people have discovered about average bodies or scientific studies, and I’m sure it’s good to have that knowledge, but wouldn’t the healthiest thing be to know what science says and then apply that to what your own body tells you? There are always anomalies, who’s to say any one of us isn’t one?

      • ClearSleep

        There are many studies that show you can shorten your need for sleep by gradually waking up earlier. It takes at least a week to get used to your new schedule. It’s the quality that determines how long you need to sleep. By improving how deep you can sleep, you CAN shorten the needed hours of sleep per night. I used to need at least 8 hours sleep until I started using an oral sleep appliance that improved my breathing and can now function with only 4.5 to 5 hours of sleep. The prerequisite is a relatively good health though.

      • Harry C. Houdini

        I’m not sure your logic is completely sound there Kaitlin. You say that “our bodies tell us what we need”, but that isn’t always true. For instance, many people’s bodies tell them to keep eating even though they’ve already consumed thousands of calories or hundreds of grams of sugar in one sitting. Or for example, an alcoholic’s body repeatedly tells the alcoholic that they need more alcohol. Just because the human body tends towards certain patterns or behaviors doesn’t mean that the human body is always able to tell us what we need or what is best for our health. It takes rational thought to overcome some of our natural urges that could end up being be harmful to ourselves.
        Furthermore, I’m a bit confused by the contradictory statements you’ve made in your 2nd and 3rd sentences. You seem to knock on the fact that people are fixated on scientific studies, but in the same very sentence, you then act as if people should be know more about science and apply it to themselves. How do you know that those who are fixated on the scientific studies AREN’T applying that to what their own bodies tell them?

        • Spiral

          Its the sub-concious that makes you keep eating when your body is telling you your full but most people ignore that. you just listen to your sub-concious over your body. for example if its something really nice you like and you don’t want to waste it your brain will say KEEP EATING! mean while the body is stuffed he he.

          Just my opinion.

        • Rich Cook

          Folks, guess what? The brain is part of the body! You can’t just separate them out like that.

        • Jon

          No, actually, when it comes to consuming large amounts of food such as GMO’s and processed sugars you’re body wants you to keep eating cause it’s still hungry. The lectins from processed garbage destroy your body’s insulin receptors making it impossible for your body to actually know.
          Actually, there’s also the case of wanting dopamine.

        • Kris

          my body never tells me that I want mcdonalds but I always some how end up in the drive thru ordering a large big mc meal…. Spiral is right. its all about the mind. my body was so full after the big mac meal but my brain decided I could go for an oreo mcflurry…. and after I ate that, I though…. should’ve listened to my body….

        • Phoenix

          So true. Our bodies and beings tell us many screwed up things.

        • Sunshine

          I would have to disagree with the alcohol statement, Harry. To the alcoholic, the brain does not tell the body to consume more alcohol, instead, the neurochemical GABA, nature’s chill pill, signals pleasure centers in the brain; thus, the person’s choice to drink more under the misconception of short-term pleasure. If a person never consumes a drop of alcohol, their brain would most certainly not signal the brain to consume this substance. How can the brain crave alcohol when this in not a naturally occurring substance in the body? The choice to drink more is exactly that, a choice; just as in those who continue to eat beyond what the body needs, unless they are suffering from hypothyroidism or some other form of neurological/bodily disease. Additionally, I also believe that when we are healthy, balanced, and true to ourselves, the body will most certainly tell us what we need. This leads me to agree with your statement of rational thoughts to overcome the urges that are not so healthy.

        • Howard Lee Harkness

          Actually, alcohol *is* a naturally occurring substance in the human body. It is an intermediate step in the processing of certain carbohydrates, and a person who is not in ketosis will normally have a BAC of about 1/20th of the BAC that is considered to be the intoxication point for driving in most states. This is the reason the body has the proper enzymes to metabolize ethanol (although you can easily overwhelm the body’s ability to cope with ethanol by ingesting large amounts).

      • Phoenix

        When I only sleep 2 1/2 hrs. per night (which is the way it’s always been for me before meds) I can’t concentrate very well at all. Results in lower grades and inability to function in general.

    • cat

      ive done that and i can sleep for 12-14 hours straight . it doesnt mean i need that long to sleep every single day for me to be healthy or to be able to function normally! just i thought?!? what do you guys think about long hours of sleep?

      • sandra

        It is unhealthy to sleep 10 hours of sleep. I’d say for you, use an alarm clock. That is sleeping your life away. I only sleep 5-6 hours a night. No alarm clock. When I was recovering from major surgery, I slept 9 hours a night.

        • kris

          man, i remember those days after a serious brain injury. not being able to fight the drowsiness that hit me by 10pm sleeping a solid 10 hours waking up completely rested. now i only sleep 6-7 hours avg feeling tired still. never can sleep in

        • Fox

          Einstein slept 10 hours a night. Not saying he was healthy, but the, “sleeping your life away” is bull. Just make more of the time you’re awake.

        • Doodle

          Einstein didn’t sleep 10 hours at once. He slept for minutes at a time when he felt tired. Don’t know where you heard this but he rarely slept a long stretch ever.

        • tyo

          Einstein liked amphetamines.

        • John

          Einstein was a huge fan of Snickers bars.

        • LMAO

        • Isaias Nieves

          Elvis fell asleep on the toilet.

        • A person.

          I thought it was 4 hours a night, like Da Vinci.

        • NDR

          I’m sleepeng an awerage of 5.5 hours for 16 years now,from 19,first it was the every week diferent 8 hours shift at the job for 4 years,thenn the 18 hours day in the army for 10 months,thenn the feel free to work as many hours you want I’ll pay:here are your keys! for 5 years.Thenn : rail infrastructure building with10-13 hours a day sometimes two months in a row.Thenn internet up to midnight and early up,thenn the kids.But I’m well,good scores on brain exercise,I speack 6 languages (4 daily).Ok somethimes I must pullover to sleep 10 mins or so (untill I wake up)

        • SweKiwi

          But your spelling is terrible.

        • NDR

          Your post is outmost usefull!

        • Olav

          so is your trolling Swekiw… terribad!

        • SweKiwi

          That’s ant no trlling. It b fakts-

        • DavidA.

          Its somewhat difficult to believe someone has the ability to speak 6 languages yet cannot use good syntax, and lacks the ability to spell correctly. It is not merely mistakes such as a typo when the same words are misspelled, that shows a lack of education. Or it could be that English is not your first language?

          However, your sentences are somewhat convoluted. They are hard to follow, ex., not only this post, ;but also your post following where you typed, ‘Your post is outmost usefull!’….That post of yours contains not only two spelling mistakes in only 5 words, but it makes no sense!.

        • NDR

          DavidA. Please take into account that I never learned english in school,but from subtitled movies and only read one book in EN and it was about supervitamin treatments.Thus my english is neither american,nor british but international.Because of that I might use expressions that someone adapted from an other language.Besides the languages I speak are varied not all have the same root and those who have contain influences form other cultures.I can also converse using 2 dialects,each of a different language.So I don´t bother my self that much about grammar,sinthax since I don´t live in a world were anyone would turn his back to me for “some” mistakes.
          If it´s hard to you to belive me figure out this:since what we are discussing here is not about languages and I did´nt want to brag about myself I did not enumerate those languages but since this turned this way here is the line up and how I got here:
          1 Place of birth and residence country for the first 23 years:Romania and for living in a central city I came in contact with some of the dialects the Romanian language has. I graduated in this language.And many of my friends are Romanians
          2+1’st D I belong as my parents and all remembered ancestors to the Hungarian (minority living today in Romania) thus my mothers tongue is Hungarian,as in other parts of the world we belong to an ethnical group or subgroup named szeklers which speak a dialect due to geographical isolation.I am now married to a Hungarian woman and in six years I cached up with modern Hungarian.This is the language I speak with all my relatives,parents,wife and our two children.
          3 My city of birth was founded by Germans almost 800 years ago and despite history some still live here.Thus German is not an unheard language here and a nanny of mine was of German mother tongue and speaked to me like that.I later studied this language in school for 2 years,took extra classes and watched many movies translated in live speech with the original German dialogues in backround. And in the late two years I dedicated some more time to it because I plan to emigrate there.Level A2 at 92% is good enough to You to be considered a language I speak and understand in a pretty good extent?
          4 Romania is a francophone country thus french is commonly teached in schools.I studied this language for 8 years,watched many programmes on cable television and interned,listened to RFI trough internet at work,have a lot of music in french and a B1 level.Used it to get along when worked in Marocco.
          5+2-nd D I lived and worked the last 11 years in southern Spain but traveled a lot so I now speak castilian,it´s almost dialect andalusian and can figure out it´s catalonian/valencian, and galician dialects. C1 by the Cervantes Institute
          6 English form subtitled movies and thousends of good oldies,user instructions and many conversations with nationals of other countries. C1 by a few online university free test features.City and Guilds included.
          Ad that because a year of latin in 8-th grade (along with french and german) and since Romanian,French and Spanish have the same latin roots I also understand a lot of Italian and Portugese.

          Still don´t believe me? Send me an email and give You my phone number.

        • NDR

          well mistakes happen.please read my outmost as utmost.and try to consider my comment as ironic since yours seamed to me as useless because this topic is about sleep-hacking.I learned english by reading movie and documentary subtitles some fifteen thousand hours in more than fifteen years and conversating with people that were not always brits or americans.

        • Liliana Rogala

          Oi David, Como vai voçé? Je toujours cherche pour les personnes qui parle en plusierus langues. Je suis américaine, bresilien et j’étudie français. J’aime beaucoup les choses qui vous dites.

          Je m’appelle Liliana

          Au revoir.

        • Cody G

          David A. – Your critique post is almost as difficult to read. I’ll also point out that you ended your “paragraph” with an exclamation mark followed by a period.

        • Jon Wise

          If somebody will sleep less than they need, they will accumulate sleep debt, which is a bad thing. IMO, they should sleep as much as they can, while trying to address the issue that causes their body to demand more sleep. IMO (from all studies that I’ve read) it’s as unhealthy to sleep 10 hours as it is unhealthy to visit a hospital when you’re sick. You can look at statistics and observe that people who visit a doctor more often have more health problems. You can’t say that people are unhealthy, because they visit doctors. People visit doctors, because they are unhealthy, not the other way around. Normal people can’t oversleep, they will simply wake up when they have no more sleep debt, even if they are in a sensory deprivation environment, where there’s nothing else to do, but to lay down sleep.

          So far I’m yet to see any study, which shows that sleeping more causes health problems. Causality and correlation are different things.

          Most likely it’s just sleep debt and after sleeping 10 hours for a while it will drop to a normal range. But if it doesn’t, then a person knows that they have something to deal with, e.g. it might be sleep apnea or some other sleep disorder that causes quality to drop. Or sleep quality might be ok, but there might be a health problem that requires that person to sleep more, in which case, again, the problem should be addressed, not the symptom.

          P.S. After eliminating sleep debt, it’s easy to get insomnia, if your sleep cycle is not calibrated perfectly (the more sleep debt you have the easier and faster it is to fall asleep earlier or in the middle of the day). So some people get into a cycle of doom, where once they eliminate sleep debt, they get insomnia, which gives them sleep debt, they try to eliminate sleep debt, get insomnia and go in circles. To break out of it, one has to get sleep cycle aligned by using melatonin before bed and using bright blue 10 000 lux light in the morning (to push cycle, once it gets into place, don’t use bright light too early).

        • George MacCleave

          no such thing as sleep debt bud.

        • Arm?ns Sliš?ns

          There is trust me. After full week of nights without sleep the end of that week will be just sleeping day.

        • Fiddlestick

          You talk a lot with very little substance. I would like to point you to:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Bullshit A terrific novel about your style of thinking.

          The stuff you’re claiming if filled with psuedoscientific nonsense. I don’t know what kind of science stylized hippy self help books you’ve been reading, but there is a wealth of genuine research out there correlating oversleeping with obesity and insuline resistance. Off course correlation does not imply causality, unless within the same study you show oversleeping preceeds and predicts these negative consequences, as they did. Fact that you haven’t found any study supporting your notion implies to me you’re less apt at using google scholar than a bachelor level biology student.

        • Jon Wise

          In the reply to your other comment address to me I pointed out why that particular study you mentioned was flawed. Also I provided a presentation, which mentioned several of those studies and provided one of those studies as a link, just as an example.

          If you can really can provide studies “show oversleeping preceeds and predicts these negative consequences, as they did”, I’m interested.

          As for this comment, obese people are also more likely to have sleep apnea ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3021364/ ), which decreases sleep quality. So to me it’s not surprising that they want to sleep more.

      • fars

        The brine solve mental and physical problems while we sleep so when ur are sad you mostly tend 2sleep more and also when u are sick , so its realy depend .take care

        • Adam Knapp

          I think I speak for all of us when I say…

        • Rich Cook

          Very funny! 🙂 Anyhow, in case you are serious, allow me to translate that to good English: “The brain solves mental and physical problems while we sleep. So when you are sad, you mostly tend to sleep more, and the same is true when you are sick. So it really depends.”

        • YOHUNAH

          so you agree on sleeping 7 hours? so i can set my alarm clock.
          read my story up there^^ i also sleep 12-14. but am super happy. but
          hey 7 hours it is. ill wake up at 3 am with the monks. and start my day like that
          thank youy

        • George MacCleave

          that also makes no sense what so ever.

        • YOHUNAH

          help a brother understand. 7 hours is greater than 12-14?
          i want to be on the correct page. thank u

        • Isaias Nieves

          12-14 hours of sleep a day every day is too much. Unhealthy. Go see a Doctor.

          In my life I’ve slept more than 10 hours a handful of times, 12 hours a couple, and 14 hours once.

        • sara xing

          You obviously don’t drive a taxi.

        • George MacCleave

          that makes no sense what so ever.

      • Kambiz

        NO, but it means you didn’t get enough sleep for more than 2 or 3 days!!!

      • Jon Wise

        Have you tried sleeping as much as you can for a month? Most likely you have sleep debt. If somebody sleeps 1 hour less than they need, then by the end of the week they’ll have 7 hours of sleep debt. Meaning that they will sleep 7 hours more if they allow themselves to sleep as much as they can.

        Let’s say your sleep demand is 8 hours, but for one week you slept for 7 hours. Then on Sunday you might sleep for 14 hours (8 + 7 from sleep debt). Then on Monday, you’ll wake up after sleeping your normal 8 hours. But usually people have a lot of sleep debt, it might be days or weeks of sleep deprivation, so it takes some time for their system to restore, but it comes into a normal range. There were plenty of studies done on this subject. I already mentioned one study here, where they put subjects in sensory deprivation cubicles for 24 hours and they slept for 16-20 hours first days, but, as their sleep debt was eliminated, they returned to the normal average of 8 hours.

        If, after sleeping as much as you can for a few weeks, you still sleep 12-14 hours, then most likely you have a sleep disorder or health problems. Sleep apnea would be the first thing I would check.

        If you want a quick “sleep 101”, you have to check Dr. William Dement’s talk for Google. It’s easy to find on youtube and it’s only one hour long. His book “The Promise Of Sleep” is also good. Although it leaves many questions unanswered. They have a new book “Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine”, but it’s hard to get and it’s too expensive for a book. But I heard it’s one of the best books on sleep science. So if you have sleep problems or you really want to hack sleep, you might want to look into it.

    • EBudoy

      but how about me. I only sleep 2 hours a day and It’s very confusing.

      • alexandru benza

        this is the funniest comment i’ve read in a long time. applause, sir.

        • azor

          funny ??!!!! didn’t you hear about peoples who sleep for a very short time a day which is the result of a gene mutation !!!

        • alexandru benza

          but i’m sure those people are not confused.

    • Joe

      Sometimes I don’t feel good after sleeping in long periods of time though. There is such thing as being lazy and refusing to get up. Maybe right when you awaken, not really when you get up and out of bed.

    • SweKiwi

      Your boss is gonna love you.

    • Guest

      No, this is not a solution at all. You can get reduce your sleep up to great extent and you can increase your sleep up to great extent. Your solution would work with just setting up the current habit as a personal need for sleep.

    • Atul Narang

      No, this is not a solution at all. You can decrease your sleeping hours and you can increase your sleeping hours up to great extent at your will with just a little force and then you get habitual. Your solution will only do one thing, setting up the current sleeping habit as the personal need for sleep.

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  • Hattom

    Hi! You got those results you said you’d post, already?

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  • Kathy
    • Kathy

      Hi Dave. How much sleep do children need? I have an 11 yr old. Thanks!

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  • DrewBuddy

    Ugghhh… Correlation does not prove causation.

    • Guest

      No, but sitting on your thumbs and refusing to look at any collected information is far more useless than testing it out and seeing if it works for you.

      • Howard Lee Harkness

        If you have a correlation without a demonstrated cause, you don’t have a study. At best, you have a grant application.

    • Jason

      Where is the causation to prove 8 hours? We just came up with that number out of thin air, jerk

  • Guest

    @”there is no statistical health-related reason to sleep longer than 6.5 hours per night” really? the study suggests 7h/night is the “safest” sleep period, so there is a reason to sleep more than 6h/night; also, your statement may mislead that there’s no difference between 6.5, 6, or 3h/night, which of course is false; note: i do not argue against your ability to sleep 5h/night and be perfectly healthy; we are construing a study here

    • Guest

      why did i feel to post the message above? i really try to find more about a healthy life style but I am really confused when I discover what-seems-to-be-well-scientifically-backed-up-site like yours that looks to conflict in some regards with other sites that I read (scientifically-backed-up-sites, too). But when you say “And if you slept 6.5 hours, you lowered your risk the most” and just below you insert a graphic that clearly shows that 7h/night is the safest sleep time…

  • Emilie Felix

    My whole life I wondered why I felt the best sleeping only five hours! Thank you for this confirmation! I used to try to change my own rhythms and never could. No matter what time I went to bed, early or late, I woke up rested after five hours…naturally!

  • I have never slept more then 6 hours a night for at least the past 7 yrs if not more, and I function on a daily bases with no problems. So, glad I came across this site.

    • Phoenix

      I would love to sleep 6 hrs. on my own. Even 5 would be great. I only do 2 1/2. Not great.

      • Maurya

        Phoenix, how much time are you spending in bed?

  • Defining safer as ‘not dying’ and this study was done with participants from a population of cancer sufferers. I’ll guess at different stages of progression and suffering from different forms of cancer, and probably going through different types of treatment… Yep, looks legit!

    • Frank

      Indeed, the least a study like this can do is pick people the same age

    • Eric

      Excellent point, has anyone else considered this. I don’t have cancer and like MOST americans, not in perfect health. Not bad, but not “body hacking perfect” either.

    • Jason

      Actually Aleonix, this study was NOT done on cancer sufferers. It was done on normal people. Read the actual study.

  • ed

    does less than 6 hours sleep significantly decrease testosterone?

  • Erik

    10 hours a day for me of sleep

    • Janine

      I know that feel. If I sleep less than nine hours a night, I get migraines, heavy eyelids, pain in my eyes, a fuzzy feeling in my head, and a slow cognitive tempo. And I can’t focus on anything. Nine is the minimum, ten or eleven is ideal.

      I hate this. I feel like I’m wasting so many extra hours of my life, when everyone else is chipper with seven hours of sleep. I have a nonexistent circadian rhythm as well. I wish I could get an operation to make it so I never had to sleep. There’s always so much to do, so much more I want to read, but I’m too sleepy to stay up. I have great vivid dreams which are somewhat worthwhile, but not really, they’re not worth the wasted hours of my life that it takes to get them.

  • Lawrence of Arabia

    Greetings Mr Asprey and fellow posters,

    Would 6.5 hours sleep provide adequate recovery time for muscle hypertrophy (bodybuilding)?

    • JF

      Arnold only ever slept 6 hours, so yeah.

      • getwreckedm8

        Arnold also took steroids and other drugs

        • JF

          So what?

  • Yuki Tsmui

    wow i’m surprised with this, i thought sleeping less is not healthy, people who sleeps more are healthy, i guess the other sites i checked was wrong. i sleep 5 hours a night, what i was thinking i wasn’t healthy or helping my body to get enough rest. well this information really did help but i think i should sleep about 6 hours, i do get tired sometimes when i’m studying at college. can someone pls tell me if you have sleeping problems can it cause sleep disorder?

  • Yuki Tsmui

    i sleep 5 hours which sometimes i feel great but sometimes i feel very tired, even when i’m at college or helping my family with stuff, sleeping 5 hours is it enough? or not, but I think sleeping more is good for you even if you disagree with me, i mean sleep is food for the brain. during sleep, important body functions and brain activity occur. skipping sleep can be harmful even- deadly, particularly. even sleeping less and feeling very tired can look bad, you may feel moody, and you perform poorly. sleepiness can make it hard to get along with your friends and family.

    another thing many people who sleeps less and get tired can fall asleep while driving cars and others which causes accident and injury.
    i’m just being honest here, but it depends what can of a person you are, everybody is different here some people can sleep less and get enough energy or some people who sleeps more get more energy and feels great. i don’t know i find myself sleeping 5 hours a night is not enough for me, so i should at least sleep 6/7 hours so i get enough sleep and concentrate in college.


  • Richard Brown

    if your only sleeping 2.5-3 hours a night, its because its summer and night doenst drag on forever. you have to have a certain concious (future nostalgia inducing) outlook on the beginning of the morning. that “outlook” releases seritonin. if you dont release seritonin, then you wont release melotonin, making the production of dmt impossable n.n at the end of the summer your body will start releasing horomones that force you to slow down a little bit. this can be an emotionally draining time :/ but its all just trying to make you take on winter sleep cycles, when theres not much in the way of predators X) … or food…

  • robrecord

    Split your sleep (no more than 5 hours at a time, plus any naps you need to catch up) will let you stay awake longer and feel more refreshed. be sure to sleep in 90 minute multiples.

    • Joe

      Five hours has never been a multiple of 90 minutes. can some explanation be made here?

      • robrecord

        It would require a lengthly explanation but these two basic suggestions are a starting point. 90 minute rule is just a basic guideline & does change if you split your sleep up into segments. Beyond 5h of sleep in a single block, there is little additional benefit. More info: http://www.polyphasicsociety.com/

        • Shane

          Actually your body moves from deep sleep 20 mins in and then after that every 2 hours. So 20 min nap or 2 hours. You come into light sleep around every 2 hours and feel way more refreshed than waking up in 90 mins when your body is still in deep sleep. DO YOUR HOMEWORK ROBRECORD.

      • Neill Collins

        15 minutes to fall asleep, 4.5 hours to sleep (3 sleep cycles) and then 15 minutes to wake up = 5 hours. Besides he said no MORE than 5 hours, not 5 hours exactly.

        I kind of agree with this, the best sleep for me is 5 hours at night and a 90 minute snooze in the afternoon. feel good all day.

  • Luluwongs

    First thing I want to know about this research is what is the definition of “sleep”. If “sleep” means the period of time from the moment you just go to the bed until the time you get up, it doesn’t show exactly how long we need to sleep. I usually lay down on my bed but still stay awake for an hour before I become deeply asleep. It also may takes longer than me for other to go to the deep sleeping state, especially those who have the sleeping problem.

  • Ryan

    I’m tired of seeing these bullshit articles on sleep. If your body needs 8 hours a night, then it’s healthier to get 8 hours. If it needs 5 hours, then it’s healthier to get 5. There is no amount of sleep people need to get.

    • Phoenix

      Sooooo wrong. There was a teenage gal on TV about 8 yrs. ago who slept about 22 hrs. a night, every night. I only sleep about 2 1/2 hrs. a night without meds. NOT GOOD. It screwed up my hormones, stress level soared, little ability to concentrate.

      • Sofi

        Um, I believe he meant that there is no average amount of sleep that people need. It’s all individual. My sister, for example, needs 9 hours of sleep to be able to fully function. I, on the other hand, need only 4-5, and I can do so much more than she can in one day with just that. Why do you sleep so little?

  • Antonis Konstantinides

    I do not think i will agree with this article, make this test to people with illness and if you proof that cure will occur faster in patients that will be sleeping 5 hours than those with sleep of 8, then i will admit…i am not a doctor but that sleeping 5 hours doesn’t seem ok to me….

  • JerryShovan

    I don’t think this is true if you are sleeping on mattress like the ones they have over at http://www.reverie.com/

  • Marco

    I’ve tried to reduce the amount of sleep several times, but whenever I got under the 8 hours per night the next day I feel bad, dizzy and sleepy.

    • Chris1.rp

      I had the same problem now I sleep just about 6 and I don’t use alarm just before you go to sleep think in sleeping 6 hours and what time will be when you should wake up, and other change i had is that now I excersice every 2 days very hard, before was 0 excersice.

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  • Joe

    This is BS. Someone undergoing cancer treatment and is about to die would not be able to stay awake very long every day and thus get more hours of sleep. Obviously those who are in so much pain that they cannot sleep will also die relatively soon. This sample of people does not accurately depict the healthy amount of sleep for a healthy person.

    • Jason

      This study wasn’t done on cancer patients Joe.

    • Klunge1234

      Fuckin idiot

  • me

    wouldn’t we say that because more people sleep actually sleep 7 hours a night, therefore there are more people in the ‘hazard ratio’?

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  • RKR

    I didnt sleep for a week during exam days… and I slept only for 3 hours a day some 15 years back… 3 years back im diagnosed having MVP and need minimum 7 hours of sleep,… How do u people explain this?

    • Jozep

      Heck! I’m just finding out about ‘all this’ and am still struggling with ‘eating butter to lose weight’! But, I’m drinking my first BP coffee right now! So try to be more open…cause I’ve NEVER been able to sleep just “3 hours a day” while you’re living proof that some can…

  • Jason

    I am not sure why people think this study was done on cancer patients….. This was done on normal healthy people. Read the damn study PEOPLE !

    Briefly, data were examined from more than 1.1 million participants, mainly
    friends and relatives of American Cancer Society volunteers, who were a
    diverse selection of American adults ranging from 30 to 102 years of age.

  • No-brainer

    This is stupid. Everyone is different. At best this info can be considered an average, but I hope people aren’t changing their sleep habits because of posts like this. We naturally sleep in mental healing cycles (around 3 hours-ISH), don’t interrupt one of these and you’re fine. You can usually feel when one ends because you drift closer to awake and sleep lighter. The more of these healing cycles you get, the more stable your ever-changing cognition is. Not enough: mentally unstable. Too many? I guess it could maybe make accepting change a little tougher! And yes, if you stress out more, you age faster. Duh.

    • Klunge1234

      Your missing the point aha, dont think you have read everything dave has said. HEALTHY PEOPLE NEED LESS SLEEP

  • chelseyam

    I’d have to agree that sleeping
    excessively can be unhealthy. Typically if I sleep more than I need I
    seem to be groggy all day and just want to go back to bed. My problem
    with people who want to sleep less is the entire idea of exhaustion.
    A lot of people who seem to push their bodies with less sleep often
    do so to work
    The more work they do the greater the chance of having a breakdown. I
    think with many people the 8 hours might be needed just to get them
    to slow down a bit.


  • Nadia PB

    I attended a lecture consultant specialising in sleep, and if I recall correctly, there is a genetic component involved in how much sleep an individual needs – ranging from 4 to 10 hours. This study, I presume, were made based on subjects used their existing sleep patterns. My concerns are that perhaps the physiological benefits may vary greatly between individuals when it comes to sleep reduction, depending on what their individual genetic predispositions are for sleep quantity. Therefore can we really say 5 hours sleep is a good idea for everyone? I don’t think we could know unless we trial it (I’m sure there should be existing trials of sleep reduction experiments – if anybody could direct me to them I’d really appreciate that). Any thoughts from the author/anyone else regarding this?


    actually if those healthy people would sleep 7 hours they would live even longer ,the same visa versa less healthy ones would sleep just 5 hours they would go much faster ;


    healthy people need less sleep ??
    well; healthy people needs healthy support ,if lets say you had a fasting day ,you need more sleep ,same if one had a tough day he may need more sleep ,
    kids sleep more deep sleep ,adults may take it in more hours of sleep ,

    • Howard Harkness

      That has not been my experience. On the day following a fasting day, I generally wake up earlier. Sometimes an hour or more earlier than usual. Without any unusual daytime drowsiness.


        how is your fasting day ,its been without anything taken in your mouth for one full day ?
        how is your activity at that time being ?

        • Howard Harkness

          I don’t usually do a complete (water-only) fast. I will do a partial (600-700 calorie, mostly fat) fast. I do not change activity level when fasting, but most of my daily activity these days is loading boxes onto my truck to take them down to the shipping place (and unloading them). I don’t have to handle anything over about 45 lbs (UPS limit is 50).

  • Howard Harkness

    “statistically speaking”

    That’s level 3 on the ANSI standard mendacity scale. 1)Lies, 2)damned lies, 3)statistics, and 4)government promises.

    Observational studies do not establish causality. Period. At best, they provide a question to be asked of a controlled study. At worst, they provide fodder for egregious headlines by ignorant reporters.

    Unfortunately, it would be difficult to make this into a double-blind, so you would have to contend with two of the most powerful forces in the modern pharmacopia — the Placebo Effect, and its evil twin, the Nocebo Effect.


    Not sure what all this fuss is about, I just regularly consume Adderall or Cocaine and I’ve got no issues staying awake..2-3 Hours a night is plenty.

  • Joel Brothers

    The study you quote was done in 1982-1988, and has since been disproved, especially by the most recent study by the University of Pennsylvania Hospital (repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1266&context.).
    8 hours of sleep is the the average threshold below which motor skills begin to deteriorate.

  • Brooke Nickerson

    I have been trying to sleep only 6.5 hours since I’ve read this article instead of 7.5-8, hoping it would work for me. I’ve woken up feeling awful and have not been able to get out of bed until after 7.5 hours. This morning has been the worst yet, and I’m going to stop trying. I think people should just listen to their bodies and learn when they should not as well.

  • Dwong

    Although there are many benefits to sleeping more, notice there are many people out there who don’t sleep or sleep around 1 or 2 hours per night. This schedule really helps people who truly have a lot to get done. I personally follow this schedule with no side effects (I pride myself in my excellent reaction time after a couple all nighters haha). That being said, it always feels nice to sleep in when you don’t have much to do the next day. Moral of the story: sleep is good, sleep the optimal amount for your health.

  • anonymous

    It is possible to get by on four hours of sleep if you live a sedentary lifestyle, but I run and weight train. I need 8+ hours of sleep.

  • Markus Rosnes

    i usually sleep for about 8-9 hours everynight, but recently iv been waking up after 5 hours of sleep, no alarm clock, just i wake up after 5 hours, feel refreshed, check the clock and im usually like “WTF IV ONLY SLEPT 5 HOURS I NEED TO GET BACK TO SLEEP” but truth is i feel bether than ever, idk why i just suddenly changed my sleep rhythm, it just happened naturally.

    i did have a period in my life where i slept 2 hours and woke up for school, then when i came home i slept for about 6 hours, it was bad.

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  • Stan

    “prove” is somewhat optimistic. A single observational study is of limited value. We’ll just gloss over the lack of causality and self reporting questionnaires have accuracy issues. The follow up check for deadness was only 6 years out. The age range was like 30-102 all the folks at the low end could have subbed meth for sleep and probably not died.

  • Siggster

    What I personally noticed, and from personal experiences. Happier people tend to not need to knock-out for 8 hours and up. When I was going through emotional issues, depression. I was able to sleep 10-12 hours and be FINE. When I was healthy and happy, I can tell you that I slept for 5-6 hours at the most and was completely fine. For someone who has goals in life, i think 8 hours of sleep is a waste of time. Also, the happiest people i know are capable of sleeping only 5-6 hours as well. My view on it is, the sadder and less driven you are, OR the sicker, the more you don’t wanna be up. Thus causing you to sleep 8 hours and even longer.

    • Fernando

      WOW, that is probably the best comment i read here and the one i can correlate to the most. Although i think there is something more than just being happy, proactive / unhappy depressed there is certainly some effect.

  • YoMama SueEllen

    I’m not a scientist (yet) but for some reason I don’t think this makes much sense. I love to sleep, I LIIIVVVEE to sleep. I think there’s a hidden factor here, just because there’s a correlation, doesn’t mean that one causes the other.

  • Patrick

    Lifehacker point to a study conducted which paints a pretty clear picture of how much sleep is a good amount of sleep. Having said that, other studies suggest the amount of sleep entirely depends on the person.


  • Patrick

    In the study – four and six hour groups were found to be impaired to the point of being “the cognitive equivalent of being legally drunk”

  • John Gilas


  • John Gilas

    Right all you fellow insomniacs While your reading this I’m going to bed
    (For my 5 to 5.5 hours!) unless you’re already asleep ofcourse

  • Nsima Inyang

    I’m very curious if there would be a difference in athletes that have heavy intense workouts(bodybuilding, runners, etc). A cool test would be to have this study done on athletes to see how their muscles would repair at night and if it would be more effective to get 5 hours or 8 hours. To be honest, i feel very groggy when i get 8 hrs of sleep, and feel the best at 5-6 hours, but i’m curious if it would have an effect on how my body recovers…meh time to search the net.

  • Greg Gregerson

    Now let’s get some research on the main issue: How the hell do you wake up?!?

  • Elle

    I’m 26 years old and I’ve spent a large portion of my life sucking at sleeping. Here’s what I know…. Quality, people. The quality of your sleep is what is important. Sleeping 8 hours of restlessness will not help your body recover from the day the way it should like 6 hours of REM. A few tricks I’ve learned are: 1) Create a routine. Wash your face, brush your teeth at the same time every night. 2) Lay on your bed, close your eyes, and for 5 minutes think about all the things you are grateful for. Might sound crazy but I promise that putting good thoughts into your mind before you sleep will only help your overall health. Lastly, 3) and is my favorite… I streamline thoughts. Often before I go to sleep my brain swims with all kinds of thoughts. Good, bad and ugly. So I do what I like to call a brain dump before I go to sleep. I take a piece of paper and write down every single thought or word that pops into my brain. I do this for 5 minutes and then when I’m done, my brain is empty and I am finally ready to sleep.

    It’s helped me go from tossing and turning for hours at night to few and far between wake ups. My energy level is better and my overall wellness is better. Hope this helps my fellow sleep suckers!

    • Stef

      This is exactly what I do, as a kid it sometimes took me 2-4 hours to fall asleep because my mind was constantly thinking about stuff/discussions that happened that day. Having a routine helps a lot. Another tip I would add is ventilate your room well, fresh cold air makes me sleepier while I’m comfy under my blankets.

      When you’re restless because of random thoughts trying to dream helps too, don’t think about worrying thoughts but dream about the stuff you are thankful for or stuff you would like to do (or already did) with your loved ones.

      If you’re running on a tight schedule don’t look at how much hours of sleep you’ll get or have left that night, that will make it harder to go to sleep too. I set my alarm the morning before so I don’t have to worry about that when I go to sleep. When I’m on a regular schedule, my body will wake up naturally before my alarm though. Even if it’s only after 4 hours.

  • Max Utter

    Most of your posts are spot on, but in the case of referencing the UCSD sleep study you did not use the deep investigation your known for. The UCSD study was done by the cancer research group, and the subjects were largely cancer victims. Cancer patients tend to fatigue quickly and the more advanced stages they reach the more time they spend sleeping. This study has been refuted and debunked as not apply to healthy people and there are many, many studies showing cognitive decline, poor health outcomes, weight gain and other health issues for achieving less than 8 hours of sleep continuously.

    I would be happy to refer you to more recent and appropriate research.

    All the best,


    • Phoenix

      You seem very up on this subject. I only sleep 2 1/2 hrs. a night (without meds) all my life. definitely not a good thing for the body nor the brain.

  • Rich Cook

    When I look at the charts, it looks like 7 hours is the optimal *statistical* point. Also it pays to remember that statistics are only valid on populations of people, not individuals!

    • New World Order.

      He did say 6.5 hours is the sweet spot.

      He just rounded up.

  • quinnn10

    I’m confused…how is eating less calories to lose weight an incorrect theory?? obviously if you eat at your caloric maintenance you won’t gain/lose weight and if you eat above it you’ll gain weight. how is eating below it not a way to lose weight? or did I just interpret that wrong?? I’m so confused right now and could use further clarification

    • David

      The high carb low fat diet insists you will lose weight by eating unprocessed fruits and veggies and eating a lot of it. Food deprivation is unsustainable in the long run. If you want to keep it off, you need to eat a lot of nutrient dense carbs.

      • Printemps

        “you will lose weight by eating unprocessed fruits and veggies and eating a lot of it”

        How much is a lot? A plate for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
        The reason why the high-carb, low-fat diet (and all other fad diets) works is because the food that you’re restricting yourself to eating are really low in calories.

        5 7″ carrots are under 200 calories.
        10 spears of broccoli are also under 200 calories.
        5 apples are 500 calories.

        Compare all that to a single Mcdonald’s cheeseburger which is 312 calories. You’ll be able to eat up to 5 apples (or any combination of fruits, veggies, whatever the diet tells you to eat) in one meal before feeling full compared to eating only one cheeseburger. You’ll be eating at a calorie deficit yet you won’t feel like it every day.
        If you want to lose weight, you don’t have to starve yourself to do it, but you do need to eat below your maintenance.

  • meh

    This is ridiculous. It studies cancer patients, first of all. So if you don’t have cancer, you might wanna reconsider… SECONDLY, there are so many other factors that determine whether you live or die as a cancer patient that I can’t take this seriously right off the bat.

    Also, where’s the source? Cite it, man. I want to have access to this because if I don’t, I have no idea how you’re manipulating the data. I also agree with the comment below mine– what other factors contribute to needing to sleep more? Are the patients incredibly stressed, laying down for 3 hours, and sleeping for four; while healthier patients simply just get to sleep faster and can do alright on 6.5 hours?

    I’m an audio engineer and I’m just grinding through it. I don’t recommend it. 6.5 Sounds luxurious to me, though!

  • Bob

    i want my time back for reading this article

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  • Marwa Zaghdoud

    good news 😀 !!!but i afraid of falling down someday !!!!

  • Ceylan

    Of course, as usual, there is the mistake of thinking like there is only one correlation. Here, with this data, we show that sleeping less is not correlated with higher risk of cancer etc. etc. OK I respect the findings, however, where is the data showing that lack of sleep doesn’t damage neurons in the long run? Because I am pretty sure it was only a week ago that experiments in mice showed permanent neuronal damage associated with extended sleep deprivation.
    Not only that, but also there is extensive research going on about disrupted circadian rhythms and the correlation to cancer progression. There is some solid data there already, pointing out to a correlation. I can see this article was posted long ago, but I think it should be removed because it can be misleading.

  • traffikoo

    There is more to life than avoiding cancer.

    • New World Order.

      Avoids cancer —-> Gets sleeping bags —–> Dies of being ugly. :/

  • Clay

    I agree with this article. Although 6 hours a night is optimal for me, I have made it off of 4 a night for several weeks at a time. It’s amazing how our bodies get used to it. I have also slept 8 hours a night for a couple of nights but I can’t seem to do it every night because my body only needs 5 to 6.

  • MJ

    Is this without or without a nap? Because if with a nap. Then it’s not supprising

  • Inf

    Just try to reduce your sleep and find out if you can get comfortable with it

  • New World Order.

    In all fairness, everything is best in moderation. You shouldn’t be sleeping too little; you shouldn’t be sleeping too much.

  • Steve

    Time to drink caffeine at night!!!

  • orphius

    i need hella sleep mane

  • neens

    My mother had a brain tumor on her brain stem approx. 10 years ago and since then she can only sleep at most 5 hours a night. During the operation they had to cut her auditory nerve and her facial nerves on her right side.She falls asleep fine but then wakes up a few hours later. She is tired and fatigued – I would love to be able to help her. Any suggestions…. xx

  • lindsey

    I need seven to eight hours of sleep a night, if i sleep less i can function but i feel like crap and very out of it, and end up taking a nap at some point through out the day.

  • Just for the record. Optimal studying, creativity, and rapid and new information processing, works best for me when I sleep 9,5 hours. For functioning without to much deep level processing of new info, I only need at average 7 hours a sleep. It depends also on the lifestyle for the record, and type of brain activity.


    i go to sleep at sun down. 8 pm, take me about an hour to sleep so lets say 9, i blind fold my self to have darkness. i walk up aroun 7-8. so thats a lot of sleep. around 10-13 hours. is that bad then? LOL I’m 19

  • Mike

    Maybe by sleeping less the body doesn’t think it’s aging as quickly and thus cancer is delayed.

  • Hubblybubbly

    I sleep 7 or 8 hours a night. But i work really hard 5-6 days a week.-bootyhole bandit

  • More people sleep for 8 hours, the data’s inflated.

  • Mike Boatright

    No sorry the body goes through a rem sleep cycle and should have 5 to 6 20 minute dreams every hour with at least 3 hours of deep sleep for body repair. This equals 9 hours or so for adults. Teenagers need about 12 to 14 hours minimum and baby’s sleep up to 20 hours a day! You can however go a few days at 5 hours of sleep but it will weaken your immune system and make your groggy and what will follow is a 12 hour sleep make up session eventually.

  • When I sleep 8 to 9 hours, I am able to process more information, and am able to learn faster. Long sleep improves learning capacitiies.

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  • DavidA.

    I’m 68, in great health, I take zero medications (not even aspirin), I have a big full head of long hair with very little grey, (although my beard is salt and pepper), and for years I’ve only needed about 4 hours sleep. I wake up fully refreshed, I am what is known as ‘my feet hit the floor running’ type of person.
    I’ve never in my life owned an alarm clock…NEVER! I’ve always seemed to possess this inner alarm clock, and even now that I’m retired, I wake up fully refreshed after about 4 hours sleep.

    I am proof that for many people the 8 hour sleep duration may simply be another myth, like saturated fat is bad (which I also consume heavily/daily, and have done so for as long as I can remember).

  • zazverseau

    I like to sleep 10 -12 hours daily, as does most of my family. I tend to stay up for longer hours though, but my job allows me to do that, as I work at home. Maybe it has something to do with that. I am a 27 year old healthy female and have slept like that since childhood, although it was very hard to get up for school, and I used to be tired all day if I would not sleep for at least those 10 hours I needed.I guess it is just up to the different kind of person and our internal clocks. Maybe it also has to do with the kind of work we do, and how much our brain and our body work, or for that matter overwork. For the over-sleepers out there you might be interested in this :

  • Mantrax

    I’m looking at this data and it’s showing a clear advantage in the 7-8 hour region and increased risk outside it. How the heck are *you* reading it?

  • Nicki

    Well funny thing is my body will only give myself 7 hours of sleep regulary

  • Larry Jamison

    I went to bed at midnight…woke at 5 A.M. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. Rather than struggle to try and sleep until 8 A.M. I got a cup of coffee, did some house cleaning, then ran for one mile (exercise rids us of waste products just as well as sleep) In the Army when we did guard duty it was 2 hours on guard duty and 4 hours off…I think the Army knew something the 8 hour mythologists did not know.

    • Jkhjhkjjh Jkhjhkjjh

      if you were bright eyed and bushy tailed, why did you need coffee?

      • Larry Jamison

        My reason for drinking coffee has to do with the fact that studies reported in Life Extension magazine show that caffeinated coffee has been shown to reduced Beta Amyloid Proteins, the bad boys that cause Alzheimer’s by 65% which is considerable.

        • Howard Lee Harkness

          cause/effect? It is quite possible that beta amyloid is the brain’s attempt to defend itself against something else — most probably the effects of insulin resistance.

          Reducing the production of amyloid might be very much like taking statins for “high” cholesterol, or just taping over that annoying oil-pressure light on your car’s dashboard.

  • Atul Narang

    It is said that to be really healthy, you should not sleep too much and not sleep too little either. But the problem is how to determine what is too much and what is too little? Different studies, different doctors say different things about sleep. I also believe that the number of hours can not be the same for everybody. You need to find out how you can stay healthy with getting the maximum efficiency for whatever you do and sleep comfortably without any effort. I feel I sleep more than I need and I should. I currently sleep around 8-9 hours. I feel like I oversleep and overall I am a very lazy person. I don’t know about other’s sleeping needs. I feel I must reduce my sleep to 4 hours a day and that will be just the perfect. Once I will get used to it, it will feel very normal.

    The method I feel that works for me that I use to measure that I am oversleeping or not is, I get the sleep within two minutes, it means, I really need it and eyes open up themselves with my being very active when I get up.

    But, most of the times, it takes at least 20 minutes while lying on the bed before I get the sleep and then 20 minutes to get up after I am awake. The day I work hard, I get the best sleep of my life.

  • Arto

    I suppose if you go to sleep at a time when your body wants to and wake up at the time when your body wakes up on its own, then that’s fine, right? Because I usually have an average of 6 hours of sleep.

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  • Daniel

    Does this say anything other than cancer? like optimal brain function? cardiac rhythm? I am less concerned about my sleep giving me cancer then I am being at a peak brain operation. Sincerely curious not attacking this post.

  • Dexter

    “one almost as wrong-headed as the “eat less calories to lose weight.”” That is not a myth. That’s thermodynamics. Don’t talk about things you don’t know about, it makes you look like an idiot.

    • Guest

      You’re wrong.

    • ClikFire _

      Sorry Dexter it is a myth because you have to factor in what those calories are from and what kind of workout you are doing.

      I know plenty of super lean ripped people that eat a lot more calories than what most do. The Best way to lose weight and burn fat is to replace it with muscle which requires lifting weights and eating lots of protein, and to make muscle grow you are suppose to have 1.5 grams of protein per pound you weigh. Some of that is food, some of that is whey protein, but almost all the workout programs for men for example on Bodybuilding.com having you eating a lot of calories but the calories are from healthy foods.

      Check out this guys workout Program and Meal Plan as an example.


  • Andres

    I don’t care about these apparently very arbitrary conclusions from what otherwise seems to be quite solid statistics. All I know is that if I sleep less than 8 hours a day I start yawning by 5 pm, and my concentration just drops terribly.

  • Emily Taylor

    False. Everyones sleep needs are different. Some need more others less.

  • T3CKY2K

    Donald Trump lives off of 4 hours of sleep on the average every night his whole life. (that should tell you something) 😉

    • Chapter 11

      Less sleep = more bankruptcies?

  • Um…

    Well, when I sleep five hours a night, I spend the majority of the day exhausted and fatigued…

  • Guest

    Mostly between 6 and 8 hours. Regardless of any evidence they were particularly healthy, their brain function clearly didn’t suffer from these durations 😛

  • Scott Laverick

    Mostly between 6 and 8 hours. Regardless of whether they were ‘healthy’ or not, their brain function clearly didn’t suffer

  • Mark Warren

    Sleep variation does not make you any more or less healthy so long as you get a balanced amount of sleep.

    When people talk as if they’re being more healthy by having less rest it’s almost as bad as those who decide to skip breakfast and say they have become more healthy because they have lost weight – it catches up with you in the end. I recommend you have as much or as little sleep as you feel necessary however if you need to go outside you should probably have more than 5 hours rest as your body will need all the energy it can muster and I’m not giving you this advice as a doctor or a researcher but a normal average human being that observes life, not bar charts.

    Ask yourself this – would you turn up to your job half asleep or fully awake with the intention to follow instructions to the letter?

  • darren

    I sleep 4-5.5 hours every night . I only sleep over 6 hours if I have a very physically demanding day . Been this way for 40 years and still feel rested after only 4 hours of sleep . Great study , a doctor I went to a few years ago wanted to put me into a sleep study but I informed him that my mind never feels exhausted even after only 2 hours sleep so I agree wholeheartedly with this study in the strict terms of you do not need 8 hours a night . However everyone is different and if you need more sleep you should do what your body tells you to .

  • noodle head

    Funny thread. Here is what Ive noticed with myself and an old boyfriend of 8 years. Start with me. ( just some observations). I had deep depression as a kid = 14 hour sleep cycles for a 5 month period of serious family distress when I was 9. When I started a coffee shop in my 20’s, I had to get up at 4:30 am – hated it. I was exhausted by 2pm , took a 30 min nap, went to work out and take care of supplies for next day in bed by 8:30 no matter what or I was dead. ( circadian rhythms?)
    When I sold the biz, I got a 3X staph infection ( stress- handling cash-immune system) ever since the “infection that wouldn’t go away” in year 2000, I have needed an extra hour of sleep per night. ( again- these are just observations and working with a wellnessFX Doc to see if its a coincidence).
    Some nights Im ok with 7 hours. ( Nutrition?quality of sleep?). I will say-as a woman-my skin and complexion look 20X better with 8 hours of sleep. ( acne / aging). I am very healthy w/ diet/exercise/meditation etc.
    Last note on the Ex BF: He would get tired by 10pm and when he stayed up past that (yawning for 1-2 hours till 12 am), he felt like crap the next day. I told him to go to bed right when he is tired, seemed to work for him and now follows that advice I gave him 20 years ago and he can do 7/6.5 hours vs his 8.5. So I don’t know… just throwing all that out there…

  • aa

    i slept 5 hours everyday for a month and feel like SH*T. getting at least 7 -8hrs is ideal

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  • Mat

    ” In other words, the 8 hour sleep requirement is just a myth, one almost as wrong-headed as the “eat less calories to lose weight.” ”

    Calories in calories out is not a myth. it is a well established fact the human body requires a set amount of calories (unique to each person) just to maintain daily activities. If you do not consume enough calories to meet those requirements it could be unhealthy (depends). Regardless, your fat will be converted into energy to meet the caloric demand and therefore you will lose weight.

    The author and this website is highly suspect to me now.

  • StabbyCakes

    I like how people keep assuming your body will sleep enough naturally. I sleep, on average, 4-5 hours a night. I feel like crap usually and often need a power nap in the afternoons or caffeine to continue my day after 3pm. I wake up without an alarm, and it is still not ‘healthy.’ It doesn’t mean I have no sleep debt. It means I’ve been trained to sleep like this because of a fussy baby and very little ‘me’ time which pushes my sleep further and further back in my priorities. People train themselves to sleep certain amounts of time, and will continue to sleep that way because of regulatory chemicals in the brain which like, and expect, habit. I would like to see some direct correlation in this study between longevity and less sleep, all I see is a loose data set being interpreted one way. I would like to see chemical maps, seratonin MRIs, functionality testing that proves less sleep equals higher brain function and regeneration. Without that proof, this is all just crosswords with data.

  • micks336 .

    I am a night shifter when I go to sleep during the day I don’t set alarms, and typically I can sleep till I wake up. I do sleep 6.5 hours no more or less. Glad to know Im normal now!

  • Anonymous

    This makes a lot of sense….. but how do you suppose you are going to make everybody in the world get up after 5 hours of sleep. I have to go to bed at 12:00 to 3:00 am and I have to get up at 7:00 am. I still don’t get up on time and am late a lot. Maybe you will tell us how we can feel fully refreshed and able to get out of bed, after just five hours of sleep.

  • Anonymous

    Okay… This doesn’t really make sense to me. I lied. In a Russian sleep experiment, they tried to make people stay awake for, oh so long, and instead made the people go crazy from not getting enough sleep. In fact, the people went SO crazy that they started ripping their insides out with their bare hands! Think of it this way….. A battery doesn’t work as long if it is not fully charged.
    Honestly guys, I am 14 and I am a girl…. that’s sad. :/
    Just how do you suppose everyone will get up and out of their beds with just 5 short hours of sleep??? Explain every question I just asked in these two comments… then, and only then, I will believe you.

  • Notbelieving

    Ummm. Less calories is the best way to lose weight!!!

  • Alexandre Garcia

    what an ignorant! you should be forbidden to write whatever. even your name

  • Ranger

    I’m curious as to why I get less than 5 hours of sleep I feel like crap and other people can get less than 2 hours and feel great? Just curious.

  • Guest

    We find high school and university students always pull an all nighter when test is near. It is a interesting question: “How to get the best sleep possible ” Check out our video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abJIWQIK8e8

  • We find high school and university students always pull an all nighter when test is near. It is a interesting question: “How to get the best sleep possible ” Check out our video https://www.tutorhero.me/blog/post/15/How-to-Get-the-Best-Possible-Sleep-When-Test-is-Near


  • Bosco Francis

    Why must we hve sufficient sleep? Let me share some of
    my Lecture notes. We r awake 16hrs a day and sleep 8hrs. Everyday 60,000
    thoughts come to our mind. Which thoughts we energize makes a difference to our
    body. We can energize Positive thoughts or Negative thoughts. The more Negative
    thoughts we energize the more Negative energy (Stress) gets into our body. Wen
    we sleep our body rejuvenates and revitalizes, physical recovery process (PRP) to take plave in our body. If we don’t hve sufficient sleep then the Negative energy is
    carried forward to the next day. This can be seen on some individual’s hair
    turning white. This Negative energy can create lots of complications over time.
    We can convert Negative Stress to Positive Stress. It is all a mindset. For
    more info, please email me at amazing_bosco@hotmail.com

  • Jessica Honeybarbieque Peters

    I actually am more functional and energetic if I sleep 3 to 4 hours. Always been a nite owl. I’m sure that isn’t beneficial to all folks tho

  • Abe Velez

    I hate sleep

  • Joe B.

    Does “hazard” include mental health or relationship issues??

    I’ve worked a “jacked-up” night shift for years and if I don’t get 6-8hr of sleep per 24hr, my mental health definitally suffers. The roughest patches in my marriage all occurred when I was running on 4-5hr of sleep a day.

  • altgroove

    All I know is is that I look lovely with plenty of sleep and haggard with less than 7. Proof is in the pudding.

  • altgroove

    And google The Median Isn’t the Message by Stephen Jay Gould

  • scratchmb

    The human body and it’s driving force the brain are still a mire of constant mystery. Things are discovered on a daily basis that changes what we are prone to believe, because that was the norm we were taught in a classroom from a textbook. But the information evolves so fast that it out dates the textbooks within minutes. Thus it is pointless to even have them.
    Some of us are born with different chemical and electrical structures. This of course reflects on the chemical makeup and markers that identify who and what we are. It also defines the patterns of brain activity as it jumps about the synaptic pathways.
    Some of us are uniquely different and gifted. The unfortunate matter is we are still being identified and labeled under the mental health umbrella as having a disorder that must be maintained by medication and therapy. This is true because one of the side effects to being Bipolar is being an insomniac. We can’t sleep, the thoughts that race though the minds of one with the condition of being Bipolar never stop, it is a constant stream. They are mostly thoughts of ideas, art, music, and other creative adventures, but the problem is, is trying to focus on one thing and make an effort to focus on the one thing and make that one thing productive. It’s bloody near impossible because there are just so many ideas in the basket to choose from so most of us just don’t reach for the brass ring.
    Sleep is out of the question because the stream is always present no matter the mood. We don’t hear voices, it is simply pure thoughts. Voices might be easier they one could scream out for them to shut up. We depend on Psychiatrists to come up with cocktails of antidepressants, anti-psychotics, mood stabilizers and a sleeping sedative to put us under for a period of sleep.
    Sleep is a state of mind. The thing is, we can actually function without it, but it has to be replaced by something else. Sleep is a downtime for the body to rest and repair itself from the rigors of the day. There are techniques in many styles and types of meditation that will provide the body the same downtime function but without the loss of conscious. If you prefer to enter a state of sleep, that can be an option as many enjoy dreaming in the REM state of sleeping prior to awakening.
    Such people must learn that dreams are not real and it is a bonus if you can train yourself to become a lucid dreamer where you actually know that you are in dream state and can take control of where the dream is going. Of course your dream will object to your meddling, but that’s where the fun begins.

  • Lankdog

    I have always needed about eight or nine hours. However in the last month i have given my “pack-a-day” habbit, drink less, exercised more and eaten well. Now i naturally wake up after about 6 hours and feel fine.

    I suppose the health/sleep relationship is true.

    • Lankdog

      I think if you wake up naturally, you have had enough sleep.

  • Zoe

    :In other words, the 8 hour sleep requirement is just a myth, one almost as wrong-headed as the ‘eat less calories to lose weight.'”

    I was a little skeptical reading this article…then I got to that point and gave up on it entirely.

    Less calories = weight loss. Period.

    Now, actually GETTING fewer calories, or burning more than you consume–that is hard, even though the fact is so simple. Because of varying portion sizes, processed foods, sedentary lifestyles, etc., taking in a lot while burning very few is how most overweight people get that way in the first place, and stay that way (and hey, no judgement; I myself am overweight by about ten pounds…I’m so short my daily allowance is only 14,000–yes, I’ve had a doctor test is–unless I do vigorous cardio every day, then eat back those calories. In other words, I know it’s hard).

    Bottom line? Certain genes predispose you to be heavier/thinner, sure. Certain foods help you feel fuller longer, therefore needing less food overall (hence why protein-heavy diets like Atkins work so well). Certain people have medical conditions that affect their weight. And some foods actually do increase your metabolism a little, making them great for dieters.

    BUT EVEN THEN, or perhaps backed up BY those facts: LESS CALORIES, LESS WEIGHT.


    As am I, with this article. I actually gave it a chance, till I read that asinine sentence.

    • Zoe

      Also, I agree with @Ben Zealley, though I realize his comment is many years old–it’s more likely that better health causes a lower need for sleep.

      Funny, the link to the study is no longer available on the website, which I assume means it was disproved officially.

  • Cameron Dhaliwal

    I think that sleep is all relative to what you do the day before, and more specifically the level of mental and more importantly physical trauma you body and mind is subject to. If you are studying for a test say, less sleep could be used, but if you partake in a rigorous physical activity then your body needs to recover, so more sleep is needed.

  • rocmon

    I have a lot of stress with sleep, I’m 50 and recently (few months) don’t sleep more then 5 contiguous hrs at night… I want to believe this is not a symptom of a larger issue.

  • Kimberly T

    Great article. This was 2 years ago and still gets comments??

    I think what a lot of studies miss is the stress level people have per day. I’m trying to not to compare lifestyles and say that living in Wyoming is less stressful than New York City because it’s in the eyes of the beholder…but I kind of am. I’ll be more specific with this example. Every day in in New York, my day of stress starts as soon as my feet hits the concrete outside. Lots of commuters walking on the sidewalks and the competition begins. Walking in front, dodging, catching that train, walking fast, etc. Then at work, emails, phone calls, people coming to the desk. Then lunch time – long lines, more competition, gotta think quick because things move fast. Then post work, back to the rat race – trying to get home. I don’t realize how much I go through on a daily basis but it’s quite a lot. Not even going including bills, kids, the expense of living in NYC, my point is, with so much constant stimulation, my body needs to recover and may require more sleep and more effort to get to sleep.

    That being said, stress and lifestyle are not factors included in the study but could have a big effect on how much sleep is required. It’s very hard to test. Seems like this would have to be on an individual basis. I understand there has to be some sort of measure though.

    • rocmon

      Great comment Kimberly! I totally concur with you – and might venture to add a short enhancement to your “rat race cycle” as observed as a parent of three for 23 years (I’m that old? – ouch!).

      I’m not sure I remember my own mind-space when I was in elementary school, but it certainly is in line with an interesting phenomenon I’ve also observed with my three sons… Weekdays are brutal for waking on time but on weekends (and non school-days) my boys all have been able to wake at the crack of dawn and engage in whatever was there compelling interest at that time.

      From this unscientific study I would venture to conclude even just the subconscious seed of impending ‘stressful’ circumstances will impact our immediate perspective and state of mind.

  • Robervaldo Silva

    PLEASE, tell me how to sleep 2-2.5 a day!!!!

  • Pete

    Great Study & Article! I am 40 years old. I work as a Chemical Engineer. I am a father of 3 boys (11, 9 & 6 yrs). I get up @ 1:15am for work and work throughout the day. I am normally home for when the kids get off school. During this time I prepare dinner, do home renos, work on my vehicles, take the kids to their extra-curricular activities and or bike-ride and train with them. I usually end up in bed around 10:30pm. This has been going on for quite some time (a few years). I have tried to sleep longer but with little success. In the rare instances that I get more than 4-5 hours of sleep, I am way more tired during the day and feel horrible. My wife is a nurse and is concerned about this, but also doesn’t get how I am able to function the way that I do on a daily basis.
    With the way it is now I feel absolutely fine. I have a lot of energy and feel great. ( I don’t smoke, and drink alcohol, or do drugs of any kind). I have not gained weight as I feel very strong and fit. Nothing seems to be abnormal other than the fact that I do not get a lot of sleep.
    Will this catch up with me? Am I at any health risk? Everything that I have researched about lack of sleep does not seem to pertain to my situation.
    Thank-you for any response and your consideration.

  • Geoff

    I have had no more the 6 hours average sleep over the past 25 years and have no problems with anything. I have a physically and mentally demanding job that requires a lot dexterity to perform for up to 12 hours a day. Bed time is usually about the 10 pm mark and I get up between 3am to 4am in the morning. Sunday I sleep in till 6am 🙂

    Every blood test I have had in the past years have always come back with a result that is all in the nominal ranges. I always ask the doctor should I keep the lifestyle I have and he always shrugs at me at says its all up to nature and DNA, but I seem to have found a balance. Could be right I suppose.

    I restrict my diet to around the 1500 calorie mark, as this seems to be what I need to keep my weight at 80kgs. Been the same for around 15 years
    Also of note, I do smoke cannabis medicinally for my arthritis, (which I was told when I was sixteen that I would be in a wheelchair by thirty, almost twenty years past that and still upright :), few twinges, but nothing I can’t tolerate

    My latest IQ test scored over 140, so that’s all OK, still around the same as my teenage score

    So, maybe I hit on a combination that seems to agree with my biology and DNA? Who can tell, I just try to keep the same diet my grandparents kept as they made it into their 90’s, seems to be a trait on both sides of my family, both being from west of the western plains in NSW

    Personally, i seem to be of the school who thinks that as they live in their body, if they listen, they can hear all of it communicating its needs, and that if you put the practice in, you can communicate and feel what each part of your body is up to. Your state of mind also is a major influence in how you body battles diseases and cell mutations.

    • Buster

      “My latest IQ test scored over 140, so that’s all OK”

      Nobody who actually tests in that level says this. Stop doubling the number.

      • Homer

        Ha ha haaaaa…

  • Rong See

    I am someone who needs 10 hours to be optimally functional, but have lived with just 5 hours of sleep a day for over 10 years, when I had commitments like schooling and work that require me to get up early. I am just unable to fall asleep before 2am no matter what. While it’s not too functional and I tend to doze off in class a lot, but it’s survivable, just not pleasant.

  • Pork_Sushi

    The “eat less calories” diet is wrong-headed? The law of thermodynamics disagrees.

    • Seth A. Yellin

      Counting calories is stupid and disproven by many sources. I almost have never counted calories and I’ve never been fat in my life. Not eating land animals, avoiding dairy and eggs often enough, some fish before, and I was way better, way better than that was no fish too, now I’m vegan and I’m about that of diet to some of the top of the top athletes and basic science proves this. Plenty of malnutrition in most Americans, plenty of obesity, and the obsession over cheese and milk yet tons of calcium supplements which apparently don’t work really well either and can be quite dangerous. Lean organic. (; Amen Ra. Fibonacci. Third eye. Orbs. All Abraham books are heavily flawed. xD cX. Quit sodium fluoride, stop using microwaves, etc. Cheersies.

      • Kurtis-Jay Lyon

        Not eating meat is stupid and disproven by many sources. For ethical reasons, sure..go ahead. For health…definitely not. The health and obesity epidemic is directly a result of the excessive amounts of highly processed and refined foods and sugar. Not animals you idiot.

  • Koleen Cindy Magno

    uhmm im 11 years old and i sleep at 11 or so and i wake up 5:30 in the morning to go to school is that bad? i always yawn the whole day ;-;
    is there anything wrong? i mean i CAN prevent myself from yawning but theres a side of me that says i need more air in my lungs so i yawn… im sorry for asking this question but im really paranoid ;-; pls send help

  • Anon

    Tried 6 hours for 4 months (10pm-4am). Was okay, feels really great in the morning, but in the evening you’re more sleepy (usually after 8-9 pm).

  • Carmen Sepulveda

    I don’t know. I can seem to sleep more than 5 hours a night. I feel totally exhausted all the time.

  • Cat

    So why do i feel soo tired if i get 6 hours od sleep, but i feel perfectly normal when i get 8-9 hours? It may be true for you but for me its just a bunch of bullshit… Unless im not healthy 😉

  • Kurt Wetzel

    Everybody has different sleep hour requirements. You know exactly how much sleep you need to wake up refreshed and not be tired all day. You also know the minimum amount you need to function but you are somewhat more tired and not fully alert. Then you know thst getting less than a certain amount you are just extremely tired all day.

    I find and most people agree that sleeping less like 5-6 hours straight, only waking up once or seldom, is better than sleeping let’s say 8-9 hours constantly waking up or tossing and turning. The bottom line is you know how much sleep you need to fully function so go by that number wether you need more or less and do not go by articles or anything telling you otherwise.

    • Michele Davis

      I’m almost 50 & I’m still not sure how much I need. I go to sleep about 9pm (without any blue light) & try to get up at 430am with a lot of difficulty. On the weekends I get to sleep about 10 or 11pm & wake up naturally about 5am & feel better than during the week. This is why I went on this forum. Still thinking maybe I need to sleep less. I feel the same during the day in each instance.

      • Kurt Wetzel

        For myself sleeping 5-6 hours of sleep not interrupted where I do not wake up or just once is better than sleeping 7-9 hours when I constantly wake up or wake up too much.
        My advice on getting the proper sleep amount is simple but not sustainable for most people with schedules. Most people have to wake up around a certain time to go to work or school.
        Here it is. Go to sleep around the same time each night and every morning wake up without an alarm clock. This way you sleep however many hours your body needs and you wake up refreshed and feel better.
        For myself I find I feel rested and overall feel better on non working days. I do not feel bad when I sleep enough in working days but tires just not the same. Something with the alarm clock forcing me to wake up when by body wants to still be sleeping.

  • Eddie Donnelly

    I stopped reading at “the 8 hour sleeping requirement is just a myth, one almost as wrong-headed as the “eat less calories to lose weight.” ”

    What a load of shit.

    • Buster

      Definitely a load of shit. They should be eating FEWER calories to lose weight, not “less.”

      • Seth A. Yellin

        Hahaha. XD Noicce (no typo) grammar patrolling. 😀

        Counting calories is stupid and disproven by many sources. I almost have never counted calories and I’ve never been fat in my life. Not eating land animals, avoiding dairy and eggs often enough, some fish before, and I was way better, way better than that was no fish too, now I’m vegan and I’m about that of diet to some of the top of the top athletes and basic science proves this. Plenty of malnutrition in most Americans, plenty of obesity, and the obsession over cheese and milk yet tons of calcium supplements which apparently don’t work really well either and can be quite dangerous. Lean organic. (; Amen Ra. Fibonacci. Third eye. Orbs. All Abraham books are heavily flawed. xD cX. Quit sodium fluoride, stop using microwaves, etc. Cheersies.

        • Christopher

          Definitely take the advice of some guy on the Internet who can’t put together a coherent sentence.

          Counting calories is a way to lose weight, if that’s your goal. You can’t “disprove” counting calories anymore than you can disprove counting how much money is in your bank account. (These are actions.)

          It’s a fact that it’s impossible to not lose weight if you are consuming fewer calories than your body burns in a day. If you’re able to determine that 3000 calories a day is what you burn, you’ll lose weight if you consume anything below that. There’s no debate here. This is scientific fact. Just like if you’re spending more money than you make, your checking account will dwindle.

          You can argue that, as a weight loss mechanism, counting calories is unlikely to be effective. I’d likely agree. This has nothing to do with with the act of counting calories. It requires a large amount of dedication to actually count all the calories you take in.

  • Kayla

    I’m not sure I understand how sleeping less is correlated with cancer prevention? Your body repairs itself when you are sleeping, which is important for optimal immune health.. I have even read an article from an ND oncology specialist who states the importance of sleep and how lack of it is correlated to cancer: http://yaletownnaturopathic.com/how-is-your-sleep-linked-to-cancer/ This makes a lot more sense to me.

  • Ari_Abubluiban

    isn’t it great that we can all get on here and disagree with eachother? I’m so glad that i can believe nothing

  • Brad Brooks

    Everyone’s body is different. I know people who have gotten in car accidents,forget things and unable to think think and Dr.s saying sleeping less than 7hrs were higher risk for heart attacks. So no matter how many people you survey and 1 million put of everyone in the world isn’t a big number than it’s all debatable not fact. Some people can love on a few hours and some need that 8hrs. Nobody’s body works the same amd health problems occur and change factors too. Not to memtion aging from lack of.

  • Sanne

    Most people only stress about the question: should I sleep longer? Feel tired or don’t feel well. In this case you probably actually need more sleep. Ofcourse there is an average, but everybody is different, and 8 hours of sleep per night might be a great way to start feeling more awake in the day 🙂

  • Tony Corkill

    Today, I had fallen asleep at around 5am and have woken around 7am.
    Throughout the whole day, I felt awesome, in fact more pumped than usual.

    My friend however, who has told me to have slept for 7 hours was feeling down and really tired.

    What the hell is going on? I need to know

  • Caleb Morrow

    Would be interesting to see the caffeine levels of the people who prefer sleeping 5 hours, and how long it takes them to get to sleep initially

    • Ezio Lizo

      Indeed. I do wish to read more about these types of factors.

    • Phillip An-perez

      I am one of those people, I am heavily dependent on caffeine. I usually get 5 hours of sleep every day, my caffeine tolerance is very high because I have been consuming caffeine for about 3 years straight. If I don’t get caffeine I can’t function, I usually buy one of those caffeine pills from the 99 cents store which helps in budget but I also drink energy drinks as well. I consume 400-700mg of caffeine everyday. It messes with my anxiety but I mainly keep to myself and try to focus.

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  • Aj Bennett

    No “statistical health related reason”. I want to know about actual biological related reasons regardless of what people do. The statistical majority is usually not the optimal majority. I’m still convinced that 7hrs after you’ve fallen asleep feels best. I would love to only feel the need for 6hrs. 3hrs more than that is a lot of life to throw away, but without more than 7hrs half those extra hours feel too gloomy and tiresome to be awake for.

  • Reggie91

    Been testing sleep my whole life. 9 hours is my sweet spot where I am totally rested and refreshed and full of energy.

    • cindiSue

      I’m at 8.5 hours.

  • Christian B

    Did you just post the link, saw the pciture of a guy, and assumed the study was made by him?? are you that stupid?
    READ THE ARTICLE THAT YOU POSTED: “Researchers from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine and the American Cancer Society
    collaborated on the study. . . ” and “The study, which addressed sleep issues as part of the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPSII) of the American Cancer Society, . . .”

  • zestylemon105

    It seems that I just can’t get more that 5 hours of sleep without feeling horrible all day. I have to wake up for school at 6 am and I have to be in bed by 9:30 pm. I wish my parents could know that me staying up late is not me just being rebellious, I do it because I feel better with 5 hours of sleep than 9. Hell, the few nights I’ve stayed up ’till 4 am cramming and only gotten 2 hours of sleep have felt better than when I get 9 hours. I don’t know what to do about this. I know It’s not healthy! I want to be able to get a healthy amount of sleep without my entire day being ruined because I’m so tired that I can’t even focus. Help!

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  • cindiSue

    isn’t it possible that those who are healthier to begin with need less sleep?