From a young age, we are taught that you must strive to get a good 8-hours of sleep each night for your body to rest, grow, relax, and… the list goes on. Do humans really need a full 8-hours of sleep each night? It’s up for debate!
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults strive for a 7-9 hour range of sleep each night while observations of others throughout history seem to put that requirement to rest. Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, and Margaret Thatcher invented world-changing things or, in Ms. Thatcher’s case, helped to run an entire country – all on about four hours of sleep each evening.
Before the invention and widespread use of electricity, agriculturalists may have slept when there was no daylight, and even woke up in the middle of the night for an hour or two to spend time with their spouses.
Some scientists and mental health professionals find that if they convince patients suffering from insomnia that their condition is not necessarily a “problem,” they would no longer perceive it as one and the “problem” would become more tolerable.
Other researchers agree that each person must listen to their body and decide what’s the right amount of sleep for them. Some people have intensely strong circadian rhythms and may wake up during the nighttime. It all depends on the individual genes!
Sleep deprivation, when your body needs it, can be extremely detrimental to each person’s health. Pay close attention to your mood, health, and levels of energy to decide whether more sleep might be in your best interest.