Now we usually advise you to sleep for around 7.5 hours a night but if you are not able to sleep that much then you need to hack your sleep patterns so that you do not suffer as badly. If you follow these guidelines you can get away with only 6 hours of sleep a night but be warned that you need to monitor yourself to make sure that you are ok as sleep levels impact people differently and what is ok for some people is not for others. In other words, our disclaimer is that while we do not necessarily recommend doing this we understand that some people do not have a choice and we know that this will impact different people in different ways so you need to take personal responsibility. That said, here goes.
First, note the amount of time we said you could sleep: 6 hours. Why did we say six hours? Well it turns out that sleeping in 90 minute ‘blocks’ is the best way to sleep. It is all based on an understanding of the cycles of sleep. By sleeping in four 90 minute blocks you are ensuring that you get the most benefit from your sleep. Sleep for more or less and you risk waking feeling groggy and suffering the effects of a truncated sleep cycle. This means that if you are going to be cutting back on sleep then you need to closely monitor the amount of time you are sleeping for. Make sure that you are getting your four 90 minute blocks and you will feel optimal.
Now you will be tempted to catch up on your sleep debt when you have spare time. Be warned though, you need to be careful about how you do this. The worst thing you can do is just decide to add an extra 90 minute block into your normal night’s sleep as this will play havoc with your body clock. What you need to do is use the nap instead. Taking a nap during the day is the best way of catching up on lost sleep. Give yourself a 90 minute block during the day when you have time and you will recharge the batteries in the most effective way.
It is also important that you monitor your diet when you are doing this. For starters, your appetite will increase and you need to ensure that you are eating healthy foods. Not only will you ensure that you stay a good weight but healthy foods, especially things like cereals, dairy products, bananas, nuts and cherries, will also improve the quality of your sleep. Because you are sleeping less you need to make sure that those six hours are uninterrupted and high quality sleep. As well as eating healthy foods you need to make sure that you are avoiding the trinity of sleep disturbing vices: coffee, cigarettes and alcohol.
If you need to cut back on sleep then make sure that you do it as safely as possible. This is not something that you should do for the long term but can be safely sustained during the short term as long as you monitor yourself.
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