There’s something about catching up on sleep that makes me want to research facts about sleep. I know, I know. Nerd alert!
It seems like such a simple thing. You just close your eyes and power down for a few hours, and wake up recharged and ready to go at full speed again. So why do some people need more or less than others?
According to research, the average need for sleep is 6-8 hours. But I’ve met many who fall outside of that range. Some people complain that they need 10 hours a night. It’s hard to tell if that’s because we’re all sleep deprived and everyone’s trying to catch up though. It’s like we have a national debt on rest.
Others boast that they can get by on only 4 hours each day. I’m kind of in that camp, but then I need a nap, which really isn’t supported by the traditional American workday. Apparently, Leonardo da Vinci practiced something called polyphasic sleeping, a series of short naps throughout the day that replaces a full night’s sleep. Hot damn, I love the Europeans! I also found a great article about people who need almost no sleep at all.
The freaky thing is that if you don’t get what your body needs, your body starts to shut down. You can’t speak or think clearly, you might get moody, and your body might just take what it needs and fall asleep while you’re in the middle of something. Basically, the effects of sleep deprivation sound exactly like the effects of too much whiskey. There’s a great piece by Discovery Health about the importance of sleep that you should read for more info.
I guess I’ll run with the computer analogy used earlier. Some people probably have better processors or cooling fans, so they don’t need as much sleep time. Whatever it is, I’m so happy I got what I needed. Now I’m ready to do whatever it is that well-rested nerds do. Whee!