Adventures in Getting 8 Hours of Sleep Per Night…

Rest Assured?… After the Break…

Adventures in Getting 8 Hours of Sleep Per Night…

It is constantly told to us that we need 8 hours of sleep per night. We are supposed to get, at the bare minimum, 7 hours of sleep. Anything less than 7 hours of sleep puts the average person at significant risk for all sorts of mental and physical ailments. And, no, sleeping extra hours on the weekend won’t make-up for the lost hours of sleep throughout the week.

Lab tests and scientific studies aren’t needed for the blatantly obvious; I’ve pulled “all-nighters” back when final exams and term papers were at the top of my agenda. No matter how young or fit you were, you felt the sting of only sleeping a few scant hours. I haven’t performed anything so drastic in my years since but there have been times when I did go to sleep in the A.M. only to wake up… a little while later in the A.M. They haven’t been very fun mornings.

I have always tended to be a 6-7 hours of sleep per night kind of guy in my adult years. However, I have always wanted to find out what it would be like to switch over to a full 8 hours of sleep per night, every night, kind of guy.

Could I do it? What effects would I notice? What would I sacrifice in the process?

How would it change me?

For the last 3 months, I have endeavored to sleep 8 hours per night, every night. My rules were simple: I had to be in bed by a certain time to at least be capable of having 8 hours of sleep. Every night. I could sleep over 8 hours on the weekends if I wanted to.

So what did I notice when I made the switch?

  • It is hard to start sleeping earlier but your body will adjust. Prepare to spend the first few weeks going to bed and… Being awake. And staying awake.

 

  • Your sense of urgency is sharpened. In the old days, I would just stay up until I felt “ready” to go to bed. Was I playing a computer game? Was I writing the next Great Novel? Creating a board game? Browsing the Internet? There were times when I pushed the boundaries between 6-7 hours of sleep to less than 6 hours. I wanted to get value out of my day, darn it! However, once you set a firm time to go to bed… Everything takes on a new sense of urgency. You brush your teeth as soon as you can. You get all of the little minute work that you need to perform done as soon as you can. You will yourself to be creative. The clock is ticking and you know it.

 

  • Computer games take a backseat (and so does Internet browsing). When you are on a limited time budget, frivolous activities are soon restricted. I love computer games… love them. I tried not playing them for a full year. It didn’t work out quite as planned but… At least I tried. However, back then, I wasn’t on the clock. I didn’t have a schedule where every. minute. counted. And when every minute counts, you don’t have time for another round of “You vs. level full of Shamblers with only an ax and a few shotgun shells.” You don’t have time for another deep dive into the unknown depths of the Internet. Sure, I still play computer games and browse the Internet… It’s just not for very long on the weekdays.

 

  • You don’t wake up refreshed but you don’t roll out of bed, either. You would think that 8 hours of sleep would help you spring out of bed. Nope. At best, it marginally helps you get out of bed but, to be honest, I don’t have those mornings of groggily, begrudgingly, stumbling and rolling out of bed. Think of it as a “rising floor” situation, to put it in an economic term: You ensure that you have less chance of being physically taxed when it comes time to wake up but there’s no guarantee of leaping out of bed full of energy.

 

  • Less hunger around lunch time. Around lunch time, I tend to be hungry. Nowadays, I’m still waiting for lunch time like every other human being. However, there was a time when I was consistently counting down the seconds to lunch time because I was fairly famished by that time. Now, to be honest, there are still times when I can’t wait for lunch to roll around because the stomach is on empty. Every since I switched to sleeping more, though, that situation has subsided substantially. The hunger at lunch time is not gone but it’s far more manageable.

 

  • I dream at night more. I’m not about to let the Internet become my bedside Freud by describing my dreams to it but I will write that I dream an awful lot more now than before I began sleeping 8 hours per night.

So, there you have it. Just my personal observations. I’m not your doctor; I can’t recommend anything like this just out of observation alone. Go see your primary care physician if sleeping more is right for you. However, I’m sticking with it.

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