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Thread: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

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    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    Default Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    March 1, 2012
    Posted by Live in the Now

    The general recommendation for sleep is eight hours, each and every night. However, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that eight hours of continuous sleep might actually be unnatural. According to historian Roger Ekirch, people used to sleep for two four-hour chunks, with an hour or two break in between.

    During this break, he says, people would engage activities that helped them manage stress, such as reading, prayer or meditation on their dreams. But, as cities became lit with street lamps, people started to stay up and out later, changing the human sleep pattern into a long, consecutive one, which seemed more efficient. However, what does this mean for the sleep patterns of today?

    Read more: http://www.liveinthenow.com/article/...eep-each-night

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    Veteran Member StephenX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    I can relate. I usually sleep in 2 hour bits. I get up in the middle of the night; and I'll clean up the kitchen, read a while, or do a bit of yoga or tai chi. Then I take another two hour nap. I thought I was a mutant. Thanks for letting me know I'm "normal".

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    Veteran Member Jane Chitty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    Far from normal, StephenX! You only have 4 hours sleep per night! I love my 8 hours sleep each and every night and feel gutted when I wake up in the wee small hours and cannot get back to sleep (which happens once or twice a week). "Rescue Remedy" will usually put me out of my misery.

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    I think we're all different. Even in my "healthy" days, I needed very little sleep. They say you need less sleep as you get older, so once again I break the mold as I seem to need more. If I get a solid 5 hours of sleep, I feel pretty decent. If I sleep 8 hours (extraordinarily rare) I feel drugged and hung over.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    I need 7-8 hours routinely, and now that I'm retired, I can sleep until I'm "slept out" and not have to respond to an alarm clock before I'm fully rested. But I find that in my old age, if I do have to get up before I've had my sleep tank filled, I feel just awful, like my head has been emptied of its contents and filled with concrete.

    I've known two people in my life, I mean known them well, who never slept more than 4 hours a night, and didn't nap.
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    Veteran Member Maurya's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    As usual, I have a slightly different take on this issue. It seems to be socially acceptable to judge quite harshly those people who require longer that average sleeping time. Rarely (never) do I hear people proudly declaim their contempt for those less fortunate souls who are able to thrive on four or five hours of sleep a night; but quite frequently I do hear the opposite, voicing contempt for those "lazy individuals" who "give in" to their need to sleep longer in order to feel human and to deal effectively with their world.

    Why can't we all just get along?

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    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander View Post
    I need 7-8 hours routinely, and now that I'm retired, I can sleep until I'm "slept out" and not have to respond to an alarm clock before I'm fully rested. But I find that in my old age, if I do have to get up before I've had my sleep tank filled, I feel just awful, like my head has been emptied of its contents and filled with concrete.
    This pretty much describes my sleep requirements as well Islander. I do find though that my body responds to light. I need blackout blinds to stop the daylight waking me before that tank is full.

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    Veteran Member highlander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maurya View Post
    As usual, I have a slightly different take on this issue. It seems to be socially acceptable to judge quite harshly those people who require longer that average sleeping time. Rarely (never) do I hear people proudly declaim their contempt for those less fortunate souls who are able to thrive on four or five hours of sleep a night; but quite frequently I do hear the opposite, voicing contempt for those "lazy individuals" who "give in" to their need to sleep longer in order to feel human and to deal effectively with their world.

    Why can't we all just get along?
    I hear ya, Maurya. I grew up with that attitude all around me. (Laziness was a sin of the greatest magnitude.) If left to my own natural schedule (wish me luck) I quickly adopt a nocturnal lifestyle -- getting up in the afternoon and going to sleep around sunrise. When I can do that I only need about 5 hours sleep but if I'm forced to live in the diurnal world I need about 9 hours sleep. My stepfather was an early bird and he would criticize me for "sleeping all day" even though he actually slept more hours than I did. I eventually told him he was wimpy for sleeping all night. I can still see his confused face because that didn't compute in the rural south back in the day.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    I've been waiting for Highlander to weigh in on this thread!

    And yeah, on college breaks I wanted nothing more than to catch up on my sleep, but nobody slept past 8 a.m. in that house. Foreget being sick either. I once came home with double pneumonia and a couple of bottles of medication from the school infirmary; poppycock, that was, if it was "walking pneumonia" I could jolly well get up and walk! Y'know, whatever doesn't kill ya....
    Last edited by Islander; 03-03-12 at 11:28 PM.
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    Veteran Member StephenX's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Chitty View Post
    Far from normal, StephenX! You only have 4 hours sleep per night! I love my 8 hours sleep each and every night and feel gutted when I wake up in the wee small hours and cannot get back to sleep (which happens once or twice a week). "Rescue Remedy" will usually put me out of my misery.
    I take several of those "two hour naps" per night. I usually go to bed at midnight. Get up for good at 9am (retirement is good). So I actually get about seven hours of sleep a night. Just don't want you to worry about me.

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    Veteran Member highlander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do Humans Really Need 8 Hours of Sleep Each Night?

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander View Post
    Foreget being sick either. I once came home with double pneumonia and a couple of bottles of medication from the school infirmary; poppycock, that was, if it was "walking pneumonia" I could jolly well get up and walk! Y'know, whatever doesn't kill ya....
    It seems my grandparents were that way but my mom wasn't. If I got a cold she made a huge deal out of it. I was in the doctor's office (literally) every other week. I took more antibiotics and cough medicine than most kids took Flintstone vitamins. It's a miracle I survived such intervention. But injuries were another matter. People who whined about injuries were "candy asses." Suffering in silence was respected.

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