Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 5
Still Waters

The myth of the eight-hour sleep

33 posts in this topic

We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night - but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.

It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep.

Though sleep scientists were impressed by the study, among the general public the idea that we must sleep for eight consecutive hours persists.

arrow3.gifRead more...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm only in bed for about 6-7 hours a night (I have to get up 7 hours from now, for instance) during the week, and lucky to be in bed for longer than 8 when I can afford a sleep in.

Personally I think sleep is great (I often have epic dreams which are lucid and combine elements of games/movies I've been playing and watching as well as many other influences - which seem to last all night), but for the amount of time we spend sleeping, I can't help but feel it's a bit of a waste of time.

Imagine if we could function normally on 4 hours sleep a day - or less. Hopefully we will somehow figure out a way to induce deep sleep continually from the moment we get in bed so that we can have shorter, deeper sleeps.

Anyway, in relation to the article, I would feel like I was wasting even more time sleeping in that way. I couldn't do it! One sufficient deep sleep for me please!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember an old adage that "every hour you sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight." I never understood that but maybe there was some validity to it after all. I also remember reading an account of a man who lived with and studied wolves for a couple of years. He even took on some of the pack habits, one of which was napping for 15 minutes or so throughout the day. He said he never felt more alert or well rested than when he was doing this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For as long as I can remember I have only had around 4 or 5 hours sleep a night. I wake up frequently during the night and finally , even though I am now retired and do not have to get up, I get out of bed any time between 5 and 6am. I usually go to bed around midnight. I used to put it down to 30 years of working various shifts ruining my sleep pattern, but maybe I just dont need as much sleep as others do. It still annoys me though, when people say, oh, I can sleep for eight hours every night. lol. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never been able to sleep very long, it's either been insomnia and up late or if I fall asleep at a reasonable hour I wake up several times through the night and usually before my alarm goes off. Every weekend I try to sleep in, but even if I go to bed at 3 am I'm still up by 8 without fail.

I worked 2nd shift for about 11 years and it feels much more natural to me to go to bed around 3-5 am and then wake up at 10... I've been on 1st shift for five years and I'm still not used to it.

The article reminds me of how gerbils sleep... usually they sleep for an hour and then they're up running around for a couple of hours, then sleep again and it continues whether day or night.

Edited by karmakazi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I awake every hour or so anyway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sleep for 4 and a half hours every day. I somehow can never sleep soundly. hmm.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And of course the French excuse is:

A doctor's manual from 16th Century France even advised couples that the best time to conceive was not at the end of a long day's labour but "after the first sleep", when "they have more enjoyment" and "do it better".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And of course the French excuse is:

Tres bien :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can safely say the only time I have ever slept 8 hours is when I have been ill, an Influenza virus or the like.

I usually get around 5 hours sleep which is a good nights sleep for me. If I sleep longer I feel more tired during the day strangely, and can sometimes feel unwell.

8 hours sleep is definitely a 'healthy living' myth for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have insomnia. Melatonin and ambien are required if I want a decent reset, or else I'll finally pass out at ungodly hours, and sleep way to much into the afternoon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm all set, then. ^_^

Not that I have trouble sleeping, really. But I often wake up in the middle of the night for no particular reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found that eating deep fried foods (particularly fried chicken and french fries) cause weird dreams at night. Eating sweets, particularly before going to bed, cause me to wake up in the middle of the night. For about fifteen years I was getting only about five or six hours of sleep and thought it was just old age. After a fall I had, I developed incontinence and started wearing diapers to bed. The combination of avoiding fried foods, sweets, and wearing diapers has caused my sleep to become deep again and now I sleep a deep, wonderful eight hours a night and feel great when I wake up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This article has opened worlds for me. I have always pondered about with my sleep cycle. One pattern that I was definatly noticing was the 4 hour cycle. I noticed clearly that I would wake up like a new penny if I woke on the fourth hour or on the eighth hour. If I would wake up in between those two 4 hours blocks I would feel like a dead weight. It was often confusing. You think "But I slept for 7 or 10 hours! how could I feel like ****" I started to realise that if I set the alarm clock for eight hours and it all worked out right I would wake up quicker and more refreshed then I would an hour earlier or an hour later. If I was up all night and had work in the morning I would wake up like a new penny if I set the clock to go off roughly four hours after I sleep. I'd feel like crap by 12 but at least getting up was cheatingly easy.

I'm definatly taking this on board and living by this from now on. I won't feel guilty for feeling tired at 8 o'clock anymore.

Also for those 4 hour sleepers, there are people out there coined "Super Sleepers" These are people that sleep like a charm for fourish hours and they wake up like a a new penny and that's all the sleep they need for the day. One famous Irish business man is a self proclaimed Super Sleeper and can't see how people could waist their time actually sleeping 8 hours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read somewhere that us humans were used to sleeping in "segments" of Three to Four hours, with a waking period of an hour or so (that was usually used for sex) and then going back to sleep for another Three or Four hours, but with the advent of artificial lighting we cut the nighttime from 12-14 hrs (in some places) back to our "recommended" 7-8 hrs of "night" usually people who "think" they have insomnia or other sleeping problems are only doing what comes natural to us, if you dont think "OH GOD I WOKE UP AND I WONT GO BACK TO SLEEP!!!" its easier to go back to sleep.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This article has opened worlds for me. I have always pondered about with my sleep cycle. One pattern that I was definatly noticing was the 4 hour cycle. I noticed clearly that I would wake up like a new penny if I woke on the fourth hour or on the eighth hour. If I would wake up in between those two 4 hours blocks I would feel like a dead weight. It was often confusing. You think "But I slept for 7 or 10 hours! how could I feel like ****" I started to realise that if I set the alarm clock for eight hours and it all worked out right I would wake up quicker and more refreshed then I would an hour earlier or an hour later. If I was up all night and had work in the morning I would wake up like a new penny if I set the clock to go off roughly four hours after I sleep. I'd feel like crap by 12 but at least getting up was cheatingly easy.

I'm definatly taking this on board and living by this from now on. I won't feel guilty for feeling tired at 8 o'clock anymore.

Also for those 4 hour sleepers, there are people out there coined "Super Sleepers" These are people that sleep like a charm for fourish hours and they wake up like a a new penny and that's all the sleep they need for the day. One famous Irish business man is a self proclaimed Super Sleeper and can't see how people could waist their time actually sleeping 8 hours.

thats because you can "train" your body to get R.E.M. sleep for only a couple of hours a night, I used to sleep for Two or Three hours some nights because I had Three jobs (Welding 11 hrs-unloading trucks 4 hrs- Wendy's manager *night shift* 4 hrs)and I usually slept at lunch time and when I got home in between jobs, quick 1 hr naps and I felt "refreshed" more than when I actually slept in on weekends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How do you train this? I never managed to actually pinpoint the time i want to fall asleep, I can go to bed and sometimes easily just lay awake for 2-3 hours. Also, when I have to get up early and I get home from work in the afternoon I often just fall asleep on the couch.

Edited by Drev

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read somewhere that us humans were used to sleeping in "segments" of Three to Four hours, with a waking period of an hour or so (that was usually used for sex) and then going back to sleep for another Three or Four hours, but with the advent of artificial lighting we cut the nighttime from 12-14 hrs (in some places) back to our "recommended" 7-8 hrs of "night" usually people who "think" they have insomnia or other sleeping problems are only doing what comes natural to us, if you dont think "OH GOD I WOKE UP AND I WONT GO BACK TO SLEEP!!!" its easier to go back to sleep.

Did you read the article? The article said basicaly the same thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have fallen into a bi-modal sleep pattern and actually enjoy it as a retired life style. During the period between sleeps I mostly catch up on the news of the Internet news outlets and use the time toward leaps in what would otherwise be slow progress through the books I desire to read--mostly technical self-learning computer aids. Sometimes devotion to poetry might be the way that time gets used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will a lot of times sleep for an hour or so, and then wake up and wander around a bit, then sleep real good for 4 or 5 hours.

I saw this a couple days ago on facebook and wrote it off as idiot fringe stuff, as the person posting it was a crystals/dreamcatchers/magnets new ager.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd have to be totally drunk and tired,for partying all night, to sleep for 8 hrs straight.

Edited by Truth Seeker 2012

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn't sleep for 8 hrs straight. I tend to wake up after sleeping a few hrs, then go back to sleep; because i'm a light sleeper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sleep around 8-12 hours a day and i love it.

Also it makes me smarter. You do know the longer you sleep the smarter you get, right?

:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On weekdays I sleep 5-6 hours a night and I feel more rested throughout the day than on the weekends where I sleep 7-8.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I sleep around 8-12 hours a day and i love it.

Also it makes me smarter. You do know the longer you sleep the smarter you get, right?

:D

No way dude, I know people who sleep a whole lot (they're French, don't work and get money for free) and they're dumber than the dirt on my boots. When I got divorced I was still a full time student and I had to work full time at the same time. I had to sleep in two periods of 2 and half hours, one in the afternoon and one at 3:30 am. I did my best work during that period.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 5

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.