So I treat a sleep doc every so often and I have to say I really enjoy getting professionals’ opinions about “recommended” anything: recommended caloric intake, recommended amounts of activity, recommended protein (hot topic), recommended sleep, etc. This doc has tons of great info to talk about and all I can bring to the table are my personal experiences, but none the less, it’s always an enjoyable conversation. A couple points that he really emphasized are:
1. 6-8 hours of sleep is what most people require. Most people differ in their needs, so 8 isn’t always the best.
2. It is not just the amount of sleep you get, but the quality of sleep you get. He states that sleep aides are great if you just want to shut your eyes for 8 hours, but not the best if you want to feel rested and refreshed.
3. Sometimes getting 4 hours of sleep is better than 6. If you require 8 hours of sleep a night you will go through two circadian rhythms. If you wake at 6 hours, you could be in the middle of REM sleep which will make you feel groggy when you wake up. If you wake up after 4 hours of sleep at the end of your first circadian rhythm (not in REM sleep) you will feel better when waking up. Note: He also states that you will still be more tired at the end of the day with this method.
In high school and for most of college, I noticed that I could get about 4 hours of sleep and function at a reasonable level. My father has been the same way his whole life. But lately I have been getting 5-6.5 and still feeling groggy. Upon waking from a nap last weekend I decided, “I am going to get an average of 8 hours of sleep a night for the next week and see how I feel”. Well I am 5 nights deep and things are looking up. I’ll go into some more specifics at the end of the week but so far I am at about 37/40 possible hours- averaging 7.4 hours/night. Let me tell you, IT MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE! On Sunday while watching the Pats hopefully beat up on the Titans I will divulge a little more. Until then, try to get some rest, because when we rest, our bodies build.
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