Business Health

How to get by on 5 hours of sleep a night

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For a few years now I have been getting by on 4 -5 hours of sleep. I didn't realise how unusual this was until a few weeks ago when I was having a conversation with some of my work colleagues.   A lot of them said something like "˜Oh I need my 8 hours of sleep every night'.

It got me to thinking where this myth of needing at least 8 hours of sleep per night came from.   So I carried out  some research and found out it comes down to science.   It's the scientists that say we need at least 7 "“ 9 hours of sleep per night depending on age, gender and working patterns.

So why do I need only 4 -5 hours and other people, like my wife, needs about 8 hours of sleep per night?

I decide to try a little experiment.

For the last few weeks I have been trying my hardest to sleep for 8 hours per night.

My results were strange.   The first few days I kept on waking up at 4.30 "“ 5.00am.   I forced myself to stay in bed and try to fall back asleep, I dosed on and off.

By the 5th day I was able to sleep for about 7 hours before waking up.   The thing is I felt kind of groggy when I was getting up and the rest of the day felt rushed and I was trying to catch up with myself.

The last week I actually got into it and I was starting to get used to sleeping longer, on average about 7 "“ 7.5 hours per night.   I felt less groggy and got into the swing of the day a lot quicker.

A few days ago I went back to normal and got up at 5am after turning out the lights at about midnight.   I felt groggy again as my sleep pattern had been upset again however this morning I feel fine after getting my 5 hours  of sleep.


What this has shown me is that we get by on what we are used to and our sleeping patterns will take care of itself once we have developed a sleep habit.  My habit is 5 hours of sleep and I believe my sleep cycle will work itself into my habit of 5 hours of sleep.

Of course our body needs to rest and we need sleep and our sleeping cycle, REM time, delta sleep, theta sleep and alpha sleep etc all play a role in replenishing our minds and body's.   However, I believe the sleeping cycle will work itself into our own sleeping habit.

Here is how to get by on 5 hours of sleep per night

  1. Know your sleeping pattern just now.   You will already know what time, roughly, you go to bed each night and when you wake up.   Work out how much sleep you get per night.
  2. Decide on the pattern you would like   E.G. if you would like to get by on 5 hours per night or 6 hours.
  3. Break the new routine into a four week block.   For example if you currently get 8 hours per night just now and your goal is to get 5 hours per night.   Your pattern should be

Week 1 "“ Get 7 hours 15 minutes of sleep per night

Week 2 "“ Get 6 hours and 30 minutes of sleep per night

Week 3 "“ Get 5 hours 45 minutes of sleeper night

Week 4 "“ Get 5 hours of sleeper night

  1. Breaking it up this way will not shock your body and make you feel as groggy throughout the day.

Now the only thing you've got to worry about is what to do with the extra 15 "“ 25 hours per week.

I occasionally have the odd dose in y reading chair  for 15 minutes but it's one of those micro-naps when I feel totally refreshed after it.   I know have a lot more time to fit everything I do online into my schedule and feel much more productive throughout the day.

Some other articles you might be interested in:

How to Micro-Nap your way to success

90 Minutes sleep cycle for a better life

Sleep Paralysis

My Morning routine "“ Zen Habits

Wake up at 5am for 30 Days

How to become an early riser

Some Amazing Comments


About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.