It is not, according to Prof Dr. Mathew Paul Walker, a British scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on the impact of sleep on human health and disease. Previously, he was a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
For the last 20 years he has researched the subject of sleep and its impact on humans. The evidence is now overwhelmingly in favour of getting your full dose of sleep as per your body’s needs.
Watch his speech here: https://youtu.be/Ya6pUCcFp2w
The downside of being sleep-deprived even by 1 hour regularly is pretty alarming, and if it is more, then you are in serious trouble.
If you are sleep deprived and you drive a car, you could find yourself in an accident caused by microsleeps that your brain triggers because it has not got sufficient sleep.
Sleep deprivation can be as low as one hour a night or upto 3-4 hours or more. The effects multiply dramatically for every hour of sleep lost when it accumulates over months or years.
So how long should you sleep? You must sleep as much as your body seeks. Typically it is between 7 to 9 hours for adults.
How would you know it? By not using an alarm and checking for yourself how long your body requires to get fully rested.
What if this causes you to become late for work? You will find the hours that your body needs and go to bed appropriately early so you get your full quota of sleep
Can you sleep these 8 hours at any time of the day or night? Your body clock (circadian clock) requires you to sleep for 8 hours at night and especially between 11 and 3 pm when the maximum repair happens within the body and the brain.
Can you sleep 5 or 6 hours at night and make up balance during the day? If you must, then this can be done with the sleep deficit made up in the afternoon. But avoid this if you have difficulty going to sleep at night.
Is Beauty sleep literal and true? Yes! You can look more beautiful because you sleep as much as your body wants and as deeply as it wants.
Should you take medicines or alcohol to help you sleep? These are under the class of sedatives and help you to be sedated. It is not the same as having a natural deep sleep for as long as your body seeks. Take them only under medical supervision and learn to de-stress yourself and reclaim your natural sleep as early as possible.
Can you get smarter because you sleep for the full 8 hours daily? Yes. Your brain is able to repair the cells and consolidate memory when you get into deep sleep. For students, sleeping before studying prepares the brain and sleeping after studying consolidates memory. For working adults, during sleep, memory gets consolidated during deep sleep and innovative solutions are found to problems during REM sleep.
Nature has designed sleep for humans to get the following benefits and more:
Optimise body weight
Rest and repair all the cells of the body and the brain
Improve virility and ability to reproduce
Delay the onset of ageing, Alzheimers, Dementia, etc
Prevent heart attacks, diabetes and other lifestyle diseases
Rejuvenate and come back as new.
Sleep deprivation is worn like a badge proudly in many competitive work environments. Don’t fall prey to it. You will be doing yourself the greatest disservice, if you do.
Be proud to flaunt that you get your full 8 hours of sleep and that you are able to go to sleep when you want to and wake up without the help of an alarm, fully rested and charged up to take on the new day.
Wish you a good night’s sleep, today and everyday.