You’ve heard it before: “Everyone needs 8 hours sleep per night.”
Well, a study out of UCSD paints a different story. The 2010 paper instead suggests that the secret to a long life lies in getting just enough sleep, which ends up being about 6.5 hours per night.
The study looks at 1.1 million people’s sleep patterns over the course of 6 years, tracking the amount of sleep each subject averaged alongside their longevity. Its major finding: Sleeping as little as 5 hours per night can be better for you than sleeping 8.
HOW MUCH SLEEP DO YOU REALLY NEED?
The study, run by Dr. Daniel F. Kripke an MD and Professor of Psychiatry specializing in sleep research and aging, didn’t find any statistical health-related reason to sleep longer than 6.5 hours per night.
Data that he used from the Cancer Prevention Study II (CPSII) from the American Cancer Society even shows that sleeping about 5 hours per night is slightly safer than sleeping 8. In this case, we’ll go ahead and define “safer” as “not dying.”
The data is impressive. It covers 1.1 million participants, and it is the first large-scale population study that correlates sleep with longevity while taking into account things like age, diet, exercise, health problems and smoking.
The data is from 1982-1988 because it took years to input the data and perform analysis on it.
I’m not sure where the sleep-8-hours-per-night myth came from, but it’s totally wrong. You can file it away under old information, along with the eat-fewer-calories-to-lose-weight myth.
Follow my hacks for getting better quality sleep.
With all the biohacking I’ve done over the years, I’m able to thrive on about 2.5 hours of sleep per night and be fully functional the next day without needing to “catch up” on sleep. That said, the data from this study has me convinced that 5 hours per night is better for longevity and long-term performance.
I’m certain that I can put my body in more restorative sleep stages using technology, and that it’s probably safe to do it for longer periods, but I’d like some more data on that before I do it all the time!