If you had a hard time getting out of bed this morning, needed a few cups of coffee to get your mind going, or are rereading this sentence with blurry eyes, the reality is, you might be suffering from sleep deprivation.
According to Entrepreneur:
“Over 50 percent of the U.S. adult population is chronically sleep deprived. If you include the millions of people who have sleep disorders… that number jumps to 65 percent.”
In fact, there is a tiny percentage of the population with a genetic mutation that allows them to feel rested with only 4 hours of sleep. However, the chance of you being one of them is very low; people with this rare mutation wake up without sleep inertia and have a cheerful disposition.
Even when the amount to sleep may vary according to age, gender, and lifestyle, 90 percent of the population needs to rest between 7 and 9 hours a day, according to Ying-Hui Fu, a human geneticist at the University of California-San Francisco to Entrepreneur.
Sleeping between 7 and 9 hours seems to be enough time for most, but the timing of those hours can make a big difference. The New Yorker reported on a sleeping study:
“It didn’t really matter how long they had slept or whether they saw themselves as morning people or not; what made a difference was when they actually went to bed—and when they woke up. It’s bad to sleep too little; it’s also bad, and maybe even worse, to wake up when it’s dark.”
In a society where having little sleep is associated with a strong work ethic and is a symbol of status, it’s no surprise that many have willingly chosen to sacrifice their time to rest:
You might even trick yourself into believing that you only need around 5 hours of sleep; however, after a prolonged period of sleep deprivation, your brain adapts and you believe you’re fine. The scary part is that the less sleep you get, the more cognitively impaired you become, and the less you are able to tell you are cognitively impaired to begin with.
So how can you tell how much rest you need? The usual suggestion is to avoid all stimulants like caffeine, turn off your alarm clock, and pay attention to your body’s patters after you have caught up with your sleep for 2 or 3 days.
Now, if you are still willing to sleep less in order to achieve more in your career, well I have news for you: Sleeping more may increase your performance, while sleeping less may cause irreparable damage to your health.