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Last Updated on June 6, 2022 by Peter

How To Sleep Less? Is It Possible To Sleep 3-4 Hours Daily?

You’ve probably wondered at one point in life: How to sleep less? Let’s imagine that you are going to sleep for 4 instead of 8 hours every day for a whole year. You would save 28 hours per week, 5 days per month and two months per year. The time you would save by doing this would be enough for you to:

  • read an average fiction novel in a week
  • learn how to use a moderately simple computer program in a month
  • learn a foreign language at an intermediate level in a year

Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? But is it realistic? Is it possible to maintain this sleeping practice for a longer period of time without experiencing dangerous side-effects? Let’s look into this matter closely.

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    An illusionary effect: Getting used to sleep deprivation

    After a longer period of sleep deprivation, people start to feel like they conquered their need for sleep. But, studies show that it turns out to be just an illusion. We can actually get used to sleep deprivation and thus feel like we came out victorious from our battle with the 8 hours’ sleep.

    This illusion can be dangerous because it just encourages the person to continue their sleeping practice. However, the consequences of sleep deprivation would be still taking place.

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    Experiments

    In many sleep deprivation experiments subjects were capable of sticking to 4 hours of sleep regiment. It is possible to hold on to this number without experiencing major consequences. Of course, we are talking about subjects’ own impressions.

    The objective data gathered by the conductors of the experiments indicated something quite opposite. Sleep-deprived subjects showed a significant decrease in cognitive, memory and task solving abilities.

    an image of a woman drinking a cup of coffee

    How to sleep less?

    Certain practices can help a person reach the goal of spending only 3 or 4 hours per day on sleep.

    If your heart is set on this idea, let’s see what you can do.

    Polyphasic or biphasic sleep

    Want to learn how to sleep less? Try taking your sleep in a few dozes at first. Reduce your 8-hour sleep to a 6-hour sleep and then divide it into 3 or 4 portions. Have one 4-hour sleep at night followed by 30 min power naps during the day.  

    Discipline in a daily routine

    Maintain strict daily routine that will not allow you to doze off. Spend every hour of your day meaningfully. Otherwise, what’s the point of tormenting yourself with sleep deprivation if you are going to spend hours watching the TV?

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    Eyes on the prize

    Maybe the most important thing about learning how to sleep less is knowing exactly why you are doing it. Always have the thing that motivated you for doing it in mind.

    A healthy way of life

    You’ll need a lot of energy if you want to learn how to sleep less. Eat healthily before the bed time and increase your calorie intake a bit, but don’t fall into a trap of weight-gaining. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and sugar.

    Exercising can be good for you if you want to learn how to sleep less, just keep it light. Hard exercise demands quality sleep, so sports and sleep deprivation don’t really go hand in hand.

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    Feelings of satisfaction and achievement

    The biggest motivation for sticking to this sleeping regiment is spending those extra 4 hours on achieving some important goal. Have something to show for after your experiment has ended.

    an image of a satisfied man in a city

    Body and mind

    During sleep, the body is the one that’s completely at rest, while brain still works. Studies show that it’s easier to perform intellectual than physical work while sleep deprived.

    Health risks

    Long-term sleep deprivation is a major health hazard. We can’t stress this enough. Lack of sleep can induce heart problems, diabetes, weight gain, depression and even death.

    an image of a man sleeping on a laptop

    Occupational health

    Before you start to wonder how to sleep less, think about your job first. Can your occupation withstand this kind of sleeping practice?

    Motor skills

    Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of accidents. Driving a motor vehicle or operating heavy machinery can be highly dangerous if you are sleep deprived. Be sure that you are not going to drive while learning how to sleep less. Also, if your job includes operating heavy machinery leave your 4-hour sleep experiment for the holidays.

    an image of a man sleeping in his car

    Cognitive abilities

    Maybe you can take a bus, subway, or car pull to work, but what about once you get there? Sleep deprivation influences your cognitive and problem-solving abilities. It also lowers your ability to manage emotional and work-related stress. Maybe it can get hard for your co-workers too if you are sleep deprived.

    Moral compass

    Experiments showed that one of the side-effects of sleep deprivation is the reduced ability of moral judgment. Can your profession allow you to harm your ability to recognize the morally justified behaviour?

    Even if this ability is not crucial for your line of work, it is crucial for your life. Have this aspect in mind while learning how to sleep less. During your sleep deprivation period pay an extra attention to this side-effect and try to control it. When making decisions always give yourself more time than you normally would. Don’t hesitate to think things twice and even ask for an opinion from a reliable person. Let your awareness of this side-effect’s existence be your head start on it.

    Thinking outside the box

    In many religions through history, there were speculations on how sleep deprivation can benefit intellectual, creative or spiritual life. Testimonials of some artists or spiritual practitioners rose the question of a good side of the lack of sleep. Some artists claimed that they’ve gained a lot when learned how to sleep less. This phenomenon can be explained by one simple consequence of sleep deprivation.

    Lack of sleep affects memory. Brain that is sleep deprived is forced to think of the new ways of solving the already known problems. Person troubled by some intellectual problem can reach a creative solution to it while being sleep deprived. This would be something like “tabula rasa” effect.

    an image of a woman thinking

    Some artists claimed that lack of sleep has helped them to look upon their work from a different point of view. Sleep deprivation has an effect similar as of some psychotropic substances. You may not be able to control this aspect while beginning to teach yourself how to sleep less.

    Have in mind that spiritual practitioners usually meditate when learning how to sleep less. Meditation often follows spiritually inspired fast, and it can have a similar effect as sleeping. This can help a person feel rested even if sleep deprived.

    Conclusion

    Learning how to sleep less should be understood as a short-term experiment with a clear aim of a deep and important meaning for the person. Once a person masters the technique of 4-hour sleep they should use it only from time to time if necessary.

    There is a certain small percentage of the population that doesn’t require 8-hour sleep. Unless you fall into this category don’t rely on sleep deprivation every time you need an extra day in order to achieve something. Don’t fall into a trap of looking upon 4-hour sleep as a bullet-proof method for reaching your every goal in your life.

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