It seems like the world asks more of us, everyday. Be more present, put that extra time into your career, prioritize self-care, spend time with loved ones, but also be sure to regenerate your social battery… it can feel like there literally aren’t enough hours in a day to accomplish it all.
Those of us undeterred by the laws of nature may have considered sleeping less to fit the rest in, but is that actually safe? A Harvard professor suggests “yes!”
“Colleagues in my field – in evolutionary medicine – have put sensors on people who don’t have all the things that we’re told have destroyed sleep,” Dr. Daniel Lieberman said. “We are told that TV, lights, and our phones, and all of these things are preventing us from sleeping. Edison destroyed sleep, right? When you put sensors on people who don’t have any electricity and they don’t have TVs and don’t have phones and don’t have any of these gadgetry, it turns out that they sleep like six or seven hours a night, and they don’t nap. So, this idea that natural human beings sleep eight hours a night is just nonsense. It’s just not true.”
Liebermann goes onto explain that this is a complex issue with multiple factors and may not be a hard and fast rule for everyone. However, genetic factors for certain individuals have been found to cause them to require even less than 7 hours.
As the standard advice is still to get a full 8, be sure to do research and consult a doctor before deciding if lessening your sleep is right for you.