Sleeping Myths: Staggered Sleeping and the 6 Hours Myth

February 19, 2011

Here are two more sleeping myths for the final part of the sleeping myths series. In my previous posts, we’ve busted some pretty widespread myths on sleeping. I certainly hope you’ve started changing your sleeping habits already 😉 For these last two myths, most college students have probably experienced them firsthand.

As much as we want to spend the least number of hours sleeping in order to get more work or studies done, we have to face the fact (and not myth) that our bodies need ample amount of sleep in order to function well.

Myth #5 — Some people find sleeping for 6 hours enough, I can too

Maybe you’ve heard about or met people who sleep for only 6 hours a day and yet perform at a normal and optimum level in their daily activities. This is actually true — but it doesn’t apply to everyone. In fact, a research done by the University of California in San Francisco found that only 3% of the American population have that rare gene to enable them to sleep for only 6 hours, the other 97% should aim for 8 hours of sleep a day. Sleeping is a natural activity and should never be neglected or abused.

You also might have heard that as you grow older, you don’t need to sleep as long as 8 hours anymore since your body is able to adapt to sleeping less already. This isn’t true either. It’s just a make-up story for people to have an excuse to sleep for only 6 hours.

Myth #6 — Staggered sleeping is okay as long as you eventually complete the 8 hours

When I was in college, I would normally sleep at around 11pm, wake up at 2am to study, and then sleep again at around 4:30am until 7am before waking up for my classes. As it turned out, it isn’t a healthy practice because I’m depriving my body from reaching deep-sleep state. Moreover, the staggered sleeping means that you’re jarring your body by waking up before it reaches the deep-sleep state.

Moroever, I had a college friend who would often sleep early and then wake up in the middle of the night to study. There were several times when he wasn’t able to wake up in time for class and even missed his exams. Talk about wasted effort! If your body feels tired, climb into bed and give it what it needs – decent sleep to recover and rejuvenate!

Always remember, you should never abuse sleep because your lack of sleep may just come back to haunt you.