Adequate sleep is not only essential to keep a sound mind; it is also vital in maintaining good physical health. Rest is one natural process you cannot cheat. You can’t possibly deprive yourself of sleep for long. Sleep deprivation has a massive downturn on human health.
Getting good and long night sleep undoubtedly helps to stay fit physically and mentally. An adult requires about 7 hours of night sleep on average. Children and teenagers might need more than 7 hours of quality sleep to stay sharp.
However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to cope with those long hours of sleep, particularly for active youths and young adults. The rise in technology and general activities is why it isn’t easy to spare long hours for quality sleep.
Nevertheless, this does not mean you should put your health at risk by depriving yourself of quality sleep. Instead, you can focus on the quality of sleep rather than the quantity of sleep. It is possible to sleep for a few hours and have a refreshing feeling of long hours, or even better.
Do you have a problem keeping up with long hours of sleep due to your schedule or activities? No problem. You can learn to sleep for long hours within short hours. This article will help you understand the basics of sleep and stay refreshed by sleeping 8 hours in 4 hours.
How Does Sleep Cycle Work?
It is essential to understand the sleep cycle concept to manage your sleep time better. Have you noticed you only know when you go to bed; you can’t tell at what time you sleep off precisely? It happens like that because the body proceeds to sleep in stages.
The body goes through four stages during typical night sleep. The completion of each step is called a cycle, and each process only takes about 90 minutes. Typically, your body is meant to complete these cycles six times for a quality night’s sleep.
The four stages of sleep are;
N1: The N1 stage is the lightest phase of sleep. It occurs within the first 1 to 5 minutes of sleep—the heart rate and breathing slow down during this period. Likewise, your body gets to enjoy a relaxed muscle.
N2: N2 stage lasts very much longer than the N1 stage. This stage lasts for about 30 to 60 minutes, and it sees your breathing, and heart rate slows down further. Your body temperature also drops during this period.
N3: This stage is the deepest part of sleep, and it is often called deep sleep. It is a period when the body repairs damaged tissues and body cells. This stage lasts for about 20-40 minutes.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM): The REM period is associated with dreaming. Likewise, if this period varies as the first one, it can last 10 minutes, and the last one can take up to an hour.
Cutting your sleep to four hours instead of the regular eight hours will see you through this cycle twice. What matters most is making quality use and maximizing the effect of the two cycles.
How Much Sleep Is Healthy for the Body?
The amount of sleep the body needs to stay healthy varies with age. Younger individuals and babies seem to need more sleep hours than young adults. Newborn babies require up to 12 to 18 hours of sleep a day to stay healthy.
Toddlers require a lesser number of hours of sleep compared to newborn babies. Toddlers only need about 12 to 15 hours of sleep to stay healthy. Teenagers can stay healthy with just 8 to 10 hours of sleep in a day.
Adults require the least number of sleep hours. Some adults can keep up with only 6 hours of sleep, while some require up to 8 hours.
How Can You Sleep 8 hours in 4 Hours?
Sleeping eight hours in four hours can help you make up for short sleep hours. However, it does not entirely change the fact that getting a short sleep is not ideal for your health. Rest is like a bank. The more you deprive yourself of it, the bigger the void you are waiting to fill.
This sleep technique will help you mitigate the effect of sleep deprivation. It will also help you to get quality sleep within short hours.
1. Do Away With Electronic Screens
Avoiding screen time for about an hour before going to bed will help you to get quality sleep. Most electronic screens emit blue light, and blue lights interfere with sleep. It can interfere with the body’s natural melatonin production and circadian rhythm, essential for getting quality sleep.
2. Keep Distractions away
Keeping distractions away will reduce the idle time you spend in bed and allow you to maximize your bedtime. Once you intend to go to bed, you should do away with and keep out all forms of distractions from your bedroom or sleep area.
3. Lower Your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps the body and brain active. The stimulation acts on your central nervous system to reduce drowsiness. Therefore, if you intend to get quality sleep within a short time, you should do away with anything that will keep the body excessively active, particularly caffeine.
4. Engage In Light Exercise
Light exercise increases blood flow to the brain and temporarily makes you feel more awake and active. It relaxes your muscles and makes the N2 sleep stage more effective. However, it is best to avoid heavy exercise and energy-draining activities. Heavy workouts and energy-draining activities will make you even more tired and need more sleep.
5. Get Sleep in a Dark Room
Trying to sleep with your light on will affect your circadian cycle and prevent you from falling asleep on time. Bright light also reduces the amount of melatonin production by the body, and melatonin is the hormone that signals the body to enter sleep mode. Therefore, ensuring complete darkness in your sleep area will help you get quality sleep within four hours.
6. Keep the Right Temperature
The room temperature is as essential as keeping bright light away from the room. Keep yourself warm and comfortable. Avoid excessive heat and cold. Extreme temperatures can interfere with your sleep by influencing your body’s natural processes.
7. Find Good Sleep Space and Comfortable Position
If you are sleeping four hours instead of eight, then it should certainly be worth it. Get a comfortable and accommodating bed or mattress to increase the quality of your sleep. Without a suitable mattress, you might find it challenging to find restful sleep. A soft mattress that can cradle the curve of your back is appropriate for side sleepers. Back sleepers should get a mattress that supports their trunk and spine.
8. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol is one of the substances you should do away with if you don’t have enough time to sleep for long hours. Alcohol can increase the level of your drowsiness and produce a sedative effect that reduces activities of your central nervous system.
9. Spend Lesser Time Outdoors During Daytime
Spending lesser time outdoors during the daytime will expose you to a minimal amount of sunlight. Moderate exposure to sunlight will improve your focus by stimulating the production of serotonin.
10. Minimize Liquid Intake before Bed
The more liquid you take before bed, the more chances you will need to get up from the bed to use the bathroom. Imagine having to get up to use the bathroom twice or thrice. Minimizing your liquid intake before bed means you might not have to get up to use the bathroom within your four hours of sleep.
11. Take a Nap During the Day
Taking a short nap, like 20-30 minutes during the day, will help you get the best out of your four hours of sleep. It will feel more like rebooting or restarting your PC. You feel refreshed without causing you to feel drowsy.
12. Ensure Proper Stress Management
Depriving yourself of sleep while you are excessively stressed will cause you more harm than good. It can lead to a lot of health problems, including insomnia and mental disorders. If you intend to get adequate sleep, it is best to keep your stress level to the barest minimum.
13. Take Control of Your Mind
It is usual for your mind to wander away with some unnecessary and random thoughts while getting some sleep. Letting your mind stay active increases the idle time you spend in bed. Taking control of your mind will help you quickly discharge these thoughts and focus on getting good, quality sleep.
Alternative Sleep Cycles (Polyphasic Sleep)
Polyphasic sleep refers to sleeping multiple times within the 24-hour cycle instead of having single long hours of sleep. One or more of those numerous sleep times can come at night. The total sleep time within the 24 hours frame is usually shorter than the regular sleep time.
Some people argue polyphasic sleep allows you to sleep efficiently in a few hours. It can help you to achieve the same sleep efficiency as other forms of short sleep times. However, there is no scientific evidence that supports polyphasic sleep over the regular recommended sleep hours and pattern.
There are different types of polyphasic sleep. They include;
- Uberman Cycle: The Uberman cycle of polyphasic is about 6 to 8 naps within the 24 hours cycle. These short naps usually last for 20-25 minutes each. These short naps will be approximately 2-3 hours all together and replace any long hours of sleep.
- Everyman Cycle: This cycle involves having 3-1/2 hours of sleep at a stretch and complementing it with three short naps during the day. Each of these short naps can last for 20 minutes. You will get about 4-1/2 hours of sleep in 24 hours with this cycle.
- Biphasic Sleep Cycle: The biphasic sleep cycle is similar to the traditional night sleep cycle. In this cycle, you will sleep for 5-6 hours uninterrupted at night and complement it with a short nap in the day time.
Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Sleeping below the recommended sleep hours can compound your physical stress. It doesn’t give your body enough time to unwind from stress and rebuild damaged and worn out tissues. It becomes even more complicated when you have a high-stress level.
The side effects can become compounded over time and become complicated. Some of the side effects of sleep deprivation include;
- Reduction in the level of cognitive function and difficulty in concentration
- Increased tiredness, fatigue, and sluggish feeling
- Insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea
- Anxiety, obesity, depression, and mood swings
- Weakened immune system resulting in frequent infection
- Aging skin and low sex drive
- Cardiovascular disease, stroke, and psychosis
- Diabetes and hypertension
- Reduction in overall productivity and body activeness
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep
Everyone wants to get the best out of sleep regardless of limited sleep time. Therefore, it is understandable if you still have some questions lurking around your mind. Below are some of the frequently asked questions about getting quality sleep within short hours.
How can I train myself to sleep for 4 hours?
Training yourself to be able to sleep for four hours requires conscious effort. Getting midday naps and practicing a healthy bedtime routine can help you prepare your body for four hours of sleep time.
Why do I feel better with less sleep?
Feeling better with less sleep is an obvious indication of sleep deprivation. It is an indication that your body is trying to compensate for the lost sleep time and cope with a short sleep time. It is not a healthy practice!
Is 2 hours of sleep enough?
Two hours of sleep or fewer is never enough. Although it can provide you with a complete sleep cycle, it is not adequate for healthy living.
A Final Word From Wellness Nova
Sleep is one of the essential body needs, and the demand for rest varies with age. Adults require the least sleep time, while newborn babies can spend up to 2/3 of the day sleeping. As much as it is possible to sleep 8 hours in 4 hours, there is nothing ideal about sleep deprivation.
It is crucial to give your body enough rest time to rebuild tissues with hours of quality sleep as your body demands.