Yesterday, I heard a child walking hand-in-hand with his mother squeal, “I love me some sleep!” His mother scooped him up in her arms and he rested his head on her shoulder and fell asleep.
We all appreciate The Art of Power Napping and we try to be cogent during the day to avoid American Somnambulism, but what about our need for deep sleep?

Sleep

When I was younger — during those awful high school
years — there were days when I slept 12 straight hours and still woke
up sleepy.

Now, as I age, I find I need less and less sleep and I
wonder why? Is it the metaphysical time bomb ticking inside of me:
Each. Second. Is. Time. Lost. Forever! Or does an older body just
demand less sleep?

I currently average four hours of sleep a day and if I
add a couple of 10 minute power naps during the day, I feel good and
fresh and not sleepy at all.

Do you sleep a full eight hours every night?

Is there a minimum number of hours you need to sleep in order to function during the day?

22 Comments

  1. I need between 7/8 hours a night.
    I used to get by with far less, but since the surgery, 4 years ago I seem to have settled back at 7/8.
    I can still just about swing an *all-nighter* if I have to – but then spend the rest of the next week catching up.

  2. A solid six hours sleep is sufficient for me, as long as I am physically well. My body craves more sleep/rest if I am unwell.
    I am a ‘six hours sleep’ person from my childhood. I don’t remember sleeping more than that willfully.
    Feeling tired is an indication for me that I am not okay…I need to find out the reason.

  3. Hi Katha!
    Six hours as a youngster! Wow! That isn’t much sleep. I remember reading a medical article that said teens require 11 hours of sleep a day because that’s what their bodies needs to refresh and cleanse all the changes that are going on in their bodies.
    So you never feel tired at the end of the day? Do you then choose to sleep because it is time to sleep or because you are tired?
    Researchers claim we should only sleep when we are tired and not when the clock demands it.

  4. Nicola!
    Yikes! Your comment was eaten by Akismet! I’m glad I happened to see your name in the blizzard of caught Spam!
    If that ever happens again shoot me an email so I can fish you out — because once Akismet is on to you is clings to you for a long time.
    Is it possible to catch up on lost sleep? The medical experts say it is not possible: You don’t get it, it is gone forever. I do find, however, that sleeping longer after missing sleep does seem to feel better and give me a feeling of being “caught up.”

  5. David,
    I remember the ‘light off’ time in my residential school was at 8:30 pm at the kids section, I never went to sleep before 10:00 pm. I used to read my cartoon/comic books with the help of a flash light under the cover! 😀
    With a solid six hours sleep I don’t feel tired during the day. At the end of the day, yes – and that’s natural.
    My only condition is the six hours has to be undisturbed – without the slightest noise. I go to bed by 11:30 – 12:00 everyday and it takes me 5/10 minutes to fall asleep. In case it takes more than that then I know there is something that is bothering me and I need to figure out what.

  6. Hi Katha —
    Right! I fall asleep immediately as well.
    I read an article that people generally dream about what is bothering them. I find that to be true, but I also dream about flying to difference places and I always dream in color.

  7. I suffer from Insomnia, and so as a result, I usually spend 2 or 3 hours tossing and turning before giving it up as a bad job and getting back up.
    Last night for example, I went to bed at 12.30am, and read for 10 minutes or so before turning the light out. At 2.30am I rose again, disgruntled and thoroughly frustrated.
    I finally headed back to bed at 3.35am, and rose at 10am. This means I’ll probably be heading back to bed for a couple of hours this afternoon.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is, I have no idea how many hours my body needs in order to feel refreshed because it’s so long since I last felt that way.

  8. This is going to sound weird. I can’t say that I don’t dream…but I don’t generally remember my dream unless it is something very disturbing which is rare.
    Moreover, in case I remember my dreams I feel sleep deprived next morning – as if I was up all night watching a movie.
    Am I insensitive?

  9. Katha!
    Well! That’s interesting! We dream in 90 minute cycles. If someone woke you up every hour and a half I’m certain you’d be able to relate your dreams.
    Do you dream in color or black-and-white?
    The fact that your dreams drain you is telling! Do you dream of joys or burdens?

  10. I feel the need for some long sleep time. When I was in high school, I used to always try to get to bed around 9:30 p.m. or so on weeknights. I’d wake up at 6 a.m. and do any homework that I hadn’t done the night before.
    Of course, I’d stay up until 1 a.m. or so on the weekends during high school.
    When I was in college, I used to routinely stay awake until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. (When I was over 21, we’d go out after work and drink a little, so sometime we’d be out until closing time on Thursday, Fridays & Saturdays).
    I’d schedule my classes so that I didn’t have anything too early and always try to sleep in until 8 a.m. or so. Since I had some college credits earned while in high school, I always had an advantage in getting later classes over my friends. I also managed to take naps in college when ever I could.
    When I went to law school, I started losing sleep. My apartment building had a security light that shined into my room. I should have bought a heavy blanket and put it over the window, but I never did. When I moved from my efficiency in with three other students, I routinely would stay up late doing work or playing with the computer. I probably never got to sleep before 1 a.m. or so.
    Now, I find that I do better if I get to bed around 10:30 p.m. or so. If I’m going somewhere, I might have to get up at 5 a.m. or earlier.
    I’ve found that “power naps” can work wonders if I’ve gone somewhere in the morning and want to be refreshed when I go back to the office. I’ll stop by the house before going back and nap for an hour. I feel more productive than if I go back “zoned out” from driving.

  11. There is a recurrent dream of me falling from a staircase or a cliff-edge that appears very rarely and it is somewhat grayish without much color.
    When I dream about my family, friends or about a get together there are some colors in their dresses or in the decor but I don’t remember it very distinctively – it blends with the background which is always like a cloudy day.
    It’s funny watching my roommate’s dog sleeping. He tries to bark and chase something in his sleep – but it doesn’t come out the way it is supposed to be – so a German Short Hair sounds like a Lhasa Apso or Pomeranian is hilarious!

  12. Dawn! You were caught by the dreaded Akismet! It is acting wonky today! If you don’t see your comment appear here immediately, please shoot me an email to let me know to fish you out of the Spam trap!
    The theory goes if you don’t fall asleep in 10 minutes, get out of bed and do something else until you get tired again. I find that method works really well!

  13. Chris!
    In high school I was a David Letterman fanatic. I wouldn’t go to bed until 2am after his show and I had to be at school by 8am. It was a real tired mess!
    😀
    I like a sleeping totally dark room. That makes it harder to wake up in the morning but having everything silent and black is wonderfully cold and womb-like and I love it!
    Power Naps are super. I wish the USA accepted a “siesta break” for an hour like many other countries do in the middle of the afternoon. We’d be much more productive as a society if we were formally allowed to refresh ourselves!

  14. Thanks for sharing your dreams, Katha! It appears you dream about things that bother you in your awakened life.
    Color is a blessing and a curse in dreams. Color is intensive and wholly real. Black and white gives a sense of perspective and distance.
    Our cat Jack dreams the same way as that fine dog. His ears perk. His legs run. He talks to whatever he is chasing — or whatever is chasing him — and we have to be very careful not to wake him during those dream states because he can easily get freaked out wondering what is dreamlike and what is real and the animal instinct is to lash out at anything that is a perceived as a threat.

  15. It’s interesting that you mention your cat dreaming David, because ours does too. Every so often she freaks us out. She’ll be asleep and then all of a sudden she wakes up meowing her little head off – almost as though she’s had a nightmare. It’s not often it happens, but when it does, it can be a little freaky wondering what’s caused her to wake up like that.
    That Akismet is the nastiest invention ever! LOL. 😛

  16. Hi Dawn!
    Right! Jack does the same thing. Sometimes he wakes with a start and “tells us” all about his dream. We just listen to him and, when he’s finished, pet him a little to comfort him and calm him down.
    Akismet is wonderful — but when it turns against you, LOOK OUT!
    😉

  17. hmmm..I loves me some sleep too! At night though, I get maybe 5 hours. I love napping during the day.
    I know that sometimes I feel like if I go to be early and get a full eight hours or more ( at 52) that I am missing time. Since I am finished with school (december) though, I have told myself that I am going to try and get to bed early.
    hasn’t happened yet.

  18. Hi andrena and welcome to Urban Semiotic!
    I used to stay up until 3 am and get up at 9 am when I was an undergrad student.
    Now I love the early morning and don’t like late nights as much. I’m usually up and about at 4 am and in bed by midnight.

  19. When I was younger, I needed much less sleep. As a student, I got by on 5-6 hours per night. I need more now. If I go to bed when I naturally feel sleepy, I’ll wake up refreshed, without an alarm, roughly 7 to 8 hours later.

  20. I have read your post. Thank you for the trust and for the sharing.
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