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So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/11/2013 11:39 AM

I found this story on the BBC about peoples sleep patterns. Not everyone needs or gets 8 hours of sleep a night. Some, like me, split their sleep through the day. When I work the day shift, I'm up at 4:30am. I usually get less than 5 hours of sleep a night, I go to bed around 11:30pm. However, I often take a one hour to 1.5 hour power nap after work, as I'm home about 2:15pm. It works for me.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16964783

What works for you?

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#1

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/11/2013 11:52 AM

Depending on what I have been doing 8 - 10 for me but not necessarily all at once either.

I can get by on 6 - 8 for a while but eventually I will have a 18+ hour power sleep period where I do sleep near continuous for that long.

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#2

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/11/2013 12:20 PM

A lot more than I used to.

For 20 years I could get away with 4-6 hours

For the last few years about 8-10, but lately, I wouldn't mind 10-12

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#3

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/11/2013 12:24 PM

I need about 9 hours of sleep - more if I've had a busy week. I can function on 7 but it's never a good day!

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#4

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/11/2013 6:01 PM

Prob 8 hours a night, but a 10 min catnap after my mid day meal else my afternoon is a waste of space for a couple of hours until I perk up.
Del

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#5
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/11/2013 8:30 PM

Kinda fond of that little after meal nap thing myself.

I'm not going to have to get a kitty avatar now am I?

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#33
In reply to #4

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/13/2013 11:57 PM

A little catnip and you won't need the catnap.

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#6

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/11/2013 10:35 PM

My current pattern (of a couple of years' standing) is to get 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours of sleep during the night, beginning around 3 - 4 AM (0300 - 0400). Typically, 2 - 4 times a week, I'll also take half an hour or 45 minute of nap time in late evening. I'm retired, so I can choose my time pretty much as I please, and this has gotten comfortable. I'm a week shy of 72, for anyone who thinks that short sleep is the realm of the 20-somethings.

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#7
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/11/2013 11:28 PM

WOW! I'm less than a year older than you, but I need 8-10 hours a night!

I generally hit the sack between 9 and 10, and get up between 6 and 7. Even when I was in college around 50 years ago, I considered 9PM as bedtime, and hated it when a roommate stayed up significantly later.

Occasionally, I wake up at 3 or 4 AM and can't go back to sleep, so I work on my laptop for an hour or two before I get sleepy, but then I get up only a little later than normal, and I'm tired all day long!

I've never ever stayed up all night long, and sure as heck don't plan on doing it now!

"Nothing good happens after (insert your preferred time here)." For me, that's 10PM.

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#20
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 11:51 AM

I'm not much older than you and I fall asleep every time I sit down. See what you got to look forward to!

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#25
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 7:26 PM

Did I just hear a discouraging word? Dang! But, thanks for the warning . . .

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#8

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 1:12 AM

About 6-8 hours during weekdays and 8-10 in the weekend

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#9

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 1:33 AM

My 9-5 can get quite demanding, so my back prefers 10hrs rest. I'll go to bed as soon after 8 as I can, and get about 7hrs sleep before rising around 7am. The remainder of the time is spent on the laptop.

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#10

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 3:37 AM

I would've thought one of the major factors that determines how much sleep you need, would be the type of job you do.

How much would a manual worker; somebody who does alot of physically hard work; need?

How much would a desk jocky need; with a job that's not that mentally fatiguing; need?

How much would a desk jocky; with a job that is mentally fatiguing; need?

Another factor is the hours that you work and how often that pattern changes. One job I had was a full continental shift pattern, 12hr shifts mornings & night, 2 on 2 off and, if you caught the Friday shift you worked all that weekend. Anyway I found it very difficult to adjust to the shift changes and my hours of sleep varied between 4 & 10 hours. This also varied with the seasons, it was much easier getting off to sleep after a night shift in the winter, when it was still dark outside. But in the summer, when it was light outside, forget it. This company; at quite some expense; hired a consultancy company to study our shift pattern and, they determined that the shift change from nights to days (and vise versa) was the equivalent of experiencing jet lag. So effectively we were experiencing jet lag twice a week. The consultants suggestion was to stay on the same shift (i.e. nights or days) for a complete month, then make the change.

Also is it possible for the average person to get by with very little sleep time for a sustained period? Why do you think sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture.

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#24
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 2:54 PM

"Why do you think sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture."

Sleep depravation isn't "torture", that's simply controlling the environment and helping to put someone in a more easily influenced state.

Real torture is physically traumatizing someone.

I do agree with your other points of what makes people tired. It isn't just physical activity that makes people feel tired. Poor physical health/condition, stress, poor relationships, lack of challenge, no hope, being bored, etc. can all impact our need for a certain amount of sleep. If you're jacked-up and excited about pursuing a mission or purpose that is refreshing in itself and you don't feel the need for so much sleep.

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#11

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 4:16 AM

I usually go to bed around 1am & wake at about 6am although I might lie in bed listening to the radio for another hour. Every now & then I will sleep in at the weekend but otherwise I seem to get by on about 5 hours per night.

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#54
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

10/19/2013 6:38 PM

I know one bloke who needs 5 hours a night, but he takes a pill to make him sleep 8 hours. I notice that he totally analyses what happens and then commits to memory. I suspect he is also a quick learner. Most of us seem to absorb things, then analyse when we are asleep, hence the need for more sleep.

Do you sort out before committing to memory? Are you also a quick learner?

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#12

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 8:18 AM

I suppose sleep periods are governed by routine. If you have a full time job and you have to work to a formal timetable then natural sleep patterns must be adapted to fit in.

I am retired and I work to a sleep timetable largely of my own choosing where my desire or need to sleep is spontaneous. But a pattern has emerged due to domestic life where my wife who watches the TV soaps all evening (I do sometimes when an interesting storyline develops) but generally I read the paper or a magazine or often surf the Internet after my wife has gone to bed at 11'ish. At intervals I word on some standards and documents for BSI/CEN/ISO, and then to watch my TV programmes later at night. Quite often I am up to the small hours 2.00am, 3.00am or so.

So unless we are going somewhere, the next day I am up 8'ish, or my wife, to make a cup of tea we drink sat up in bed, doing a crossword or reading, and watching the news and weather forecast on TV.

So my wife has about 9 hours sleep and I have about 6 hours.

This in turn reflects in a daily routine, where if watching TV in the afternoon, we both doze off, not from choice, it just happens, unless we are doing something to focus attention on.

For my part I tend to doze off in the evenings, when watching TV or even working on my laptop. But none of this matters, we just rewind the recorder, and I carry on with my laptop from where I left off.

Except when I have been working on a document for a committee meeting late the previous night, and up early at 6.00am for a 3-hour drive to London. Then I often have to fight drowsiness to stay awake during the meeting. and quite often on the way home in the evening I pull into a service station and put the seat back for short sleep for an hour or so.

On other journeys my wife usually drives, and as a passenger with nothing to do, I fall asleep within minutes with no trouble at all.

On occasions when making trips to ISO meetings I sleep during the flight both ways, but although I am aware of jet-lag, I don't seem to suffer from it.

It seems as though my limited hours of sleep is not a problem when I can doze off at random, as I often do, to the annoyance of my wife when visiting her friends and relatives.

I do recall however when working full time, and being inclined to go to bed at 11'ish and up at 7'ish, I often felt tired during the afternoon, I thought about taking a sun-lounger to the office for a short nap, but never did because as a company director I had to set an example "...it was not done..."

Things are different when we are out on our narrowboat, when we tend to match bedtime to hours of darkness, but with more hours of nigh time sleep we still doze off during the afternoon if we have moored up for lunch.

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#13

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 8:54 AM

This is not the first time this issue has been discussed in this forum. The last time many folks said they had fewer hours sleep during the week and then crashed on the weekend.

I sleep about 6 hours a night (11:30pm to 5:30am) during the week and get about 8-10 on Saturday.

I kept this schedule back when I worked construction, and also when I went back to school.

Those times when I have worked 7-12s, I have added a 1-2 hour nap in the afternoon.

I don't think there was much variation in the amount of sleep I required when I worked hard physical labor versus now. Then again, I was younger and tended to push harder back then.

In school I pulled several all-nighters toward the end, mostly for Senior Design Project type stuff. My longest pull was 3 days and 2 nights. I slept for about 8 hours a night after that for the next 3-4 nights. After that, it was back to normal.

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#14

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 9:33 AM

If it wern't for cruise control, I'd never get any sleep at at all!

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 9:56 AM

Wow! Bet you want one of those new driverless cars, don't you?

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#16

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 10:05 AM

I used to get at least 8 hours per day all year, until three stray cats came wandering into my life. They wake up per the birds chirping and want fed. It's amazing how many ways they can find to get you up - if it makes noise when knocked on the floor, they can find it. Door rattles a bit when bumped into - they find that too. Then there is the never fail method of a quick run across the bed. I get my 8 hours in winter and fall back to about 5 hours in summer, with short naps over the lunch hour.

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#18
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 11:15 AM

I have the sound of birds without needing to own a cat (does anyone own a cat or does the cat just honour you with it's presence for a while?). The front of my house is covered with ivy & there are birds nesting in it. I always have a window open so I wake up to a dawn chorus.

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#21
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 11:56 AM

Uhhh - yeah - the cats own me. I am just there to serve them.

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#23
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 12:46 PM

It's good to see you understand your place in this world. Our two cats have trained us well.

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#17

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 10:48 AM

Wine

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#19

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 11:19 AM

Effective Sleep means 5 to 5.5 Hours is sufficient.

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#22

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/12/2013 11:59 AM

All this talk about How much sleep you need is ... really... making .... me ...... slee.......... "snore"

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#26

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/13/2013 9:42 AM

Well since my employers decided to change our hours to start at 4am I am up at 2:30am but can't seem to get to actual sleep until at least midnight. I average about 30 minutes to 2 and a half hours a night for about three weeks then pass out for about 8 to 10 hours. Seems to be working ok so far

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#27

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/13/2013 9:56 AM

This discussion is well-timed for me. I've started seeing sleep doctors because I'm not sleeping well enough, and due to my snoring. They've diagnosed a mild case of Sleep Apnea, and at my next visit they want me to try a mask. The mask will force a little air into my nose, hopefully to keep my throat open.

I was brought up with the notion of eight hours of continuous sleep, as discussed in the BBC article. My schedule and nature often don't allow for eight hours. I have trouble falling asleep before midnight or 1:00 in the morning, even if I'm exhausted. I can't get my mind to "turn off". Some nights I don't really sleep much at all due to that. I have to rise early on workdays (which vary each week) so I'll usually have to get by with about four or five hours of sleep. Then I'll sleep nine to eleven hours on my days off. The doctors frown on this so we're trying to change my habits. I wish I could nap during the afternoon - when I can it does help. If I work three or more days in a row I tend to go into a fog where I can function but I realize I'm not 100%.

So I'm not sure how many hours of sleep I really need. I worry that the two sleep periods discussed in the BBC article wouldn't work for me, due to problems turning my mind "off". But I appreciate that and other ideas posed here. Gives me ideas for experimentation.

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#28
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/13/2013 10:57 AM

When I go to bed, I nearly always play a computer game of some kind, to take my mind off whatever project I'm working on. Quite commonly that makes me so sleepy that I close the computer before finishing the game...

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#29
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/13/2013 12:19 PM

When I was sleeping 4-6 hours a night, it was because I could not wind down........ Games at that time I had preferred were quite violent.... So that didn't help. But I always stopped and renedt a good movie on my way home from work...... It worked great,...... But the movies were pretty good, and eventually had to rent two.... To fall asleep.

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#31
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/13/2013 5:30 PM

I was referring to solitaire games that take from a couple of minutes to maybe 10 or 15... Such as Klondike, Sudoku, Ma Jong, etc.

There is no way I could watch an entire movie before falling asleep!

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#34
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/14/2013 12:30 AM

Keep me posted on your progress. It reads like you wrote that as a description of my sleep patterns and the Apnea. Only I have been working 6 to 7 days a week for the last month.

Drew K

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#30

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/13/2013 1:38 PM

less sleep, less hair. If you can handle it, then you're better off looking good>

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#32

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/13/2013 9:18 PM

Well, it's certainly a ubiquitous subject if there ever was one. I LOVE to sleep, but I hate going to bed. Of course, then I hate getting up. All and all I seep pretty good. Once in a while, I have a sleepless night, but not often. It will be interesting to see how and when I sleep after I retire in a few years, (I'm 59).

Most of the time I have wonderful dreams, and I'm often a lucid dreamer. Sometimes I have scary dreams, but I think the brain has to work things out in its own way.

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#35
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/14/2013 7:59 AM

I'm aware of having had dreams but, once I wake up, I can never remember what the dream was about.

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#36

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/15/2013 8:18 AM

I notice that most people listening to a complex argument will take it in, sleep on it and then will have worked out what it was all about. However I have observed one man summarise what was said, committed it to memory, and then move on to something else. This man can get by with only 5 hours a night. He takes a pill to extend his sleeping to 8 hours, I'm not sure why, I could use the time.

By having processed info before committing it to memory, he has cut out the sleep-on-it stage.

My wife has an excellent memory for detail, absorbs a lot accurately, and corrects if I misquote or misinterpret. She needs about 10 hours a night sleep.

I used to sleep 8 hours, now sleeping 9 as I age.

So does your sleep pattern vary according to how you handle the data that bombards you?

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#37
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/15/2013 8:40 AM

Well, I know when I'm dealing with issues that are difficult, such as design problems, deadlines and such.

I'll dream about it, and not all very restful. but when I'm working on a design, I'll even dream about it, whenther I like it or not, and more times then not, a solution will come, or an issue that I forgot to address which will wake me very suddenly..... and thats putting it mildly.

As I age, I try to separate my work more, because it sure knock the stuffing out of me. And I'm sleeping better, especially when I purchased a king size Sleep Number bed last July...... love it. No longer waking up with parts of my body numb or aching. This I would highly recommend.....

Its also probally the one biggest reason why I'm sleeping more. Good or bad, I can answer that.

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#44
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/16/2013 4:46 AM

'Sleeping on it' works for me, if I'm having trouble with a design I will set it aside & look again the next day, it usually seems clearer then. On a smaller scale, if I'm having trouble I will often take a quick walk around the factory, maybe chat to a couple of people then get back to work, it seems to help. Lunch times I read the newspaper & do the crossword, if I'm stuck on any answers I often find that I can solve them immediately when I get home.

It seems that the mind keeps processing these problems without you being aware of it.

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#38
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/15/2013 2:40 PM

I think you are mixing a lot of different things here. Memory works different for men and women. I read an article in Scientific American Mind a while ago that explained how evolution might have affected memory in men and women differently. Men who were primarily hunters developed a memory that was better at recalling generalities of geography over a long distance as they wandered large areas hunting or followed herds and made their way home (those who didn't make it home didn't reproduce). Women who stayed closer to the village developed detailed memories of that region because it was important to know where certain medicinal or dietary herbs grew (if they didn't, they or their offspring wouldn't survive).

I like your sleep on it model. While taking Algebra in college I recall having some difficulty with some of the trig expressions. I recall working one problem several times late into the night and getting the wrong answer every time. The next morning before class I tried it again and got it right on the first attempt. That was when I realized that I can't do math when tired.

Drew K

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#39
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/15/2013 5:43 PM

"...I can't do math when tired."

I believe you can replace the word 'math' in that phrase with a word for any other process that requires concentration, and it remains true.

Any time I do design work in the afternoon or evening, I always 'sleep on it', and review it the next morning. I usually find something not to my liking...

More than a few times I have refused to work on a project at the time requested, because I was tired. It can be very counterproductive to try.

Then again, I have always been 'a morning person'...

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/15/2013 6:36 PM

Or,...... After doing the work in. The afternoon, the next morning, you look at it and think, what the h@11 was I thinking.

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/15/2013 8:33 PM

Uh Huh!

BTW, Glad the Sleep number works for you! I may just have to try that...

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/15/2013 10:50 PM

I don't have a sleep # bed, but a couple months ago I got a memory foam mattress. I love it.

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#45
In reply to #43

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/16/2013 7:55 AM

Memory foam is good also, it disperses the weight.

I always loved a hard mattress, in my younger days, 20-30 years old, which isn't that long ago. I would fall asleep in our living room, I sleeped like a rock unless someone woke me, then I couldn't get back to sleep.

but now, I only like sleeping on a firm matress once in a while, and only for a short time. Just to change things up. It's nice when you can adjust the firmness.

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#41

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/15/2013 6:51 PM

Well, I am a night owl, so I don't settle down until at least 11:30 or so. I sleep around 8 hours, never take naps as that would mess up my 8 hours of sleep later. Never liked naps anyway. I am a light sleeper, so I am easily woken up by noises. Unless it is a thunder storm - then I sleep more soundly - not sure why.

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#46

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/16/2013 12:34 PM

I find sleep related to thoughts during the day and at bedtime. If one is worried about something (or excited, too) sleep is usually sporadic, with one being in a twilight limbo. Bathroom beckons are usually a part of everyone's night, too. That can interrupt sleep patterns.

I thought of what quotes there must be about sleep. I found this one:

I hate it when my foot falls asleep during the day, because that means it's going to be up all night. ~Steven Wright

at this link. There are quite a few links with sleep quotes. I was also tempted to look up more sleep research. Some other time. I just found this poster for cat lovers here.

I think the final criteria is how do you feel when you wake up? If you feel refreshed, you probably are. I happen to feel very drowsy at the moment.

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#47
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/18/2013 3:30 PM

Love the link to the funny sleep quote! LOL

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#48
In reply to #46

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

04/18/2013 7:58 PM

To Passerby 46.

Great link. Great quotes. I fell asleep reading them.

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#49

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

05/04/2013 11:32 PM

Hours of sleep for humans decreases as age goes on . New born babies sleep continuously while elderly find it difficult to sleep and wake up early. Another category of people finding it hard to sleep are those who work on night-shift.

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#50
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Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

05/05/2013 12:46 AM

Speak for yourself!

There are hundreds of millions (or at least tens of millions) of young mothers who would be delighted if their newborn babies slept continuously for a day or two!

I sleep considerably more now than I did 70 years ago!

You may be right on the night-shift part, although the one night-shift person I know well found it necessary to sleep more hours, as the hours she did sleep were not deep sleep.

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

05/05/2013 1:20 AM

There are exeptions to the rule,check with a doctor.

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#52
In reply to #49

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

05/05/2013 7:49 AM

Ask a mother of twins,.............. At your own risk.

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#53

Re: So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

10/19/2013 9:48 AM

Sleep is by brain for the brain itself.

More sleep than normal could be just increased Hypertension.

Multiple time sleep means multiple time brain injecting undesired chemicals and disturbed sleep may well end up in depression.

Are you relaxed after sleep? This answer alone may not be enough for good health so ask someone who knows about it well. Some brain may not sleep for many years and yet may work well and other may Hibernating for months with ease. This world is not manufactured uniformly for sure.

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