Is the nine hour sleep need a myth?

5.31.15-Puppies-Sleeping-in-Things2Tonight I have a head full of project logistics and can’t sleep. In the BC period (i.e. before child) I could easily sleep 12 hours. I took a pill once and slept almost a day! Now I’ve learned I can survive on just 4 hours of shuteye a night; just not for long! I do know a powerhouse CEO who thrives on 5 and a winemaker who claims he can set his body clock at will, in any time zone. I can’t help but wonder though, if someone is acing life on so little snooze, how awesome could they be with more?

Research and medicos commonly suggest 9 hours of sleep is optimal (oh luxury) and that any less than 7 affects healthy bodily function, mood, concentration and mental and physical performance. We’re also told that our modern, constantly connected lifestyles are sapping our sleep patterns, which surely contradicts using all the latest sleep apps to supposedly improve cycles and quality. Unfortunately if I use my technology for an alarm I can hardly sleep for the pinging of notifications and my own apprehension about sleeping through it, ironically! The land of nod is fraught.

Experts’ tips:
Just this week Quartz says sleeplessness is less harmful than we fear. Apparently the body constantly readjusts to ensure we sleep (so beware the very real danger of micro-sleeps in inappropriate places) and genuine insomnia is actually a symptom or side effect, so sleep researchers will look for the root cause to fix, not sleeping itself. The Mayo Clinic draws a direct line between insomnia and depression or unspecified anxiety disorder. Therefore, sorting my mind chatter before bed would help and the suggestion to sleep on big decisions is not so wise after all? I just wish I read that 12 hours ago.