In a process centuries in the making, cutting down on sleep in an effort to be more productive became a goal for many people.
Business leaders, politicians and entrepreneurs pointed to how little sleep they were able to get by on. And because many people feel there just aren’t enough hours in the day, the seven to nine hours when we should be sleeping seemed like a good place to claw back some precious hours.
The tide is turning however. After an article describing Donald Trump as severely sleep deprived and highlighting the medical harm this could bring the issue is back in the news again. This time it’s not about how to get by on less sleep but on whether sleep hacking is helpful, or even a good idea at all.
The fact that human beings need sleep is unquestionable. How much sleep has been a long debate. Now that we can artificially and cheaply light our homes, streets and businesses and communicate all over the globe with other timezones it is tempting to think we have ascended such primitive needs.
If daily life can go on all through the night – with gyms and restaurants open, multinational companies having conference calls – shouldn’t we take advantage of that?
As a result it is estimated that 40% of people are suffering from sleep deprivation. Whether that is by deliberately trying to cut back on sleep or disorders such as insomnia, the health risks are huge. Sleep deprivation can cause obesity, depression, diabetes and heart disease. Stress, that other modern malady, is both caused by and causes sleep deprivation. It makes us moody, irritable and more prone to bad judgements and accidents.
Even unintentionally we can damage our sleeping patterns and cause sleep deprivation. Read Blue Light Explained for more on how mobile phones disrupt sleep with artificial light and find out more about sleep deprivation.
Have you tried cutting down on sleep to get more done? Did it work?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!