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How to enjoy quality sleep when you are short on time?

Published On 2 Dec 2021
Lifestyle
Written by
Dinesh
Written by
Dinesh

how-to-sleep-8hrs-in-4hrs

We all know that we need at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. But there are days when we don’t have enough time for a full night’s sleep. If you’ve ever wondered how to get 8 hours’ sleep in 4 hours or rather, how to enjoy the benefits of a full night’s rest in half the time, read on to find out.

Is 4 hours of sleep adequate?

So, how to get 8 hours of sleep in 4 hours? The short answer is, you can’t. The long answer, however, is that there are ways to make the most of a few hours of sleep.

Many people function moderately well on a few hours of sleep and wake up feeling active and well-rested. However, in the long run, insufficient sleep harms the body. A study conducted in 2018 examining      the sleeping habits of more than 10,000 participants found that regularly sleeping for only 4 hours each night was equivalent to adding 8 years of aging to the brain (1).

Experts recommend that adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night (2). The benefits derived from sleep also depend      on the quality of sleep you get. Continuous and uninterrupted sleep is essential for proper rest and rejuvenation.

Does this mean that sleeping more can give you more benefits? No, because oversleeping (10-12 hours a day) hampers productivity by making you feel fatigued. Hence, it’s important to get just the right amount of good-quality sleep.

 

How to sleep less and still function?

Maybe stressful events in your life are keeping you awake, or you have too many errands to run. So how      do you brace your body for less sleep? According to a former director of the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University in England, reducing the number of hours you sleep gradually can help your body get accustomed to less sleep (3).  For instance, slowly pushing your bedtime back by an hour for a week and then by 1.5 hours for the next three weeks can help you get acclimatized to sleeping less over a longer term     .

However, this does not mean that 4 hours of sleep is recommended or that once you get used to it, your body will not eventually complain. 7-9 hours of sleep is inarguably crucial. Going for days without getting much sleep will result in fatigue and disorientation. To understand why, you must understand the importance of sleep cycles.

The sleep cycle: How it works

If you’re still wondering how to get 8 hours’ sleep in 4 hours, learning about the sleep cycle will help you understand why it’s not possible to do so.

A sleep cycle has 4 stages (4) which fall between two phases. The first phase is Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep and encompasses the first three stages. It begins with the first stage of sleep when you just fall asleep and can still wake up easily. Within 10-15 minutes, you enter the second stage where you experience light sleep and your brain waves start to become slower. In The next and third stage you enter a period of deep sleep, your brain produces sluggish brain waves and you have no eye movement or muscle activity.

The second phase of sleep, within which the fourth sleep stage falls, is Rapid Eye-Movement (REM) sleep. During this period, brain activity increases and you experience dreams.

If you sleep for 7-8 hours, the whole sleep cycle repeats 4-6 times. This is crucial for your health since NREM sleep is necessary for muscle growth and recovery whereas REM sleep stimulates areas of your brain that are responsible for learning (5). When you sleep for shorter durations, you may not experience enough sleep cycles, which impairs your cognitive and physical development.

Effects of insufficient sleep

Some of the most common indicators of inadequate sleep include irritability, fatigue, weakening of your immunity system, trouble with concentration and thinking, drowsiness, weight gain, high levels of blood pressure and inadequate tissue recovery.

Tips to maximize sleep quality

Good sleep hygiene can help you enjoy better quality sleep. So, even if all you can manage is a short nap or 4 hours of sleep, you’ll be able to make the most of that time. Here are some tips you can follow to sleep better:

  • Stop using your phone or staring at any screen at least an hour before going to bed. Blue light from screens interferes with your ability to fall asleep, disrupting your sleep schedule.
  • Sleep in a dark room. Sleeping in the absence of any light helps you fall asleep faster and ensures sound sleep.
  • Reduce caffeine intake. Caffeine prevents you from falling asleep easily, reducing     your sleep time further.
  • Exercise during the day so that your body gets tired. This can help you fall asleep easily.
  • A hot bath before bed relaxes your muscles and puts you in the mood to sleep.
  • You can use a sleep tracker to calculate your sleep cycles. Sleep trackers can help you wake up before another sleep cycle begins. This helps you feel well-rested. Getting up in the middle of the sleep cycle is a major reason why sleep feels incomplete.
  • Make use of safe sleep supplements like Setu Sleep: Restore Magic Mints. They contain melatonin, the hormone that signals your body to fall asleep. This sleep supplement has been proven to improve sleep quality and duration.

FAQs

1) Do adults require less sleep than teenagers? 

Yes. Adults require 7-9 hours of sleep, whereas teenagers ideally require 8-10 hours of sleep. (6)

2) Can my eating habits determine the quality of my sleep? 

Eating meals at regular times and having a light meal no less than 2 hours before bedtime helps you sleep better. You should also include foods like almonds and walnuts in your diet as they are rich in melatonin.

3) How to get through short periods of sleep deprivation? 

Kickstart your day with some light exercise to keep drowsiness at bay. Eat light, spend more time in the sunlight and try incorporating naps whenever you can.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-sleep-8-hours-in-4-hours#is-it-healthy

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

https://time.com/4495418/how-to-sleep-less/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/12148-sleep-basics

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Understanding-Sleep

https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html 

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