The compulsion of young people to go to bed late is becoming a social phenomenon. Most people stay up late as the result of indulgence and lack of self-discipline, and a means to escape the inner anxiety. The next morning, when you are tired and lack energy, it is not that you don’t want to sleep early, but it is easy to give in to the “pleasure” of staying up late, it is difficult to develop a sleep habit that can efficiently restore energy.
You may have always heard of a rule about sleep called – “8 hours of sleep a day is quality sleep.” However, 8 hours of sleep is probably a luxury for most people. Is there a reason why the rule “8 hours of sleep” exists?
It was first proposed together with the “8 hours workday”. In Das Kapital by Karl Marx, it was written that extraordinarily long working hours were basically the norm in various Western capitalist countries. It was common for workers to work 10 to 11 hours a day, and there was no double day off. The long working hours seriously deprived workers of sleep and rest, and work accidents due to fatigue often occurred.
Workers in Europe and America had to struggle hard for decades to get the 9 to 5, 5 days a week they have today. The slogan of the workers at that time was “eight hours of work, eight hours of leisure, eight hours of sleep”, which we can refer to as “888 working hours”. Thus, the 8 hours sleep rule was born.
We are all fooled by the 8 hours of sleep rule.
Nick Littlehales is a sports sleep coach who was the first to introduce a sleep repair room to the Manchester United Football Club. He provides the most scientific sleep advice and guidance for Manchester United athletes to ensure that they can restore energy during sleep and maximize their physical fitness.
The results were utterly amazing, when that Manchester United team went on to conquer the city and won the Premier League three consecutive championships. In his book SLEEP: Redefine Your Rest, for Success in Work, Sport and Life, he pointed out that the pursuit of 8 hours of sleep is bad for several reasons.
The sleep time required by each person is different, and there may be great differences between individuals. Too much or too little sleep is counterproductive, and a one-size-fits-all “8 hours of sleep” rule will not work for everyone.
The quality of sleep should be measured by the number of sleep cycles. It is meaningless to be obsessed with “8 hours of sleep”. Nick Littlehales explains that a sleep cycle is 90 minutes, and in 90 minutes, we go through several stages of sleep: non-eye movement sleep, eye movement sleep, and rapid eye movement sleep, and this process is like going down a staircase, and the deeper we go down, the deeper we go into sleep.
90 minutes (about 1 and a half hours) is the basic unit for us to calculate sleep time. We don’t say how many hours we sleep, but how many sleep cycles we sleep, and the body is fully “repaired” according to the cycle.
The rigid arrangement of sleeping 8 hours a night is impractical. In life, we always have to work overtime, parties, or other things, and it is difficult for us to sleep for 8 hours every night. The rigid arrangement of 8 hours a night is difficult for us to achieve, and it will only make us more and more frustrated.
8 hours is actually the average sleep time per person per night, but now it has become an applicable recommended sleep time. The simple and crude, one-size-fits-all “8-hour sleep rule” will only bring about sleep anxiety and harm us all.
So, how many hours do you sleep?