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I normally sleep eight hours or more. I wish to sleep less, say by one hour. Are there any natural products/drugs/tips that can help me be in good mode after having slept only seven hours?

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migrated from fitness.stackexchange.com Jul 12 '12 at 2:27

This question came from our site for physical fitness professionals, athletes, trainers, and those providing health-related needs.

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o.O this is an interesting question. Surprised someone wants to sleep less. It's like saying "How do I feel less good?". But YES, I have found that ZMA (zinc magnesium asparate) is a golden ticket for helping you sleep deeper. There are other mineral supplements which can "trigger" a deeper REM cycle. –  Andreas Jul 10 '12 at 16:57
    
If you are sleeping 8 or more hours, it's likely that you need that time. However, there are quite a few natural sleep aids (such as melatonin), but many of them also prolong the sleep time. Most sleep aids are for people looking to sleep more, not less. Also, be careful of side effects of any natural or other sleep aids/drugs. Many sleep aids (Lunesta, et. al.) can have some unpleasant side effects. –  JohnP Jul 10 '12 at 17:05
    
At what time do you normally go to sleep? –  Robin Ashe Jul 10 '12 at 18:29

6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Definitely - there are ways to change your normal sleep patterns. You could follow @Oezi's polyphasic sleep planning if you have an environment which allows you to have power naps.

If you stick to a single sleep pattern, altering the amount of sleep you need in a night can be a much longer process.

Natwar gives this answer on another question here, which talks about improving sleep efficiency by getting to sleep faster. The comment on that question links to an article about CEO's managing on much less, and while I am not a CEO, I work on 4 to 6 hours a night quite effectively.

My process:

  • use a routine which leads you to sleep readiness at the time you plan to go to bed
  • plan activities (physical or mental) such you aren't becoming more alert at that time (reading a book is generally good, working on a computer generally bad)
  • get used to clearing out stress and worries about the next day before you go to bed so you aren't kept awake worrying

And stick at it - changing habits can take a long time!

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People need 8 hours for sleep. However, some people may need less than that because of -most probably- genetic reasons. If you want to sleep 7 hours throughout a specific time period, depending on that time period, you can find such products that might help. If you want to sleep 7 hours a day for the rest of your life, my recommendation is that don't buy any product, drug or any other marketing hype. Just try to sleep 7 hours on your own and then check out your feelings, concentration, mood etc. If you are happy with the result, congratulations! If you are not happy, go back to 8 hours. It is the optimal time.

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Polyphasic sleep may interest you. Basically, you're cutting your nightly sleep while doing one or more Power naps during the day.

With this, you can get down to only 2-3 hours of sleep per day - but you'll have to uphold a very exact timetable to archieve those very low times, so it might not be possible, depending on your job and/or social environment.

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According to Steve Pavlina, polyphasic sleep can actually be fairly flexible. That being said, your job schedule will definitely have a huge impact on whether you can succeed or not. stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/11/… –  Sum Deos Jul 13 '12 at 13:12

Use physical fitness to drive peak mental alertness. If you mantain a high level of physical fitness, you can get by on less sleep. So ensure your weekly schedule blocks out the time for an intense exercise routine or sport and your diet must be similarly reflect fitness goals. The goal is to be FIT.

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An ideal way to find how much sleep you actually need is the following:

  • Set your alarm clock at an early hour and when it rings, get up immediatly.
  • Go to bed when you're tired.
  • Repeat this until you get a routine. (your alarm clock should always be set on the same time)

After a couple days, your body will adjust and you will always get tired at the same time. When this happens, you'll know how much sleep you really need.

You'll find that you'll generally sleep less, then when you don't set an alarm clock. You'll most likely sleep to much if you always sleep in.

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lol - step 2) go to bed when you're tired, for me that'd be straight after step (1) –  Dave Hilditch Dec 8 '12 at 0:29

A practice that has helped me is not eat anything 2 hours before you go to bed. So it may imply changes in your eating time. This was difficult for me but it has given me great results. The effect is you don't feel sleepy when you get up but feel fresh instead. I think it may be helping digestion in some way. Another trick is to break sleep in 2 or more parts but this is difficult to follow in a normal routine. Avoid all distractions like mobile/TV/PC at least half an hour before going to be bed. Try practicing a meditation session of 10 minutes before going to bed.

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